[RetroPicks] An horde of old computers!

Hello guys,

Some time ago I went down to my parents home for a weekend and I decided to go and visit an old family friend who runs the Public Assistance service in town. I’ve been a volounteer there back then and even like 10 years ago I remember there was a room packed with old computers, keyboards and disks. I was 18 years old and I was not so into old computers but I remember all those pieces always triggered my curiosity.

Years and years after all this stuff is still there, but in very bad condition. It’s literally regardless thrown into a container along with papers and useless old stuff, almost ready for the dump. However probably there is still something to save. This is the reason why I tried to make a sort of list of what can be (perhaps) saved.

Don’t mind the featured image, it has a lot of distortion since I was trying to make a panoramic picture and at the same time trying to stay on my feet among all that junk.

Here comes the point in which I really need your help because those things are in such an horrible state that I fear that if I try to turn them on they could explode in my hands. Maybe you know a sort of “procedure” to follow to check them, to see if they work or, in case, repair them. I know some stuff is like 40 years old and it would be very sad to throw everything away without trying to repair it.

Along with the stuff in the container there were some rooms in the building where there’s the headquarter of the P.A. full of other old stuff; it looked like the time has stopped in the early 90s: old computers, commodores, cassettes, floppies, VHSs, old board games…it was cool to stay there for a few minutes, it was like being out of the world inside a time machine.

Here’s what my beginners eyes saw:

  • Philips VG 8020. It’s the most common MSX computer in Italy and I recognised it immediately among all the other desktop computers. It was very dirty but after a quick clean I gave it its old splendor again. When I opened it everything looked in good shape but I haven’t tested it yet. More to come in a future post 🙂
  • Olivetti M4. This is one of the last computers made by Olivetti, a name that meant something in the past, but, as it always happened with italian brands, we fucked up everything. The computer is complete, there’s the case and even its official monitor but the dark yellow tone of the plastic says more than anyting else that the computer is most likely dead. The power cord was in such a bad shape that I shivered only thinking to plug it to the 220V.
  • Commodore 1701 monitor. I haven’t found a lot of infos online and even on eBay or similar sites it seems that no one have one to sell. As I know from a lot of videos I watched onlide the CRT monitors can be very delicate so probably is fucked up.
  • Commodore MPS1500C. This is a printer that can be connected to a Commodore computer and it was probably complimetary to a Commodore 128. I think so because next to it I found a C128 manual so maybe…
  • Commodore 1570 Disk Drive. This bulky and heavy disk drive, dirty but a bit less dirty that other stuf, was in good shape, at last cosmetically. When I olpened it, except some dust, everything looked good, if it weren’t for a rusty piece attached to the mechanism that allow the floppy disk to be inserted. Oh, obviously near the DD there was a completely crushed and deformed box full of bent 5.25″ floppies (actually some were still ok though).
  • Commodore 1530 Datassette. The standard cassette player for the Commodore. Evn this one probably was complimentary to the C128, the only part of the set I still haven’t found. Where the heck might it be?
  • Something that looks like and IBM PC 51xx. I don’t know precisely what model but I recognisez first of all the heavy IBM keuboard that unfortunately was totally wasted with a lot of keys missing; then I recognized the case and the monitor. Se the computer was complete, except for the mouse. The bad thing is that it was in such an horrible state and hidden under so many dirty stuff that it was impossible for me even to touch it.
  • An Hermes computer. I seached online for half a day and I found nothing. Nothing about this particular brand. Maybe is was so entry level that is not mentioned anywhere in the internet but I’d relaly like to know if some of you have something to say about it. The PC was complete even though the plastics had that piss-ochre colour that needs to be scrapped away.
  • Dozens of computer cases, probably full with wrecked motherboards, some of them with no visible brands
  • Other dozens of monitors from filthy to barely decent conditions.
  • Thousands of keyboards, some of the missing a lot of keys
  • Boxes of cables, connectors, sound boards, video boards, RAM modules and stuff like that
  • Cassettes and 5,25″ floppyes, 99% utility software with just a few games (for example I’ve found two budget reissues of Dragon’s Lair and Strike Force Cobra for C128, even if I think they will run also of the C64)

The owner of all this stuff told me that somewhere there was also an old Apple, he didn’t remember the model but it was nowhere to be found. I should defintely try to look for it another day, I cannot miss such a piece of history!

So, that’s all for now. Next time I’ll come back I’ll check again if something more will magically pop out. In the meantime I’ll check the few things I’ve picked up.

See ya guys!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. thedeviot says:

    Damn, that’s a nice haul!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. hungrygoriya says:

    I hope you can get some of that stuff working again! It looks like there are so many wonderful surprises in there. Congratulations on getting to take some of that stuff home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. benez256 says:

      It would be difficult but I will surely try!


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