My Junk Collection

Along with many others, I now have a small collection of the computers of my youth, mostly through E-Bay, although a few are things I've had all along. I'll sort out some pictures and trivia here in the next month or so. I'll also try and dig up and scan some other interesting stuff I have around, including original advertising for a lot of these things.

Update 4/Feb/2001: There's enough of the advertising stuff to warrant it's own page, which I've started now.

Update 3/Feb/2002: I've got some gallery software sorted out over at, and I have my macro lenses for the digicam too, so as I get a chance, I'll be photographing each computer in a bit of detail, and adding a link here to the l-e gallery. First one done is the IBM XT.

Things I used to have or use

Atari 2600

We used to have one of these when I was a kid - my mum & dad still have their wood-fronted six-switch 2600 as far as I know, along with a bunch of (from memory) in-box cartridges.

I don't have any boxed carts, but I do have most of the games I remember playing all those years ago: Space Invaders, Asteroids, Missile Command, Superman, Activision Tennis, Cosmic Ark, Combat and so on. The only things I don't have yet that I'd really like are Star Raiders with it's controller, and Circus Atari with some paddles (I didn't get paddles with my 2600).

My own model is a 6-switch wood-panel one - there are a lot of shapes & varieties within the 2600 range. I never did like the newer wedge-shaped ones.

Sinclair ZX81

My dad bought one of these when I was 8 or 9. He used to spend many hours writing strange games, although eventually it was me that spent more time with it. My current working ZX81 is in pretty good condition, with the original tape leads (the ones with the little yellow sleeve), and a Memotech 16k RAM pack. I actually have a couple of ZX81 PCBs in different states of disrepair, along with a real Sinclair RAM pack, partially disassembled, and a ZX Printer, still boxed. I haven't run the printer for a long time, but it worked last time it was used - I don't have any paper for it beyond what's in it though.

Sinclair Spectrum Plus

After the ZX81, my dad got a 48k Spectrum - not the plus I have now, but an original issue 2 rubber-keyed job. For some reason, we ended up with a bunch of flaky machines, and got through a fair number of them quite quickly. The main advantage of having a Spectrum was that everyone else at school also had one, which meant you could get a copy of pretty much any game.

My current Spectrum Plus was another e-bay purchase, and joins a bunch of Spectrum swag that I still have from my friend Doctor Bob - a RAM Turbo Interface 2 clone, AMX Mouse and BETA Disk Interface with a 5-1/4" drive.

Commodore 64, 64C, 1541 Mk II

We had a lot of problems with Spectrums, to the extent that my dad eventually got annoyed enough by around replacement #12 to trade it in for a C64. I never really did get into the C64 the same way as the Spectrum - programming for it was kind of sucky, and when we first got it, the tape-deck that it came with was kind of unreliable for save & loading BASIC programs.

My own C64s are a standard brown VIC-shaped one, an early C64C and a later C64C (different, horrible keyboard). I also have a 1541 Mk II disk drive, which I never had before, and a couple of carts: the excellent International Football, and Simon's Basic.

My 'new' C64C, with one of a few C2N tape decks, playing Boulderdash. Also visible is a Dreamcast, part of my main PC and a proper Atari VCS joystick still going strong. This is the Amiga/C128 styled C64 with the new keyboard (see below).
The new-style keyboard, with the graphics on the tops. Ick.
The real keyboard, in a VIC-20 shaped case, in the right colours with front-printing, that dates back at least to the PET 8032, if not further. The VIC-20 also has this layout, in a slightly paler colour scheme. This particular one is the one my dad bought in 1986 or so.


I got this mainly for it's keyboard, but it's a nice condition XT with a couple of monitors. I also got an unbranded XT-clone at the same time. My own first PC experience was on a couple of different Olivetti PCs - the M24 and M240. [Many more pics of my XT]

Atari 520STe (+ 4Mb)

I was about to say it's not so old, but it's actually 10 years old this year. This STe is the fruit of my 1991 student loan, along with a 14" TV to use a monitor for it. I still like it - it's fun to program, and 68000 assembly is just nice. GEM looks worse and worse every time I see it, though - someday I'll get a Mono->VGA Converter sorted out so I can use it in hi-res mode.

Things I never had before

Atari 800XL, 130XE & 1050 Disk Drive

I never used to have an Atari 8-bit, but having had a little play with the 800XL, I wish I had - it looks like a lot of fun. Unfortunately I have no disk drive cable currently, so all I've really done with it is play Ballblazer as it was intended.

Commodore Vic-20

I mainly got one of these so I could play Radar Rat Race, a nicely-written Rally-X clone, which I also got from E-Bay.

Binatone 6

Pong. 'Nuff said. Pong still plays well.

Unix Workstations

SGI Indy

One of the slower ones, unfortunately. It's an R4600PC/133 with 128Mb and XZ graphics. IRIX and the IM desktop stuff is kind of nice, and the integration of the media features of the machine with the OS is very nice for system of this vintage (it has S/PDIF sound in and out, and S/Video and Composite video in as standard, plus a CCD digital camera). Pretty case too.

Sun Sparcstation 1

I was given this (ta Stuii!). It's damn slow at anything that involves thinking (like compiling C), but OK for interactive bits and bobs. Thanks to a donor IPC, it's got a bwtwo framebuffer now, and an original Sun harddisk. Sometime soon I'll be setting it up with OpenBSD/sparc, just so it'll do something useful - currently it net-boots NetBSD/sparc of off my FreeBSD/386 server.

Sun Sparcstation IPC

This came with a nice 16" mono screen and all the necessary bits apart from a mousemat (it's one of those Sun-3 optical mice). It's running X and OpenBSD/sparc quite happily, but with no mouse, it's not a lot of use! I'm working on blagging a mousemat. [Update - I have the mousemat now]


I liked the Indy enough to want another - so I'm just waiting for O2 prices to come down a bit more :) Also, a deskside Onyx or Crimson would be a nice thing to have - and with the right CPU/gfx options could still be reasonably fast too.

I used to have a Sinclair QL, which I kind of regret selling - I'd like one of those back too.

Copyright 1994-2005, by Howard Jones.