30 July 2019

Commodore 128: Keyboard Retr0brighting

The summer heat wave has been horrible but that doesn't mean I can't take advantage of it. The sun puts out at least 20% more UV than my two 15 watt black lights, so I might as well save a bit of electricity and use nature for what it's intended.

It didn't start out this way though. I tried using the black lights to restore the keyboard keys. Here are the results of that attempt.

25 July 2019

Commodore 128: Teardown

Project 64 is on hold while I wait for parts to come in the mail, and I'm unable to create calculator review videos since Microsoft Windows Movie Maker has stopped working. I guess it's time to focus on some other computers in my collection.
I had a hard time finding one of these. This is the Commodore 128, the successor to the Commodore 64. It's one of the first computers to be fully backward compatible with a previous generation. All software and hardware that worked on the C64 will work on the C128.

23 July 2019

Inside the Commodore SX-64

My favorite part of getting any cool retro tech is taking it apart and cleaning it up to make it look new again. Making something that has been neglected for years look nice again is incredibly satisfying and there are many successful YouTube channels that do just this.
That being said, I had to draw the line with the SX-64. It was not cheap, and I'm not likely to find another one again in the near future for the price I got it. In the Meet the Machine post, I said I'd be giving this machine a deep cleaning. I won't be doing that. Not now, at least.

18 July 2019

Commodore Project 64 Part 9: More Keyboard Stuff

Despite all of the other neat stuff I've been discussion on this site, I have been continuing work on Project 64. I've had a bit of luck with one of the non-working boards that hadn't been putting out any video. It's still not working correctly, but this is what it's showing now:
This was after replacing several chips on the board. The troubleshooting guide suggests this is a RAM issue, but so far replacing those hasn't solved the new problem. I've ordered more chips to see if this fixes things, so we'll see.

16 July 2019

Meet the Machine: The Commodore SX-64 Executive Computer

Holy crap. I got a Commodore SX-64!
Today's post isn't going to be particularly informative or productive. I managed to get my hand on what has been my holy grail for vintage computer collecting. I never actually thought I would own one of these. This is a computer I have only ever seen in person once before and it wasn't working. And now I have one in my possession that works perfectly.

11 July 2019

Radio Shack Robie Junior: A Robot from 1986

This may come as a shock to people who know me, but I love robots. I'm the kind of person who immediately feels empathy for a robot in distress despite knowing full well its conscious is just lines of code written by someone. I don't care though because they're great. I'll gladly accept them as our overlords when the singularity occurs.

I recently found this Robie Junior Remote Command Intelligent Robot at a yard sale for $5. I knew I had to take him home with me the moment I laid eyes on him, just sitting there mixed in with a bunch of other toys and junk someone didn't want anymore. I had no idea what I was really buying at the time. It was missing a remote control and manual, and it didn't look like it was in great shape, but at the very least it would be a cool thing to have on display.

09 July 2019

Power Mac G4 Part 3: Cleaning

After many hours, I have completed the cleaning and rebuilding of the Apple Power Mac G4. This was a much more difficult process than I had expected it to be, but I still enjoyed it.
Using an electric duster, I sprayed air at the electrical components to remove much of the debris. This ended up working really well and I only had to use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to clean some of the tougher spots.

04 July 2019

Power Mac G4 Part 2: Teardown

Last week I mentioned how easy it was to get inside the Power Mac G4 with its latch and hinged side. This remains true, but to completely tear down the machine, it was a hell of a lot more difficult than a modern Windows PC. But this needed to be done so I could get the interior of this computer as clean as possible.

I started with the DVD drive because it's the most easily accessible component. It's not screwed in or held in place with latches or anything.