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Another Retro Collector

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by iMic, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    210
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Joining the fray. :D Been looking around these parts for a while at some of the retro builds and decided I had to get into it.

    Already have a bit of a collection myself, but in recent years I've cut it down to a few select gems, including an early revision Apple II Europlus and a Macintosh 512K Enhanced.

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    A bunch of other vintage Apple kit as well, a Macintosh Plus, Macintosh SE, Macintosh Colour Classic, Rev. B iMac and stacks of classic Apple service centre tools and service parts.

    I had an extensive collection of Commodore 64 hardware years ago, but rather stupidly sold it on. Won't make that mistake again.


    Although Apple machines were my focus for a considerable amount of time, I've wanted to build a vintage PC for as long as I can remember. This past week I was able to source a working Am486 processor and motherboard, disk drives, Voodoo 2, Sound Blaster 16 and a Microbits enclosure to assemble it all in.

    The only component I'm missing is an AT Power Supply, and I'll be damned if I know where to find one now! Probably sounds ridiculous as a retro collector but I'm avoiding eBay if possible.

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    Occasionally I'll venture into the world of vintage consoles as well, currently have a complete Nintendo 64 system and a Sega Mega Drive II system that can still deliver hours of fun.

    Looking forward to contributing to the community.


    Cheers,
    ~ iMic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  2. dacow

    dacow Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    470
    Location:
    Sydney
    Welcome to the community! :) :)
     
  3. JidaiGeki

    JidaiGeki Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    1,081
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Another welcome here! And don't forget to mention Thinkclassic.org too - big fan of your work over there! ;)

    Nice looking DX4 and PCI board - you'll be wanting to rid yourself of the barrel battery though. The usual suggestion for AT power is an ATX-to-AT adapter, maybe they can be sourced off-eBay, but I'm not sure where TBH!
     
  4. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    210
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Thanks for the welcome everyone. :D

    Of course, I wasn't planning on mentioning it at first since I wasn't sure of the community customs here and didn't want it to be considered advertising, but indeed I am the same iMic behind ThinkClassic. We launched it two years ago in May, and it's since made a small but respected name for itself.

    I stepped down from there full time last year but remain fairly involved in the decision making. Been considering whether to get involved again but honestly, my interests these days are straying beyond purely Apple gear, and it all depends on available free time of which at the moment there is fairly little. Still, lets not rule anything out.

    That battery was looking rather sad as it is, so I desoldered it from the board this afternoon. Inspected all the traces and only one looked somewhat suspect, between the FDD connector and controller IC. But it cleaned up alright and tested fine for continuity.

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    I'll consider an AT to ATX converter but if I can come across a used AT that wouldn't be bad either, and to me at least somewhat better for this build as it's more true to the era this machine was initially assembled in.

    I expect any power supply of that age will be due for a recap and some other work. I've already had to repair and recap both the Apple II and Macintosh 512Ke power supplies so a PC AT PSU should be fairly simple in comparison.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  5. Wizard2k

    Wizard2k Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    106
    Location:
    Newcastle
    if you do get the ATX-AT converter make sure to get the one with the 5v line addition phil of philscomputerlab has shown them before.

    i have one of the converters without the 5v line and never had issues but YMMV.

    besides with the age of the power supplies now might be a sure way to kill working hardware unless you are skilled enough to recap and fully test.
     
  6. alvarez

    alvarez Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,623
    Location:
    Geelong 3218
    Dont forget a modern PSU will be much more efficient, safer with thermal cut-out and other active protection, fan speed control etc.
     
  7. breech

    breech Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2002
    Messages:
    2,033
    Ive actually got a box full of old generic AT PSU's stashed away. I should dig them out and sell them on here I guess.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    210
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Well, I haven't been registered here long enough, but I'm always on the lookout for one. Had a couple lined up and not one of them went through with the sale, bloody Gumtree.


    Anyway, something the OCAU forums will appreciate, but I made another retro acquisition that is currently going a ground up restoration. I've started a build thread over on the ThinkClassic forums, but I'll share the information and some of the progress here as well.

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    I was offered this machine after it turned up during a cleanup of a school campus. It was moments away from being scrapped and turned into e-Waste.

    An IBM 5160. The Personal Computer XT.

    This machine was manufactured by IBM's Wangaratta, Victoria manufacturing plant. As such it runs on 240V mains power. Beneath the cover is a rather complete set of factory standard cards, and a Miniscribe MFM hard disk drive that seems somewhat temperamental at the moment but otherwise appears to work. I think it's taking some time to start moving again after over 20 years of inactivity, but it is initialising so we're off to a great start.


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    I've completed a back to metal disassembly of the machine for cleaning. The entire machine was coated with a fine powder, almost like plasterboard dust, that made its way in absolutely everywhere. Even under the system board and inside connectors. So an extensive interior detailing was required. I've dusted every component with ESD safe brushes and blasted the machine down with compressed air. Some areas of the chassis were particularly bad and needed to be washed down with alcohol and buffed dry with a microfiber cloth.

    Some of the interior metal was scuffed and scratched from various upgrades that were performed over time, and some mild abrasion had occurred where components combined with this fine dust were contacting. I've masked up the chassis and resprayed the trouble spots with a colour and texture matched DupliColor automotive matte black paint to prevent corrosion or rust from forming.

    Three of the four case feet are missing, but I've sourced a set of four replacement feet with felt backing from another project that are an almost perfect match.

    The 5.25" floppy disk drive in the machine pictured above is a Mitsubishi 1.2MB HD from 1991. I've swapped in a 1.2MB Teac drive with a matching black fascia and a closer fitment that suits it better.

    The screws securing the floppy drive to the machine are completely missing. I'm currently looking for replacement machine threaded screws with a countersunk head and correct diameter and thread pitch for a floppy disk drive. I'll contact some of the local fastener suppliers and see what we can find.

    Surprisingly the Miniscribe drive is firing up, although it was a little hesitant at first. The wires connecting the front LED are loose at the drive end, which will need to be fixed.

    Still need to order a set of Torx security screwdrivers to open and service the power supply. Looking at the rest of the machine it's almost certain to need it. I serviced and repaired power supplies many times before, but of course it's not something I would recommend for most.

    All of this, and I haven't even had a chance to open up, inspect and test the CRT yet! One step at a time I suppose.


    The next challenge of course will be finding an XT compatible keyboard. The Model M seems to be the most common, but also the most expensive on account of how popular they are.

    The 486 build will of course continue as planned, because it will serve as a data transfer platform to move data back and forth to this thing.


    Cheers,
    Michael (iMic)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  9. JidaiGeki

    JidaiGeki Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    1,081
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Lovely find, so happy that it's been saved from the bin :) and it's in great hands now!

    Is that a mono monitor, or CGA?

    With the keyboard, you can look for a cheap clone AT keyboard to start off, a lot of them have the switch for XT and AT modes underneath. Model F keyboards are age appropriate for these, and tend to be even more expensive than Ms from what I've seen!

    Keep updating, it would be great to watch this one progress.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    210
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Good question. Probably CGA, but at the moment it doesn't display any picture at all. The composite output on the IBM works, so I know the video hardware is fine.

    Turns out one of my newer Honeywell keyboards is XT mode compatible after all, so there's that problem solved.

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    About time for an update. The chassis has been cleaned and repainted where it was needed, mainly around the motherboard tray and drive carriers. Made a makeshift spray booth out of a cardboard box sitting inside a tin shed that was almost 40C inside. The paint set and cured rather well in those conditions.

    Masked off in preparation for painting the drive carriers.

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    A couple of hours to set and the result was much better than I expected.

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    Then the machine went back together, sans floppy drive which still needs a new set of screws. No, the machine wasn't reassembled on carpet, so rest assured, I removed the top cover for exterior cleaning. Compare these photos to the first set, particularly the ones of the motherboard.


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    And it works. It produces an error 601 on startup, which is simply because the floppy drive is disconnected. The CRT doesn't work however. It seems like the cathode ray tube energises, and static can be felt across the face of the display, but no picture is displayed. So I had to use the composite output to an LCD display instead.



    I case anyone was wondering, I've confirmed the hard drive is a MiniScribe 8425.
     
  11. jeremybh1

    jeremybh1 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Messages:
    62
    Hello!
    Fascinating to me that I could consider myself a hardcore Apple Macintosh collector and yet I've never visted ThinkClassic. I will now!
    If you were near the ACT I could give you a NOS AT PSU (say that three times fast!)
     

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