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Questions tagged [maintenance]

Methods, techniques and tools for the care and upkeep of working retro machinery. Use [repair] when asking about non-functional machines.

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37 votes
4 answers
6k views

I buy retrocomputing devices, but they set my allergies off. Any advice on sanitizing new acquisitions?

I have had allergies in the past, mold, grass, and other causes of hay fever, also dust and cigarette smoke. I like getting old 8 bit systems, untested, and getting them to work. So far mostly for my ...
scm's user avatar
  • 1,129
7 votes
1 answer
472 views

How to treat an old PC

I have an old IBM PS/2 30/286, now sitting for a while on one of my desks. I'm a bit afraid that it will stop working sooner or later, so what's the best way to keep it 'alive' ? I fire it up every ...
Tommylee2k's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
657 views

How can I repair a sketchy video signal on a 1977 Pong unit?

I bought a 1977 Gracia Color Video Game TVG 432 (not much to be found online), image from 20th Century Video Games: And the unit works, but the video signal is kind of sketchy. It is not very strong, ...
Bart Friederichs's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
540 views

Why did it take 2 hours to switch to a standby VAX? [closed]

According to this section of an excellent book on the history of Novell, I had actually started a business attempting to do some phases of what we are doing here at Novell. My plan was to develop to ...
rwallace's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
432 views

Can this bottle of "Lubricating Oil" be used to lube up Nintendo 64 sticks?

I have two original Nintendo 64 controllers. A year or so ago, I finally opened them up and replaced the old, worn-out analogue sticks with new ones. They work and I can play games, but it "...
Ladelf's user avatar
  • 47
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there something like Retr0bright but already made and trustworthy? [closed]

I have long wanted to clean up some old hardware to make it look new again. It really bothers me that it's all yellowed and depressing-looking. However, https://retr0bright.com/ wants me to purchase ...
Killgore's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Definitive guide to retrobright?

So I have various old computers and peripherals that could use retrobrighting. However, after researching, I have more questions than answers. What type of cleaner/degreaser is best to use or avoid? ...
7 votes
0 answers
138 views

Apple II floppy drive, pressure pad cleaning or replacement?

This is related to the following question: Cleaning 5¼" floppy drives Is there a proper way to clean the pressure pad that simply presses against the back side of a single-sided 5.25-inch ...
Dale Mahalko's user avatar
  • 3,649
12 votes
8 answers
6k views

Is there some reason why "grounding your fingers" is not necessary for old video game consoles?

I have watched countless videos of people opening up old video game consoles. Talking ones up to year 2000 or so. They never touch a radiator or mention using some kind of technique or measure to get ...
Kellyn L.'s user avatar
  • 137
10 votes
1 answer
612 views

What's the story behind IBM's SKU numbers?

Big Blue IBM seemingly since forever is using a fixed numbering scheme for all their parts, where every little thing, dingus and gizmo is labeled with the so-called IBM SKU#. It's always in the form: ...
Micropolis's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
438 views

Cleaning a motherboard that has dry mold growing on it

I am working on restoring an old Intel Motherboard with a 478 PGA Socket, an accompanying Intel Pentium 4 Prescott, and various expansion cards that have some form of dry mold coating it. I am working ...
Zeno of Elea's user avatar
23 votes
5 answers
6k views

How should I clean old chemically-deteriorating (especially rubberized) sticky plastics?

I have a few IBM ThinkPads from the 1990s, and they had a rubberized sort of finish to them that feels sticky to the touch now. How should I realistically go about cleaning them such that they won't ...
Brian Reading's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
818 views

Cleaning buckling spring keyboards

How do you clean keyboards with buckling springs? I have mentioned in an earlier question that I've recently bought an IBM keyboard but how do you clean a keyboard with buckling springs? I only know ...
oldschoolboomer's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
336 views

What is the easieset way to replace some missing key-caps for the AT&T 6300 keyboard?

I have an what appears to be an AT&T 6300 Computer. It seems to work fine, but I am missing the F5, #7 and numpad + key caps on the keyboard. What is the easiest way to find a replacement for ...
user4574's user avatar
  • 399
1 vote
1 answer
515 views

How can I fix this clacking sound made by the Game Boy speaker?

I have a Game Boy, and whenever it tries to play sound, the sound is very quiet but there's a loud clacking sound. Here is a sample. In this case, it is Tetris Attack playing: https://soundcloud.com/...
S.S. Anne's user avatar
  • 128
1 vote
3 answers
375 views

How can I clean the RF-Out jack of the SNES

I have got a Snes which is in pretty good shape. My problem is that the RF jack is very dirty and corroted. I haven't tried cleaning it because I think I could accidentally break it. (The jack is ...
Leocat's user avatar
  • 13
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

How do I clean/refurbish an Apple IIc Keyboard?

My Apple IIc is what appears to be the first US model: A2S4000 with version 255 ROMs. The keyboard PCB is marked 820 0108 03 ©1983, and the keyswitches are the "cross" type as seen below, without any ...
cjs's user avatar
  • 26.8k
5 votes
2 answers
5k views

Replacing cord for IBM model M keyboard

I bought a model m keyboard for use at work. The keyboard functions fine, but the cord is in bad shape. Functionally, the cord does not cause any shorts, but the plastic is very brittle and large ...
Yamcha_Kippur's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Macintosh SE/30 cover screw size

I lost the 4 Torq (T15) screws that hold together the case for a Mac SE/30. Does anyone know the size and the groove spacing to order a compatible one? I found these on eBay, but I'm not sure about ...
syncpak's user avatar
  • 61
4 votes
2 answers
316 views

Sam Coupé power supply heat

I have a Sam Coupé and the last time I turn it on, i noticed a smell of components overheating. After opening the power supply I came to the conclusion that is the resistance R1 (50ºc with IR ...
Bruno Vilela's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
794 views

What is the optimal way to store retro computing paraphernalia (games, consoles, accessories, books) on display at home?

When collecting retro computing related items you'll undoubtedly end up with a variety of different items, made from different materials and in a range of conditions. Here is a recent snap of my ...
RyanfaeScotland's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
484 views

How to clean (or prep) Atari 800 or any old computer

I recently got my hands on a couple of Atari 800's and peripherals (disk drives, printer, cartridges, floppy disks). Before I start using this equipment, can someone point me in the right direction as ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 177
1 vote
2 answers
506 views

CRT contrast issue: light grey on dark grey

This is on an IBM 5154. Dark grey next to light grey produces a white line between the two. This is noticeable on a color bar test, but is even worse in SimCity (making the text impossible to read). ...
Sydius's user avatar
  • 2,634
9 votes
1 answer
7k views

How to tell if glue or electrolyte leak from old capacitors?

I recently acquired an IBM 5154 EGA monitor that works pretty well. The only minor problem is that the screen is slightly off-center. I decided to take it apart to adjust it, but discovered that many ...
Sydius's user avatar
  • 2,634
1 vote
2 answers
470 views

Lead Free Solder in Pre-2006 Electronics

In 2006, the European Union passed the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) which pretty much restricted the use of traditional lead-tin solder. Is it the case that all consumer ...
nabulator's user avatar
  • 929
5 votes
1 answer
213 views

How to diagnose a failed capacitor on the mainboard?

My Fox II 286 mainboard just blew a capacitor. I haven't yet powered it on, so maybe the cap was bad. How can I diagnose this problem, and eliminate other bad caps?
Arne's user avatar
  • 1,274
4 votes
2 answers
866 views

How to replace battery for old AT mainboard?

On my 286 board, the CMOS battery is missing – as with most boards of that age. I see no other battery connector on the board. However I would love to fit a battery in there, so that I do not have to ...
Arne's user avatar
  • 1,274
6 votes
5 answers
11k views

How long will SFC/SNES consoles and cartridges last?

I am thinking of collecting Super Famicon/SNES games but one thing holding me back is the integrity of the cartridges. I am aware of the issue of batteries running out of charge and not being able to ...
Shengus's user avatar
  • 63
8 votes
3 answers
504 views

How safe are modern motherboard-cleaning techniques for this 1987 Soviet portable computer?

I recently bought this portable Soviet Mikrolab KR580IK80. The chips are by design exposed, as it was a training computer, and although it is housed in a carrying case, it is extremely dusty as can be ...
harlandski's user avatar
  • 2,963
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

How do you remove an LCD bubble on an unmodified Game Boy?

On an unmodified Game Boy Pocket, a small round ~0.5mm diameter bubble appeared on the center-left side of the screen eight months after I had last used it (there was no indication of it previously). ...
Pedro Palhoto's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
915 views

What, if any, routine maintenance does an old computer need?

Assuming an 80's-era computer that is in good condition and used regularly, what, if any, routine maintenance is needed? For example, do I need to do anything to keep the floppy disk drive(s) in good ...
Sydius's user avatar
  • 2,634
7 votes
1 answer
497 views

Are there any communities who maintain software for the Osborne 1?

As my Osborne 1 ages, various of my disks have had to be retired with errors, and I'm concerned it may not survive much longer so am looking for ways to extend its life. Are there any communities who ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Original Mac capacitor inspection

Which capacitors should be inspected and, if necessary, replaced before attempting to power up an original Mac (purchased January 1984, but "upgraded" to a 512Ke) that has been sitting unused for a ...
hotpaw2's user avatar
  • 8,287
51 votes
4 answers
5k views

What precautions to take when powering on old computer for the first time in years

I have a Commodore 128D that hasn't been powered in about 15 years. I want to begin using it again. It has been stored in cool dry places like attached garages, in a cardboard box. I hope this ...
nexus_2006's user avatar
  • 1,065
19 votes
4 answers
1k views

When or should we expect our 8-bit motherboards to fail due to the capacitors?

I would assume that most people who have been trying to keep these old micros working are well aware of the finite life of components, which is the idea that age will eventually cause things to fail. ...
bjb's user avatar
  • 16.4k
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

To wash or not to wash a Mac SE/30

I have a Macintosh SE/30 that I'm trying to bring back to life. When I power it on, I get the dreaded horizontal stripes. Or, zebra stripes. Also called Simasimac. I have re-seated all of the ...
cbmeeks's user avatar
  • 8,601
18 votes
2 answers
1k views

Power cycling old hardware

For those of us that use an old computer daily, is it safer for the hardware if the machines are turned off every night, or should they be left on? I assume that powering up is more stressful for the ...
driph's user avatar
  • 356
14 votes
4 answers
2k views

Troubleshooting and reparing an Atari 800XL with a single key not working

I recently purchased an old Atari 800XL off eBay. The machine was untested/as-is and not guaranteed to work, but it was cosmetically in mint condition with original box, manuals, and even the ...
Geo...'s user avatar
  • 10.2k
8 votes
1 answer
576 views

How many cards can safely be put in a IIgs?

The Apple IIgs can have the usual seven cards an Apple II can have plus RAM which has an additional slot. Other devices can end up inside the IIgs such as an adapter for the Game I/O socket or the ...
Michael Shopsin's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
523 views

What should I do to clean up a Power Mac G3 that's been outside for two years?

I recently was given a Power Macintosh G3 300Mhz minitower (having a bit of trouble confirming that but I'm mostly certain that's what it is as the case is labeled from 1997) that had been outside for ...
Ezra's user avatar
  • 103
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do I replace a ZX Spectrum 48k keyboard membrane?

I have a ZX Spectrum 48k on which the keyboard membrane has cracked over the years and, while the Speccy itself is operational, has rendered the computer unusable. I am now in possession of a ...
user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to get rid of yellowing in plastics?

I have some old electronics with white plastic that's starting to turn yellow. I know it's caused by flame retardants, UV rays, and so on. How can I restore my electronics to their former color?
snips-n-snails's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
678 views

Cleaning membrane keyboards

I have a 3003b CoCo 1 (the white one) with the melty keyboard. A few of the keys do not work. On a few of them, there appears to be a slimy substance that I've cleaned from the surface. The badge on ...
Brian Blake's user avatar
  • 1,731
49 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why do older computer cases turn yellow?

Why do plastic cases of old computers turn yellow? Is this yellowing a problem that has been solved in modern plastics?
CommonerG's user avatar
  • 713
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

How should I clean the plastic exterior of my computers and parts?

What is the most effective way to clean cases, keyboards, old calculators, etc. without harming or discoloring plastic finishes or printing/paint?
CommonerG's user avatar
  • 713
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

How can I rejuvenate Game Boy contacts? [duplicate]

I've got an old Nintendo Game Boy, with a number of games for it. The problem is that most of these games don't load any more, and I suspect that's an issue with the contacts either in the unit, or in ...
Åna's user avatar
  • 431
26 votes
4 answers
5k views

Cleaning 5¼" floppy drives

Going to the store is treacherous for me. So I prefer doing stuff at home, including cleaning up 5¼" floppy disks with only home supplies. Unfortunately, I do not know how or which materials/chemicals ...
Anthony Pham's user avatar
  • 2,474
10 votes
1 answer
310 views

What to replace the belt in the cassette drive of an Epson HX-20 with?

I am the owner of an Epson HX-20 laptop computer. It runs well except for the builtin cassette drive which doesn't seem to work reliably. After carefully disassembling it I found that the belt seems ...
fuz's user avatar
  • 1,564