Whenever I come across a Brisbane City Council kerbside cleanup, I just can’t help myself to drive around looking for old computers that people have chucked out.. Last weekend it was on in Tarragindi. I knew my chances of finding some good old vintage computers were pretty slim, so instead of wasting petrol driving the van around, I rode my Aprilia SR50 scooter around..
The first thing I found was a complete Telecom Commander system with handsets.. I really wanted it, but deep down knew it was a waste of time (and it wasn’t going to fit on the scooter).
About ten minutes later I discovered an old scrap metal collector on another pile prodding at a keyboard that I instantly recognised as a Casio CZ-101. I immediately pulled over and started to chat to him, and started to point out some other stuff in the pile that he might be interested in, he got excited about a box of brand new mop refills, and I said “you don’t want this old keyboard do you?”. He mumbled “you’d be bloody lucky to get that working again..”, so I grabbed it and straddled it between my legs on the scooter and rode home.. Amazingly it still had an RA-3 RAM cartridge installed.
I got the CZ-101 home safely and proceeded to take it apart. I noticed straight away that somebody had made some rather dodgy attempts at repairing/modifying it.. Did some googling and discovered that it needed a 9V DC power supply at 850mA with a negative tip.
Found a plugpack and fired it up, but nothing happened.. Checked for voltage on the main circuit board, but nothing. re-soldered the connections on the DC power socket, and removed some additional wires (some kind of battery hack), and it fired up!
Plugged some headphones in, and started making noises. Many of the switches didn’t work, so I turned it off, vacuumed all the dust from the front panel, and cleaned it all. After this and a bit of playing around, all the switches seemed to work again (two of them are still a bit dodgy)..
Anyway, so far I think this is a much better synth than the Korg Poly 800 I use to have. Certainly much easier to use : )