Introducing: Computer restoration
First up, we’re going to tackle restoring an old computer. Specifically a Macintosh SE SuperDrive
Why this project? This computer is generally the same iconic design as the original Macintosh, so it’s sort of cute. It’s small, and easy to keep around the workshop. It’s old, but not particularly rare. If we veer into a guard rail in the learning curve on this project the damage will not make a dent into the universe. It also doesn’t work. Making it work will be the first milestone to achieve in this project.
This type of computer would have been manufactured in 1989. At the time I write this, it’s now 33-years old. There a lots of potential points of failure, including the CRT display and moving mechanical parts ranging from the disks to the keyboard or ports, but like a lot of electronics of this age it’s probably leaking parts.
In this computer the most catastrophic failure point is a battery located on the motherboard which is used to remember settings between uses, like the time and date. Who hasn’t come across a leaky AA battery? Same deal here. If the battery leaks the acid can ruin the circuits and chips on the board. Thankfully, this computer does not have that malady. The battery did not leak, and it has been safely removed. If you have an old battery-powered device sitting in a drawer, closet, shed, attic, etc… Please, remove the battery and dispose of it.
The next most common failure point are leaky capacitors. The electrolytic capacitors leak — did you guess it? — electrolytes. Like with battery leakage, this can damage other parts, but at the least it means the other parts aren’t receiving the right amount of electricity. In a personal computer the symptoms can range all the way from not powering on all the way to quirky behaviors — like maybe sounds won’t work, or become distorted. As this paragraph concludes, I can’t believe I’ve neither made a joke about Back to the Future nor Gatorade.
The process of replacing old capacitors is called “recapping,” and this is where I plan to start this project.
Some potential future creative projects I can imagine are:
Retrocomputing: Run old software for nostalgic reasons.
Various modifications and enhancements: Replace or add parts to enable this computer to do new tricks.
Retr0bright-ening: The process to restore the appearance of the computer to original.
Recapping various other vintage computers.
Supporters, what would you like to see done?