[Long] Re: Repair or Replace?

From: Roger Merchberger <zmerch_at_30below.com>
Date: Mon Jul 17 20:11:04 2000

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

>But don't make the mistake of thinking you _need_ all these tools. Most
>of the time you can manage with the common hand tools (screwdrivers,
>pliers, etc), a good soldering iron, a DVM, a logic probe and a brain.

Personally, I don't have a probe, but I do have a 'scope, (and I actually
know how to use it...) but I do realize that others aren't so lucky...

Of course, I also own a JCB backhoe... not too useful whatsoever for
classic computers, but hey... how many other geeks do you know with one of
those? ;-)

>Measured the wire diameter with a micrometer (Oops, is that an unusual
>tool?) and found the nearest standard equivalent.

While it's not an unusual tool on its own, I would think not that many
folks into collecting classic computers would have one (especially if that
collector centers on the software side of things and isn't as in-depth on

Ditto on the lathe...

>The lathe wasn't essential -- any way of holding the bobbin so it could
>rotate would do. I'm sure I could have kludged something together from
>the contents of the spares box...

Sure, but I've noticed that not everyone has a good "kludging" ability...
>From what I've noticed, it's got to be a genetic trait in male
Merchbergers, despite being from the shallow end of the gene pool WRT other
things... ;-)

I've been more interested in transformers lately... (especially since an
"educated electrical contractor" said I'll *never* be able to set up & run
a 288 VAC light on 120V garage wiring...) The best way to get me to do
something is to tell me it *can't* be done. ;-) Any good books anyone
could recommend?

>There are plenty of C64/Tandy CoCo/Apple //e machines out there. If one
>is thrown away, then it's not a great loss. So you're not wrong if you
>feel you can't be bothered to repair it. Equally, I'm not wrong if I
>enjoy fixing such machines...

Most certainly -- and hopefully you'll [try to] teach your skills to your
children (should you have any, of course), so your kids can help our kids
fix things in the next generation, when parts are much more scarce... ;-)

[[ An aside... I thanked my father a few weeks ago for teaching me none
other than how to build/sharpen/adjust/fix chainsaws & chainsaw chains -
something I thought I'd *never* use until I purchased my wife's parents
farmstead... ]]

Admittedly, I don't get my knickers in a knot if I can't save a common
machine. Last weekend my wife was garage sale browsing - came across a
C128/printer/paper/some common software (not sure if there was a drive).
Wife called me, I offered (thru wife) $20. Lady wouldn't budge from $30.
The computer stayed put.

I do make an extra effort (including cash expenditures) to save things that
are much rarer... a while back I acquired a Frank Hogg Labs CoCo Cartridge
Expander module - No one else online wanted it... so I saved it. The person
said that it might even be a prototype - he wasn't sure... but I sure like
it! ;-) Anyone have info on that beastie?

>However, if you've got a more obscure machine that you can't fix/don't
>want to spend the time on/whatever, then I would ask that you offer it to
>other collectors. Somebody might want it, either because they _can_ fix
>it, or because they need parts from it, or whatever. I find it somewhat
>depressing when I go to collect an old machine to be told 'well, we did
>have <foo> but we threw it out because it didn't work' where <foo> is
>some nice (and rare) option that I probably could have repaired.

Personally, even if it is common, I always offer anything classic to others
before I even think about the dumpster, unless it's big, heavy, and
excepting exceptional folks like you, Tony, unrepairable. Like very common
old VGA monitors... stuff like that. AAMAF, I'll have some stuff going up
soon - I need to part ways with a few things I know I'll never have time
for. Really common stuff, like 2 parted-out PCjrs which should make one
good, working machine (including monitor & thermal printer) and I'll prolly
give up the Atari 800xl I rescued over a year ago - still sitting in
packing box I got it in. Full list later... I may actually get one PCjr
running before offering it to the list, just for the fun of fixing...

Anywho, the wifey called, wants me to go home. And I want to go, too! ;-)

If anyone sees David Hasselhoff before the end of the day, wish him a happy
birthday. ;-)

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 - 20:11:04 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:32:57 BST