Make a picture ledge for your vintage computer

Make a picture ledge for your vintage computer

Some Youtubers, including Casual Retro Gamer, use picture ledges to keep their vintage computer systems on the wall when they’re not using them. You can buy a picture ledge, but they’re easy to make, too. And if you make them, you can make them whatever length you want.

A picture ledge is a small, J-shaped shelf that mounts on the wall, normally used for displaying art without having to use a bunch of hangers. But their size works well for vintage home computers and game consoles too, allowing you to store and display them.

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Timex Sinclair 1000: The can’t-miss that missed

Timex Sinclair 1000: The can’t-miss that missed

The Timex Sinclair 1000 was the U.S. version of the Sinclair ZX81. It was perhaps Timex’s most successful home computer, but its success paled next to its British counterpart. It was a real computer for $100 way back in 1982. The public was tiring of game consoles and wanted more capability, so what could go wrong?

The Timex Sinclair 1000 sold for $99, and was the first home computer to sell for under $100. It was a very limited machine with 2 KB of RAM, a membrane keyboard, and no color or sound, and was discontinued in 1983.

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Atari 800 video cables

Atari 800 video cables

The standard for video output on 8-bit computers is there was no standard. Well, oddly enough, a bunch of companies did something super similar, but there are enough gotchas that you have to be careful. At least Atari sidestepped the problem. Here’s my experience with Atari 800 video cables, which also (mostly) applies the XL and XE variants. And you can use the same cable with other machines in a pinch.

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7805 switch mode replacement

One of the best things you can do for heat dissipation in vintage computers and consoles is replace the 7805 voltage regulator with a modern switch mode replacement. Here’s why that helps and where to get one.

A modern 7805 switch mode replacement regulator runs cooler than the original 7805. This reduces the need for heat dissipation and helps other components, such as capacitors, last longer.

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Why do capacitors fail?

Why do capacitors fail?

Bad capacitors are the bane of generations of consumer electronics. They plagued early 90s Amigas and Macs, early 2000s PCs, and cheap hardware even today. So why do capacitors fail? And how can you tell when a failed capacitor is a problem?

Capacitors fail when the electrolyte dries out, or when the gas inside them builds up to a point that it opens a safety valve and the electrolyte leaks out. A good capacitor takes decades to dry out, but a cheap capacitor can leak within a few short years.

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Amiga 600: The Amiga no one wanted

Amiga 600: The Amiga no one wanted

The Amiga 600 was one of the last Amigas, and it became a symbol of everything wrong with Commodore and the product line. Retro enthusiasts like it today because of its small size, so it’s the perfect retro Amiga for today. But it couldn’t have been much more wrong for 1992.

The Amiga 600 was a cost-reduced Amiga for home use, similar in size and appearance to a Commodore 64. But internally it wasn’t much more than a repackaged Amiga 1000 from 1985, trying to compete with VGA graphics and 386 CPUs.

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Retrobright with sunlight and no chemicals

Retrobright with sunlight and no chemicals

I heard earlier this year that you can retrobright without chemicals, using only sunlight. I haven’t heard of a lot of people trying it. But I had a yellowed disk drive, and it’s summertime, so I decided to give it a shot.

A few people experimented with retrobright without chemicals in 2019, then the idea kind of faded away. I decided to try it, and found it works surprisingly well.

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