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Welcome to my old computer collection.
September 26-27, Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California, was the Vintage Computer Festival 2. It was a great show! See my writeup on VCF 1.0 here.
My collection consists mostly of machines from the early to mid 80's. I wanted to collect workstations, but the majority of the machines I have found are bitty boxes. I have tried to keep the amount of money spent on any one machine to a minimum and have picked up machines as they have become available. Some I would like to keep in the collection, others I am willing to sell or trade. Trades are preferred. See my wanted list below and my trade list. I also have a list of games for sale/trade here. Let me know if you have anything interesting or destined for the dumpster. My email address is here.
I started collecting when I picked up an Osborne at an auction for $1. My goal is to preserve in working order machines from the 70's and 80's. Another goal for the machines is to make them do something useful. I think a world without Atari 800's and Sun 3s would not be such a nice place to live.
I welcome any comments about this page. I am interested in corrections to the information as well as additional information about machines in my collection.
AT&T 3b1 #1
This was my first dedicated UNIX machine. When I got it, the hard disk was dead so it sat around in my computer room for a few months while I tried to figure out what was wrong. Now that the hard disk has been replaced, it seems to be running well. This is almost an all-in-one unit with the monitor attached to the CPU. This is simmilar to the the Commodore PET and CBM. The motherboard is encased inside of a metal box on top of which sits a plastic cover to which the monitor is attached. The keyboard is not part of the CPU box but sits on top of the CPU box. The hard disk is a full height 5.25 inch MFM drive which makes the same sounds as a coffee grinder. The 3B1 and 7300 are very similar, main differences being the amount of memory on the motherboard and a hump (on the 3B1) under the monitor. The hump allows a full height drive to be installed. I am looking for the hardware technical manual for this machine.
AT&T 3b1 #2
This is a complete system. It works. The monitor is huge and monochrome. I have substituted a type-4 keyboard for the stock type-3. I still believe that the sun type-4 keyboard is the one-true-keyboard and was an improvement over all preceeding and succeeding keyboards. This machine was originally purchased by Tower (Records, Books, Movie theater people, Northern Californians and a few others will know who they are) for desktop publishing of Pulse. It was hardly used and then sold to a second hand computer store. Later it was bought by they guy who used it for a while sold it to me. I brought it back home to Mountain View. It is back to within a few miles of the nest.
This machines is back in service. The tape drive suffered a goo-out of the tape roller and some burnt memory, but is currently running again. Since early December 1997 is has been my desktop machine at work. The monitor is still sharp and steady and I have suffered no other problems (other than a failed SIMM). The classics are still useful.
This is just the base unit. It still needs to be tested. It has donated 4MB of memory to the other 3/60.
I aquired this system at a company equipment sale. Video is not working. I believe that the frame buffer has something wrong or the NVRAM is dead. It is possible to use it with a serial console though. Resources on the net for these machines is getting thin. I am looking for SunOS 4.0.1, 4.0.2, or 4.0.3 on tape or floppy. If you have disk or tape images you are willing to share please let me know.
This machine was displayed at VCF 2.0 in 1998. It was working at the time modulo problems with the video.
I am looking for the book "Inside the Sun 386i and 486i" by Peter Norton and John Sundman
Sun 386i FAQ 1.0012 Local copy of the 386i FAQ
Archive of 386i messages
Short writeup on the place where the machine was developed
Pictures of 386i
I obtained this machine at an auction for $1.00. No disks. No docs. I have obtained some disks from Don Maslin and confirmed that it runs. The machine is quite (no fan), has a very tiny screen (4 inches), 2 floppy drives, and a nice keyboard. I was lucky to get a machine which has one of the high density floppy controllers. Unfortunately it does not have the 80 column upgrade. The machine is "portable". It weighs quite a bit. One of the interesting things about how the machine is setup is the way that it has an internal skeleton to which everything attaches. This different from the way Compaq portables were constructed. Compaqs had a metal box which encased the motherboard, powersupply, and cards.
I obtained this one for free from John Switzer. Thanks John! The machines is noiser than the Osborne 1 since it has a fan. It also features a larger screen and CP/M Plus. It is the same size as the Osborne 1. With the exception of a bump (for the fan) under the handle the machines look exactly the same on the outside.
This was my first "real" computer. (I had a Sinclair ZX81 before). I spent many happy hours programming this computer. I also used it as a remote terminal for my FORTRAN class in college, and wrote many papers on it.
This is a machine meant for home use. It is pretty nice given its limitations. I have two, one is not currently working and the other is in an unknown state. Before the first one failed, I did manage to test out several cartridges with it. While the games are not high tech, they are fun. Sea Wolf and The Sky is Falling are neat games which only require paddles to play.
I don't know much about this machine either. It is completely incompatible with any of Commodore's other machines. The exception is the C16 which is mostly simmilar to the Plus/4. It does include some built in software: word processor, spread sheet, graph generator, and data manager. Third party support in the US was pretty light, but in Europe, there were many more programs released. (Infocom/Commodore published at least 4 games for the Plus/4.)
I this machine was meant as a replacement for the VIC-20 and is compatible with the Plus/4 (it lacks the builtin software and has less memory). This one is still new. The box and manuals are a little banged up, but everything else is new. The RF modulator is still in bubble wrap and the power supply cord is still tied with the original twist-tie.
This is a strange machine. It is portable, but it has no handle. It runs MS-DOS, but is not really IBM compatible. It has a small LCD screen, a touch sensitive area for pointing using special software, and a single sided 3.5 inch 360k disk drive. The memory came in plug-in modules each of which came with their own batteries. It also used a scheme for addons similar to IBM's PC convertable, slices which add on to the back of the machine. I am only aware of a printer option.
This terminal has a special key sequence for entering setup mode: Ctrl-Alt-Esc. To Save the current settings: Shift-s. This is a pretty nice terminal even if the the Esc key is in the wrong place.
I am always looking for interesting stuff. In particular I am interested in Sun and AT&T machines and software. I am not currently collecting CP/M machines or related stuff. I am willing to pickup equiptment and software from just about anywhere in the San Francisco bay area from North Sonoma to Monterey (or even Paso Robles if the machine is really good), and from the Pacific to Auburn. Other areas will require more arrangement, but are not totally out of the question. I am not interested in any more IBM clone machines. I can provide directions to a center that recycles Macs and PCs and places the higher end machines into schools. Unfortunately they also scrap a lot of classic machines...
I am a Sun nut.
I am also very interested in documentation and software for the older machines. Technical manuals for all machines and agazines from the 70's and 80's are also desired. This includes Creative Computing, Byte, Popular Computing, etc.
Old Hardware/Software Info Links
Old Stuff Links
Fun Computer Stuff Links
Updates: The Data General Eclipse and Nova 3 were donated to the a href="http://www.computerhistory.org">Computer History Museum. I will miss them but they needed a new home.
Thanks for visiting.
Tue Dec 19 23:00:30 PST 2006
Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Paul E Coad