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This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

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1990 Zenith 386 computer, keyboard, monitor - any value/use?

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    1990 Zenith 386 computer, keyboard, monitor - any value/use?

    I am the original owner of a Zenith 386 computer system (bought new in late 1990) and would really appreciate some input on what to do with it. I have a Zenith ZBF-3339-EK computer plus a Zenith ZKB-2 keyboard (dated 12/1989) and a Zenith ZCM-1492 monitor. I also have the owner’s manuals for the computer and monitor. All are in excellent condition and the system still works perfectly. I believe the keyboard has some value (from eBay) but I’m not sure about the other components. Is the system of any value/use to a collector? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    #2
    Welcome to the forums!

    I think there are lots of people who would love to have that 386 system. Collectors use them for a variety of things such as running vintage games, testing software compatibility, interfacing with other earlier vintage hardware, the challenge of writing some program on a more limited CPU, exploring computing history by trying it first hand, using parts to repair existing machines, as a movie prop (because green screens are retro), for a personal museum, and so on.

    Personally, I would try to keep the keyboard out of the hands of the "keyboard kids" on eBay. Of course, not all keyboards are worth that much, it depends on the key switches.

    Is the ZCM-1492 a green screen MDA monitor? These days those are certainly desirable. What all is installed in this system? I'm not aware that there is anything special about this particular CPU model, but if it is in good physical condition (no major rusting or yellowing) then it would probably get a good amount of attention.

    Note that you can offer the system for sale on this forum. People here won't pay the absurd (and often fake) prices things seem to sell for on eBay, but you won't have to worry about eBay fees, and if you can find a local buyer you may not even have to worry about shipping.

    Comment


      #3
      I really appreciate your feedback and advice. As you say, there’s probably nothing special about this model, but it is in perfect condition and is built like a brick house. The computer alone weighs 37 lbs and the monitor of course is also heavy. So I’m not sure if anyone would be willing to pay the shipping. I’d have to find someone local (NJ). The monitor is VGA (the manual says "Zenith's revolutionary Flat Technology CRT"). Memory is simply 640k plus 2048k. Intel chip 80386DX16. 3.5” floppy drive. 42MB hard drive. What is a fair price for the system? I’m not looking to make money, I would just like it to go to an owner who will use and appreciate it.

      Comment


        #4
        Ok, with a few exceptions for specific brands, early color VGA monitors are sort of so-so.

        If you are selling it locally, keeping it all together, and the unit is in good condition then, in my opinion, an asking price of $100-$150 would probably be in the ballpark. (remember, you are not dealing with eBay fees or the hassle of shipping).

        Wherever you advertise it, I would advise including plenty of pictures, including the front and back of the unit. Of course, you can advertise it here too. (Just be aware that there are a lot of cheapskates here who already have piles of this stuff).

        Comment


          #5
          You might want to post where you are located. Old systems in pristine shape are something worth collecting!

          Comment


            #6
            He's in NJ from his 2nd post. Kinda far for me. Am interested in the main unit only. But I am in Texas so really don't wish to have shipped and get damaged.
            PDP-8 and PDP-11 enthusiast. But enjoy most older PC stuff too.

            Comment


              #7
              Too far for me too, but I sure hope it goes to someone who can appreciate it. Those ZCM;s were some of the first flat screen monitors if I remember correctly - pretty cool!

              Comment


                #8
                SomeGuy, again thank you for your feedback and advice. Hopefully I will find someone close to NJ.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I had the ZCM-1492 - may even still have one at my childhood home. I also had the ZCM-1490 which was the original version (which may also still be there). Those were true tension mask "flat screen" CRTs. They also needed 2 cooling fans as they got very hot while in operation, and weigh at least 45-50LBS. They are my favorite monitors though.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hey, if you do decide to sell it to someone here, I'd be interested in possibly purchasing it. I'm only one state over from NJ.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Do you have any pictures of the system? Thanks.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        OK, I'll post some pictures of the computer/keyboard by tomorrow. To Mad-Mike: My ZCM-1492 monitor doesn't have any cooling fans and it weighs 36 lbs. I've attached some photos of the monitor for clarification.
                        You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                        This gallery has 3 photos.

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                          #13
                          Sorry for the low quality pics, but I'm limited to 256kb. The printer is a Panasonic KX-P1180 dot matrix. I connected it all up and everything works - it's like being in a 1970 sci-fi movie.
                          You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                          This gallery has 4 photos.

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                            #14
                            I like everything about this. All matching systems just look great.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              10 expansion slots? Even if some of those are just for back plates, that is still a beast of a machine. And 4 half height drive bays exposed on the front of the system. Most 286+ machines only had two or three. That may be a base configuration, but it was clearly designed to be loaded up. I don't see any visible corrosion. I can't quite see if there is any yellowing due to the lighting, but clearly nothing major.

                              Printers are incredibly underrated, but that looks so nice, someone should want it.

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