foone Profile picture
21 Nov, 80 tweets, 22 min read
So there's a bay area (Cupertino) estate sale tomorrow, which has some interesting pictures.
And weirdly, it ties into something I posted a month ago.
It's the estate of Chuck Colby.
I posted about the Walkmac, a modification of a Macintosh to be portable, back in October, and remarked that it was odd that it said "from the estate of Chuck Colby" but I didn't see any mention of him being dead elesewhere.
but yeah, the estate sale has oscilloscopes and audio generators...
un-identified add-on cards, and unidentified components
prototyping stuff
and old electronics magazines going back at least as far as the 70s.
The listing is here. They're doing a limited-signup thing, scheduling people for different times.
I'm signed up for 11am. I'll make sure to take pictures.…
TeleTracer? I'm not sure what that is but it's probably something @gewt wants.
it's The Computer! yes, The.
I'm not sure what I'm looking at but it's definitely something I want.
oh neat, blueprints of Colby Computers.
I have return'ed! I don't yet have a pictures of what I got (it's in the car and I'm tired and need to rest)
but I have PICTURES! Mainly of stuff I didn't get.
so the thing is huge. hundreds of boxes, mostly of completely random components and lots of old magazines and papers.
lots and lots of boxes for things, which are empty because the thing that was in there is gone.
A lot of the remaining electronics are:
1. Unnamed (but sometimes numered) prototypes
2. heavily water-damaged. Most of this stuff was stored outside and it shows.
this includes a lot of old video tapes, VHS and umatic.
I picked one up and the tape seemed to have more mold than tape :(
and behold, the most rusty 5.25" drive I've ever seen
So there's some stuff I didn't get but I definitely made a note of, to go back tomorrow and maybe pick up for free.
Like some U-matic tapes about the Motorola 6800
some items had prices.
Like this PCjr with keyboard and two printers, 120$.
Most things were just "per box"/bag and the cost was based on what was in the bag. like a box of electronics was 20$, or it was 10$ for magazines.
A lot of things were stuff that would have been really neat if it wasn't in such clearly terrible condition.
Like this RCA SelectaVision top-loading VCR.
I didn't get this open reel video player. I was trying to severely limit how many big and heavy things I got, but I did take a picture specifically to make @gravislizard mad at me
As you might expect from the estate sale of somebody who ran a company, a bunch of stuff was Colby branded, like this Colby Paging Center.
For reasons of space and money I didn't get any of the blueprints or manuals or magazines.
But from what I saw while I was there, people weren't buying them.
So I plan to come back tomorrow and pick up many of them for free.
so what I got was mainly some old portables of various sorts, some mini-ITX boards and SBCs, and a bunch of keyboards.
like a lot.
XT/AT mainly, and some incomplete ones that look to be from kits.
But one thing I will share a picture of is SO UNLIKELY...
You know that weird video-editing box I've been fiddling with for the last month? the one that uses a weird x86-based architecture, and loads software from VHS tape?

yeah, there wasn't one there.
But there was a tape for one.
I saw it and was like "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME"
I specifically bought an entire Videonics unit off ebay JUST TO GET THE TAPE and I just run into one at an estate sale for basically FREE!?
And unlike many of the other tapes I saw there, it hasn't been stored in a rain bucket so it's not molded over.
It even works.
It's version 1.10, which is way earlier than the ones we have archived.
I really need to
1. get a better VHS capturing setup so I can archive this
2. buy a lottery ticket because wow, what luck
but yeah. if you're in the bay area and do anything with retrotech you should really go.
There are signups in the associated link available up through 2pm today.…
They're clearly selling stuff at "GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE" pricing.
Tomorrow any remaining stuff shifts to "please take it so we don't have to take it to the dump" pricing, i.e. free
so here's some stuff I got.
A Yamaha video (I think?) card, called a PC-DC Graphic, M861101. There's no results for that name (!)
It's got a DB9 and an RCA connector, so it's gonna be MDA/CGA/EGA if it is a video card.
The first chip I searched was the Yamaha 742473H/V6366B-F.
This comes up with a vcfed thread about a similar card:…)

which does multiple shades of grey. the theory is that it's a card for an internal LCD/Plasma display on some kind of PC portable.
The next thing is a 3.5" floppy drive, but it's an extra long one with extra bits.
It says "Copal" on it and it's got a 20-pin connector (and a separate 7-pin connector)
It's also got what looks like a secondary motor on the left, probably for auto-eject.
So this is probably from some non-PC that used motorized eject, like a Macintosh.
The drive is a Fujitsu M2532E-83U, which seems to be a double density drive.
The next thing is some kind of keyboard thing. I think it's designed for viewing video? maybe surveillance tapes?
it's got just an RJ45 jack on it, nothing else.
which leads to a little breakout box with pinout on it.
Apparently it does rs232 and rs-485 serial
seems to work, too!
it doesn't seem to have been intended to be this grey color, and it is rubbing off.

anyway I'll have to hook it up to a serial port and see what data it's sending
Next interesting thing: An Altima One laptop.
It's huge. It's got a built in modem and 3.5" drive
The other side has a 9-pin video port, so CGA/EGA/MDA.
Serial/Parallel, a DIN-5 keyboard port and what looks like a full size ISA port on the bottom
It really really needs cleaning but it has another neat feature:
the keyboard detaches!
modem: SI

clearly it speaks spanish
The screen... lights up.
Nothing ever appears, but I don't know if that's a failure of contrast or if the PC isn't driving it.
I'm gonna have to take it apart to clean it out anyway.
I'll have to test the video-out port too.
the one review of it that I found is from 1990, from Micro Music. They're reviewing a version that includes a build-in MIDI card…
like a lot of early portables it's so big because it's basically an entire PC motherboard inside.
oh hey it's got a 80287 math-coprocessor.
so it's a 286
memory and cobwebs
I'm not sure why the battery is over here, but it's plugged in over here.
I was thinking that flipped daughterboard was the modem, but NOPE! looks to be the video card.
And under it.
WD37C65B, that's a floppy controller.
SCSI hard drive!
Interesting power connector. It has the standard molex, but it's using a 3-pin connector for some reason.
Yeah, on the underside of the motherboard, there's an ISA slot.

I wonder if one of those DIP switches on the side disables the built in video? an easy way to test this would be to switch to a VGA card.
So here's the modem, and the speaker, and the modem's speaker (yes, there are two!), and spider #2
The modem only says it's a PSLD-1217T8, which results in nothing on google.
It's a fully soldered together can so I can't find any more info from it without disassembling it.
and that battery.
look at the date code... 10-89.

this battery is older than some of the people reading this.
to no one's surprise it's reading a flat 0.0 volts.
Ahh, it's a CPU from... Harris? huh.
Spider #3!
Here's the lcd half opened up.
and yeah, that little door?
nothing in it, and no connectors to add anything.
slightly dirty in here
I don't think I've seen a monitor plugging in with an edge connector before
There's some corrosion/rust around here, I wonder if that's why the screen is nonfunctional?
I thought that was a foam pad to protect it, but NOPE!
Some kind of spider cocoon
clearly this machine was used by...

a web developer
Back here again for day #2.
Good lord, a lot of stuff is still here. Maybe I should have brought a uhaul?
Also I'm an hour early. Whoops.
I'm looking for trucks now.

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those two are, of course, the Pioneer LaserActive and he RDI Video Systems Halcyon. ImageImage
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