LOLPRICE

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Lardo Boffin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:22 am

jonb wrote:It's been badly restored. What a mess!

  • Black (non standard) patch wires and horrible blobby solder on the (badly melted) ribbon cable.
  • The power wire on the bodged up flying socket is not soldered properly.
  • Missing tracks on the display PCB, badly soldered.
  • Display lens melted around the "repaired" ribbon connector.
  • Keyboard bezel missing two of the plastic bolts.
  • IC7 (presumably a ROM) missing.
  • "ADR. SEL." device missing, presumably.
  • Voltage regulator pads missing on top side of the CPU board (should be proper vias).
  • Lifted tracks where the keyboard ribbon / patch cables attach to the CPU board.
  • General filthiness, especially left over flux.
..and that's just a cursory glance. Can we even call it "restored" if it's not working?

Mutant Caterpillar who supposedly "restored" this can be found here: http://www.mutant-caterpillar.co.uk/ and they advertise a repair service. Based on the state of this machine, I'd steer well clear if I were you!


Hmmm. I have used Mutant Caterpillar Games a lot of times and they have been excellent every time. I suspect that there is something else going on here! As Daniel said if it was awful in the first place they may have done the best they could in the situation. I suspect that if MCG produce the certificate of refurb there will be a few caveats on it!
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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danielj
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby danielj » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:28 am

Although, having read the description, it does say that the ribbon cable was resoldered - if that's the case, it looks to be a very shoddy job...

d.

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jonb
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby jonb » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:38 am

danielj wrote:Just to play devil's advocate:
These were sold as kits, so lots of the "awful" could well be the original construction...

d.


Fair point, but a proper restoration would seek to tidy all that up and replace the ribbon cables. It should also result in a working machine. If you read the description, it says what has been repaired: the ribbon cable jump wires ("black so they can be hidden" - huh? behind a translucent ribbon cable??) and the resoldered display circuit ribbon connectors.

Lardo Boffin wrote:Hmmm. I have used Mutant Caterpillar Games a lot of times and they have been excellent every time. I suspect that there is something else going on here! As Daniel said if it was awful in the first place they may have done the best they could in the situation. I suspect that if MCG produce the certificate of refurb there will be a few caveats on it!


If you know them and they are trustworthy, you might like to point then at the auction listing as I don't think it is very good advertising for them.

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Lardo Boffin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:44 am

Hi jonb - I sent them my serial number 1499 issue one Spectrum to repair / refurb so I definitely think they are trustworthy!

I have let them know about the ad.
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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jonb
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby jonb » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:17 am

Nice one. We need to support the good guys.

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Elminster
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Elminster » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:41 am

Not going to show you lot my repair jobs then :)

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vanpeebles
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby vanpeebles » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:09 am

I have also used MCG before, and was nothing but impressed.

Spirantho
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Spirantho » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:55 am

@Jonb:

I am Ian Gledhill, of Mutant Caterpillar Games Ltd, and yes, I did the restoration.

I take your points, but you're not aware of all the facts.

I got this board working. When I got hold of it, it was a wreck. Someone had tried to restore the board before and used completely the wrong tools. The Soldering iron used was way too hot and had melted the ribbons - both the main one and the LCD display. The board had damage all over the ribbon vias. It was a complete mess and where there used to be ribbon sockets I had practically nothing except bare board (not tracks, or vias, just the board underneath).

The spec I was given was this (paraphrased) by the customer:
"Here is my System 1. It's wrecked. I tried to restore it and made everything worse. The ribbons are broken. The tracks are broken. Can you fix it while making it look as original as possible?"

So what I did was this:
The first thing to do was to repair the ribbon. The ribbon has multiple breaks in. I was tasked with keeping the repair as close as possible cosmetically to the original board. This meant I couldn't change the ribbon. The only thing I could do was to use black wires so that the board could be mounted with the black wires obscured by the original cable, which was part of the spec to keep.
Once I had done that, I had to cater for the fact that many, many of the solder joints had been obliterated. There were many broken tracks and most of the vias were completely gone. The only way to fix this was to try and keep some kind of soldering with the actual tracks and the wire, and this led to unsightly wires. This was not avoidable within the spec I had been given as I can't re-lay the tracks on the PCB.

Once I had done and repaired the cable as well as I could, I could try and get it working again. This was FAR from easy, as there is scant little documentation on this board and obviously I had never seen one before.
Over and over again, repairing this board, the wires would break and the solder joints would be weakened. Bending the wires would break a connection, because I had been tasked with keeping things as original as possible.

Eventually I had it connected properly.
The first thing I had to do was to find out why it wasn't working. The CPU was the first culprit. Once that was fixed, I found that the 7445 LED driver was dead. I managed to find a replacement for that. THEN I found that one of the 74S571 PROMs was dead. These are completely non-standard and became a nightmare to replace, but I managed it (originally I hacked a 2532 into it instead but I managed to source 74S571s eventually) and was able to eventually program it using my TopMax II.

After all that I was repeatedly faced with problems where the cable would be fine one minute and broken the next. The solution to that was to put a black wire on ALL the wires in the ribbon cable, even where the cable was seemingly OK. It looked unsightly, but I had to make it work and at least make it disguisable such that with careful mounting, the wires would be less visible. Again, this was part of the spec I was given.


I would ask those who are judging my repair work to remember that this board was an absolute wreck when I got hold of it, and my spec was to make it work first and foremost, and keep the original components where possible. You need to remember that although I was the last person to see this board for repair, I am not the only person to have seen this board for repair, and to be honest given the spec I'm fairly proud I managed to get it as good as it actually is.

You should have seen it before I started....

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flaxcottage
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby flaxcottage » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:47 am

A good account of running repairs. =D>

It would be nice to see piccies if you have some.
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

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danielj
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby danielj » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:53 am

@Ian - that sounds like it was horrible to work with. I think the seller's doing you a fair disservice though, I think they need to own up to their own mangling!

d.

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daveejhitchins
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby daveejhitchins » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:54 am

Ian . . . You have my sympathies! I know just what you must have gone through.

There are PCB repair kits out there (rocking horse muck, these days, and expensive) I have a via repaire kit - with a broken riveting tool (came to me like that!). Whether it's worth going to the trouble to find and use these RARE tools is debatable and down to the individual, I suppose.

Dave H :D
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

Spirantho
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Spirantho » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:10 am

Yeah, it was... "memorable". :)

It took me ages. Because no less than three chips were dead, AND the broken ribbon, AND the destroyed vias, AND the broken ribbon for the LED display, it was very difficult indeed to get working. It's not like a normal machine where you turn it on and you get a display and can maybe use a diagnosis ROM. It just didn't work. I had to hook it up to the Saleae logic analyser and - armed only with a mostly illegible schematic - work out why it didn't work. From there I had to work out how the ROM worked, and then found the ROM was wrong as well - or at least half of it was.

The owner of it actually wanted to use a glue gun on the board and that may have helped to keep the board wires in, but nonetheless I suggested he didn't as it's better to have a wire that looks a bit messy, and may break, than it is to have a wire that's less likely to break but could rip more tracks off if it *does* break. That's part of why there's all the black wires there not held together; a wire can be replaced, a track can't. Plus if you put a black wire behind a semi-translucent ribbon like this, the wires are almost invisible (and probably would be completely invisible if mounted on a black background).

Restoring such a primitive machine is a different challenge to repairing BBCs and things. You have to have one eye on the original components (many of which are completely irreplaceable) , so you can't just go in and rip things out to test in other machines. Each solder joint runs a risk of damage. Everything has to be preserved where possible because as soon as you take out an original part, it's not an original board any more, and the value of the board just evaporates. Sometimes you have to do things that may not make sense from a cosmetic point of view because the more important element is the board isn't damaged any more than it is already.

And then of course there's the fact that the board is worth quite a bit of money.... not good for the stress levels!

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vanpeebles
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby vanpeebles » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:40 am

We all need to troll Ian now, and see what junky scrappers we can find to send him :lol:

Spirantho
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Spirantho » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:11 pm

Believe me, you don't want to know some of the sights I've seen... :)
Anything with a battery in, for starters! I've also seen machines that have been "worked on" with huge knives, dremels, that sort of thing.
Oh, the happiness!

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jonb
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby jonb » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:23 pm

@Ian

Excellent write up there. Yes, I know all about this sort of thing. I just restored a Superbrain (with some help from StarDot members) and this has irreplaceable custom parts such as the keyboard encoder, for which I designed (again with help) and implemented a ROM based solution using a generic version of the encoder chip that is still available. There is also the ROM which is a TMS part that few modern programmers can handle, so I built a carrier board for a modern replacement that we (the "Superbrain Owners Society") can program. This is a hobby, of course - I'd hate to do it for a living.

So I take it that when you finished your repair, it was working? The listing says it isn't, so the owner must have damaged it since.

It is in this thread because it was put up for silly money. Yes, it may be worth lots of cash, but that much? I seriously doubt it.

Please accept my apologies for any implied criticism of your work and know that I stand corrected. I have a Control Universal EuroBEEB here that has much the same problems - non functional, battery damage, etc. I put that on the back shelf for now (after removing the leaky battery). Its main problem is that the solder joints will not melt, irrespective of the temperature applied, and of course taking the iron too high results in track / pad damage. Catch 22!

Cheers
JonB

Spirantho
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Spirantho » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:39 pm

The machine is actually working, but apparently one of the wires has come off (yet again). I don't know how, as I did ask him to make sure it was kept rigid... but there we go. It happens. He says he'll try and solder it back again, which he should be able to do as long as he uses the right tools. That's why it's listed as non-working, though - it's a trivial fix (as long as it's done right).

I did have a bit of fun typing in the test programs from the System 1 manual. :)

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Elminster
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Elminster » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:43 pm

Good job.

Dont think I will buy it, despite your excellent repair work, at the price the sellor has it up for I would be afraid to look at it in case it broke.

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jonb
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby jonb » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:57 pm

Elminster wrote:Not going to show you lot my repair jobs then :)


Oh go on, you know you want to. I'm round yours tomorrow to pick that monitor up!

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Elminster
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Elminster » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:51 pm

jonb wrote:
Elminster wrote:Not going to show you lot my repair jobs then :)


Oh go on, you know you want to. I'm round yours tomorrow to pick that monitor up!


That is true.

My soldering is .... 'functional'. Mind you better than when I started 5 years ago. Looked at something I did a while ago and thought that was bad even for me. I deny having ever touched a System 1 though :)

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flaxcottage
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby flaxcottage » Thu Jun 29, 2017 9:23 pm

Well, the Acorn System 1 sold! :shock: :lol:
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

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jonb
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby jonb » Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:25 pm

One born every minute!

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flaxcottage
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby flaxcottage » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:43 am

The item is at a reasonable start.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BBC-Master-Ac ... SwyltZWLp4

But the postage??? :shock: :shock:

It is only £18 to the USA. Is this a post-Brexit price just for us? :lol:
- John

Currently running Level 4 Econet with BBC B, BBC B+ 128K, Master 128K, 4Mb A3000, 4Mb A3020, 4Mb A4000, 4Mb A5000 dual FDD; UK101; HP41CX setup; Psion 3a, 3mx and 5mx; Z88; TI-58c, TI-59 and printer, HP-16C programmer's calculator

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Lardo Boffin » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:17 am

I don't need a disc notcher that badly! [-X

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/201977973956
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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danielj
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby danielj » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:33 am

That's ridiculous.

On a lower, but still LoLpriced PS/2 keyboard level:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/252991424658

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Lardo Boffin » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:19 pm

Another daft one. £20 for a disc (no sleeve) with copies of games and he won't even post it!

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/tandy-computer- ... Ciid%253A3
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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Pernod
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Pernod » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:12 pm

Lardo Boffin wrote:Another daft one. £20 for a disc (no sleeve) with copies of games and he won't even post it!

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/tandy-computer- ... Ciid%253A3

I'd want him to pay me £20 to even consider putting that disc in my drive!
- Nigel

BBC Model B, ATPL Sidewise, Acorn Speech, 2xWatford Floppy Drives, AMX Mouse, Viglen case, etc.

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Lardo Boffin » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:38 pm

Not Beeb stuff but funny anyway!

http://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/zx81-job-lott-g ... iid%253A12

Even if it works I reckon that lot is worth £50 to £60 tops.
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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Pablos544
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby Pablos544 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:04 pm

Ok now this is really ridiculous

Before I had the BBC I had this machine Casio PB-2000C which is well known has a very poor language so you soon wanna upgrade to a decent language hence you have to buy a type of sd card you plug into the device

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CASIO-PB-2000 ... SwB-1YnaL9

:shock:

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lazarusr
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby lazarusr » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:35 pm

I know it sort of looks cool. But it's just two disc drives with a sticker.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/162616122812

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sirmorris
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Re: LOLPRICE

Postby sirmorris » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:50 pm



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