Maintaining old machines - A techy section?

Pitch your ideas and suggestions for Retro Gamer Magazine here.

Moderators: mknott, NickThorpe, lcarlson, Darran@Retro Gamer, MMohammed

chinnyhill10
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:29 am

Maintaining old machines - A techy section?

Post by chinnyhill10 » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:23 pm

I know people are generally against hardware stuff, but not everyone runs emulators and one of my "rants" earlier today reminded me that old hardware needs taking care of.

For example, if you pull your CPC 6128 or +3 out of the cupboard, chances are that it won't load from disc. This will be because the drive belt (made of rubber) will need replacing. A fairly simple operation but a very common one that people need to carry out.

Can't get your C64 tape recorder working? Well can someone help me because I've tried two C64's and two tape recorders with no joy!

On a simaler note, buy a Spectrum from Ebay? Parts of the keyboard not working? That will be the keyboard membrane.

Or another one is the TV tuner drifting from any older computer with an RF output. 48k Speccys being one of the worst offenders as well as my 7800!

These days there isn't anyone willing to offer to carry out these repairs for you. You have to do them yourself. So perhaps a small techy column each month for people with problems and also addressing common issues would be good.

The answers to many things can be found online, but that's true of alot of the RG content. RG is not a techy mag but for those of us who actually use the old hardware as opposed to emulation, any information is helpful. I'm not asking for deep techy stuff, just enough to keep our old machines ticking over.

User avatar
andy vaisey
Posts: 992
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:49 am
Location: Cymru
Contact:

Re: Maintaining old machines - A techy section?

Post by andy vaisey » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:29 pm

chinnyhill10 wrote:Can't get your C64 tape recorder working? Well can someone help me because I've tried two C64's and two tape recorders with no joy!
The tape heads probably just need cleaning and (major) aligning. Maybe claen the contacts on the C64 main board as well?

chinnyhill10
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:29 am

Re: Maintaining old machines - A techy section?

Post by chinnyhill10 » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:33 pm

andy vaisey wrote:
chinnyhill10 wrote:Can't get your C64 tape recorder working? Well can someone help me because I've tried two C64's and two tape recorders with no joy!
The tape heads probably just need cleaning and (major) aligning. Maybe claen the contacts on the C64 main board as well?
Actually it's a total lack of power to the unit. Two tape recorders, two C64's. Something is wrong somewhere. Cleaning I'm familier with as with allignment (which was always hardest on the C64 as you had no audiable guide).

User avatar
andy vaisey
Posts: 992
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:49 am
Location: Cymru
Contact:

Post by andy vaisey » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:37 pm

Well, for 2 C64's and 2 C2N's to fail in this way is a surprise! I'm assuming of course you've tried swapping computers and datasettes?

chinnyhill10
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:29 am

Re:

Post by chinnyhill10 » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:50 pm

andy vaisey wrote:Well, for 2 C64's and 2 C2N's to fail in this way is a surprise! I'm assuming of course you've tried swapping computers and datasettes?
Oh yes. It was a surprise to me as well. I'm wondering if both C2N's are screwed but I'm not buying a third to find out!

User avatar
LeeT
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:36 pm

Post by LeeT » Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:05 pm

Maybe a Q&A page would be ideal for this type of thing (Andrew 'Merman' Fisher used to do one for Commodore Force)?

User avatar
planetmatt
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:40 am
Location: Hampshire, UK

Post by planetmatt » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:26 am

Basically if a cartirdge game fails to load; blow on it. Never fails :)

chinnyhill10
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:29 am

Re:

Post by chinnyhill10 » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:30 am

planetmatt wrote:Basically if a cartirdge game fails to load; blow on it. Never fails :)
Yes, or perhaps use some 99% pure alcohol and some lint free swabs to clean the connectors.

User avatar
andy vaisey
Posts: 992
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:49 am
Location: Cymru
Contact:

Re:

Post by andy vaisey » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:41 am

chinnyhill10 wrote:
planetmatt wrote:Basically if a cartirdge game fails to load; blow on it. Never fails :)
Yes, or perhaps use some 99% pure alcohol and some lint free swabs to clean the connectors.
Thats what I was thinking of on the C64's mentioned above. Maybe the circuit boards need cleaning - rust will block that electric current! 8)

chinnyhill10
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:29 am

Re:

Post by chinnyhill10 » Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:07 pm

andy vaisey wrote:
chinnyhill10 wrote:
planetmatt wrote:Basically if a cartirdge game fails to load; blow on it. Never fails :)
Yes, or perhaps use some 99% pure alcohol and some lint free swabs to clean the connectors.
Thats what I was thinking of on the C64's mentioned above. Maybe the circuit boards need cleaning - rust will block that electric current! 8)
Could be, although both C64's are newer models. In fact my own unit was purchased in 1993 for the princely sum of 30 quid new. But both tape recorders and the second C64 (yes I have two). It's entirely possible that both tape units are broken (being second hand).

Or perhaps my two +3's have been beating up the C64's at night? :-)

Oh how I wish the C64 could use a standard tape deck!

Anyway, I digress. The original point of this post was to suggest some kind of small technical section to help people keep their old machines running. I think most of us still have old hardware around we still use, and although many of us are experts in specific fields (mine being Speccy and Amstrad kit) when we purchase new retro gear we may need a few tips. Plus the magazine is also encouraging us to buy old kit by including an (excellent) price guide at the back.

So how about it?

User avatar
Dizrythmia
Posts: 589
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2005 7:31 am
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Contact:

Post by Dizrythmia » Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:13 am

A few people suggested a techy section for the original RG, & it would be great to see it in the new one. Maybe show how to attach a 3 1/2" disk drive to an Amstrad CPC, C64 or Spectrum, or some other hardware projects.

User avatar
LeeT
Posts: 1061
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:36 pm

Re:

Post by LeeT » Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:23 am

Dizrythmia wrote:A few people suggested a techy section for the original RG, & it would be great to see it in the new one. Maybe show how to attach a 3 1/2" disk drive to an Amstrad CPC, C64 or Spectrum, or some other hardware projects.
I'm not sure about a whole technical section - I think RG should concentrate on the gaming aspect. I think that articles on Disk Drives etc would only appeal to a minority within the readership.

User avatar
andy vaisey
Posts: 992
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2005 9:49 am
Location: Cymru
Contact:

Re:

Post by andy vaisey » Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:30 am

LeeT wrote:
Dizrythmia wrote:A few people suggested a techy section for the original RG, & it would be great to see it in the new one. Maybe show how to attach a 3 1/2" disk drive to an Amstrad CPC, C64 or Spectrum, or some other hardware projects.
I'm not sure about a whole technical section - I think RG should concentrate on the gaming aspect. I think that articles on Disk Drives etc would only appeal to a minority within the readership.
I'm spilt. I do agree with you LeeT, since the name of the Mag is Retro GAMER, so by definition you would expect to see games being covered.

On the other hand, though, old RG did have that article on how to built yourself an arcade machine - but the outcome was about playing games.

A section purely about fixing hardware would not appeal to the vast majority of readers I don't think, particularly when imformation is already so accessible on the net.

How about semi-regular articles that cover harware that relate to gaming - for example building cables to transfer game software or computer/console add-ons that enhance/improve gaming somehow?

chinnyhill10
Posts: 272
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:29 am

Re:

Post by chinnyhill10 » Sat Dec 10, 2005 10:39 am

LeeT wrote:
Dizrythmia wrote:A few people suggested a techy section for the original RG, & it would be great to see it in the new one. Maybe show how to attach a 3 1/2" disk drive to an Amstrad CPC, C64 or Spectrum, or some other hardware projects.
I'm not sure about a whole technical section - I think RG should concentrate on the gaming aspect. I think that articles on Disk Drives etc would only appeal to a minority within the readership.
Agreed. My initial idea was to ask just for a very small section to help those people who run their games on the actual hardware. Hardcore gamer or not if you are running old hardware you will run into problems sooner or later. Even the Dreamcast has it's own problems as new as that is compared to the Speccy or C64.

Nobody is going to help us maintain this old kit and the old games are best played on the actual hardware (IMO). What I don't want to see is articles on how to extract RGB video from a Speccy, what I would like to see is some of the problems I raised in my first post which are everyday problems for us retro machine users when playing our games.

Much help is avaliable online and perhaps part of the remit of the section could be to highlight sites where help can be found. It may even be the case that there are still people out there who can repair old machines. Who knows? It's often cheaper to replace a machine when it's broken but if you have a super rare machine then you may need to find someone who can perform a repair.

I feel RG has a part to play. It may be a gaming mag but owning a old games machine is very much like owning a classic car. Like it or not, it's not if it will break but when.

User avatar
sparky
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:48 am
Location: Northamptonshire
Contact:

Re:

Post by sparky » Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:30 pm

A section purely about fixing hardware would not appeal to the vast majority of readers I don't think, particularly when imformation is already so accessible on the net.
Agree, but much of the information that is in RG is also available on the net. :wink:

It comes down to the same old question about how many folder headings a forum should have. If a forum tree is designed with ease of use in mind, with a logical format, then specific areas to cover the majority of issues associated with gaming should not be an issue. Many forums tend to have a top heavy front end, rether than sub forums. It's no different when designing a server, serving 5000 employees, if you give it a logical layout, people will know where to go for the information required.

Right back to chinnyhill10's C64 issue, have you checked the voltage lines on the edge connector, assuming you have a voltmeter.
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest