34950Re: [midatlanticretro] Was it worth it??
- Mar 30, 2014On 3/30/2014 8:31 AM, Dave Wade wrote:
>While it's sad to note how many mainframes and minicomputers were
> Its what happened to the rest that is sad. Much of the TTL support chips
> in my early computers and other logic devices were built with chips
> recovered from scrap computer boards. The gold edge connectors had been
> removed and sold for scrap, and the boards were available for coppers at
> local electronic surplus shops. Sadly all those shops are gone. You
> can't even get scrap LCD panels from the tip to see if they need
> re-capping. I guess I do feel slightly peeved as the boards almost
> certainly came from scrap ICL1900 computers and there are, as far as I
> know, no ICL1900 computers in use or in preservation anywhere.
"scrapped", also note that Dave used "TTL support chip and logic
devices" in his early computers. Some of that stuff went somewhere than
Many of us in the 1970's used surplus parts from mainframe and
minicomputers, to build our microcomputers and supply them with
peripherals. We shopped in those "surplus shops" or bought from them by
mail-order - you can see some ads in the early microcomputer magazines
and hobby electronic flyers of the period. And there were small
companies whose business was to turn minicomputer peripherals into
It's hard today, to understand a 1970's world without computers. That
is, a world where computers were only at universities, big companies,
research facilities - and kept well away from most of their users. They
cost about as much as a *house*. In that resource-scarce world of the
1970's, techies were glad to get any kind of scrap hardware, for the
cost of a used car for whole peripherals, or the cost of lunch (or
dinner) for individual devices. Even scrap parts were valuable - one
company (PolyPaks) sold discarded "floor sweeping" IC's on a regular basis.
By the late 1970's, microcomputers had their own peripherals, often
built from microprocessor chip sets, and because there were enough
microcomputers and companies to make a business of it.
21st century electronic scrap, by contrast, is mostly useless.
Components impossible to salvage, custom-made with undocumented
features, not designed for removal (except for screen repair, maybe).
Consider the millions of smart-phones scrapped annually; are there very
many "projects" to turn them into "computers" or use their "parts"? It
was cheaper to design a cell-phone chipset into a custom-designed
computer card - called the Raspberry Pi. Or, just buy an Arduino or any
other credit-card-size computer of the last decade.
1990's and earlier "scrap" is still available at hamfests, or in surplus
shops in parts of the USA which still do business in 20th century
No comment on recapping LCD's or computers, but people do that stuff
here and there in the USA.
Herbert R. Johnson
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
- << Previous post in topic