Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Anything to do with New Zealand Classic or Vintage Computing not covered in the other forums

Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby kevman3d on Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:36 am

I am chuffed - its been a great week, as I now have my original ZX81 back. I gave it to a friend over 10 years back because I'd opened it and had accidentally mucked about with the keyboard (I suspect the membrane broke). Silly me. He was interested in collecting machines, so I said 'its broken, but you can have it' assuming I didn't really need it.

Problem is, I'm constantly digging up my old ZX81 programming books and with that midlife crisis in full effect, I really wanted it back. Surprisingly he still had it, and just said 'Hey, of course you can have it back!' - and here it is, in the same dirty state I gave it to him (which means its likely to also still work). The mucky look is mostly old tape residue that was from me taping that horrid 'keyboard' onto the membrane... (In the end, it was easier to just use the membrane keys)

Image

There is something deeply personal getting this back. I still remember pulling this out of the foam packing and tuning it into the TV set as an 11 year old. I was so excited - and that's where pretty much my computing obsession began. :D

I was glad he also had the 16k rampack as well. I wasn't sure if I'd given it to him, but he sent me what he had.

Image

Unfortunately the power supply is long gone (I think at some stage I'd just dumped it - silly me (or its still hidden in a box of goodies I've never unpacked in 2 decades)). However I did buy new 3.5mm mono plugs last week, and I have a few ZX Speccy PSU's here from the stash of speccies I bought a while back. They were all missing the power plug off the end (which was odd), but I can replace that and solder the 3.5 on the other after cutting the speccy one off... Hopefully it'll fire up - fingers crossed.

That's pretty much me - so happy that felt I had to post. :lol:
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby kevman3d on Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:43 am

Kids are funny these days. I had this delivered to work (which is a school) so I got the chance to show it off to a load of the kids I teach.

- 'What IS that?'
- a computer
- 'No! Really?! Where's the rest of it?'
- that's it
- 'Wow! Where do you plug the monitor in?'
- You don't - you plug it into your TV set
- 'When did these get made?'
- 1981
- 'Man! That's over 10 years older then me!'
- Thanks. Way to remind me how old I am. :roll:

Then it was trying to explain to them what 1k was that would make sense. Followed by what 16k was... I ended up having to visualise it. Its basically 5 32 pixel android logo's worth... :lol:

Image

Its fascinating to see reactions these days to old tech. The number of 'Can I photograph that for my Facebook?' requests, disbelief that it was a whole computer and not just some kind of keyboard that plugged into one, that you could do anything with only 1k or 16k of ram, that you had to 'type in' things to use it - and oddly the amazement that any computer would lack color, decent graphics and sound. :mrgreen:
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby LilJoe on Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:08 pm

Sounds like are great reunion. I still have my first computer except its a little bit newer (P1) I never actually really used it because I was so young at the time, it was when Dad brought home this big black box that proudly displayed 'Dell' on its side and could run xp that it all started. I still remember playing minesweeper without knowing what I was doing :D just clicked random boxes, great fun.
kevman3d wrote:Kids are funny these days. I had this delivered to work (which is a school) so I got the chance to show it off to a load of the kids I teach.

- 'What IS that?'
- a computer
- 'No! Really?! Where's the rest of it?'
- that's it
- 'Wow! Where do you plug the monitor in?'
- You don't - you plug it into your TV set
- 'When did these get made?'
- 1981
- 'Man! That's over 10 years older then me!'
- Thanks. Way to remind me how old I am.

Then it was trying to explain to them what 1k was that would make sense. Followed by what 16k was... I ended up having to visualise it. Its basically 5 32 pixel android logo's worth...


Ha ha :lol: yeah I've tried explaining similar things to my friends... very similar results :D
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby tezza on Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:24 pm

Great posts guys! Yeah interesting to see the reactions of young people to these vintage dinosaurs.
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby mrad01 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:42 pm

tezza wrote:Great posts guys! Yeah interesting to see the reactions of young people to these vintage dinosaurs.


They are dinosaurs - true. But when you look the size of the Spectrum - it was a great bit of engineering. The Nintendo Game & Watch series are another great bit of work too. Sure, there was far less power, but today's computers have only just started coming down in size (last 5 years)

People still react with disbelief when I show them a "Made in the UK" Spectrum. 1. Because they didn't think the UK made innovative computer hardware, and 2. the size.

Great fun.
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby tezza on Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:46 pm

and they boot up immediately!
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby kevman3d on Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:21 pm

People still react with disbelief when I show them a "Made in the UK" Spectrum. 1. Because they didn't think the UK made innovative computer hardware, and 2. the size.


Its the size - nobody believes its a computer because its so small. But saying its got everything (Video, sound, memory, etc) in such a small package I think is confusing when you are familiar with the fact a high spec video card is almost as large as the Spectrum's PCB.

The ZX81 was funny - about 3 people asked me if it was some kind of old calculator. Well, in a way it could be used like that.

Anyway...

Lets keep adding to my positive day with a now-working SNES as well. I'm still waiting on a Retro-bit branded 'SNES power supply' - but I'm running it with the old modem one. The modem is 9V AC and 800mA (machine says should be 1.3A) and seemed to work fine. I didn't run it too long...

Now THIS console a lot of the younger crowd do recognise. So many students go "Yes! I loved that console" - even though they're younger then the console is. :roll:

Anyway, some piccies... The only thing 'authentic' here is the console itself, and the cartridge I just got from the UK (a fantastic $12 (inc. postage)) for Dino Dini's Soccer. I just needed a test cartridge, so I picked something cheap, PAL and that looked kinda fun.

The controllers and AV cable are chinese remakes. About $7.00 for both the controllers, and $2.50 for the AV cable. And free shipping. My kinda price... :lol:

Image

I'm still waiting on the "Retro-bit power supply for SNES and Genesis" to arrive from China. However after getting a little suspicious today (as I was thinking about whether I use that 800mA unit) because the Retro-bit is a 9V DC 350mA unit, I found reviews on Amazon that were all pretty negative (given its 350mA, I was concerned - I did read that a Famicom does draw around 350mA (up to 850mA) so I suspect that this is why the company provides such a low ampage). Needless to say, I won't be using it when it arrives.


I did spot 1.7A 9V AC powerpacks at Surplustronics - $28.50 - and they have those interchangeable plugs... It may be a good investment as I can use it with the C64 that I still need to wire up.

Image

I figured the machine was just not going to work. It wouldn't produce an AV signal, and I did once get a black screen... I was going to get a tool next week and open it up, but because it doesn't boot without a cartridge in it, I figured I'd clean the cartridge contacts and the slot contacts (this machine was dumped in a box of toys and objects at the school when I started as objects for our students to use for 3D modeling projects - a couple years back, some of the guys decided to dump all this old stuff we had laying about, so I rescued the console)

Viole! Clean contacts = working SNES. Very happy.

Image

Image

Hopefully I can keep this weekend on a positive roll... What next, I wonder? 8)
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby kevman3d on Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:45 pm

Interesting - I popped back to eBay just now to see if the Retrobit had shipped. This line is now in the description... After I ordered it.

"Caution! This product do not compatible with PAL SNES console. "

It says the listing was "Last updated on Jan 13, 2015 01:03:39 PST". That's just last week. Gee... Thanks. Should have been smarter with the 350mA 'concern' before clicking buy now. Oh well... :roll:
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby LilJoe on Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:47 pm

"Yes! I loved that console" :D

I don't know about everyone else, but at least in my case, the (virtual) super Nintendo was well played. I remember in primary school we used to all carry around SNES and GBA emulators on flash drives and exchange roms with each other in our free time. I know of one guy who's grandfather had an emulator on his computer and when he visited would play through level after level of 'hook (Peter Pan)' and 'star fox'. I guess what I'm saying is although most of us late 90s kids never owned/played on a real SNES, I and I'm sure many others have fond memories of this amazing console.
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby mrad01 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 6:35 pm

I have a couple of SNES and NES boxes - I try the machines out on emulation - but always end up with real hardware. Emulation is a bit like kissing your sister (not that I have!) by comparison. When ever I buy the real thing, it is *much* better than the emulation. Of course, that comes at a price.

Consoles I have:
Atari 2600 x3 (with the super special mrad01 composite out board)
Atari 7800 (with a similar board)
Fountain Force
NES (PAL and NTSC mod)
SNES
Super Famicom
Nintendo 64
Sega Master System
Sega Mega Drive
Amiga CD32
Sony PS1, PS2, PS3 (with launch PS2 emulation), PS4
Microsoft Xbox, Xbox360, Xbox One
Nintendo Wii, Wii U, New 3DS XL
Several Nintendo Game & Watch titles
Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP
Sony PSP, PS Vita
Caanoo

And yes, I try to play them all! (Currently recharging them all, and playing all carts)

So while I have retro computers, I'm also super keen on games. (Nieces/Nephews love visiting)

Crazy.
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby LilJoe on Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:06 pm

Although still not as cool as owning the real thing, I have soft modded my wii and play all my NES, SNES and Atari 2600 games on it, the wii controller when held right feels a little bit more like a real NES controller so way more authentic :D I even play SEGA games like flicky on it.
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby kevman3d on Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:12 pm

LilJoe wrote:I have soft modded my wii and play all my NES, SNES and Atari 2600 games on it, the wii controller when held right feels a little bit more like a real NES controller so way more authentic :D I even play SEGA games like flicky on it.


Have you ever tried using the Wii's game cube functionality? Then you get a second console built in (with genuine controller ports to plug a game cube controller into).
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby mrad01 on Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:13 pm

LilJoe wrote:Although still not as cool as owning the real thing, I have soft modded my wii and play all my NES, SNES and Atari 2600 games on it, the wii controller when held right feels a little bit more like a real NES controller so way more authentic :D I even play SEGA games like flicky on it.


The Wii is a great way to go for sure!
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Re: Yay! My childhood has finally made it back home...

Postby LilJoe on Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:40 pm

kevman3d wrote:
LilJoe wrote:I have soft modded my wii and play all my NES, SNES and Atari 2600 games on it, the wii controller when held right feels a little bit more like a real NES controller so way more authentic :D I even play SEGA games like flicky on it.


Have you ever tried using the Wii's game cube functionality? Then you get a second console built in (with genuine controller ports to plug a game cube controller into).


No, sadly I have the family edition which lacks the controller ports :(
There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.Image
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