Disgusting Apple II Monitors Live Again

[The 8-Bit Guy] recently went to check out a stash of old Apple II Color monitors which had been sitting outside in a trash pile for 20 years, and decided to bring one home to restore. As you can see from the lead photo, they were dirty — really dirty. Surprisingly, the team of volunteers who discovered these monitors had fired them up, and every one of them works to some extent or another.

Check out the video below as he cleans up this filthy monitor and starts troubleshooting. You’ll chuckle aloud when he turns the circuit board over to desolder a mysterious diode, and when he flips the board back over, the diode has disappeared (it actually disintegrated into dust on his lab bench). For the curious, one commenter on YouTube found that it was a glass passivated and encapsulated fast recovery diode called a V19. There’s going to be a part 2, and we have every confidence that [The 8-Bit Guy] will succeed and soon add a shiny, like-new monitor to his collection.

If you’re a collector of old monitors, this demonstrates that they can survive quite a bit of abuse and exposure. We’re not sure that rummaging through your local landfill is the best idea, but if you run into an old monitor that has been exposed to the elements, don’t be so quick to dismiss it as a lost cause. Do you have any gems that you’ve restored from the trash? Let us know in the comments.

33 thoughts on “Disgusting Apple II Monitors Live Again

  1. When I was a teenager in around 1977 my father brought home a colour TV he had found dumped in a roadside ditch, in the wet UK winter, for me to “fiddle with”. I let it dry out, replaced a big fat oozing capacitor, and it worked!

    1. I’ve repaired several old television sets over the years, I used to sell them or turn them into oscilloscope like displays for local bands. So often they simply blow the internal fuse, people change the fuse in the plug, it still doesn’t work, so they lug it out onto the curb. Old TVs, microwaves, stereos, washing machines, ect., they are all great for spare parts and just satisfying curiosity. Nothing beats free. People are often grateful not to have to take things to be recycled.

        1. And that’s why the average consumer throws out an appliance, because the fuse keeps blowing and they have no idea how to even begin looking further upstream into why it keeps blowing so they chuck it and buy a new one. It’s sad in general but not for me, this is exactly how I’ve gotten some real scores that were easy fixes or at least good parts units depending on what failed and how easy/cheap it was to find replacement parts.

        2. Usually the fuse is before a TVS so if there is a power surge the TVS will start conduction which will fry the fuse. I have even seen a TVS just fry itself short. Cut it out, change the fuse and it works again.

    1. Wow, you are really bad at shopping for phones. I have a whole bunch of perfectly intact phones that have been retired due to slowness or lack of support. They all look great and might pass for new with some polish.

      1. You don’t know the half of it, I have crushed 3 phones (destroyed screens) by stepping on them! A Model 500 telephone could survive Armageddon and still work, they don’t make’em like they used to.

    2. Wish Apple would use the same technology that NASA uses. Spirit and Opportunity was supposed to last minimum of 90 days in harsh climate. They lasted many years instead. And we have Voyager 1 that is still running on original battery.

      Smartphones? Good luck finding one that remains usable after just 5 years due to lack of replacement batteries.

      1. According to wikipedia “Spirit’s onboard computer uses a 20 MHz RAD6000 CPU with 128 MB of DRAM, 3 MB of EEPROM, and 256 MB of flash memory.”

        Yeah, good luck doing anything useful on a smartphone with that. And you can easily get iphone 4 batteries off amazon and you can even get batteries for the original iphone.

    3. Had a xiaomi mi note 3 slide out of breast pocket (I jumped over a roadblock), tumble and fall on the pavement. Had a rubber bumper on it, but that is it. One minor scratch in the corner by which it fell, and that was all. Still working.

  2. it was trash when it was made, and it is trash now.

    power hungry, lead containing crt’s, wasting electricity, destroying people’s eyeballs with poor resolution and radiation.

    why restore it at all emulation can do this much much better, much much cheaper, and for far less electricity.

    Especially in Texas, where they don’t have any to spare.

    1. That’s really cool, seriously! 😎

      Green monitors and amber monitors have a much cleaner, calmer picture than color monitors. Much better than these fuzzy color monitors could ever have. Their after glow is part of the magic.

      The signal is fine especially if fed with a pure monochrome video signal. Some old PCs like the Sharp MZ 700 had a switch to change output between color/mono.

      But even b/w TV sets have their advantages. They have a smooth image thanks to the missing screen mask and their signle cathode ray tube.To this day, I haven’t seen an emulator that gets this right. They are all about RGB, scanlines etc.

      To be fair, though, modern flat screens can’t replicate that look, anyway, since they are still using three sub-pixels (red, green, blue; maybe yellow too).

  3. Not exactly a shango resurrection, but for a commodore 64 software developer whose house is right next door to mom and dad… you just can’t set the bar too high. At least he ascertained the component on the PCB was in fact a diode (after a few days). Banding together with the brilliant help of Adrian’s digital basement, Retro Recipes, and Techmoan, he’ll triumphantly figure out what the other components do and cobble a single working monitor from the pile of other working monitors plus new superfluous parts. Don’t forget, the exciting requisite plastics embrittlement (aka “retrobright”) process is still in part 2.. wait for it!

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