I Broke My Own Rules

Its Mothering Sunday and the family decided to meet up at the Taplow Car Boot Sale. It was a chilly start and the boot sale has only for going for the second week since finishing for the winter last year.

The boot sale is only in the small field at the moment but was very busy today and as usual I found myself competing with the “traders” who just go straight up to the cars as they are trying to park and ask them if they have any items of interest of my personal favourite, just start looking through someone’s boot as they are trying to set up their stalls.

After walking around twice, I came across a mother and daughter selling some computer related items. They are business sellers rather than someone just clearing out their loft. I often worry about these types of sellers as they treat the items badly often throwing them on the floor and this is how I came across an Amstrad PPC640 just as she laid it onto the grass. I immediately asked her much and she said £30. I tried negotiating but she did now want to move on the price. This is £10 more than my limit for “punts”. I inspected it and without powering it on, it appeared complete (rare) and nothing obvious was missing/broken. The seller told me it was working but when I asked for a little more information she obviously knew very little about its working condition. Alarm bells were faintly ringing!

In the end I decided to break my own rules and still purchase it, banking on the case and accessories to be worth something even if it didn’t work.

At a nearby stall, we picked up a Nintendo  64 GameBooster cartridge for playing Gameboy games on a Ninendo 64 for £1 (currently on ebay for nearly £40), a Bratz boxed Gameboy Advance game £1, a mini display port to VGA adapter £1, Synthesizer LP Album £3 and The Best Air Guitar Album in The World Ever! Volume 1 for £2.



Amstrad PPC640 Computer £30-70 if working

GameBooster Cartridge £40

Bratz Rock Angelz boxed game £5-10

Mini DisplayPort to VGA Cable £1

Synthesize LP £5

Air Guitar CD £2.75

Total cost £38

Total resale value £83.75 – 128.75

When I got home, I excitedly plugged in the mains adapter and straight away saw a red light. This was a good start. These computers have a mono green screen which is not very clear but I saw some writing appear and could see a message about the internal battery and the date/time needing to be reset. Again, a good sign that it was functioning. I delved into the case it came in and found all the original manuals/price guides, car adapter and eventually some discs including the DOS. I put one of these into the first of two 3.5″ drives and heard some faint motor sounds and after a short while, DOS appeared on the screen. I haven’t tried all the keys yet or the car adapter but this seems to be a fully working Amstrad PPC640 which is a good deal for £30 with the original accessories in good condition.

Now I just need to try the music , find my N64 for testing the cartridge and take the Amstrad to work to try an external CGA monitor.


Published by

Paul Clews

Lecturer in IT at East Berkshire College. Assessor & Verifier Technology Evangelist Hacker Tinkerer Collector of all things Retro Cyclist Kayaker Adventurer

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