Does baking computer chips fix them when they’re broken? Can you fix computer chips in an oven? The answer is sometimes. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know when it will help, and when it does, we may not know why. But, when faced with a broken chip, we don’t exactly have anything to lose, either.
Baking computer chips does seem to fix them, at least sometimes. Whether it works depends entirely on why the chip failed in the first place, which isn’t always possible to know.
If you’re looking for the best chip puller or IC extraction tool, I don’t think anyone will argue with my assertion it’s the Jonard EX-2. I finally picked one up this fall after watching various retro Youtubers use them for more than a year. The videos aren’t exaggerating. This chip puller makes life with retro machines much easier. This is my Jonard EX-2 review.
One question that comes up pretty frequently among vintage computer enthusiasts is what to use as a MOS 6522 replacement. Commodore used this chip extensively, but so did others. There are suitable replacements in the form of second-source 65c22 chips, but not all of them work. Here’s what to use.
Commodore went out of business in 1994, and started winding down its chip production as early as 1992. But some of its designs were available through second sources, and the 6522 was one of them.
A lot of software advertises itself as working with a Hayes or Hayes compatible modem. What does that mean? And what’s Hayes? It’s a de facto standard named after a defunct maker of modems. Let’s talk about why Hayes was important. It was so important, you can even still buy a USB Hayes compatible modem for legacy applications today.
Hayes introduced a command set that started with the letters AT, for ATtention. Other makers adopted this command set and cloned the Hayes modem to various degrees, leading to the terminology of a Hayes compatible modem.
In the 80s, when all-in one computers like the Amiga 500, Apple IIc, Atari 520 and 1040ST, and Tandy 1000EX and HX were popular, monitor stands helped us keep our systems organized. It’s hard to find a monitor stand from the period now, but there’s an acceptable modern substitute, or you can make your own. If you make your own, you can make it suitable for 8-bit systems as well, letting you stack your disk drives next to a monitor with the system unit underneath.
A photo of someone’s newly acquired Amiga 2000 turned up on a vintage computing forum recently. It was sporting two 3.5″ drives, but also had a Chinon 5.25″ drive in its lower bay. Someone asked what the 5.25-inch drive was for. I responded it’s a good sign the system has an Amiga Bridgeboard in it. The Bridgeboard turns a big-box Amiga like a 2000 into an odd hybrid Amiga-PC clone.
First released in 1987, the Amiga Bridgeboard consisted of most of an IBM PC clone on a single full-length card. It had its own ISA bus, but it was also able to access some Amiga functionality, not just to provide IO but also to provide ways to share data between the two systems.
Many vintage computers have RS-232 ports, and some current equipment does too, especially network switches. But what is RS-232? And why did it only partly fall out of favor? And what about RS-232C? I’ll try to clear up the confusion.
Vintage computers and video game systems, as well as other consumer devices, often offer more than one video output option. Composite and S-Video are two of the most common options. Let’s look at composite vs S-Video, and why one is better than the other.
S-Video separates the video signal into two components, the chrominance (color) and luminance (brightness), where composite transfers them both on a single wire. Separating the two gives a clearer picture, though the difference depends on how the circuit is implemented.
Being the best doesn’t make you the market leader. Being cheapest doesn’t either. What I’ve heard is that it’s usually the cheap enough, good enough solution that wins. But even that is an oversimplification. Here’s how market penetration can be achieved.
Someone asked in a vintage computer forum recently what the correct monitor would be to use with a VIC-20. Commodore never sold a white monitor the same color as the VIC. Its first color monitor was the 1701, which matched the C-64. If you want a period correct Commodore VIC-20 monitor, you have a couple of options.
The VIC-20 will work with any composite monitor or television with RF or composite inputs. But there is one monitor that arguably looks more “right” than the others.