Repair or Replace? [Was: Repairing Timex]

From: Roger Merchberger <>
Date: Mon Jul 17 18:12:26 2000

Rumor has it that Tony Duell may have mentioned these words:

>I perhaps go to the opposite extreme -- I try to repair just about
>anything. For example, when a Zenith MDA monitor failed (a not
>particularly interesting monitor), I soon discovered that the horizontal
>drive transformer was open-circuit. Most people would have given up -- I
>made up a mandrel and rewound the thing, counting the turns by hand.
>Pointless? Sure. Fun? To me, yes.

And I agree with you, on no matter how uninteresting an item it is, if it
can be fixed, it should be fixed. (on a related, but side note: I also
share your opinion that if a classic computer can only be fixed with newer
parts (a.k.a. not original timeline parts) it should be fixed and used).

However, you seem to have a *lot* of useful tools that not the average "joe
blow" would have. I wouldn't have a snowball's chance in Hades on repairing
that transformer myself, and that monitor would've (sadly) become "dumpster

I have the ability to burn most "mainstream" eproms that would be used in
classic machines (from 2716's up to IIRC 27128 or 27256's) which I do know
many other folks don't have the ability to do... So I think part of the
"what would you fix vs. part out" question has a lot to do with what people
actually have the ability to fix.

>I'm also one of the few people (I think) who repairs 3.5" floppy drives.
>Again, it may be cheaper to buy a new one, but then hobbies are not meant
>to make financial sense!

That depends on the floppy drive... Most PeeCee drives are hard-wired (not
jumpered) for most things like drive number, density & whatnot... so a lot
of newer drives can't be used in a classic machine. IMHO it's very good
that you'd choose to repair an older drive - I'm not nearly as good with
repair as you, but in my defense - at least when I find an older (jumpered)
drive that someone's going to toss [[especially if you can jumper the
density as well, turning it into a 720K drive]], I'll rescue it usually
mumbling something to the effect "gotta have a spare drive for the Atari

BTW, I'd repair *any* drive I have if I had the knowhow... I have most of
the tools you'd need (including 'scope) - except no alignment disks. IIRC,
however, I *think* I have some 'scope waveforms on how to fix certain
things on a CoCo floppy drive in the FD502 Technical Manual... but it's
been years since I even *looked* at that. (and, of course, my CoCo floppy
drive hasn't broken yet... ;-)

Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it... :-P
Roger "Merch" Merchberger
Roger "Merch" Merchberger   ---   sysadmin, Iceberg Computers
Recycling is good, right???  Ok, so I'll recycle an old .sig.
If at first you don't succeed, nuclear warhead
disarmament should *not* be your first career choice.
Received on Mon Jul 17 2000 - 18:12:26 BST

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