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Roseville, CA

Posted Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:45 pm

All this 128 talk had me buzzing for one-but I just couldn't take the easy road and fork out a bunch of cash at, you know, buy something broken and spend more than you would have if you just got one that works in the first place :/

About a month ago I took a chance and sniped a 128 on fleabay. It was a little beat up, grungy and missing some of the important parts...including a key. But, it was a fairly good price for a fixer upper given the current market for retro gear I thought fuggit, give it a top price and forget about it. And then I won. Great. More projects for the queue! (/sarcasm)
Oh goodie! It comes pre-disassembled!

Well, it's a mess-but I am sure it could be a lot worse. Missing the CIAs, the SID (of course), and the 8071 clock gen chip. I suspect the PLA is dead-or at least on death's door which is why the original owner stripped it. Who knows what else is kaput?
So umm. About that F3/4 key. Anyone got a spare?

Oh, and its also in need of a F3/F4 key! Hey, anybody got any spares???
Top case... good mechanical condition and not too yellow :D

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Roseville, CA

Posted Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:10 am

Started with a board inspection. It looks as if it has had some rework-but it might have been post manufacturing pre-ship and performed by someone who's had some pre-
frontal cortex work done.
Is all that solder really necessary, Sir?

About a cup worth of denatured alcohol later and I can't smell a damn thing now. But, at least it's starting to clean up pretty good. In fact, it's starting to look down right sexy. I'm covered in the filth of 30 year old dermis shards of Reagan era DNA. Just a bit of resolder and reflow on the pre-simian skill level soldering parts and we're on to some sanity check with the continuity meter.
Oh, hai Bill. Lovely place ya got here.

Caps check out as close enough on the ESR meter. Diodes and major runs check out. Time to move on to the keyboard!
Oh dear God.

My youngest considers himself a keyboard officiando so I asked him to tag team the key removal. He's vastly more experienced in the world of modern gaming decks with all their fancy cherry this and cherry that. Cherry plaid even. But, he took one look at that and said... uh, no. And then went back to his evening Fortnite streaming activities.

Can't say I blame him.

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Roseville, CA

Posted Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:29 am

About an hour later, along with some Benadryl to manage a spontaneous hives breakout, we have all the keys off for a bit of a soak.
Calgon, take me away.

As I type this, I swear the water has turn from translucent when I started, to Loch Ness opaque.

As for the chips, I figured I'm more than likely to need a new PLA, so off to fleabay I go!

Espalion sells a reputable PLA replacement that promises all the bells and whistles called, get this, the PLAnkton! . He just also happens to sell a little widget called the TOLB which is a replacement 8701 chip! Both go in the cart!

I also sourced one CIA but the price of a second one was just out of the budget for now. Plus, maybe its time to check out and verify if an Amiga 500 CIA is a reasonable stunt double as some have claimed.

And about that SID...well, I've got Fifth Ave taste and a KMart budget on this-so I'm going to borrow a known 6581 from one of the breadboxes in the "stacks". But man, that FPGASID is looking mighty tempting...

This should be a good start on the road to recovery. If I can at least get it to burp some screen codes at me, we can zero in on some of the other problems lurking.

We'll pick this story up later when we close the gap on some of the missing parts.

Same bat time. Same bat channel.

<insert ninja smokebomb effect here>

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Posted Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:54 am

quite a task you have set for yourself there.

Great read, keep it coming! It feels good to know I am not alone in my follies to do something with this old hardware. But unfortunately I can’t help with any of the missing stuff.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:45 am

Man that keyboard is MUY NASTIOSO. I had to pop a benedryl just looking at the photo.

I pulled on once that was close to that level of nasty, which forced me to buy a smallish dustbuster. I also got a smallish air blower, too, with precision tubes. Works pretty well for assembled keyboards but never as well as simply taking it all apart (buh-bye, weekend).

But I wish there was someone out there who made a precision vacuum for things like keyboards. Yeah, the nozzle would potentially get clogged a lot, but something that had a snake-like tube to get into the cracks and crevasses would be great. I've never seen anything quite like that out there, though.

[Unrelated side-note: back in 1990/991 I was stationed up at Beale AFB. I drove down to Roseville a couple of times to go to this utterly massive flea market you guys had down there. It was awesome. Good god - I bet back then it was full of Commodore stuff, and all I cared about back then was air-cooled VW paraphernalia. Hah!]

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Roseville, CA

Posted Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:08 am

Oh yeah, Denios Marketplace. I scooped up some Atari 800 stuff there about a month ago. Haven't gotten around to testing it but it is in "the stacks" (I'm stealing the ReadyPlayerOne term without remorse).

This keyboard is definitely in need of a complete washdown so full disassembly is in the near term to do. For macro dusting, my shop vac converts to a blower and usually that sends the critters out to the driveway. Vacuums generate quite a bit of static charge buildup so I am always cautious about using them around these old machines.

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Zippy Zapp

Posted Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:38 pm

Oh Fun. I love these kind of restoration projects. It is always such a good feeling when you finally get it all working and looking good.
Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

That reminds me I have a C128 that is in need of some love too. I bought it as working on eBay many years ago and the idiot seller shipped it in a box with just a few peanuts and the power brick on top of the computer. Needless to say it suffered some damage and although it does work, to a degree, 64 mode has a strange interference pattern to it that is too precise to be random interference. C128 mode seems to work fine. Besides, the seller did eventually give me a full refund on the condition that I send back just the C128 PSU. She never sent me a pre-paid label for it so I still have it. Yeah that was about 6 years ago. Not long after that I found a NOS 128 and NOS 1571 and the other one has been in the closet just in case.

Sorry for blathering on but so many memories... ;)

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Roseville, CA

Posted Sun Feb 03, 2019 6:10 pm

You wouldn't by any chance happen to have one of those keys on the damaged one still, hmm?

Sounds like you lucked out big time with NOS!

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Zippy Zapp

Posted Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:15 am

Mr.Toast wrote:You wouldn't by any chance happen to have one of those keys on the damaged one still, hmm?
I think I repaired the keyboard and it is 100% functional. I don't think it is missing any keys but I am kind of a nut in that I always like to have a backup just in case my main unit needs something. I have a backup A500 old keyboard that I have had to use to get keys and plungers to repair my main unit. If it is missing any keys than that is another story. I will check but I think it is complete and I just need to do the repair work.
Sounds like you lucked out big time with NOS!
For sure. One of the few times I have actually found something good.

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Posted Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:27 am

Mr.Toast wrote:You wouldn't by any chance happen to have one of those keys on the damaged one still, hmm?

Sounds like you lucked out big time with NOS!
If you get the motherboard working I probably have spare keys I can send out.

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