Repair or Replace? [Was: Repairing Timex]

From: R. D. Davis <>
Date: Mon Jul 17 21:12:06 2000

Tony Duell wrote:
[someone else wrote:]
> > However, you seem to have a *lot* of useful tools that not the average "joe

> 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,

Surely any serious computer hobbyist, especially one who is a
collector or preservationist, has at least the following: DVM,
oscilloscope (even if just an old 5mHZ one to look for things like PSU
ripple/spikes), soldering iron, logic probe, assorted hand tools and
perhaps a logic analyzer. These are not things that the average hobbyist
should be unlikely to have.

> > that transformer myself, and that monitor would've (sadly) become "dumpster
> > fodder."

I can't believe that any serious computer hobbyist would toss any
thing like that in a dumpster - at the very least, something that's
common and physically broken (e.g. - broken case, broken circuit
board, etc.) - would at least salvage, or attempt to salvage, the
components. Monitors, for example, have all sorts of interesting
things in them like power-resistors useful for building and repairing
other types of circuitry.

> Oh, absolutely. As I have said many times before, don't think you can't
> enjoy classic computing because you can't
> Read a 50 page schematic in one pass
> Write an operating system
> Machine a new part for a disk drive from a bit of scrap metal
> Program an obscure chip
> Take a look at a machine and instantly identify the faulty chip
> ... All before breakfast :-)

Right, however, one should at least know what a schematic is and have
a basic idea of how to interpret it, have a basic idea of how an
operating system works (having at least read partway through the sources
for a few different ones), know how to do some minimal machine work
such as creating some very simple things at least from wood and plastic,
know what an EPROM programmer is and at least be wanting to purchase

> 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...

Throwing it away is still wrong; there are plenty of people like you,
not to mention hackers-in-training such as high-school kids still
taking electronics classes, who would like to get their hands on that
broken machine to hack and experiment with. Like you said, it's like
solving puzzles... good for the mind, helps to prevent the onset of
senility in one's later years. Anyway, surely there are at least some
useable bits, from connectors to switches, wires and ICs to be found
in those machines that some, oddly, toss out.

> I am only half joking here. Modern PC stuff may not be designed to be
> reconfigurable, but that doesn't stop me :-). Many times I buy something

Just makes it all the more fun, as this is stuff that everyone says
can't be repaired. :-)

R. D. Davis             
Received on Mon Jul 17 2000 - 21:12:06 BST

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