Questions tagged [power]

Questions and problems related to powering retro equipment.

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12
votes
2answers
2k views

How did the Altair ensure that the −5 V supply was the first connected and last disconnected?

The Wikipedia page for the Intel 8080 processor describes pin 11 as The −5 V power supply. This must be the first power source connected and the last disconnected, otherwise the processor will be ...
5
votes
1answer
358 views

Could a BBC Micro power supply be replaced with USB power?

According to this video the BBC Micro's power supply provided a 5 Volt supply to the motherboard. Could a BBC Micro have it's internal power supply replaced with a USB power connector?
2
votes
2answers
272 views

Which computer used the greatest number of DC supply voltages?

The original IBM PC supplied several voltages: +5 V, −5 V, +12 V, and −12 V. Which computer supplied the most DC voltages? To facilitate the comparison, let's agree on some uniform criteria for what ...
2
votes
1answer
127 views

Did the RTC in certain cartridges get power over the GBA bus?

Some GBA games, like Pokemon Ruby, contained an internal RTC with a small button battery to power it. When the cartridges were inserted and the GBA was powered on, did the RTC continue to run on the ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Amstrad CPC 6128 - Bench Power Supply Connection Setup

I am definitely at the very beginning of my refurb-journey and learning every step now on the way ... I struggle with the following: I saw a video by Noel's Retrolab where he troubleshooted a CPC. He ...
15
votes
7answers
6k views

Why did the IBM PC have an internal power supply?

Microcomputers run off low voltage DC, but usually came with a power supply to produce a suitable DC current from the mains AC voltage. It was usual among early home computers to supply an external ...
0
votes
1answer
176 views

How picky are CRTs about power cleanliness?

How picky are CRTs about the 'cleanliness' of the mains power? Cleanliness referring to electrical noise from thing like ac motors in fridges, powerline ethernet, etc. Cleanliness is also referring ...
10
votes
1answer
932 views

Why did the C64 use a separate “CAN” +5 V power supply for some chips?

The Commodore 64 had two separate +5 V power supplies: one supplied by the external PSU brick and a second one generated on-board from the 9 VAC via a 7805 regulator. This second +5 V power supply was ...
5
votes
2answers
611 views

Two graphics cards for retro gaming

I'm considering installing two graphics cards in my retro gaming setup (one AGP and one PCI) and was wondering if there are any drawbacks to doing so? The main things I'm thinking about are power ...
1
vote
0answers
61 views

Thinkpad 380E keeps shutting down randomly [closed]

Recently, I got a 380E from ebay. Seller says that it has boot error and not working, but the error was typical 161/163. I've replaced nee BIOS battery, and error was gone. After that, I formatted ...
3
votes
2answers
345 views

Using generic SMPS adaptor on old IBM Thinkpad makes strange symptoms

I found abandoned IBM Thinkpad 560X inside of company's cabinet. So, I got curious and get generic AC-DC SMPS adapter for 10$. It was rated 16V 3.75A, diameter for plug is just right, and polarity was ...
2
votes
1answer
882 views

How can I make an external PSU for an Apple IIc?

I purchased an Apple IIc from an auction site, but it came without the external power supply unit. While this question and its answers describe how to open up the IIc and use alligator clips to power ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

How does the C64 get an accurate TOD clock on 50 Hz power?

The C64 has two Time of Day (TOD) clocks, one in each of its 6526 CIA chips U1 and U2. These calculate time based on a 60 Hz or 50 Hz input to the TOD pin (pin 19); the clock input frequency assumed ...
9
votes
2answers
516 views

What's the best way to hook up an external power supply to the Apple IIc without a 7-pin female DIN plug?

As seems to be typical with Apple IIc purchases these days, mine came without the external power supply. I have ordered some 7-pin female DIN plugs and other adapters that will let me plug a modern ...
2
votes
2answers
601 views

How much PSU power do I need for an AMD 386DX-40 computer?

Just picked up my first retro PC the other day. Unfortunately, it's lacking a PSU so I need to find one. What kind of a PSU (in terms of wattage) do I need to comfortably run an AMD 386DX-40 system? ...
4
votes
1answer
516 views

Discharging an AT power supply for maintenance

The power supply for one of my computers needs a new fan. How do I discharge the power-supply capacitors to make it safe to open up? With an ATX power supply, it's just a matter of unplugging it, ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Do AT motherboards (286, 386, 486) really need -5V (besides redirecting it to ISA connectors)?

The power supply of my 386DX computer (an unknown brand M320 motherboard) is not trustworthy anymore, so I'm planning to use an ATX power supply, plus an ATX to AT adapter for P8-P9 connectors. The ...
13
votes
5answers
6k views

Does switching on an old games console without a cartridge damage it?

This is inspired by the question "What does a Nintendo Game Boy do when turned on without a game cartridge inserted?": Growing up in the 80s and 90s in the UK, it was "common knowledge" amongst my ...
7
votes
2answers
747 views

Does the Commodore 64 power switch have a history of failing?

My original (1983?) Commodore 64 (brown breadbox with grey function keys) has trouble powering on. Specifically, when I flip the power switch the power LED will glow dimly and the machine fails to ...
7
votes
1answer
317 views

How do you open an Amiga A590 Power supply?

I have an Amiga 590 hard drive, but the power supply appears to be dead on it so I want to take a look inside. I have removed three screws from the underside but it still won't open, acting like there'...
4
votes
2answers
247 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
332 views

Commodore PC-1 power supply measurements off

I have a Commodore PC-1 with a busted power supply. I have no desire to fix it as I don't have the know-how it is already 30 years old It is difficult to debug / find replacement components So I ...
8
votes
2answers
885 views

How to troubleshoot Amiga 600 power issue?

I have an A600 Rev 2D (schematic), which is dead as a doorknob. It was that way when I acquired it some years ago, and it's mostly been in storage since. Between the 5V rail and GND I measure a low ...
5
votes
3answers
592 views

What to check before powering on TRS80 Model III in unknown condition [duplicate]

Having managed to source a TRS-80 Model III that I'm told hasn't been powered on for quite some time (and I suspect this is a massive understatement), I'm worried that the first thing that might ...
35
votes
6answers
8k views

Why does the Cray 2 use 400 Hz power, and why generate that from motors?

This Cray sales brochure details on page 4 that the Cray-2 uses 400 Hz power, and generates this from motors. 400 Hz power from motor generators I'm not sure that in 1986, the state of the art ...
3
votes
1answer
322 views

Transatlantic gray market Commodore PETs and 220V/50Hz vs. 115/60Hz

In the late seventies, Commodore sold the PET in Europe at a considerably higher price than in America; they could get away with this because there was less competition there. Some of the American ...
4
votes
4answers
314 views

Running European retrocomputers on 60Hz power?

I have 3 European retro computers that I'm trying to run on North American power through a step-up transformer. So, I am using 220V/60Hz instead of the European standard of 220V/50Hz. BBC Master ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Why the switch to “Mickey Mouse” (type C14) power cables?

Inspired by this question asking about "regular" power cables, I have been curious about (read: irritated by) the rise of "Mickey Mouse" power cables. Apparently they come from the same standards ...
28
votes
7answers
12k views

Why did computers use a power supply with a socket?

Most home electrical appliances use a fixed power cord and have a on/off switch near the front. I was in many government electronics labs and that cord and socket was not used i.e HP test equipment. ...
4
votes
0answers
296 views

Cost of Apple II switching power supply

Apple went to the trouble of designing a switching power supply at a time when they were still quite new and not widely used for consumer electronics, perhaps because Steve Jobs liked the aesthetics ...
106
votes
22answers
37k views

Was there ever any reason to wait 30 seconds to restart a c.1995 PC?

I owned a PC in the mid-to-late 90s, and while everyone said when you turn it off and back on again, count to 30. But it also had an instant reset button down below. Was there ever really any risk ...
2
votes
2answers
688 views

Was there ever a kilowatt workstation?

Back in the day, workstations used to get impressively big. Take a look at this — sure, a modern laptop has more computing power, but you don't see personal computers weighing eighty pounds these days....
5
votes
2answers
426 views

Checklist for powering up an Apple IIgs?

I've just been given an Apple IIgs that hasn't been turned on since 1999. What's a reasonable set of checks to go through to make sure I don't toast the thing the first time I plug it in? The machine ...
53
votes
2answers
11k views

Why did Commodore fill their power supplies with epoxy?

If you know anything about the Commodore 64 (and other Commodores, really) you know that Commodore really went the cheap route and produced some awful power supplies. The Commodore 128 PSU isn't ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Macintosh LC II power supply clicking

I have a Macintosh LC II that I just acquired. When I attempted to power it on, I got nothing. No tones, no LED, no fan...nothing. I took out the power supply and tried to measure any voltage ...
2
votes
1answer
399 views

When did computers start being able to take both 115 and 230 volts? [closed]

With modern computers and game consoles, it's common to have the ability to take 115 or 230 volt mains supply, selected by a small switch on the back of the machine. Presumably the logistical ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Can a standard ATX power supply be used on a Macintosh Performa 476?

I just received a Performa 476 and was shocked at the amount of rust in the computer. I believe it literally sat underwater for some time. The motherboard looks like it can be salvaged but the power ...
14
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
630 views

When did energy saving start to become important?

There was a time where computers often just stayed on all the time. Computer monitors did not have power save functions... they were either on or off. Processors such as the 6502, 68000, 8086, 286, ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the proper way to test the PSU output for a Commodore 128D?

This question is directly related to comments on the more general question and answer here. The Commodore 128D and 128D-CR have an internal PSU that can be readily and safely disconnected from the ...
7
votes
2answers
673 views

Can I power a z180 with 3.3v [closed]

I'm planning to buy a Z8018006PSC. A z180 CPU (which I found is compatible with the z80 and has some advantages, for instance, able to address up to 1MB of RAM). I'm planning to use it together with ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

How and why did the ZX Spectrum use so many voltages?

Whilst researching the Zilog Z80, I had found that it accepts a 5V power supply.[2] When looking for information on the ZX Spectrum, I found that its power adaptor produces 9V.[1] Confused, I did some ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How can a computer use the drive's momentum for emergency power?

I remember reading an answer about a computer that, in the event of a power failure, would write the important parts of the memory to disk - using the momentum of the still-spinning drive to do so. ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I use a UK power adapter in NTSC NES

I have an old US (NTSC) NES system which we found in the garage. Sadly the power supply is missing. As I now live in the UK, I was wondering if it is possible to use a UK NES power supply with it. ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Can polarity inversion damage a ZX Spectrum?

I have a ZX Spectrum+ and it didn't came with it original power supply. I bought a 9 Volts and 2.25 Amps power supply with switchable connectors. There was a mistake and the polarity was inverted, ...
3
votes
2answers
363 views

External power supply for 16.5V portable computer (Zenith SupersPort 286e)

I have acquired a Zenith SupersPort 286e portable computer without its battery and the external power supply unit seems dead (corrosion and/or leaking capacitors). The problem is that the power suppy ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

PAL C64 in the US - 50Hz vs 60Hz AC Frequency, will that matter?

I currently live in Japan and use PAL C64 from Europe, here the line voltage is 100V at 50Hz (Tokyo). I will be moving to the US in about 2 months. The US uses 110-120V (power supplies are usually ...
22
votes
5answers
5k views

How can I power a C64?

I was chatting with our neighbor and after some long talking, I found out that he has a Commodore 64. I'd love to test it, however I'm not sure how to power it. How can I power a C64?
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Powering up my ZX Spectrum

I have also found a nice ZX Spectrum laying around. It needs a power source of course to run but there seems to be none that can be used to power it. Google doesn't seem to help and I would love to be ...