(Originally posted on LinkedIn Feb. 6th, 2020)
Well, I continue to collect old computers and consoles. It’s a fun hobby and exercises skills I don’t get to use at work as much any more.
The pleasure of starting with a beat up old system and getting it working properly is a real buzz, and lets me practice both practical skills (Such as soldering) and analytical skills (Such as fault finding).
Currently the collection is getting along nicely.
I have the following computers:
- A Commodore Vic 20 (5k RAM, 1MHz 6502)
- A Sinclair Spectrum (48k RAM, 4MHz Z80)
- An Apple II europlus (48k upgraded to 64k, 1MHz 6502) – I have replacement RAM on order for this beastie. Until then it tends to “barf” whenever I try to load a disk needing more than 32k.
- 4 x Commodore 64 (64k RAM, 1MHz 6502) + an assortment of peripherals, such as disk drives, printers and such
- A Commodore 128D (128k RAM, 2MHz 8502, 4MHz Z80, Integrated FDD) – Sadly this machine needs more work as the power supply trips when I turn it on
- A BBC Master System (128k RAM, 2MHz 65SC12) – This is so new, it’s still on it’s way to me
- An Atari 1040 STfm (1M RAM, 7MHz 68000) – Upgraded with a Gotek Floppy disk emulator, a nifty gadget that allows you to use a USB stick to pretend to be a floppy drive.
- A Commodore Amiga 1200 (2M RAM, 14MHz 68EC020, AGA Graphics) – This one is waiting for me to get a chance to laser cut the case. I have extensively customised this one, as it had been “hacked” before I got it. This taught me a lot about circuit board design as I designed and ordered my first commercially manufactured PCBs for this system. This also has a Gotek.
I am also building up some “classic” consoles too:
- 2 x Nintendo Entertainment Systems – Neither work currently but I know why. I just need to actually buy the part to fix it.
- A Sega Megadrive – I’ve been trying to get decent RGB Video out on this for MONTHS, but it’s manage to elude me so far. I’m not giving up yet though. A new week, a new version of an RGB cable.
- A Commodore Amiga CD32 – Oddly this one can be very easily upgraded to be a full blown computer comparable to the Amiga 1200 above. So far I’ve resisted the urge.
- A Sony Playstation 2 “Phat” with an added hard disk and network card.
- An original XBox. (Dear Microsoft, calling your THIRD XBox console the “XBox One” was a dick move. Seriously. Do you know how hard it makes getting info about the original?)
- 2 x Nintendo 64. Mmm. Tetrisphere was such a masterpiece.
- A Nintendo Wii. The optical drive has died so I use an external HDD instead. Much more convenient.
- An XBox 360. Eh. It was cheap.
- A Playstation 3. I bought this new. It was shiney when I got it. A particularly nasty weekend doing far too much overtime payed for it.
- A Wii U. Kids got it as a Christmas present, when they were no longer very new. I like Breath of the Wild on it.
I also have a Raspberry Pi setup as an emulator to cover those systems I haven’t yet collected. If you are only casually interested in the old systems, these come highly recommended!
Once I have the Beeb, there’s not too many “must have” systems on my wish list, not counting the occasional “Unicorn” system out there that I’m unlikely to ever get.
I still want to get an 8 Bit Atari, such as the Atari 800XL, and I am actively searching for a Microbee, either in kit form or an original. (These were used in Australian schools in the 80s). I’m also likely to buy a Harlequin 128k kit (Emulating the later Spectrum 2+). Finally once I have all those I’ll probably start looking for an Amstrad CPC 128.
As for consoles, I’d like to add a Sega Dreamcast and a Super NES. However I keep my eyes open for the disturbingly rare Dick Smith Wizzard. (AKA the CreatiVision) The latter is definitely veering towards “Unicorn” status.