Can Cheap UV Phone Sanitizers Erase EPROMs?

One of the outputs from the pandemic has been a surge in cut-rate priced UV cleaners and sanitizers for phones and small devices. You can find them everywhere, often for under $10 new and $5 used. I do a lot of EPROM programming, especially with vintage chips, such as programming new ROMs for my recently restored TRS-80 Model I. To program ROMs requires that they first be erased, which is achieved using UV lighting that, in decades past, involved pricey specialized equipment.

While there are now plenty of dedicated EPROM erasers on the market, I have found the most popular budget ones run from $25 to $40 or more, with questionable build quality and effectiveness. The one I ordered online was made out of a crude plastic molding devoid of any UL certifications or safety precautions. It didn't even come with a drawer handle and had other defects. I found that the integrated light (a 4W F4T5 GL) was also faulty, due to poor solder connections that I had to manually remedy before it would erase chips at all. The timer was also entirely inaccurate and unpredictable. Read Full Article

Retro Fix: A Purgatory of TRS-80 Model 1 Repairs

As I've mentioned before, one of my favorite pastimes is vintage computing. I take particular interest in early connect-to-TV 8 bit microcomputers (including the short-lived Mattel Aquarius, for which I recently developed an extremely thorough, free modern online visual designer to assist fellow Aquarius artists and developers).

And while I'm mostly a software guy, the aging nature of these vintage electronics leads to inevitable hardware faults and necessary maintenance, therefore it is still vital to be skillful on the hardware side as well. I recently wrapped up the most strenuous restoration project to date — an original TRS-80 Model I computer from 1977 with all the bells and whistles from that era. I don't usually document or write about my repair projects or 8-bit endeavors since I do it purely for the fun of it and personal enjoyment, but this was such a long and convoluted journey of highs and lows that I figured I should write a blog while aspects of it are still fresh in my mind. There are a lot of resources for TRS-80 computers out there already, but perhaps my shared experience will be of value or help to others trying to diagnose their own sets. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments. Read Full Article