PDA

View Full Version : What to do with an old, old PC?



Flack
10-15-2009, 12:44 AM
A couple of years ago I ended up with a couple of really old PCs. Both are 386s, I think, and each only has a single 5 1/4" floppy drive.

I actually have a 486 DX4/100 that I used to use for DOS retrogaming, but even that machine has been decommissioned for the time being and relocated to the closet. For the life of me I can't think of a single use for these two old machines taking up space out in my garage. I've tried selling and even giving them away and can't find any takers.

Anyone have any thoughts before they end up in a dumpster? They could be yours for free*.

(*Plus $50 shipping ...)

Jorpho
10-15-2009, 01:19 AM
You've even tried Craigslist?

Otherwise I would look into whether your municipality has special disposal services for this kind of thing.

gdement
10-15-2009, 01:54 AM
Might be good for some old games that run too fast on pretty much everything. But I assume you're not having that problem.

There are slowdown utilities for faster machines of course, such as "moslo", but I always found that if I tried to slow them down too much they'd just lock up instead. So starting with a slower system was helpful.
Still, you can achieve pretty dramatic slowdowns by sabotaging the BIOS settings, without causing lockups.


There's collectors out there for almost anything. There's even people who collect old processors.
If you haven't already, maybe try posting them on some dedicated classic computer forums - you might find somebody at those places who wants them, hopefully local. Pictures will make them look sexy.

Failing that, you could strip them and sell the components. If you don't expect much money then at least the floppy drives and maybe the PSUs, possibly some removable chips would sell. People who just want a component don't want to pay shipping on the whole machine.
It would be slow moving stuff though, so you'd probably want to use 30-day listings on ebay (35 cents a month) or post them on other sites that don't have listing fees. Chasethechuckwagon.com has a classic computer category I think.

If they have IBM Model M keyboards - there's definitely a market for those as separate items.

coreys429
10-15-2009, 02:20 AM
I take most old computer stuff that's like late 80s, 90s stuff to a local computer store which they recycle it for me and sell off what they can.

Trebuken
10-15-2009, 06:49 AM
Dedicate one machine to text adventure games and one to CGA only games.

jb143
10-15-2009, 11:46 AM
I know I've mentioned this on here before because it's something that I've always wanted to do. Replace the power supply with rechargable batteries(gel-cells from a power wheels should work), mount a motor/gearbox/wheel on each side(castors for balance), wire up a simple interface board through the parallel port, add a few sensors(light, bump, motion, etc...also through the interface board). Programming can be done in QBasic. Use "OUT 888, data" to send control data to the parallel port, "data=INP(889)" to read input. Then program it to be a robot...patrol the house for burglars/fires, serve drinks, make a team of them to play soccer, or whatever you want.

Jorpho
10-15-2009, 12:22 PM
All of these elabortate projects are rather silly considering each computer only has a 5.25" drive. Retro computers are all well and good, but when there's no decent way to even transfer files to them, you have to know when to quit.

On the other hand, there are those compact flash/SD-card to IDE adapters out there. On the other hand, why waste time and money messing with something like that when the computer's hardware might not even support it properly?

Flack
10-15-2009, 12:24 PM
Dedicate one machine to text adventure games and one to CGA only games.

At this point in my life, space is an issue. In my upstairs game room I have two small desks -- one houses my server, the other houses my C64 setup. (Until recently, I had my 486 set up over there too.) I also have a third machine upstairs that I'm building just for emulators, to connect to the large TV I have up there. In my downstairs office I have my main workstation. Scattered around the house are an assortment of other machines and laptops, so many that occasionally I'll look at my router and think, "Do I really have that many machines powered on?" In the upstairs closet I have multiple Commodore, Apple II and Amiga systems that I simply don't have room for. I'm out of space. If I want to play CGA and/or text adventures, and occasionally I do, I'll either do it on that 486 or through DosBox.

Flack
10-15-2009, 12:25 PM
I know I've mentioned this on here before because it's something that I've always wanted to do. Replace the power supply with rechargable batteries(gel-cells from a power wheels should work), mount a motor/gearbox/wheel on each side(castors for balance), wire up a simple interface board through the parallel port, add a few sensors(light, bump, motion, etc...also through the interface board). Programming can be done in QBasic. Use "OUT 888, data" to send control data to the parallel port, "data=INP(889)" to read input. Then program it to be a robot...patrol the house for burglars/fires, serve drinks, make a team of them to play soccer, or whatever you want.

I will set one aside for my next trip to Chicago. I drive right through St. Louis and will gladly donate one for your impending robotic soccer team. ;)

Flack
10-15-2009, 12:30 PM
You've even tried Craigslist?

I've almost given up on Craigslist, especially when it comes to giving away things for free. The last time I tried it I had 10 people respond, 2 show up, and neither left with the item. For that amount of hassle I'll just toss them.

The weekend after next is OVGE (Oklahoma Video Game Expo) in Tulsa. Room permitting, I'll take those machines there and mark them "free" and see what happens. One way or another, they won't be coming back home.

jb143
10-15-2009, 12:40 PM
All of these elabortate projects are rather silly considering each computer only has a 5.25" drive. Retro computers are all well and good, but when there's no decent way to even transfer files to them, you have to know when to quit.

On the other hand, there are those compact flash/SD-card to IDE adapters out there. On the other hand, why waste time and money messing with something like that when the computer's hardware might not even support it properly?

I think half the point is that it would be silly...and completely feasable too. In grade school I was making a balsa wood robot using a C64(it broke:(). In high school I used an old TRS-80 with a 5 1/4" dive as well. The old computers are more than adequate. Sure you could use a more modern PC and it would be quicker and easier and offer you things like webcams for facial recognition, and mics & soundcards for voice recognition/real voice playback...but what's the fun in that. :)



I will set one aside for my next trip to Chicago. I drive right through St. Louis and will gladly donate one for your impending robotic soccer team. ;)

I've probally got enough old PC's lying around but I'm sure my wife would kill me. Have enough projects on the back burner as it is...but if you want to pick up some old PC's on your way back... ;)

Push Upstairs
10-15-2009, 02:21 PM
I have *two* older computer (aside from this one) and that is more than enough for me and my current living living quarters.

I'd spruce up the Dell I have (not terribly old...made in 2004) but I need to find some more ram for it first.

Archangel
10-15-2009, 07:15 PM
I still have a dell system from 2001 that works beautifully since I was the one always working on it and cleaning it. I plan on using it as a server for a livestream soon but in the mean time its just there when I need it.

But I have some systems over my grandparents that date back all the way to the 80's, I do not know if they still work I bet given the chance I can get them working with a little time. Even have one that works with Windows 3.1 which I had not touched since I was 8..

Gameguy
10-15-2009, 09:50 PM
I have a spare CGA monitor that I don't use, the only reason I have it is because I don't want it trashed. It just takes up space. I haven't tried the classifieds yet, maybe I should.

Flack
10-16-2009, 01:24 PM
I have *two* older computer (aside from this one) and that is more than enough for me and my current living living quarters.

I'd spruce up the Dell I have (not terribly old...made in 2004) but I need to find some more ram for it first.

Depending on the age of the Dell, it may end up being cheaper to replace than upgrade. I don't know what it is with old RAM but prices have gone through the roof. I have a Dell Dimension (3000, I think) with a gig of RAM that I was looking to upgrade to either 2 or 4 gigs and it was about $80/gig, so 4 gigs was $320 plus shipping. I ended up buying the machine I mentioned earlier, a mobo, quad core proc and 8 gigs of RAM for ~$300 (I already had a case and hard drives).

I ended up moving machines around that that Dimension works great for 90% of what I do. It's a little slow for audio/video editing, but everything else works fine.

c0ldb33r
10-16-2009, 01:31 PM
...program it to be a robot...patrol the house for burglars/fires, serve drinks, make a team of them to play soccer, or whatever you want.
THIS! or buy a box of wigs and build a harem!

Ryaan1234
10-16-2009, 01:34 PM
THIS! or buy a box of wigs and build a harem!
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/en.futurama/images/c/cf/Crushinator.jpg
Really?

Push Upstairs
10-16-2009, 01:55 PM
Depending on the age of the Dell, it may end up being cheaper to replace than upgrade. I don't know what it is with old RAM but prices have gone through the roof. I have a Dell Dimension (3000, I think) with a gig of RAM that I was looking to upgrade to either 2 or 4 gigs and it was about $80/gig, so 4 gigs was $320 plus shipping. I ended up buying the machine I mentioned earlier, a mobo, quad core proc and 8 gigs of RAM for ~$300 (I already had a case and hard drives).

I ended up moving machines around that that Dimension works great for 90% of what I do. It's a little slow for audio/video editing, but everything else works fine.

The machine I found was a Dimension 2400. It's DDR ram which, isn't nearly as expensive as $80 a gig. I could probably find 1gig for around $30...but I have no real purpose for this machine other than its got XP on it.

ubikuberalles
10-16-2009, 03:56 PM
Does OKC have a recycling center or a program for recycling/tossing old electronics? Albuquerque does and normally they charge you a nominal fee to bring it in. At least twice a year they offer the service for free. They accept old monitors, PCs, stereos etc and send it to a company that reclaims the chips and metals and then dispose the stuff in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

Worth checking out especially if you will be tossing more PCs in the future.

Archangel
10-16-2009, 04:26 PM
IF you are going to get a new system, watch out for dell.

I had a notebook from them which I got in 2005 new and ended up crapping out on me 2 years later, Plus it was much more than it should have cost. The older dell systems are more durable and worth the money they are compared to the newer ones. Hell my friend's dad has an XPS which is slower than my system which I have had since 2001.

Its just better building a system for much cheaper. Dell has gone the way of apple, charging $500 extra just to have their brand name on it..

Sonicwolf
10-16-2009, 04:33 PM
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/en.futurama/images/c/cf/Crushinator.jpg
Really?

"I'M AS HAPPY AS A GIRL CAN BE... END STATEMENT!"

If these old PC's are just taking up space, give them to a thrift store or something like that.

Jorpho
10-16-2009, 05:58 PM
IF you are going to get a new system, watch out for dell.

I had a notebookIt is rather ridiculous to base statements about a company's desktop systems on one's experiences with a notebook! Notebooks have to deal with considerably more punishment, and I would never purchase one with the expectation of it lasting more than two years (assuming I didn't just leave it in the same place forever).

dstone
10-16-2009, 06:04 PM
When I put a bunch of old PC stuff out on Freecycle, I had three people show up. One came in a car that was already packed full of stuff, one had a pickup, already packed full of stuff, and the third was able to cram everything remaining into their truck. The first guy tried grabbing all the good stuff, but I made him pack all the 386's and Mac LCII's first, told him he could come back for the rest. Come to think of it, I never heard from him again...

cyberfluxor
10-17-2009, 12:01 AM
Flack, if you must get rid of them keep an eye out for electronics recycling postings in the paper or news. I donated 3 monitors a few months back I found on the side of the road last year with water damage, but the IBM PC that was with them worked fine so it's still in my possession. But until then try to spend maybe a few minutes a month posting free pickup if someone can reply to the ad about an interesting project to utilize them. That way you know if someone does take them they will get good use.


It is rather ridiculous to base statements about a company's desktop systems on one's experiences with a notebook! Notebooks have to deal with considerably more punishment, and I would never purchase one with the expectation of it lasting more than two years (assuming I didn't just leave it in the same place forever).

I have a Compaq Armada 4220T (http://developer.novell.com/yes/38463.htm) laptop that was given to me almost 2 years ago and is still kicking. It use to have NetBSD installed on it with coding to operate some lighting curcuits for demonstrations. I didn't have plans like that, but as an Intel 386 system it's a wonderful on the go DOS gaming and old school dev machine. It has some cosmetic issues and the sound doesn't work. I've thrown some stickers on it like Dr. Manblood and HRGeeks to at least give it some more character from the observers standpoint. I had a few people comment on me playing Wolf3D on it in a lobby the other night on campus.

Flack
01-26-2010, 09:22 AM
I reposted these on Craigslist and also offered them up for free on my blog. I took some pictures too and thought you guys might like to see them.

http://www.robohara.com/pix/blog/xt.jpg

The top one's a 286/10. The bottom one is a 386/16.

GrandAmChandler
01-26-2010, 09:59 AM
Goodwill. Don't trash 'em. Goodwill goes by "Computer" so any working computer = tax deduction.

Better than throwing them out me thinks!

gokugohandave
01-26-2010, 10:02 AM
i would take but the shipping would be killer.

Kitsune Sniper
01-26-2010, 10:45 AM
God Damnit I'd take the bottom one if I could. T_T

Soviet Conscript
01-26-2010, 01:10 PM
i would take but the shipping would be killer.

same here, at the very least i could use those disk drives and a AT PSU

dnehthend
04-29-2010, 01:29 PM
I feel kind of bad, a few years ago on new years eve my friends and I took hammers and axes to about 5 early to late 80s computers and boxes of parts and cards :(

I did keep one of the cases though, thing weighs a ton, it's starting to rust in the back yard, has an interesting look to it

Soviet Conscript
04-29-2010, 09:03 PM
did you ever find a home for them?

Ed Oscuro
04-30-2010, 03:44 PM
Flack, look up 5.25" floppy drive prices on eBay.

With most of these you can just part them out as needed. A lot of the parts will be junk but some won't.

Unfortunately any pre-PS2 standard stuff should require some reworking (certainly of the back panel) to put in a modern PC case; junking the cases would be the biggest space savings otherwise.

Flack
04-30-2010, 05:10 PM
did you ever find a home for them?

Goodwill called and said they would come by and pick them up. I put a bunch of clothes and books out along with two 21" monitors and the computers. When I came home the clothes and books were gone but the monitors and computers were still there along with a note that said they no longer pick up computer electronics.

The monitors went in the garage floor and the computers went in the trash. I actually did pull the floppy drives out for a different project (FC5025).

phreakindee
05-04-2010, 10:46 PM
Goodwill called and said they would come by and pick them up. I put a bunch of clothes and books out along with two 21" monitors and the computers. When I came home the clothes and books were gone but the monitors and computers were still there along with a note that said they no longer pick up computer electronics.

The monitors went in the garage floor and the computers went in the trash. I actually did pull the floppy drives out for a different project (FC5025).


Dang, at least you kept the floppy drives. I've been working on a 386 build myself and many of the parts are somewhat hard to come by (RAM expansion, some ISA cards etc)

JimmyDean
05-22-2010, 02:50 PM
I feel kind of bad, a few years ago on new years eve my friends and I took hammers and axes to about 5 early to late 80s computers and boxes of parts and cards :(

I did keep one of the cases though, thing weighs a ton, it's starting to rust in the back yard, has an interesting look to it

WHAT!? HOW... YOU HAVE NO SOUL! Please tell me one of those weren't an Apple iici... Been looking for one of those for too long now.

c0ldb33r
05-22-2010, 08:52 PM
I just got an original 1984 Macintosh. It's got no keyboard or mouse, but works okay otherwise.

I'm not sure what to do with it. I was going to do mod it, make it current, add a 9 inch LCD to it. Any other ideas?

Jorpho
05-22-2010, 10:30 PM
I'm not sure what to do with it. I was going to do mod it, make it current, add a 9 inch LCD to it. Any other ideas?A current PC with a 9-inch screen seems kind of useless, at least if it's not portable - and I wouldn't call an old fat Mac portable.

Macquariums are kind of cool, though.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacQuarium

JustRob
05-22-2010, 11:29 PM
I just got an original 1984 Macintosh. It's got no keyboard or mouse, but works okay otherwise.

I'm not sure what to do with it. I was going to do mod it, make it current, add a 9 inch LCD to it. Any other ideas?

For the sake of history and old mac fags like me, don't fuck with a working original Mac. Just, don't do it. Put it somewhere for decoration, find some use for it, or pass it on to someone who will appreciate it. Toooo many of these are getting chopped up.

If you want to mess with a compact mac, find an SE or a Classic and use that. The classic has almost the same exact case, and the SEs are fucking hideous and deserve to get chopped up. If interested, PM me and I'll send you a list of resources on figuring out what to do with the machine.

c0ldb33r
05-23-2010, 06:13 AM
Please do send me the links. I actually thought it would be neat to make it current and use it to run a Macintosh emulator. How funny would that be?

My concern about leaving it as-is is getting a keyboard and mouse for it. The mouse seems to be a 9 pin serial, so that shouldn't be hard. The keyboard, however, seems to use a modem jack?

Jorpho
05-23-2010, 10:59 AM
pass it on to someone who will appreciate it. Toooo many of these are getting chopped up.Maybe because there aren't that many people who will appreciate it?


The classic has almost the same exact case, and the SEs are fucking hideous and deserve to get chopped up.The SEs are actually vaguely, potentially useful.


If interested, PM me and I'll send you a list of resources on figuring out what to do with the machine.Why not just post it here for everyone?

phreakindee
05-23-2010, 11:07 AM
The mouse is super easy to find, and cheap - just get an SE mouse if you need, it's the same just slightly more gray. (model M0100)

The keyboard uses a phone jack-style cord, very odd. You can get them with the cord on eBay for about $30 in my experience. (model M0110)

PLEASE, just don't gut it or ruin the thing. They are quite hard to find now and there are quite a few collectors who have been looking out for them that would gladly buy it from you. I mean, it's yours to do with what you will, but... think of the children!




Please do send me the links. I actually thought it would be neat to make it current and use it to run a Macintosh emulator. How funny would that be?

My concern about leaving it as-is is getting a keyboard and mouse for it. The mouse seems to be a 9 pin serial, so that shouldn't be hard. The keyboard, however, seems to use a modem jack?