Computers should be kept away from mice – they don’t mix! I have just got my Sharp MZ-80K out of the box from the loft ready for my computer museum exhibition for National Science Week on Thursday and Friday.
I opened the box (yes, an original 1979 box), and inside to my horror I see small shreds of paper. I’ve seen this before – the cats brought a mouse in, and it managed to hide out in my office at home when it was just a store-room. We cleared that room out a few years ago, and moved the MZ-80K up into the loft out of the way. Anyway there was distinct evidence in the box of mouse related activity, and upon further investigation, the little blighter has eaten the bottom half of about 15 pages of my Hisoft Pascal manual – fortunately I have a photocopy of that manual, also in the box, but untouched – the animal only goes for original paper.
So I clean out all the remains of the mouse nest, get the machine out of the box, perform a cursory examination of the inside of the machine – one wire chewed through, but it’s just one of the wires connecting the led that displays keyboard state – no worries there, that can be fixed in due course. Ok, plug it in and switch on – the sound of the monitor powering up, and immediately down again – hmmm, something not right here – I guess there’s a fuse just blown for some reason.
I check the fuse in the plug – that’s ok, right how about the resistance between the neutral and power on the plug – that’s too high to be a primary winding on the transformer – time to take the power supply apart.
As soon as I start to take the PSU apart I realise there’s something amiss mainly due to the number of peanuts falling out of it… Some old fashioned form of capacitance – nope just a mouse’s winter store – when the blighter was in my office it must have found the bag of peanuts for the birds and relocated a number of them inside the power supply – must be causing a short somewhere, sure enough the primary input fuse has blown on the PSU, and I’m going to have to try to replace that tomorrow – I’ll take the machine into work, and see what Ian thinks of it. There’s going to be some damage to some components I think, but hopefully nothing that can’t be fixed. After all, this thing was my first computer – my parents bought it for my in about 1979, and its been through a lot – it would be a shame to lose it to a mouse.
more photos of the damage can be viewed here
And finally, talking of the 70’s check out the David Gilmour concert on Radio 2 – you can watch some of it by pressing the red button on any BBC TV channel, or listen to it on the Radio 2 listen again service – I just love the sax in Shine on you Crazy Diamond.