A consise history of Dataserve Retro...
My own personal interest in computers dates back some 35+ years to when I bought my first "rubber key" Sinclair Spectrum 48K.
During the 80s, I owned many models in the Spectrum range before moving on to my first PC - the early Amstrad PC1512. Since that time, I have always retained a deep interest in computing and have owned many many different PC's - all (with the exception of some laptops) built by myself.
I am an A+ Certified Technician with over 35 years of experience.
I work on my machines on from a workshop converted from my garage, with storage in my second garage and a a completely converted loft space.
In the early 2000's I was introduced to eBay by a friend and whilst browsing all of the computer sections (naturally), I came across a nice, boxed, 48K Sinclair Spectrum. This was to be the first item I ever won in an eBay auction.
It turned out to be faulty of course and after a lot of research and parts hunting, I managed to repair it. I was hooked! My interest in computers turned back full circle to the 8-bit machines that I first learned to program on.
I bought several more machines, searched out as many old manuals, schematics and workshop manuals that I could find and Dataserve Retro was born...
Since 2004 I have collected and repaired these 8-Bit machines and on a hobbyist basis repaired machines for other enthusiasts, or people who have found their own old computer in the loft and want to see it working again.
My wife Sue joined me in a quickly growing hobby to handle all of the post, packing and admid tasks. Even though we both worked full time in completely non computer related fields, we managed to keep Dataserve Retro ticking over nicely and parts, components and sometimes full machines go out all over the UK and Europe.
Every machine which comes into the workshop is completely stripped down into its component parts which are thoroughly cleaned and examined.
After all the spiders, moths, paper clips, pencils, obsolete £5 notes, rings, old coins, plastic soldiers, pizza and tomato ketchup have been removed (I've seen it all) then the components are inspected, tested and any faulty components replaced.
This can be a long process and time consuming process - fault tracing can be very tricky at times.
Replacements for faulty components are also often difficult to track down and source these days. De soldering components from old boards and replacing them with new equivalents (if they are still available) without damaging other components is a skill long in the learning.
We tend to specialise on the Sinclair, Amstrad and BBC Micro ranges of computer.
A typical Spectrum +2 or, +3 or Amstrad CPC machine will have had minimum of 2 hours attention, even if it was fully working when it came into the workshop for a service. If it is non-working, that time can be significantly longer.
Once re-assembled, tested and fully valeted externally, owners or potential buyers will have the assurance that their machine, or one they may purchase is as good as it can be.
As well as offering complete systems to the retro enthusiast, we also try to offer as complete a range as possible of replacement parts, components, peripherals, spares, cables, leads and even rubber feet.
Many obsolete parts and components have had to be recommissioned, working with manufacturers who make similar items who are prepared to work with us on tooling and moulds to recreate parts from new. Many of these items are identical in appearance to the originals (such as keyboard face plates, membranes, cassette drive belts etc), but being made from modern materials are superior in quality and longevity
We also on offer when we have them, books, original manuals, system disks, cassette tapes and a wide range of software.
Have a good look around the shop section of the site - there are many items for many mchaines.