Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Talk about non-Acorn classic computers/hardware/software here (including retro consoles)
Prime
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Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Prime » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:03 am

Hi all,

This may be a bit of a rant, inspired by the System 1 discussion on the LOLPRICE thread.

But something I really can't understand is where the desire to keep something 'original' happens at the expense of getting it working. For example had it been me I would have just replaced the ribbon cable, yeah not original but neither is the hackery that was required to preserve that one (no critisisim of Mutant Catapilla implied here as he explained he was working to the owner's spec).

Having a machine that is working is far more valuable to me than one that is original but dead. Yeah that sometimes means repairing tracks and / or replacing components, sometimes with more modern versions, why pay over the odds to buy a vintage component, that may well fail again in short order if a modern equivilent is available, epecially true of things like LS chips.

Maybe it's just me tho.

Cheers.

Phill.

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sirmorris
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby sirmorris » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:20 am

Nope. I'm with you 100%

If you want to keep something original then you are cursed to keep it non-working. Or pay the price for a proper restoration.

Jesus_PaintingNEW_293150090.jpeg


Q.E.D.

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danielj
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby danielj » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:21 am

So if something's pristine in its box I can understand why you're not looking at twiddling with it (to a degree, but then I don't understand pristine in box if you're not a museum), but if something's been fuddled with, was built from a kit etc, then another overhaul is just part of the history of the machine and should be welcomed :)

d.

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jonb
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby jonb » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:22 am

I think you have it there, Phill.

That's why I use a daughter board to repair Superbrain keyboard encoders. I mean, what chance is there that I will be able to get a custom encoder chip (it's really a standard part with a custom map, sort of like a ULA) for a relatively rare machine like this?

On the other hand, truly important machines like the System 1 or Altair 8800 might well benefit from having original parts fitted (meaning by that, contemporary parts with the same date code as the other components). For example, I would say that an Apple 1 would be worth more if the provenance of its componentry could be proved.

Again, it all depends on the owner's perspective. We are users and we want to have functional hardware. A collector (speculator?) wants provenance so that his / her investment is better protected.

Yes, you could argue that working > broken in value terms, but that is down to the buyer and likely to be on a case by case basis for the really rare stuff.

Cheers
JonB
Last edited by jonb on Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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oss003
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby oss003 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:23 am

Hmmm .... is that an original Robson? :lol:

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Elminster
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Elminster » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:47 am

I think, in the context of the System 1, you either keep it original or make it work. I think trying to do both you just end up with a mess.

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daveejhitchins
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby daveejhitchins » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:30 pm

Oh! You got me going now :mrgreen:

Take an old building, built in the 1600s or earlier . . . Through the years it's been upgraded to modern standards/fashons, as it would be at the time of the upgrade - which could have been extensions demolition of parts with rebuilds etc. - Move to these modern times . . . and our wonderful listed building status and all that implies - WHAT TF do they think they are saving? Surely, it's just another day-in-the-life of the building - e.g. Currently you may have to fork out a fortune to have original windows restored - when actually, when the building was first built, it may not have had window at all! IMO sympathetic restoration is the way to go - as sometimes the owner can't afford the subscribed restoration - no one else wants to buy it, so it just rots away. Stupidity . . .

Now runs for cover, with the popcorn and glass of hand pulled beer 8)

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Elminster
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Elminster » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:35 pm

Fairly sure they had invented windows by the 1600's. the glass sort, I think Micorsoft windows came later.

Building are an interesting analogy. When you watch the restoration programs it is interesting the costs and hoops that have to be gone through to make a listed building usable. i.e. who want to lives in a cold, damp house reading a book by candle light.

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Lardo Boffin » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:13 pm

For me you either keep it original regardless of its working status (and possibly just keep it in a display cabinet or whatever) or you get it to work and use it.

Below is my issue one 16k Spectrum (serial number 1499 of about 5 million?) - it lives in a display case with museum grade UV protecting glass. It just about works but I don't want to repair it as I would like to keep it original. When I use it I have to switch it on and then off again before it works properly and even then it gets confused about certain colours! I don't switch it on very often...


IMG_6341.JPG


If I wanted to use it regularly I would have the ULA replaced (to sort the colours) with one of the same era if possible and get the caps done etc. However I think it is a great thing to own as is and don't want to change anything.

Lardo
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1024MAK
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby 1024MAK » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:43 pm

Okay, lets play a what if...

What if the manufacturer made an error during the design or manufacturing. But the problem was not discovered until after customers had bought the product.

So every unit produced had a manufacturer approved modification done. But contracted the work out to independent service agents.

Further, let's say this occurred one to two years after the actual production run and sales.

Each service agent sourced the required components via whatever supplier they normally used. So various different components were fitted.

Which of of the thousands of units that were serviced would be an "original"?

Now during the life of the product, the various owners had it serviced. Either at regular intervals (for example, some users value reliability), or whenever a problem was noticed. So the various units produced all got serviced at varying times by different service agents, all using components from their own normal suppliers.

Now, how do we stand with the question: Which of of the thousands of units that were serviced would be an "original"?

IMHO, the servicing and repair of a old electronic item today, is no different to what would have happened back when the product was being supported not long after it was made.

Heck, both Sinclair and Acorn used various manufacturing companies and various part suppliers were used.

Now, if there is something already special about a machine, it may be worthwhile keeping it as a display only museum piece.

In the world of my job, as long as the engineering meets all the relevant standards, is safe (both for the end user, the employees and for the system) and functional, the originality is irrelevant. Systems that are required to be operational have to be kept functional. Poor reliability is not acceptable. One failed system can (and sometimes does) completely wreck the service to the end user costing compensation payments to get to eyewatering amounts of "paper" money. Earlier this month a battery system failed. Not including the cost of a replacement, staff costs, travel costs or lost time cost, the initial cost so far is in the ball park of £400000! Far more money than the actual cost of the battery.

So it very much depends on your own view. But remember that a good ad man or seller with the gift of the gab will say anything to "add value" to the item they are flogging....

Mark
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Elminster
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Elminster » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:56 pm

You also get the odd situation where on eBay it cost more to buy 'original' 6502/6522 etc that the cost of a new one (only a £1 or so) but when else do people buy used parts that cost more than new parts. Personally if my cpu explodes in my master I would just stick a new one in.

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danielj
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby danielj » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:26 pm

It's bonkers to do that if you want the darn thing to work! :D

d.

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Lardo Boffin » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:52 pm

I still think it boils down to collectibility versus usability.

If you are buying to collect or selling to a collector you tend to want it to be as original as possible.

If you are buying or selling to use you want it to be as reliable as possible.

I have ZX81s that I have done nothing to and will do nothing to because I want to keep them original. I don't intend to use them. I have several of these..

I have a couple of zeddys that I do use and I have replaced the regulators, capacitors, keyboard, RAM and added a composite output mod because it is all required to use them as reliably as possible.

I also refurbish them and sell them on eBay as usable zeddys (proceeds to charity - £40 to Cancer Research for one yesterday. I mention this as I don't want to sound like a gift of the gab merchant! :D ) and this means doing all of the mods above. I make it obvious in the blurb what has been changed and anyone buying to use will be looking for that. Anyone buying to collect will go elsewhere.

Lardo
Last edited by Lardo Boffin on Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Lardo Boffin » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:06 pm

Mark does make a good point about 'factory or dealer' modifications. One of my zeddys has the ROM kludge fix for the floating point error. Is it original? I guess not as it didn't come out of the factory that way.
It is however interesting and that makes it collectible to me.
I also don't know for certain whether the issue one Spectrum has ever been repaired or had any parts changed. I'm guessing not based on the state it was in when I got it though...
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ilcook
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby ilcook » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:06 pm

If it was me, I'd repair it, and having it working, and usable, so I can enjoy using it.

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Seldon2k
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Seldon2k » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:40 am

I am also one for the Restore it to life camp!

Although I 'Collect' I do so to be able to set up and turn on the items in my collection.
All the better to relive those heady days of discovery from my youth.
:roll:

I may be influenced in this by still having in my possession a lot of 'Original' components
for these machines. ULA's, ROM's, Static & Dynamic RAM, keyboard membranes etc.
However, the lack of an 'Original' part would definitely NOT prevent a repair.

I rarely sell anything I own, my policy being that if you wanted it, you should still want it 8)
YES, I AM a hoarder, there I have admitted it :lol:
If I did decide to sell an item at some unforeseeably distant time, I would describe it to the
best of my ability, including any repairs or modifications.

Underling Philosophy (Feel free to skip this bit as it is off-topic)
<sermon>
Buy to Let is THEFT!
It prevents people of normal means acquiring a home, and forces them to pay more than
they should to have a place to live.

Buying any product, Oil, Land, Old Computers, to speculate on an increase in value is THEFT!
It removes items from the pool available to those really interested in acquiring them, artificially
increasing prices, therefore DRIVING INFLATION. This make life harder for the majority.
This activity has driven up Fuel and food costs in recent years

Most will probably misread the above a rabid socialism. It is not!
Most people are paid a wage, (Profit), from adding value in some way. Constructing, Repairing, Providing a service etc.
Only a few distort this into buying low, holding onto to reduce availability, driving up value, then selling for an inflated profit.
</sermon>


Terry (Seldon2k)

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Lardo Boffin » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:22 am

Seldon2k wrote:<sermon>
Buy to Let is THEFT!
It prevents people of normal means acquiring a home, and forces them to pay more than
they should to have a place to live.

</sermon>


Terry (Seldon2k)

To some being able to rent is a necessary service - what about people with geographically mobile jobs? Should they buy and sell a house every couple years?
What about students? There are not and never will be enough halls of residence for them to live in.
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DutchAcorn
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby DutchAcorn » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:59 am

Interesting perspectives. What is considered precious vintage hardware by one is defective junk to someone else.

I totally understand the reconstruction of ancient vessels from old documents to study their behaviour at sea. But I have as little interest in the recreated Spectrum as I have in an original issue 1 Spectrum beyond repair.

So if you'd "repair" a ZX Spectrum by replacing the main board with a 21st century alternative I would quickly lose interest.

The Matchbox second processor gives me the opportunity to experience original functions that would otherwise be unreachable. But I would still jump at the chance of playing with a real ARM Evaluation second processor.

For me the value of a vintage tool is a combination of original hardware and original function. Since it is hard to preserve both there are usually choices to make.
Paul

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Elminster
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Elminster » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:41 am

I am somewhere in between if it is vintage but doesn't work then fix it with whatever is most appropriate but then I am not a museum so not to fussed if vintage 74ls or a new one!

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Elminster
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Elminster » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:43 am

Lardo Boffin wrote:
Seldon2k wrote:<sermon>
Buy to Let is THEFT!
It prevents people of normal means acquiring a home, and forces them to pay more than
they should to have a place to live.

</sermon>


Terry (Seldon2k)

To some being able to rent is a necessary service - what about people with geographically mobile jobs? Should they buy and sell a house every couple years?
What about students? There are not and never will be enough halls of residence for them to live in.


I read a longer post earlier :)

Before buy to let there were council houses so one is just filling a void I should think.

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1024MAK
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby 1024MAK » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:04 am

Okay. Lets take this to the next level...

Classic cars: How many have the original engine lubrication oil? How many have the original brake pads? How many have the original battery? How many have the original light bulbs?

Buildings: Where wood is used as part of the outside structure, or outside wall / cladding, how many old buildings still have the original wood? Thatched cottages: how many have the original straw?

In all these cases it's normal for parts to have been replaced in order for the item to be able to continue to function as intended. Yet with these, it causes no loss of price when they are traded.

With CRT televisions, especially the type that used valves (tubes) and the early transistor designs, they all would have needed replacement parts to keep them operational during their normal working life. But this does not affect their value.

So why is it different with computers?

As long as the servicing and repair work uses suitable and appropriate parts (in the same way that either the manufacturer, service agent or independent repairer would have done if the currently available components were available in the 1980's) I don't see the problem.

Indeed, with the exception of some transistors and chips being no longer available, and some chips having date codes or modern looking printing, I can often repair items and leave them looking like they have not been touched.

Not long ago I serviced a Slogger Click cartridge and then a few months later, I serviced a Sinclair Spectrum+ 128k machine. In both cases the owners were very happy. The owner of the Sinclair Spectrum+ 128k told me he had a good look at the board and could not believe that it had been worked on!

Also of note, Paul talks about replacing an original Spectrum board with a modern recreation. Yes, that is something different. But keep in mind that on World of Spectrum forums, information came to light some years ago which strongly indicates that sometimes instead of repairing a faulty 16k or 48k Spectrum board, instead Sinclair (or a service agent) instead put a different board in the case and then returned it. How do we know this? Because comparing case serial numbers with the issue number of the board and the date codes of the major chips reveals inconsistencies. Something strange may also have gone on with ZX81 machines as well. But this is harder to tell, as most don't have serial numbers.

Now, with the recreated machines, there is two bits to the story for me. First off, I prefer to buy them in either kit form, or just the PCB. I can then build them. For me soldering is fun :D. It also means that if I want, I can modify it to my own wishes.
The second bit, is machines that are only available as finished built products. For me, it's no different to me buying a modern electronic item and then taking it apart to have a look inside. Plus there is the fun of playing with any new features. For the same reason I have a Sinclair Spectrum +3 with an issue 3B PCB (these are hard to find), plus some Spectrum like computers from around the world ("clones").

This year, I got some recreated Spectrum cases (in fun colours) to house some of the modern recreated Spectrum boards :D

Mark
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby daveejhitchins » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:14 am

Elminster wrote:but then I am not a museum so not to fussed if vintage 74ls or a new one!
If you obtain your 74LS parts from China, you can, probably, get whatever date code you want stamped on them :lol:

Dave H :D
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1024MAK
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby 1024MAK » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:48 am

daveejhitchins wrote:
Elminster wrote:but then I am not a museum so not to fussed if vintage 74ls or a new one!
If you obtain your 74LS parts from China, you can, probably, get whatever date code and part number you want stamped on some older 74 chips at low cost :lol:

Dave H :D

Corrected for you :lol:

Mark
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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Lardo Boffin » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:36 am

Elminster wrote:
Lardo Boffin wrote:
Seldon2k wrote:<sermon>
Buy to Let is THEFT!
It prevents people of normal means acquiring a home, and forces them to pay more than
they should to have a place to live.

</sermon>


Terry (Seldon2k)

To some being able to rent is a necessary service - what about people with geographically mobile jobs? Should they buy and sell a house every couple years?
What about students? There are not and never will be enough halls of residence for them to live in.


I read a longer post earlier :)

Before buy to let there were council houses so one is just filling a void I should think.


I decided on reflection to not get too involved in that side of the discussion. It can't lead anywhere good. [-X
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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Seldon2k
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Seldon2k » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:21 pm

The earlier Philosophical Aside (One final trip off topic)
This was intended to be a Generalisation, holding for the majority of cases.
Therefore, exceptions do not disprove the thesis, they just add colour to the outlying edges.
Also, as they apply to a much smaller percentage of the population they don't contradict or
address the original statement's intent.

Fundamentally, it was only about not acquiring old kit to profit from its removal from the pool of available stuff.
People 'should' just buy to Use/Experiment with/Play with/Admire the aesthetics of,
and any other wholesome terms you can think of.

A number of the objections to repair seem to be based on the 'perceived' change in future 'Return On Investment'.
As someone who rarely sells anything, I cannot comment on that, or perhaps shouldn't. :wink:
As Lardo said, "It can't lead anywhere good. [-X"

Terry (Seldon2k)

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Elminster
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Elminster » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:27 pm

At the end of the day it is all ebays fault and it is all the blessing of ebay. It makes more stuff avaialble, creates a demand, prices go up.

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Lardo Boffin
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Lardo Boffin » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:38 pm

Nothing to see here.

IMG_6366.GIF
(5.65 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Move along.
Last edited by Lardo Boffin on Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BBC model B 32k issue 4, 16k sideways RAM, Watford 12 ROM board, Retroclinic Datacentre + HDD, matchbox co-proc, Viglen twin 40/80 5.25" discs, acorn cassette
BBC model B 32k issue 7, turboMMC, Opus Challenger 3 512k, Pi 3 coproc, Acorn 6502 coproc

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trixster
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby trixster » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:10 pm

Didn't an Acorn Phoebe get knackered because it was 'kept original' and the battery leaked....
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1024MAK
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby 1024MAK » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:40 am

It pains me to say this, as I love a good political discussion, but this is a forum about Acorn and related computers.

So enough politics.

Everyone, please stay on topic. If you want to talk about politics, I recommend you find a more appropriate web site.

Mark
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Seldon2k
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Re: Old hardware and keeping it 'original'

Postby Seldon2k » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:09 am

Very good point trixster, but the owner probably wanted it to sit under glass and not be turned on.
Therefore it would have made no difference to its 'Rarity Value' in their eyes.
The above is a guess, and a plausible soundbite, as I am unfamiliar with this particular case. :-)

Lardo: I never intended my comments about BTL as a personal attack. :oops: It was a brief generalisation intended to assist by analogy my comments about collectors. Obviously, ALL people who got the BTL route do not share the same attributes. Short arguments are the best arguments. I think that it would be a good idea for both of us to drop this aside and stick to our main interest, the love of retro-tech. :D

Terry (Seldon2k)
Last edited by Seldon2k on Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.


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