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My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day

Franco Silver badge

Perhaps we should all club together and start a legacy tech bank like the seed bank in Norway.

I'll happily donate a pair of PCMCIA cards, one 10/100 ethernet and one 802.11b WiFi.

katrinab Silver badge

I've got

Two iomega zip drives, one with an 80 pin IDE connection and one with a USB 1 connection. Should I dump the IDE model and keep just the USB one?

A load of IDE hard drives, CD Drives and DVD drives

Some floppy drives, one is USB 1, the others are the ribbon connector type

Various ribbon cables for connecting the above

And lots and lots of other stuff

NiceCuppaTea

I will see you PCMCIA 10/100 and raise you a 10 mbit ISA network adapter that has been in my possession for at least 20 years and is about the same size as a micro atx motherboard!

Nick Kew Silver badge

I *think* I can top that.

That is to say, I think I may still have a PCMCIA dialup modem. Used to be indispensable when I visited the parents, before they finally acquired broadband.

And somewhere there are bound to be things from pre-PCMCIA times. Anyone have a use for an EISA SCSI card? Still worked fine last time I had anything to connect it to. Only for those old enough to remember or bright enough to figure out setting pre-plug&pray jumpers.

Rich 11 Silver badge

Should I dump the IDE model and keep just the USB one?

Nooooo!!!! One day somebody will need it. One day.

Franco Silver badge

Oh, I can go pre-PCMCIA if you want. I still have a 56K US Robotics external modem that would connect to a COM port.

Last used about 4 years ago, I found it in a box when moving a client to new premises and at the new premises the comms cabinet where the broadband line came in was 4 floors up from the office they were in. As all the phones were digital and I didn't have a butt tester but did have a USB to serial adapter the modem became the test device to find which cable was faulty and preventing the MFD from getting a dial-tone (It was an Accountant and they still heavily used faxes even then)

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

I've got an ISA sound card and a PCI graphics card. Why? That's anyone's guess.

goldcd

I was going to write exactly the same thing

More like a local library/storage unit.

Create a list of everything that could possibly be needed. If they have it bin yours, if they don't take yours in.

Then if you need to borrow something, pop in and take it. I'm not even too bothered about theft, I've got so much junk I willingly press into the hands of anybody who expresses the slightest indication it's what they need.

As well as all my IT gubbins, I'd like to include those tools you buy for single jobs. Currently on my desk I've got a mega-pack of washers, tap-spanners and grinders I used to sort out a couple of annoying taps. Suspect I won't need these for another decade..

Would be quite a useful addition to the high street - don't need any more charity shops, and good reason to get somebody to go in.

Uncle Slacky Silver badge

> Two iomega zip drives, one with an 80 pin IDE connection and one with a USB 1 connection. Should I dump the IDE model and keep just the USB one?

I've got a parallel-port and a USB version - they came in handy when tranferring data/installing software on an old IBM PS/2 Note N33sx laptop whose floppy drive was dodgy.

Joe W

... and I'm sort of glad we had fire in the basement a few years back. Not in our compartment, but the smoke and heat destroyed most of my old hardware carp. I had a huge bag of Simms, from 128k to 4MB. I liked to call it my bag of chips...

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

And I have:

Two bookcases full of boxed software (including OS/2 Warp 3 *and* 4 as well as an (unopened) copy of the Brief editor as well as loads of games)

Several boxes of misc hardware - 3com network cards, various SCSI 1 and 2 cards, sound cards, and (maybe) a Voodoo graphics card as well as a couple of ISDN cards.

Several bits of Sun hardware - Sparc 1 and Sparcstation 5 bit as well as SCSI cables and drives (100 Megabytes! Ohh the space!).

A Sun 17" CRT monitor - still in use on the odd time I need to see the console of my virtualisation server.

Various piles of old drives (mostly non-working of so small to be of no practical use).

Pretty much all the mobile phones I've ever bought from an old T-Moble M2 (Windows CE) to a Palm Treo (PalmOS) to a OnePlus 3. All in pretty mint condition.

A Nokia 770 and 800 and an Apple Newton - again, all still working..

I keep meaning to sell it on Fleabay but can't actually get the energy to do it.

Timbo

I will see your 10 mbit ISA network card and raise you 2x 10 base-2 network cards AND a really nice combination VGA graphics/2Mb extended memory card (ISA bus) !!

Swiss Anton

I've got an Iomega zip that connects via the parallel port. I don't have any discs, I don't have a PC with a parallel port, and the drive makes a nice clicking noise when powered up. Should I bin it?

Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

Iomega zip that connects via the parallel port.

definately

Timbo

"the drive makes a nice clicking noise when powered up. Should I bin it?"

Yup - certain ZIP drives exhibited that fault...I seem to remember that Iomega claimed that there wasn't a fault and it was a user error...but ultimately, enough ZIP drives failed that they were forced to concede that it was their fault.

goldcd

Re: I was going to write exactly the same thing

I just googled "tool library" - seemingly there's one already under a mile from where I'm sitting..

They seem light on the IT side of things, but intend to change that.

goldcd

I've still got a pile of 2x10 terminators, T-pieces and connectors.

Very satisfying when you feel the need for some impromptu-sculpting/construction

Kubla Cant

How about...

Numerous motherboards removed when upgrading my PC and kept in case I ever needed to build a really slow computer.

Even more IDE hard disks, in case I wanted to revert to less storage.

The ISDN stuff that came off the wall when I graduated to broadband, in case I wanted a slow, expensive connection for my downgraded PC.

A Vodafone PCMCIA card.

A Bluetooth dongle.

And tonight's star prize: a Digital Equipment SCSI tape streamer and a collection of DLT tapes, some containing backups from the last millennium.

Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

I can add

A SCSI version of the Iomega ZIPdrive, to complement the parallel, USB and IDE versions. I even still have some disks

NiceCuppaTea

You win!

kventin

combined rj45/bnc pcmcia card with thinkpad 570 to match (including ultrabay to dock it in _and_ a dock to dock the ultrabay in)

however, one can also specialize. hence, a box of RAM chips, some of which i don't remember the name anymore. about 20 of them, with median capacity in megabytes. as i don't have anything to plug them into anymore, they'll probably end in some school art project.

james_smith

Any interest in the following?

- Sun "Happy Meal" ethernet card

- Atari ST Basic (boxed with manual, but the floppy disk is blank for some reason)

- Ethernet hub that only has BNC connectors

- Camera for an SGI Indy (uncased)

- Motorola 88000 (not 68000) instruction set guide

Peter2 Silver badge

Re: I've still got a pile of 2x10 terminators, T-pieces and connectors.

I'm not even going to start listing what i'm holding, but suffice to say that when doing a site visit for an unrelated reason the CEO of a national grade supplier (very, very old contact) wryly mentioned he'd been asked to sell spares for my type of system by another company at "blank cheque" level money who had needed to do an emergency fix for an out of support system. This company had found that the international supply chain now contains zero of these parts, and were phoning around other former maintainers hoping somebody was keeping some spares.

I am assured that I literally hold the only known comprehensive set of spare parts (x2 of everything) anywhere in the world for this system as a result of deciding that spare parts availability might be a future issue years ago, doing a back of the envelope calculation on the cost of complete replacement versus the cost of buying up every spare going cheaply on eBay and persuading managlement that it would be worth committing a bit of cash to buying up a modest stock of spares to keep us ticking over until we decide to replace the system.

He also said that the numbers of trained people left in the industry who can work on these systems are at the "count them on your fingers" level and suggested that I might be the most practiced person left maintaining one of these systems. Bless.

Forgive the AC and not mentioning what the system is. Now I know what the parts are worth i'm concerned that my spares store could be a major target for burglary. I will say though that I love the BMA crowd. The "don't hold spares" cos "just in time" attitude has made my spares worth a fortune now.

It really would be worth having a site that does keep track of what odd spares we have around since one persons rubbish really is anothers gold when that part breaks on a production system that really should have been replaced a lifetime ago.

DJV Silver badge

I've still got a few original Commodore PET Software cassettes (MicroChess, Invaders, LEM Lander, Super Star Trek).

Dan 55 Silver badge

Re: I've still got a pile of 2x10 terminators, T-pieces and connectors.

It really would be worth having a site that does keep track of what odd spares we have around since one persons rubbish really is anothers gold when that part breaks on a production system that really should have been replaced a lifetime ago.

It seems from another story that the Navy will be interested in anything...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

LS-120

I've still got my LS-120 drive (IDE version) with a couple of (presumably) blank disks in the loft, which is the oddest thing I've got. I've kept an old motherboard/CPU/RAM combo that has IDE slots just in case I ever want to fire it up...

I am the liquor

Anyone need an old 88MB SyQuest drive, or a Farallon SCSI-to-10base2 ethernet adapter for an early-model Mac?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: I was going to write exactly the same thing

"Then if you need to borrow something, pop in and take it. "

The problem is that you would then find someone had mislaid the irreplaceable cable required to make it work.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: I was going to write exactly the same thing

"Suspect I won't need these for another decade."

When that time comes you will remember someone borrowed them. Probably a self-declared "declutterer" who after using something they've borrowed - always throws it away rather than return it.

Their justification is that they are helping you to stop being a hoarder.

jelabarre59 Silver badge

Two iomega zip drives, one with an 80 pin IDE connection and one with a USB 1 connection. Should I dump the IDE model and keep just the USB one?

USB, IDE, *and* a SCSI Zip Drive. Along with an Iomega Jaz drive, and disks for both systems. Wouldn't ever risk letting my data anywhere near a Zip drive these days.

I really do mean to sort through and clean up my accumulated old parts, maybe this winter. Or this spring. Or summer.... And I definitely will get around to replacing the bad caps on that stack of machines with "capacitor plague", really really soon now.

jelabarre59 Silver badge

Two bookcases full of boxed software (including OS/2 Warp 3 *and* 4 as well as an (unopened) copy of the Brief editor as well as loads of games)

Finally binned by set of AIX install CDs (v3.x-> 5.x, various revisions) last year. But still need to keep my install disks for Quicken98 and Family Tree Maker 7, because those are the versions we still use.

Had tried donating my SunBlade 100 (UltraSparcIII) to some opensource projects, no one wanted to take it (no keyboard, but it *used* to run just fine otherwise).

Barry Rueger Silver badge

Oh God! The Click Of Death!

Kids today have no idea of the trials and tribulations we suffered!

Voland's right hand Silver badge

I set a 15 years limit on computer tech. After 15 years regardless of the sentimental value it goes out of the loft and into the skip.

morgz84

I had several Sunblade 100s acquired from a work disposal. I eventually scrapped all but one. Typically, The one I retained was the one with dead graphics. Which is a shame, because I was going to experiment with using it as a thin client. Now that too has been scrapped.

Ogi
Pint

Iomega Click of Death

Aaah yes, the Iomega Click of death (CoD).

Basically a disk would have misaligned tracks, then a zip drive that tries to align with the disk by reading these alignment tracks would keep retrying by repeatedly slamming the heads in and out of the disk (i.e. bring the heads to "park" and back again). This is not supposed to occur very often, and every drive had a set number of park cycles it could handle before the heads would not longer align properly. However Iomega designed the system to handle enough cycles to last the age of the drive, assuming an upper bound (+extra slack just in case) for number of cycles over its lifetime (like MTBF for disk drives).

However these disks made the drives cycle through the head parking so many times, it would use up the design limit of park cycles long before the drive itself was dead, causing the heads of the drive to misalign themselves, but the drive to otherwise work fine.

These heads would then corrupt the alignment tracks on every other good zip disk that was inserted, causing those disks to have misaligned tracks. Those disks would go to other "good" drives, the misaligned tracks would mess those drives up, and so on... It was like a hardware based virus(*)

Dear lord, that caused so much trouble back in the day. I was working in Graphics design, and pretty much the entire industry used ZIP drives. Your 300dpi TIFF for print was not going to fit on a floppy, it would take you a day to send it over the 56k modem or ISDN line (and cost you a bomb in telephone and internet fees), and consumer PC CD burners were still a dream. So people mailed disks to you (or if urgent, brought it in themselves).

As a result, the CoD was a massive pain, because of the nature of it "infecting" healthy disks and drives, meant print shops, who would receive a ton of these disks in the mail, which they had to use to load up the clients images for print, basically became massive CoD incubators.

I personally believe it was the cause of the Iomega ZIP drive stalling as a storage medium. Had that not happened, I could have seen ZIP disks and their descendants replacing floppies completely. Hell, the 2GB Jaz drives were better than CD's, because they were re writable, had more storage, and were hard encased, but the reputation of Iomega was ruined too far at that point.

(*) I actually suspected at the time that it was a very clever hardware virus. Someone (a competitor perhaps?) realised this flaw in the design of the ZIP system, and purposefully made a few disks with messed up alignments (it would be relatively easy to deliberately modify the first "Genesis" Zip drive heads to be misaligned enough to cause the problem) . They could send the disk to a printers, knowing that it would spread from there, or just leave them for people to use ( ZIP disks were like floppies, but much more expensive, so people would format and re-use them all the time, even ones they found left in the toilets). By the time people realised it was a problem, and what the actual problem was, and what caused it, it was be impossible to work out where it originated from. If it was a deliberate ploy, it was truly masterful in its elegance and execution.

Icon because its a Friday, and I really need one due to the trauma that has now been recalled from the depths of my mind!

Alistair Dabbs

Re: Iomega Click of Death

>> Your 300dpi TIFF for print was not going to fit on a floppy, it would take you a day to send it over the 56k modem or ISDN line

A freelance programmer I was working with in the 1990s sent me 10 CDRs by post along with a note asserting, with calculations, that Royal Mail was demonstrably faster than ISDN.

Rafael #872397
Windows

Computer Archaeology

I work in the CS department of a university in a large, coffee-and-samba oriented country that shall remain unnamed.

Some of the grad students used to have a large metal cabinet as a divisor in their shared office. Besides being festooned with stickers and year-old notes nobody had they keys for it -- they just assumed it was a convenient piece of metal used to hid their screens from others' views.

When we changed offices we had to move it, and nobody claimed ownership. Being curious and irresponsible, I decided to apply the adequate amount of force to open the doors. Inside there were a bunch of SCSI cables and terminators, 8mm tape drives for a backup driver, a huge box of SIMMs (total amount of memory: < 2gb), random pieces of SUN gear, lots of ZIP disks and drives and a box of 8-inch floppy disks.

Shame on me, I kept it all. The 8-inch floppy disks are a funny conversation starter (hey, babe, want to see my 8-incher) and also a embarrassing conversation stopper (either "huh...." or "how old are you again?")

AmenFromMars

I've got a desk drawer stuffed with Cisco 16MB PCMCIA flash memory cards. I wish you could post photos on here, you have to see it to believe it.

Martin-73 Silver badge

In the attic I have... 7 computer carcasses, 3 boxes of cd rom drives, a box of at and atx power supplies, about 8 DSL modem/routers, mainly netgear DG834s, and a SACK of dialup modems.... All brand new. Got them at a clearance auction for a pound,. The modems themselves are useless but the pieces can be handy for projects

John Gamble
Happy

Re: Computer Archaeology

I did manage to toss old cases, keyboards, and monitors, but I removed the hard drives before putting them to the alley (we have scavengers on a regular circuit -- I feel better now about putting out stuff that's too good for the garbage but which the recyclers can't handle).

But I still have a VT-100. I don't expect to ever use it again (well, for a couple years I thought that I might), but instead of tossing it I'm thinking of re-purposing it. Perhaps as an IOT device. Or a compact fish tank.

Allan George Dyer Silver badge
Windows

@Franco - "I still have a 56K US Robotics external modem that would connect to a COM port."

Pfft! I'm still using a 28.8K Hayes modem, connected to a Serial/USB adapter. Well, it's better than keeping a fax machine. Some of my customers still send POs by fax.

J. R. Hartley Silver badge

I'll take that IDE one.

katrinab Silver badge

Yes, if it has the click of death, you should definitely bin it.

JLV Silver badge

Re: I've still got a pile of 2x10 terminators, T-pieces and connectors.

NASA Ebayin’ 8086 chips frantically to keep the Shuttles up...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

I've got a full height 5-whatever" HDD sitting around. Can't recall the interface (I think it's more likely SCSI or IDE than MFM/RLL). I also have a full-sized VESA IDE interface card. Some SB16s, several ~320 MB SCSI HDD's (from Conner), at least one 16 bit ISA network card with only a BNC connector. Oh, and a motherboard with specs I can't recall but it'll take a 386 co processor.

I possibly have a bag of 30 pin SIMMs somewhere, maybe some 72 pin ones. May even have some 30 pin SIPPS as well. At lots of DDR 1 and 2 desktop ram. And at least one 256m SODIMM module.

Oh and we cannot forget the Behemoth. A very high res (2kx2k at least) CRT monitor, formerly used for graphics work. Weighs in at IIRC around 45KG. The sort of beast those extra-extra-extra wide computer desks were built for (the ones that strangely could take a monitor that's a good meter deep). Still works beautifully. Note the high pitched whirring sound, and clicking/hissing sound, as it warms up - the former is the sound of your power meter as is spins to near relativistic speeds, the latter is the sound of the shareholders in the power company rubbing their hands in glee. Last time I turned it on there were blackouts across much of North America!

No wonder there's no room for the car in the garage.... What's the address of that guy you were talking about again? I'm sure I can help him rebuild his prized collection after his release.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Various piles of old drives (mostly non-working of so small to be of no practical use).

Ya never know. Few years back I did a clean out of someone else's junk. But I missed the tip trip and took a few days to get around to it again.

Someone came in with an old machine, legacy but prized data (they got the backups speech), and a drive with a burnt out circuit. Fortunately for them, amongst the crap I'd not been able to bin there was the same model + firmware revision of their drive. Even more fortunately, this was before the days of the BIOS chip that needs to be transferred, so I was able to swap boards and recover their data.

There are places that buy old HDD's for this purpose.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: I was going to write exactly the same thing

They seem light on the IT side of things, but intend to change that.

Somehow a quote from the ST:Voyager pilot comes to mind....

"You have made an enemy today".

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: I was going to write exactly the same thing

Their justification is that they are helping you to stop being a hoarder.

I've known a few people like that in my life. They're the reason for my stockpile of quicklime.

(joke, duh...)

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

I wish you could post photos on here, you have to see it to believe it.

You could go to one of the free photo hosting sites[1], upload there, and drop the link here.

Though on this site you'd probably find a lot of twats posting pics of their wangs[2]...

[1] Be damned sure you read and understand their terms if you wish to retain any rights to your pics!

[2]"Wang" was a brand of computer, for those who don't know...

Loud Speaker Bronze badge

Re: I was going to write exactly the same thing

The problem is that you would then find someone had mislaid the irreplaceable cable required to make it work.

Don't worry, I have what you need!

l large amount of Intel based stuff, all of it older than Windows XP, although the really

old stuff went to Sierra Leone some years ago. (I sold the 8" floppies to the Zambian Army).

I did throw away all the modems/routers too old for LEDE.

I have Sun cables for anything so recent it does not have a Motorola CPU. The oldest processor

I still own is an Ultra5.

I also have more SCSI 1 and SCSI2 H/Ds than you can shake a stick at (I tried, just to prove it!)

and quite a few SCSI3's but some of those are still in use, so I would not want to part with them.

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