Author Topic: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project  (Read 876 times)

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Offline rthorntn

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My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« on: July 27, 2018, 12:00:38 pm »
Hi,

This has been discussed a little here:

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/vintage-computing/i-want-a-piece-of-apple-(i)/

Basically I created a project to see whether there was any interested in scanning old computer PCBs for nostalgic reasons really:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/435276642/vintage-computing-documentation-project/comments

Thought I should mention it in the correct sub-forum.

Thanks.

Richard
 

Online helius

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2018, 01:01:10 pm »
How many vintage systems are both widely desired, and would also be cheaper to clone instead of just buying the original?
Yes, there's the Apple I (which seems to have appreciated past the $10,000 mark), but how many others that are feasible to build?
The Altair 8800, Kenbak-1, maybe the Micral N? How many hobbyists really care about this stuff?

If you're going for an absolute perfect replica, it may take more than just PCB art to get there. See the Super Mimeo replica of the Apple I and its custom FR4 material.
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2018, 01:14:46 pm »
Quite a few people care about this stuff. I'd love to see it all documented personally. Am I going to build a bunch of replicas myself? Probably not, but I don't think it's unlikely that I'd pick one of them at some point to duplicate. Currently my focus has been on FPGA based recreations but there is some appeal to real hardware. The retro community is quite large and the old gear is not getting any more common.
 
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Offline rthorntn

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2018, 01:20:43 pm »
A sort of "hybrid" approach also appeals to me, my first computer was the Commodore 16, it's 7501/8501 CPU is hard to get (a lot of them died of overheating), so some guys have created the CPU in FPGA with the same pinout as the original, love that!

I recently read iWoz which made me buy a IIc.

Oh and most of the vintage stuff is through-hole so its a great way to get into computing and electronics!
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 01:26:51 pm by rthorntn »
 

Offline james_s

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2018, 01:27:11 pm »
I had a IIc someone gave me back in the early 90s, wish I'd kept it. I have a IIe now though which overall is a better machine anyway, though more bulky. I should probably get it out and play with it sometime, it's been a while. At some point I found a .wav file I could download and boot it via the cassette port, then write a floppy with a disk image transfer program. I got some blank disks and put a bunch of my favorite games from back in the day on them.
 
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Offline rthorntn

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 01:31:55 pm »
I just sent Mike's http://www.willegal.net/appleii/appleii-first_page.htm Apple II Gerbers to PCBWay, should have 15 boards (I found that quantity to be the sweet spot, it got the per board price down to $20 all up) in a couple of days, I could send you one if you like?
 

Offline james_s

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2018, 01:40:35 pm »
Wow $20 is a lot cheaper than I expected, I'd grab one if they were local but I suspect shipping something like that from Australia would probably be fairly expensive and I already have a complete working IIe anyway.
 
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Online helius

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2018, 01:43:27 pm »
Quite a few people care about this stuff.
You just wrote a post about Apple IIc and IIe, which you can buy in excellent condition for < $200; compared to the cost of a replica PCB and all the parts I don't think it is feasible to clone them. Others enjoy using Commodore 64, which again is available everywhere. Do you know any hobbyists who drag out the IMSAI or Matra Alice for a bit of fun on the weekend?
Maybe it's a chicken and egg problem: the really rare systems are sitting in museums or climate controlled vaults and so people can't fool around with them. But I am still doubtful that the market can be developed easily.

I suppose you could run an informal poll for which old computers people would like to own but can't find.

My choices would be the IBM PC110 (a 486 DOS palmtop) and the MagicCap computers, which seem to be thin on the ground. But they are even less feasible to clone due to special plastic moldings and LCD panels.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 01:48:02 pm by helius »
 
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Offline rthorntn

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2018, 01:48:01 pm »
$20 yeah, that's one of the reasons why I want to do this, for example people who have the Gerbers for the Apple I are charging a minimum of $170 for a board, I don't want to take away from the hard work they have done but I'm a bit of a hippie in this respect and if I have to I will find a way to get Gerbers for such an iconic computer in to the public domain, so people can use services like PCBWay to get a bit of history for themselves.
 
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Offline rthorntn

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2018, 02:09:09 pm »
Hi Helius, I think you might be confusing a healthy American used market for a global one, so say you have a U$200 IIe, well that would cost at least another U$100 to ship here and then add another U$50 in taxes , so all of a sudden it's double the price, and what's to guarantee that it works when it gets here, returning it isn't feasible?

I like the idea of a $20 PCB, sourcing and soldering the parts and maybe using FPGA for the really rare parts.  I don't feel I need the original case, PSU or peripherals, like I mentioned before a "hybrid" vintage.

Also it's a great reason to bust out the oscilloscope.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 02:31:38 pm by rthorntn »
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2018, 03:10:20 pm »
Do you know any hobbyists who drag out the IMSAI or Matra Alice for a bit of fun on the weekend?
Maybe it's a chicken and egg problem: the really rare systems are sitting in museums or climate controlled vaults and so people can't fool around with them. But I am still doubtful that the market can be developed easily.

The IMSAI was a bit before my time, and also they're rare enough that they fetch a higher price than I'm willing to pay for a toy. If I owned one though you can bet I'd pull it out to play around with it. I did however pay the cost of entry to the Living Computer Museum last year where I got to play with an Altair, an IMSAI, and numerous other vintage machines. There were quite a few other people there too, people of all ages playing with everything from hobbyist CP/M PC's to old mainframes in the big iron room. It was the first time I ever used a real teletype machine. As I write this on my modern i7 laptop I have next to it a Heathkit ET-3400 from 1977 with which I've been dabbling in hand-assembling 6800 code.

It's obvious that you are not the target for this sort of stuff but you seem to not acknowledge that there are plenty of people out there who get excited about it. Just recently there was another thread where someone was recreating the Commodore PET on a new PCB. There's a bit of magic in bringing up a system that you built from scratch, it's more fun than buying an original on ebay, and it can be easier to find. Supplies of original vintage machines have been drying up and prices rising, and I suspect that will continue.

This is not mass market stuff that will be made by the millions, probably not even the thousands, but when you can get 15 boards for 20 bucks each? I have little doubt those will sell out quickly.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 03:11:52 pm by james_s »
 
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Offline rthorntn

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Re: My Vintage Computing Documentation Project
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2018, 04:36:10 pm »
I was just googling and found "monster6502" unbelievable!
 


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