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Finally saying goodbye to an old computer friend.


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Wanting a power supply for bench testing all things automotive, mostly EFI stuff, a 12v and 5v power supply is quite handy. Old PC power supplies are perfect for this, stable 12v in the 15-20 amp range, 5 v in the 20-35 amp range, PLENTY of power for bench testing sensors, powering up ECU's etc. A couple years back I purchased an old PC power supply for dirt cheap to do just that. I am to point now that I could really use a 5 volt power supply to test the '97 BMW M3 fuel tank pressure sensor to see if it has the same voltage-to-pressure scale as the GM version for the LSx conversion. If so, I can just use the BMW sensor, otherwise need to swap out for the GM unit, can't seem to find the values for the BMW sensor anywhere so must test it myself.


Any how, went to set up my power supply and it wan't quite working. It makes a buzzing sound, an external CPU fan attached to the wire bundle tries to spin, and even when I hook up a light bulb to load it, it just barely glows. No mater what I do, the 12v side puts out only 2.63v, the 5v side only puts out 2.37v. Bad power supply.


This bring us to my first PC, originally a DOS machine, then Winders 3.1, has been in storage for 10 years now, not powered up for at least that long. Knowing I will never use it again, dug it out, plugged it in and it fired right up, woo-hoo, god power supply. Brought back lots of memories from the mid '90's surfing via dial up scrounging what very little info on the net there was on the Z cars. Had one of those "wow, I am getting old" moments chuckling at my attempt to visually customize the PC. Thinking back to not having the readily available information we have now the forums and dedicated sites etc, made me think how all these kids now days would get along without the internet and all this instant communication and access to almost anything information they need? We earned the info we found back then, now days these kids expect the info to be spoon fed to them with no respect or care for how that information was obtained so they could have it! I digress...


Then pulled the cover off and harvested the power supply. :2thumbs:



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How many Megs of hard drive space did that badboy have?


I remember the internet just starting out as well, I can't believe the amount of information we have now at our fingertips. I definitely try not to take it for granted. I remember when Haynes, the FSM, and any How-to book were your best friend for information. And the library! Haven't stepped foot in one of those in 10-15 years.... do they still exist?

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I banned computers from my house. TV, too. Only way I can get on here and post is from the library.


That's one of the pitfalls of having an addictive personality.


I only recently disposed of a computer case that I'd been using for more than 10 years. It had a ridiculous amount of stickers, car show plaques and other assorted junk hanging off of it. I must have upgraded that thing about 6-7 times. It started off as a Pentium II and ended as an AMD somethingorother.

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I have an Amiga 1000 sitting in a closet, right next to its replacement, the AT Shelled Amiga 2000 and ITS replacement, the Amiga 3000.


For years I used the 18mhz Amiga as my browser because it was faster than IBM Based stuff.


To this day I still miss being able to grab text from one application and transfer it (formatting intact including images) directly into my Desktop Publisher. I could do that in 1991 with Pagestream (came on Diskettes)... still can't do it with any Microbloat software...


Down in the bottom of the same closet I think I have the old 'strap the receiver to it' modem as well as a cassette tape drive...

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Atari! That was the decision we had to make, Atari or Amiga (Commodore...)

We had a 'friend' who sold Ataris but I never trusted anything he said, so I went with the Amiga.


Batted 1000 on that decision, BOTH never went anywhere in the end. But my graphics and video editing were a hoot back in the days of the Video Toaster...

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Never had an Atari, never had a computer from Radio Shack, no 8088 powered hardware, not even a 486. The first computer in our house came pre-loaded with Windows 95 and had a Pentium. It is long gone, but last year I purchased three old behemoths from a local university for practically nothing. I've now got a Pentium 75MHz machine, Pentium 150MHz and for the coup-de-grace a dual Pentium Pro 200MHz machine. Now I can finally make use of my old game disks like Roger Wilco, or run Sim City and Lemmings non-emulated. I personally own 4 laptops and 9 other computers ranging from 1995 to the latest Core i7 machine I built last year and all of my legacy hardware still functions exactly as designed.

Now if only I could find something truly ancient in computer terms, something with ferrite core memory and a punch card reader. Then maybe I could justify my purchase of an IBM 1401 programming manual from a local thrift store a couple of weeks back.

I wouldn't mind having an analog 300 baud modem like TonyD either.

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It all started with the Atari 2600 game machine, then my first real computer, and Apple 2+ yes I said Plus! way better than the appleII, not as elaborate as the Apple 2c which was not completely compatable with my older stuff! Then it was on to an 086 PC with 640K and TWIN 5 1/4 floppies!


Uggg I feel old all of a sudden.

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My first PC was a Commodore Vic-20 when I was ten years old. It had an enormous 5 KB of RAM.


I think it may have been one of the first PC's that had color, and you could hook it up to the TV for the monitor. The mass storage device used a cassette tape. After recording the program written in Basic, you had to cue the cassette and look at the rotary dials to know when to stop and press play, lol.


Later, I had a Commodore CBM 8032. Just green monochrome display that could only display ASCII character text. Twin 5.25" disk drives in a case bigger than the computer!


I felt like I was Matthew Broderic...the kid in the War games movie (without the handset modem) :lol:






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TRS-80... that's what I cut my teeth on. It was awesome. :D


Ah, yes, my first was trash-80 too...type III to be exact. It came back to haunt me in the early 90's while I was working for a tank calibration company. I had all kinds of flashbacks when I saw that machine in the corner of a back room. And, yep, they still used it. The calculations took 3 hours or so to run depending on the number of measurements input. I was too impatient to wait so I rewrote the code to a plain ol' Basic so it would run on our super fast 486 box. The program ran in like 30 seconds. B)

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Apple IIe was my first... dad brought his home when the govt dept he worked for upgraded to Macintoshes. I used to play choplifter, some years later I had a 20Mhz 286 of my very own... later yet I got a 33Mhz 486 and scrounged a 66mhz chip to double the speed...



I like computer hardware :D

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You guys are newbies. Starting in the late 70's:


First computer I every used, the mongo PDP-11, for a "computer" class of some kind. Got to it via any one of twenty or so dumb terminals in a lab, all arranged so as to be able to see the massive mini-mainframe through a huge glass window - sort of a cathedral, you might say...



I leaned a lot about programming a whatnot, but had to drop out for some years for a variety of reasons. Time passed, but I knew I loved computers.


One birthday, I got a gift from my finest girl and all our friends. My first computer at home, a Timex-Sinclair 1000. For $100 you got a computer and unlimited possibilities.




Zilog z80 at 3.5 mHz. Came with 2k RAM (the big American version), upgraded soon with 16k memory - so much memory, how will we ever use it? That's the RAM sticking up in back. If you bumped the computer it would wiggle the connector and crash the machine. I've still got this in a closet somewhere... learned BASIC on this machine, all the programming fundamentals, ultimately machine code and assembly. Cassette tape for storage, old b&w tv for monitor. I remember groups of us "hackers" staying up all weekend (literally) programming and figuring out algorithms and arguing about logic, pot after pot of coffee. Made flowcharts that took up the entire wall. Did some cool stuff with that little machine. I would take hand-written copies of our programs down to the other students taking various night classes (years of night classes!), always very exciting. Everyone knew how to translate the various flavors of BASIC on-the-fly, we'd trade code and code them in during the weekend, take our findings back to the next class.


Eventually I managed to get back to college full time, now an engineering major. The little Timex wasn't really a "working" computer, but I didn't have much money, so I saved and saved and saved, finally picked up a Coleco Adam:




Z80 at 3.6 mHz, 80 KB RAM, twin tape drives, letter-quality (daisy wheel) printer (which was really very nice though a bit noisy). Three hundred baud modem, got me into Compuserve, many hours of fun (after 8:00 pm). Got me through my first couple of years of college. Learned spreadsheets, database basics, got pretty good at word processing, got to know Z80 assembly pretty good. Ran an odd version of CP/M. Later upgraded to a 5 1/4" disk drive (oh the storage!).


One day in '86 or so I got a good deal on a blown-up Mac 128 - 128 k, that is. 8 mHz Motorola 68000.





Fixed the power supply with solder and attitude. When it booted that first time, it was - spectacular. Amazing. Unbelievable. Graphics, icons, menus on the top of the screen. You move this little "mouse" thing around, a pointer on the screen moves around, you point to what you want and push the button. Things happen. It was breathtaking. When you typed into a document in this program called "Word" by this company called "Microsoft", you could change what it looked like by changing the font, and then when you printed it it looked the same as on the screen! Unbelievable! Later upgraded the memory (with a soldering iron) to 512k (Lord, I was sexy in those days), and got a 1200 baud modem.


At about the same time, I picked up an original IBM PC, 4 mHz (?) Z8088, again a bad power supply (hard to find, hard to fix) that had also been dropped. Got it running, saw something like this:





No mouse. No graphics. 64k RAM. Single floppy drive. It did have a well-documented BASIC, pretty good for programming. Lost interest in it pretty quick, as I had been given a PASCAL for the Mac. No more "GOSUB"s for me! I understand that later they came out with a graphical interface for the thing, but it was primitive and inefficient. Glad I never looked back...


Worked for Apple for a while, as a co-op in college, in the late '80's. Some of the guys there took pity on me, assembled a Mac II out of parts left over from thermal and mechanical testing. (They really weren't supposed to - those parts were supposed to go through a mulcher, but that kind of rule is sometimes forgotten...). A really high-performance rig, grew over the years, more memory, hard drives (then bigger hard drives), faster modems, faster graphics cards, so on and so on.


Time has marched on, now I buy new computers periodically. It's weird. Walk into a store, point at something you want, they give it to you. No soldering iron, no coding. Quicker, easier, but not quite as fun.

Edited by strotter
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Yeah, but did you get the thermal printer that was available with the Timex???


<Tony D Factoid/History>

Some may know one (several) of my e-mail addys are 'turbotony' at domain name...


When I started in vehicles, I turboed just about anything that moved. My Corvair had one, my Beetle and Bus had one, and I sold a lot of engines with conversion kits out of my parents garage (bought and shipped from Turbo City in Orange CA, to be specific...) So it wasn't a big jump to be called 'TurboTony' by your car friends.


Well, some of us are old enough to remember where this story is going. One day someone walks into the computer lab, and notices the first thing I did was push in "The Button".


Well it wasn't long before my car friends noticed the Computer Geeks ALSO called me 'TurboTony'


And from there, the rest is history.

Edited by Tony D
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