Ohio Scientific 2P & 4P

DIck Smith System 80

Processor Technology Sol-20

Commodore PET 2001

NEC TK-85

Applied Technology Microbee

Apple Computers Apple ][

Apple Computers Apple 1

Sinclair ZX81

Dick Smith VZ-200

Technosys Aamber Pegasus

Atari 400

Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Sharp MZ-80K2E

Commodore VIC-20

Sinclair ZX80

Welcome to neoncluster, a site dedicate to the repair, restoration and upkeep of my 1970‘s and early 1980‘s 8-bit personal computer collection.

 

My name is Philip Lord, but some of you may know me as ‘Nama’ (pronounced ‘num ah’ and meaning ‘raw’ in Japanese) from various vintage computer forums. My obsession with old computers started back in 2003, when a friend gave me an Apple Powerbook 2400c which had been upgraded with the highly sought after, and hard to find, 400mhz G3 PPC processor. However, the machine was still woefully slow for that time. OS X had been out for a few years, and the Powerbook wasn’t really usable for any real world tasks. I decided it would be fun to upgrade it to run OS X using Xpostfacto. At the time no one had gotten OS X to work on the 2400, but it had been reported that it could run on the 3400, which was a very similar machine. After many false starts and total failures...finally success.


I started to to think about old computers in a different way. These things weren't just junk, but could actually be a source of fun and entertainment, and of course I could learn a thing or two about technology in the process.


My real obsession with 8-bit computers actually started way back when I was 11 years old, when I used to ogle at the computer magazines in the local book store, and run my hands over the machines on display at the local mall, I used to dream of owning an Atari 400 or 800, or a Commodore Vic 20, or even an Apple II. Unfortunately, because of the cost associated with importing, and the extra tax added by the New Zealand government, all of these computers were very expensive in the early 1980’s. I saved up some cash from mowing lawns, and finally my parents chipped in the extra money to allow me to afford a Sinclair ZX81. This was the first computer I ever owned, and I loved it, even with its memory pack wobble and other idiosyncrasies. I taught myself to program in Basic, and although I never learnt Machine Code, I was hooked.


A few years later I upgraded to a 48k ZX Spectrum, another machine by Sinclair that extended nearly every aspect of the ZX81. Now with high-res color graphics, programable graphic characters, sound, a better keyboard, and more memory. Around this time my best friend’s Dad also gave me an Aamber Pegasus, a New Zealand computer from a company called Technosys that had failed to make an impact in the market, and ultimately had closed it doors.


In 1985, my father, who was a lecturer at a local University, brought home an Apple Macintosh 512. I remember as a kid spending hours just cruising the GUI, almost as if It was an adventure game, discovering new secrets around every corner...I have been a Mac user ever since.


It was in 2004, after my positive experiences upgrading the Powerbook 2400 to run OS X, that I decided to get another Sinclair ZX81 and see if I could relive my first love. When it finally arrived I remember feeling giddy with nostalgia. It didn’t take long before I realized that for very little money I could own all the machines I used to dream about as a kid, and then some...I was hooked.


Some people collect only a single brand of computer, but I prefer to collect computers from a variety of manufacturers. I also collect old arcade motherboards from various companies, with some dating back to pre Atari times. I personally have great interest in learning how these old companies used different philosophies in creating their machines, how the technologies of the time impacted their designs, and how these technologies also impacted and steered the way for future computer designs. Over the years I have collected, fixed and sold (for profit) dozens of old computer. My collection, as it exist now, represents only a fraction of all the machines I have once owned, although I like to think my present collection, although small compared to other collections, represents a varied cross section of highly collectable, unique and rare machines.


As you can imagine, being 30+ years old, nearly all of the machines in my collection needed some tender loving care to bring them back to life. On this site you will find many topics related to repair and restoration of these wonderful pieces of history...enjoy.


Philip (Nama)


P.S For those having difficulty accessing my FTP site from the link in the menu, you can use an FTP client and use this:


URL: ftp://user1@neoncluster.com@neoncluster.com/

Username: user1@neoncluster.com

Password: user1


P.P.S. Someone emailed me saying that I should have a ‘wanted’ section, but I thought it was overkill to have a whole section dedicated to my selfish desires. So instead I’m going to put a quick mention here.


WANTED:

  1. Woz to sign my Apple II Rev 0 case. Well, would you believe it. I had a chance to meet Woz for lunch!

  2. IMSAI 8080.

  3. Dick Smith Wizzard

  4. Working MPI-51 floppy drive.

  5. To finally complete my archiving of Aamber Pegasus programs and documents.

  6. Anything old and in need of rescuing.


If you have anything interesting to share, or just want to chat, please feel free to contact me.


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