It all begun on an island out in the Hauraki Gulf.....

Introduce yourself. Tell people why you are interested in vintage computers and what (if anything) you've got.

It all begun on an island out in the Hauraki Gulf.....

Postby Hive on Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:55 am


Firstly a big thanks to you Terry for welcoming me here!

My name is Hamish and I hail from Great barrier Island, originally from Albany north of Auckland but moved out to the barrier at a very young age.
My hobbies back then (and now of course still) were Electrical stuff , electronics and finally computers in that order. Got into them one by one.
I also keep Bee's as well hence my alias :D

I currently work in the appliance servicing trade , fixing whitewear etc.

The first time i had ever seen a computer is when the school in Tryphena, Mulberry Grove school bought a Commodore 64 in '86, I was 7 at the time - the later model with the older large disk drive , Thomson monitor and the Commodore printer (can't remember exact type) - This was like TV in a way to me but way cooler!!

This was quite a big thing back then and i remember each class took turns in groups to use (or more correctly play) this computer. The seniors (form 1 and form 2) of course had priority at lunch time playing it but it was fun to watch though nonetheless - Gribbleys Day out was the most popular game. We had competitions as well at the school, like Hogwarts in Harry Potter we had four houses. They were named after the shipwrecks etc that has happened back in the history of the island. I remember them being: Wiltshire, Elizabeth, Wairarapa and Celia Sudden. Also we had points awarded throughout the month and the winning house usually got the choice to watch video's (we also got a video player in '86 to compliment the TV we donated to the school, it had a remote control with a 3 metre cable), a movie off the film projector (not kidding here, we have the old projectors still from the school) or other activities etc.

Three Years later, the classroom i was in got donated an Apple IIe - this one had a composite green screen and initially came with one disk - Apple Presents Apple! a tutorial program - you had a choice of 12 different activities if i remember right and a 13th hidden one that would only appear if you completed the first 12 - i think it was some drawing program where you would choose different patterns and use the arrow keys to navigate.

This was the year i was also given a Sega SC3000-H from a good mate of mine but it only had a basic cart so i spent most evenings before the generator got turned off typing in basic commands to make this thing to stuff whether it was making it count endlessly , showing various graphic patterns etc, it was quite interesting - sadly i blew it up by accident by reversing the polarity when the wire fell out - since then i have fitted diodes religeously to anything important and electronic (Sega started doing this anyway beginning with the master system) i have since got a few of these machines now and have fitted a diode to at least one so far.

In '90 we got a new Principal - Head mistress , rules got tightened up a bit but the school inherited her stepsons Apple IIgs and an extra 5 1/4 drive daisy chained to the 3 1/2 drive. I rapidly discovered that the disks off the IIe ran on that and as i got on very well with the teacher of that classroom most of my lunchbreaks for the next few months or so were spent playing this thing, First thing i was rewarded with was the disks off the IIe came up in colour (we had been given quite a few disks by then) also i was blown away by the fact that it had some pretty nice graphics and propper sound , speech and music.
The most impressive program i saw on it was one called Fantavision and it did some pretty nice graphics. i am yet to have a play on the playstation 2 version.

My dream all those years was to own a computer that had nice colour , sound etc.

Also this year my mum got talked into buying a 286xt machine - this machine had only 8 bit slots and like the XT's did not have a CMOS or any 16 bit slots.
Was refered to as a 286SX on the front.
This thing had a Monochrome monitor and alas i couldn't play any of the games with graphics so was stuck with text only games such as Hangman and Wizards Castle - that one although only text based left alot to the imagination so it was quite fun to play.

Late 1995 my first computer i built.

First met the guy who got me into mucking around with computers officially - he was serious into getting me into PC's and to get me off mucking around with sega master systems. Well he suceeded in one of those goals..... :wink:
He like most of us on the island was also into alternative energy - i was mucking around with inverters, voltage regulators, batteries etc as well.
When i went to Auckland with Dad we went to our usual ports of call one being a scrap dealer that he's been dealing with for probbably around 30 or so years (and still does to this day most of the same guys are still there) I came across an old NCR XT machine, took it back to the barrier and presented it to this guy to see if it was suitable for the 286 board (with co-pro) that he had given me. I had to do a considerable amount of re-wiring for the supply but i did it. I also shelled out for a seagate st3660A 545mb drive , floppy drive( i had the biggest drive on the island for a while) an SVGA monitor - i was over the moon when i realised this could do colour graphics and games. I pushed this thing to it's limits and it still ran well. Later on i went to town (Auckland) and bought my first sound-card an ESS688 not only did the games come to life they rivalled the megadrive i had for a while as well in terms of quality i could also record sound! a whole 4.5 seconds in soundrecorder. From then on I got into mucking around with PC's and that was when my collection started. In '96 i got my first 486SX board - I could Finally play DOOM! Later on i bought a VLB video card - this increased framerates dramatically. Later i shelled out 3 hundy for a 10x cd-rom. and loaded up windows '95. - Bit of a change i missed the old Direct Access menu that it replaced :cry:

Afterward in the beginning of '97 i moved to auckland fulltime to study electrical at MIT and this is when my collection started to really grow.

in '98 i moved back to the barrier when i was part time studying, i had aquired a few 486 bits here and there and kept some computers on the island going.
I had a Sega Saturn and Playstation by then too - had a cottage to myself so i could crank things up a bit - no nearby neighbours in earshot only tea tree bush and perhaps the odd Kaka :D
I had also mannaged to get some XT stuff , it was too nostalgic and cool to throw away so i sat down and put this thing together. Most people thought i was mad at wasting my time with such old technology but i had all the bits including a Paradise VGA card , an 8 bit soundblaster and some RLL Drives.
The sounds this thing made when it was firing up had made it worth the while but i wanted this thing to work so i seeked out some advice from an old timer in the computer era and using the DEBUG command to interrogate the rom on the harddrive card i could pre-format these old drives. they came up 100% so it was all good. Another couple of cards i got included a clock card and a floppy drive card that had a bios to use the normal high-density drives. i also mannaged to score the 8087 too!
Old Faithfull Was Born! I still copped a bit of flack from the others but it was all good. One day i found out that some disks i had copied off for somone had the ANTICMOS-A virus, a virus that corrupts data between the CMOS and the hardware, and as he said every comp was infected. Got an anti-virus to try and fix it but back then it needed a clean boot-disk to flush it out and i was stuffed until as a last resort i made a boot disk off old faithfull... Success! i had later figured out that this old beast did not fit the requirements that this virus needed despite it sharing disks between all the other machines (486 DX-4 100 386SX-33 etc)
The DX4-100 was my first internet machine. After this eposode all of old faithfulls critics went silent...
Also throughout this year i mannaged to upgrade to a pentium 75 and got my first wavetable card....

End of '98 saw me move back to the mainland when grandma passed away.
Been here ever since on and off and now work fulltime in Auckland.

Old faitfull has been kept in working order although has had some upgrades.
Scsi Set-up now - polls rather than uses an interrupt , slightly slower but free's up IRQ5 80mb and 200mb drives - a LOT of space for an XT
NEC V20 CPU , this allows for VGA in windows 3.0 kept the old 8088 cpu though
some games designed for 286's work now too.
Ethernet card - but hasin't been commisioned yet, i would like to have a crack at some stage to get old faithfull on the network although i can still transfer files with ease using the laplink cable using FX from my current machine via virtual PC
Had a Roland LAPC-1 in it for a while - (i think that card had more circuitry on it than the rest of the system and it's cards)
This has been put into the 286 as windows 3.1 has native midi mappings for it allowing playing back of midi files.

My collection has now filled up a 20 foot container - probbably the best thing i have bought! - Recommendation for fellow Collectors: - Banana boxes!! and a vivid pen!! - forget about any other kinds of cardboard boxes, they'll split and collapse. Most supermarkets will welcome you greatly for taking them off their hands as they are much harder for their staff to break down and put into the cardboard recycling which they later have to PAY for to take away. If you have enough space then i do highly recommend a container, it is seriously the best way to keep things safe especially from weather, tom-cats etc - a single terrirory marking spree from a tomcat can seriously ruin circuitry. and best of all if you got a container in good nick - it keeps the rats and mice out. I have seen many things surcumb to rodents over the years. and vowed never to let it happen again. I will post my collection up soon and i too hope to open up an online Museum as well.
Best stuff to clean boards with - you can almost literally bring stuff back to life - Safewash 2000 and Saferinse 2000 from RS.

Collection of Classic Computers

Original Style Mac's:
Mac 512, need keyboard , Mouse
Mac Classic - Working
Mac SE/30 - working ,
Another Mac SE/30 that got attacked for it's yoke coil - common in the inorganics around here but i have an ATM monitor that is the same dimensions
perhaps i can swap them over?? prolly a green screen
Mac Colour Classic (with FPU) - Working
Two iMacs - dark blue and green ones - missing keyboards and mouse - works with usual usb mouse though.
Scusbee USB to SCSI adapter - i would really like to have a play with this , it is supported only up to Mac OS 8.6 though i think

Apple IIe later version with nuremic keyboard part too but alas has about 3 keys missing - lacking a disk drive and disks etc
TRS-80 32k - not operational. Sadly got banished outside to under a tree for a while before i got it , still in reasonable nick though - key's need freeing up
Sinclair spectrum - main unit only
Amiga 600 keyboard only
older style commodore 64, again keyboard only
Sega SC3000-H and SC3000 along with it's console version the SG-1000
Acorn machine that has a MIDI extension and PC compatibility card - separate 486SX cpu on a card.
Commodore SX-64 - complete
Atari 400? if i remember , a beige touchpad keyboard that has 4 joystic ports - made in '78
NCR 386-SX 16 with co-pro , matching keyboard, mono VGA etc.
Sampo 286-12 - flat CMOS but defaults to it's factory defaults which just so happen to match what is in it -run's sweet can't get into CMOS though....
Amiga CD-32, is it appropriate to mention as it was aimed as a games console?
Generic collection of PC boxes:

Most different specs of PC based systems From XT, 286 ,386 , 486, all with co-pro's.

Gruntiest 486 - Am486 dx-4 120 with Gravis Ultrasound and SB16 with midi daughterboard

P24t - the pentium upgrade chip that uses those extra pins that surround a 486 , with 3D-Blaster VLB
Pentium 133 with Diamond edge 3d card - wierd card , has sound and Sega saturn game ports.....Nvidia's first foray into 3d
Pentium 100 with teletext - one only needs a bit of wire or coathanger to keep up with the news! none of this internet signing up stuff!

Would these be considred Vintage??

pentium series (socket 5, pentium MMX, pentium pro - got a dual processor machine) pentium 2, pentium 3, various celeron machines (coppermine , mendocino etc) Examples of most chipsets and configurations.

Various pentium / mmx machines with an example of most sound and video card standards eg matrox, s3 virge, 3DFX, nvidia , rendition etc
Yamaha , ESS audiodrive, other strange standards etc - i built these up to keep a working example of each.

Cyrix 6x86 based machines - couple of those one being the later 'M2' chip

Nexgen 5x86 board and chip - yet to be built - lacks a co-pro and socket however so a game of quake won't be happennig here

Fastest Pentium 3 - 1.4ghz Tualatin , ultimate dos box , can play dos games in 3 different way's......
Only pentium 3 machine faster than this is a Dual CPU sytem , yeap i have one of those too.....with 2 x 1.4ghz p3's.....

AMD series from Am486 above , Amd K5, K6, K6/2 and K6/3 - Slot A based and Socket A based K7 (Athlon and Duron Machines yet to be built)

Ultimate 3D box - Well for it's era... Pentium 2 350 with TNT2 ultra , pair of 3DFX voodoo 2 cards , Power VR PCX2 3d card and an AWE64 sound-card.
DXR/2 DVD playback card and matching DVD drive and ethernet card, onboard AC'97 - that's every slot used :D - still has enough omph to run all that stuff though

Original Pentium 4 1.7 - RAMBUS based, Alloy RIMMS :wink: - this machine although uses fast ram often gets kicked by the Tualatin 1.4 p3

I am seriously considering building a server into a beehive for added security :D

I also have quite a collection of game Consoles as well if anyone is interested i'll type up the list.
Anyway i better get to bed i think i've gone a bit overboard with my Introduction....Cheers for reading!

Feel free to ask me anything
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:27 pm

Re: It all begun on an island out in the Hauraki Gulf.....

Postby tezza on Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:53 am

Hiya Hive,

Welcome to the forums. That was some mega-introductory post :D

A few things struck a chord there. Ah, Doom. I loved that game. The banana box idea is a good one. Large and flat. I should look into that for some of my own boxes which are starting to collapse.

What kind of TRS-80 do you have?

Anyway, nice to meet a fellow vintage enthusiast (Yes, I don't consider anything more recent than a 486 vintage :) ). You'll finds these forum pretty quiet in the main but still...people do seem to read posts even though there isn't a lot of activity.

Are you in the collectors list linked from my main site? If not, so you want to be?
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