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How do you setup and have room for all your Classic Computers?

Zippy Zapp

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Messages
214
Location
USA:CA
Hi All,

Since unloading my storage a few years ago (2014) that had all my Commodore, Amiga and older Mac stuff in it I have run into a bit of a problem. I don't have enough space for all this stuff. And I am having a hard time figuring out how I can have several computers hooked up and usable all at the same time. I have a bedroom that is my office and it is packed. I also have part of a garage left since we converted the majority for another room.

How do you all do it? I am trying to thin down some of my systems but some I have had for decades and I don't want to get rid of them. In my office I have built in desk surfaces on 3 walls. So I can have my C64 setup, A DOS PC, a PPC Mac, an Amiga, my P3 system, my modern system and a center for my classic and modern game consoles.

What do you use? How do you store or swap out?
 

tezza

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2007
Messages
4,720
Location
New Zealand
Frankly I don't. Mine are all packed away in boxes surrounding me in this very small "attic" room where I take them out now and again to play/check them.

It's not ideal. It would be great to have a display room and separate workshop but will have to wait until we change houses. They are all stacked in an orderly way though, the boxes are accessible and labelled so it's easy to locate stuff and unbox it when needs be.

At least being up here, they don't impinge on my living space, and that of my significant other.

Tez
 
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paul

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2004
Messages
809
Location
New Zealand
Hmm, the first signs of panic, which is proportional to the number of machines you have ... squared. Best to get it under control before it overwhelms you :eek:

I only kept around a dozen pristine machines and half are on display in my living room, the rest stored in cupboards. I test them yearly but don't spend any further time with them. I keep spares in marked boxes in a closet.

IMG_4383[1].jpg
 

falter

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
5,869
Location
Vancouver, BC
Mine are stacked away in my hobby room. And I refuse to expand. The idea behind keeping it to one room was to limit what I could buy and ward off the risk of hoarding. I do not display my machines anywhere as I don't think anyone in my household but me appreciates them.
 

Trixter

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,413
Location
Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
Most of mine are in a basement crawlspace, which aside from insect critters, has done very well to preserve their condition (cool, dark, dry location). I have a small 8x8 work area where two are out on permanent display as I use them for projects every so often, and I have room to bring one more out for restoration or usage as needed.

All this is in the basement. No vintage computers on the main floor or upper floor, as it takes away from living space from the rest of the family.
 

mR_Slug

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
941
Location
UK
I used to have 8 PC's connected via a switch box. It was a DB25 manual box, with custom wired cables. I made the VGA cables out of FTP/STP. Worked ok. Since I've moved I haven't had time to set up something similar, despite having a proper 16 port KVM. I hope to setup one group for Pre-VGA stuff and one for VGA. But its been ~5 years so I doubt it will ever happen. I've also got some stuff in storage. I'm currently trying to thin down what I have. I've got about 40 systems In a spare room, some old some new.
 

KC9UDX

Space Commander
Joined
Jan 27, 2014
Messages
7,468
Location
Lutenblag
Most people think of space in two dimensions. I think in three. You wouldn't believe how much stuff you can fit in a space if you stack it floor to ceiling. And I mean floor to ceiling, not just whatever shelves you can buy at Menard's.
 

Caleb Hansberry

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2014
Messages
616
Location
Colorado Springs, CO
I built a very nice, deep wooden shelf for them, and attached surge protector strips to each shelf so everything can be plugged in at once (though probably not all powered on at once). Big things to store go on the bottom, light things and things to look at but not use on the top, and two shelves in the middle to have systems set up on.
 

KenEG

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2016
Messages
440
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio USA
I only collect vintage computers to use old software. I have a 8 X 25 foot room in the basement and keep my collection of a size that fits in it. I need to repair and sell some excess stuff before I can add anything more. I have two 8088 turbo systems. Only need one. That kind of thing.
 

Zippy Zapp

Experienced Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Messages
214
Location
USA:CA
Great experiences all, thanks!

My room is 12x 12 or 12x10, can't remember which. I have the closet filled with orderly file folder type storage boxes that are plastic and sealed. Mostly things go in there that might be moisture sensitive, like boxes of blank floppy disks. I usually use moisture absorbing packets, dry-dry type desiccants several in each box, they are the kind that start out dark and turn to a bright color when they are ready to be replaced or reactivated. Usually about a month or two. I don't know if it does any good but I suppose it can't hurt.

I am weeding down my collection but was just curious what other people do. I like the ideas here.
 

soviet9922

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2013
Messages
517
Location
Montevideo, Uruguay
Don't panic, it have faces at first i started selling stuff and sold a gazillion computers but then found that i missed them. Just let if flow ended up having my house full of computers in every room. Its easy when you are single, just kick your wife out and get computers on her side of the bed.
Or you can do like this guys that like to keep them in the woods.
 

billdeg

Technician
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Messages
3,872
Location
Landenberg, PA USA
I have a rule...for everything that comes in something has to go out...leaving me with only the good stuff. I have the space I have and that's what I have. But, it's pretty big I am lucky to have room enough for my collection
 

creepingnet

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
1,062
Location
Sparks, NV
Well, with me moving in about a month, I'm working out plans for a display once we get a house.

My idea is that I will either get one table, or several old corner computer desks - and this is what I envision...

Each machine (286, 486, Tandy 1000) will have it's own corner where it will have "of the period" artifacts designed to blend in with the new man cave, but provide a feel and experience similar to the period the computer is from just to make it more immersive. I'm planning on purchasing 2 more CRT monitors as well, and maintaining/keeping those alive.

I will have a setup desk that the computers share with my guitars - as I use the same tools on both - that setup desk will have an LCD with composite (for the Tandy), as well as an on-wall motherboard mount (so I can test/configure motherboards & other items up there). THis will also allow me to custom build new additions (for sale, unless it's something REALLY special to me).

I only now keep spares I would actually use as well. I've become quite picky. The 486 only uses VLB graphics cards, the 286 only uses ISA SVGA cards, and the Tandy will continue to use it's onboard TGA and if that goes down it'll be a board level repair of some kind. I try to use only genuine SoundBlaster cards when possible, and I have quite a pile of LAN cards at ready. Those are the parts I use the most often. The only thing I don't keep around much anymore is hard disks, because I don't want to be fighting Stiction issues because I've had some spindle drive sitting around for years on end without being spun up. I may be moving to SATA/SSD/DOMs/IDE adapters before too long, though hard disks with me tend to last a really long time for some crazy reason. I'm also looking into reducing all the SIMMS I have so I only h ave 32MB sticks for the 486 and 1MB sticks for the 286 (won't take 4MB sticks or 2MB sticks). Might want to get more 4464s or 4256's for the Tandy though before too long.
 

dJOS

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2017
Messages
621
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I'm fortunate to have a decent size study, I typically keep about 4 retro machines out at anyone time and the other 6 live on shelves when not in use.

I've also culled my collection down recently, now I only collect machines that mean some to me personally.

JLUmBRvh.jpg
 

smbaker

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
Messages
363
Location
Oregon, USA
I only have one vintage project on display / being worked on at a time. That's not only the limit of the bench space that I can justify, but also a limit on my free time. Juggling multiple projects would just be too much... That which isn't currently on display gets stowed somewhere.

If I ever complete my 5150 with period-accurate accessories (monitor, keyboard, etc) then I could possibly consider dedicating some space to it.

Generally, I like to work on things more than I like to actually use them. I'm often looking for new boards to acquire or new boards to design. Not sure if that's typical of other vintage computer enthusiasts.
 

ClassicHasClass

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
1,638
Location
Sunny So Cal
I restrict my collection to the rear two rooms of the house (one is the server room, one is the office). A couple items have leaked into the bedrooms where they are justified as workstations. The rest is condemned to storage.

It helped that I bought the house before I got married. I'm not sure that would have worked out in the other direction.
 

Ratix

Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
30
Location
Romeoville
right now for me i have a PC is almost every room in the house. i don't have a designated area set up yet with the exception of the game room. once the ball gets rolling for the basement is when it will all come together and not look terrible and more orderly
 

Rick Ethridge

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
1,037
Location
Plattsmouth, Nebraska USA
I, too, have computers in almost every room in the house. 48 port centrally located router! My workbench is located in the basement as is workstations and spare systems in storage. My main system is in the library.
 
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