You may rememeber some time ago I wrote a post about the bunch of dirty stuff I’ve found in an old container. Computers, parts, software, almost everything, but most of all filthy dirty things.
One of the few things that wasn’t ready for the dump was the Philips VG-8020, one of the most common home computers using the MSX Standard, at least in Italy. A lot of computer back then were built towards this Standard, like Toshiba HX-10, Epcom Hotbit, Canon V-20 and the boss, Sony HB-201P, in my opinion one opf the best looking ever made.
The computer was under a ton of other stuff, mainly keyboard and was covered with a dense coat of dust. I picked it up anyway, trusting that maybe it could have been recovered. I’ve brought it home and first of all I removed 99% of the dust on it, then I used some degreaser to clean as much as I could and when I finally saw the original color I noticed it was actually in a good shape. Only a few minor scratches in one corner but the rest was good. Obviously it would need a bit of retrobrighting, especially on the keys but for the moment it was ok like this.
Then I opened it to check if there was something missing, leaking or some rust. I’m not an expert but I can recognise some rust and I can tell if the main board is damaged. To my big surprise everything was perfect, even better that I thought: no rust, no dust, everything clean like in a operating theatre. Even the slot for the cartridges was pristine with no sign of the 30 and more years of age.
Unfortunately I had no cables and no cassette games to test it nor cartridge games that nowadays are quite expensive and difficult to find. The only way to test the computer was finding some spare generic cables hoping they would be fitting. I snapped the power lead from the machine to remove the nailvarnish from my GF (thanks sweetheart) and I took the video cable from my Mega Drive.
I was very afraid to try it because I was hooking up a computer that was left in a dirty place for decades and god only knows what kind of things could have happened to it. Plus I was testing it with an unofficial cable and I didn’t know if it was enough to support the 24W of the computer. Also the video cable it wasn’t the original.
The first smoke test luckily gave me no worries even though I reckon that I did power up the computer with my eyes closed. I turned the TV on the channel I reserved for the home computers and the consoles (except the Atari 2600 that has its own channel) and everything was working great! I tried all the keys and everything was working and even the audio was ok, even though I could hear only a BEEP. There’s only a small issue with the spacebar: it works but is missing two springs so sometimes it reamains stuck on one side but with some old key-smashing technique it comes back easily. Considering where it was stored and its conditions it’s already a miracle is still working so it’s ok like this, maybe someday, I don’t know when and how, I’ll manage to find the two springs I miss.
A few days ago while I was placing in order my C64 cassettes I noticed that in the bunch of the non original ones I put by mistake an MSX game, Hopper. The cover is so poor that it looked like a repro but it wasn’t. I was happy to have finally found something to test my computer but the problem is that the MSX has its proprietary cable to connect a tape recorder, so is not the standard mono cable but a DIN, so now I need to find a DIN-DIN cable (luckily enough mu cassette recorder has a DIN socket on the side).
Unfortunately (for my collection) I will probably sell it. I’ve told to the owner I would have sold the working stuff to earn some money to donate to the Public Assistance so I have to keep my promise. Let’s see how it will ends!