Hi, I’m Mike from the Leaded Solder web log. I live in Western Canada, and I have been collecting old computers for a long time, usually 68k-based Apple Macs. For a long time, I felt intimidated to do repairs because I had no experience with electronics.
Back in 2017, I noticed that a lot of my old computers were needing repairs, and replacement machines were becoming too expensive, and just as failure-prone. Learning to fix them – really fix them, not just swap parts, format, and reinstall – seemed like the next step for me. This is the first time I picked up a soldering iron in my life. Shortly after, I started this site to keep track of repairs to those old computers, and chronicle my progress in getting better at learning electronics.
It turns out that I have a bit of a soft spot for particularly cheap and abused computers. I just can’t bear to leave them to rot, and it is exciting to fix them up and share the process with others. Finding out that my writeup helped other people fix their old stuff is the best feeling, even if my writing only convinced them that they’re obviously smarter than me, and so should be able to do it better!
The year after my repair journey began, a friend told me about the thrilling and often bizarre world of 80s-90s Japanese PCs. Due to vicious competition, the Japanese market was bursting with a huge variety of 8- and 16-bit computers that never managed to reach our shores. I started importing and repairing NEC computers, but things rapidly got out of hand. Here, I began to make my own hardware to extend the capabilities of these computers, or replace old Japanese parts and expansions that were not available to me in Canada.
In 2020, I used some of the downtime caused by the pandemic to start designing and manufacturing my own computers. The first one was “Leako,” a simple clone of the ColecoVision Z80-based game console.
I hope you have fun reading the articles. Please let me know if they help you fix or just appreciate your own computers a little bit more. I always like to hear from readers.
If you really appreciate the articles and projects, please consider joining my dedicated supporters on the Leaded Solder Patreon page. Their generous donations help offset the expenses of site maintenance and hosting, not to mention the cost of hardware, parts, and tools. You’ll also get exclusive behind-the-scenes info and previews of upcoming projects, and occasionally be immortalized in a ROM or two.
The Big Machine List
Below is a complete list of every machine that has been covered by the blog to date, along with links to take you to their relevant articles:
Monitors and TVs
Sure, I Clearly Need More Stuff
Think you’ve got something that should be added to this list? Please check my wish list to see which computers and peripherals I am hunting for.