Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Amiga mouse

There were some pictures about an Amiga mouse in the previous post(s), now it's time to share the complete story.

I received the mouse with an Amiga 500, the seller mentioned yellowed parts and a partly-broken mouse. Well, it looked like I'm going to have some fun with using H2O2 again and practice with soldering some electronics. You can guess, I don't have photos about the original condition of the mouse...

Anyway, I connected the A500 to the tv and *boom* the magic boot screen appeared immediately and the Amiga loaded Workbench from a floppy disk in a minute. That was quite painless so far.

I had a testrun with the mouse to check its condition, well, the buttons were unstable and their clicking sounded broken. As an additional defect the left mouse button didn't work.

I was thinking, would an old but still working PC mouse be a good replacement? Let's ask the internet.
This was the best answer to my question, thanks to a user called Aidan on a random forum:

"Basically the problem is that a PC mouse has all the smarts inside. An Amiga mouse has all the smarts in the Amiga, and the mouse is dumb. You can either build the interface listed, or try and extract the quadrature signals from the mouse and push them down to the amiga."

Okay, then I need new knobs, and after a quick search I found them at AmigaKit.

 C64 C motherboard, Amiga mouse board, 2 C64 power switch and 2 mouse replacement buttons 

I used a basic 40W Weller and a desoldering pump to remove the broken buttons. As this part contains relatively small amount of tin the part were removed quickly and clean. The next picture shows and empty slot and the already inserted new button:

This one shows the replaced buttons together with the old stuff:

Almost ready:

Clean mouse case, right after 3 days of H2O2 and UV light treatment:

I had to cheat a bit with the case because the new buttons are higher and stiffer than the originals and the mouse case became too tight. Used a small plastic piece, cut from the external part of a cable, glued them to the bottom part. Looks like somebody is mad, right? :)

This was just enough to lift the upper part a bit and the buttons can *click*.

There is a small crack on the left button but overall the mouse is nice, clean, white and everything functions as it should. This is the last photo, taken right after reassembly:


Today's music: Amiga demoscene compilation

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Everything is ready for some serious soldering business:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Super Nintendo - part 1.

I was happy for the SNES, it's a beautiful and massive console, built for eternity. And it came with Street Fighter 2! One of the games I loved when I was a kid, we spent our pocket money in the arcade with friends, playing it all day long.

My favourite character is Guille, you can guess why. Yes, it's because of Jean Claude van Damme.

While the Street Fighter movie wasn't really great I still liked it because of the characters.

Sidenote: the first Mortal Kombat movie is awesome, don't try to convince me that it s*cks.

So, here is this SNES with 5 games, let's switch it on. Oh, wait. I don't have cable to connect with TV.

AV cable ordered. Now we wait.

Cable arrived! We happy, Vincent.

First, it looked like... "no games today...":

Thanks to Jay @ArgysAttic and his instructions, I was able to quickfix it:

While the SNES is nearly unbreakable, looks like it is very sensitive to dust, even if the cartridge and slot look clean. They need a bit more cleaning than I expected and using earbuds and compressed air helped.

Now I can enjoy some good ol' games until the special screwdriver set arrives and I can disassemble the SNES for a deeper cleaning.


Today's music: Mortal Kombat soundtrack

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Important! Don't try this at home.

An important addition to the previous post:

Use gloves when you work with hydrogen-peroxide. Really.

U S E   G L O V E S

Why? This is why:

C64 datassette

The first candidate for destroying completely cleaning and making it as new was a Commodore Datassette (C2N). It came with a C64 version C but it is compatible with C64/C128/VIC-20/PET.

Disassembling is easy, 4 screws should be unscrewed on the bottom of the device, then the mechanics and electronic part can be removed together.

As I mentioned it in my previous post I forgot to take photos of this procedure, I was too excited to dismount and clean it.

After I removed the electronic parts, the device spit a big amount of dust out from itself... well, this must have been in the attic for 10+ years... Anyway, dust can be removed easily, use some compressed air or a soft brush. Outside, of course. Otherwise your other half won't be happy.

(don't forget to keep the screws in a safe place, where you can find it easily later)

Next step was to think about the plastic parts. They were not only yellow, but YELLOW!!!!1!!1
- the parts need a lot of H2O2 (aka. hydrogen-peroxide)
- and a lot of UV light
- something that prevents the H2O2 to dry out on the sun

I cleaned the plastic with warm soapy water and let it dry completely. This makes sense as the dirt of thousands of years might block the H2O2 and it's more effective if I use it on clean plastic.

Take a cardboard box, cover it with cellophane. Add a lot of cream to the parts, smooth it with a sponge. Then cover the parts with more cellophane. Bring the parts to the balcony and put them on the top of the cardboard box. Similar to this:

Note #1: yellowed parts are barely visible but visible enough to realize they were quite YELLOW.
Note #2: yes, that's an Amiga mouse, later I'll write a dedicated article about it.

Let them have a sunbath for 2 days. I was lucky because those days were sunny enough to achieve a great result.

In the meantime I checked the electronics, cleaned the tape head with nail polish remover, checked the rubber bands - replaced the counter rubber because it was loose.

This picture was taken right after removing the cellophane and cleaning the parts with hot water after 2 days on the balcony:

Let it dry a bit. Then use some nail polish remover - poured into a paper towel - to clean the marks and give it a shiny bright surface. Be careful with the polish remover! It can remove the writing, use it on the white parts only!

Last step was to assemble it together and test it with inserting a cassette and loading a game. Everything went well, the C2N works and loads the games as it should. Basically, it's a reborn datassette as good as new.

Isn't it a beauty, is it?

- need a lot of H2O2 cream, even more than you think it's enough
- 12% cream H2O2 is perfect for the job (see previous post)
- cover everything with the cream
- 2 days with 3-4 hours of  not-so-direct sunlight can make miracle
- change the position of the parts from time-to-time, whitening will be more consistent
- nail polish remover is a strong stuff, don't inhale it
- nail polish remover is a strong stuff, use it only on the plastic
- really, it will remove the writings if you aren't careful enough


Today's music: Unreal Tournament soundtrack

First steps, like a child - and tools, tools are important

My knowledge about cleaning computers and fixing electronics is very limited (aka. non-existent), still, I'm going to replace some burnt out electronic elements and clean computer parts. It looks like a challenge but I'm not afraid to face it.

But let's start with the things I did so far.
The first item as "exploration of a new territory" was a C64 datassette. I wanted to clean it from top to bottom, inside and outside (it will be the topic of my next post).

I started with searching for information about "cleaning yellowed plastic", which should be one of the critical issues if I want to have a nice and clean computer or computer part.
There is a lot of information about it, for example Retrobright, hydrone-peroxide, etc. After watching videos and making some research I decided to skip learning chemistry. Instead I'm going to test some products to see how this thing works. Decided to use a cream-liquid as it doesn't flow off the parts.

Obviously I would need a screwdriver to disassemble parts. Then I realized I might need a soldering iron as well, in case something needs to be replaced.

Knife. A good knife is a must have item.

Rubber gloves. I'll tell about them later a bit more.

Scissors, duct tape, cellophane, aluminium foil.

Nail polish remover or similar liquid with high percentage of alcohol.

A lot of sunshine. Or UV light, even more than sunlight.

Sponge, and a towel.

Cardboard box. Many.

Patience. A lot.

Oh, and that big white bottle with 12% H2O2 in cream-liquid.


Today's music: Jets'n'Guns soundtrack


Dear visitor,

As an avid oldschool computer addict, I started to refurbish/restore old computers and consoles in my free time. I must say, I quite enjoy it. It's fun, refreshing and challenging as well.

Sadly, I jumped into restoring so quickly I forgot to take photos of the first steps... I don't want to do the same mistake again so I'm going to do a well-documented diary of all the things I do in the future.

The next entry will tell you more about me and my skills of electronics and stuff.

Enjoy your stay.


Today's music: Crypt of the Necrodancer soundtrack