Jackpot, again!

The last thing I need is another computer. Most of the time it seems like I am actively trying to get rid of the things. Or at least trying to think of ways to use the ones nobody wants.

And then yesterday I wander into the recycle shop, genuinely hoping to find a 256Mb stick of PC100 in the bottom of a box somewhere, and instead I see this little wonder, inside the glass display case.


I thought I had hit the jackpot when I got the old Pentium as a hand-me-down, but this is like something transported through time.

I am proud to say that I didn’t jump at it immediately — after all, it’s not much of an improvement over the Pentium laptop I have already. No, I managed to restrain myself for 24 hours, then went back. I decided if Fate left it in the glass case for one more day, it would be a signal to me to take it home.

And it was there again today. I am a firm believer in following Fate’s cues.

Best of all was the price tag: US$10. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

So this is the Fujitsu FMV-5120, a slight bump up from the 5100 I already have. And what a looker! Impeccable condition inside and out, no damage to the screen, a few weak brush-mark scuffs on the top, good latches and hinges, a perfect screen, no missing or loose keys, no dirt or dust anywhere, AC adapter included, and all the parts with the exception of a hard drive.

And with a decent-but-sometimes-finicky little brother to this one at home already, I have the opportunity to scavenge if necessary, should any of the innards prove defective. But so far it’s been anything but defective. Quite to the contrary: I’ve seen some rancid computers that I get as spares or giveaways. And every once in a while I come across something quite the opposite, in clean shape and quite solid for the age.

But this is an amazing find. Everything looks brand new — like it has been in storage for the past 13 years. With the exception of the faint scuff on the lid, the insides and the outsides are immaculate.

I’m shocked and, in retrospect, a little annoyed that some wag at the recycle shop taped the drive mounting tray to the keyboard, leaving little gummy balls of sello tape goo here and there. But that’s minor, and even the tray itself was still shrink-wrapped and the mounting tape was unused. I have to wonder what happened to the original hard drive, but it’s not an issue.

I threw in the spare 20Gb 4200rpm drive I keep just for such purposes, and did a piggyback installation of Slitaz 2.0 on it. Once I had a basic idea of the guts, I installed Crux 2.4 with Xorg 7.3, and put a few little doo-dads on it. It’s running great. Also only 16Mb but with an expansion slot, so I’ll probably swap out the spare 32Mb stick which has been sitting around since I gave it a try in the other Pentium.

And it’ll probably need a little bit quicker hard drive. And a proper network connection. Maybe a decent mouse. And … and …

And some practical application for it. … ๐Ÿ˜


13 thoughts on “Jackpot, again!

  1. leosolaris

    Hey cool! Congrats on the find, I just did nearly the exact same thing Thursday. (Eastern US)

    I have a great little computer shop around the corner from me, and I went in to ask them about a whitebox laptop. I discovered that it would be prohibitively expensive for just a tinker toy to figure out the ins and outs of laptop building.

    We got to talking and they gave me an old, unknown condition Gateway Solo 5300. They said it powered up to POST last time they plugged it in, but that they did not have a spare power cord for it. Most likely the battery needs replaced as well… eBay has the battery at US $30-$50 and the cord was $20. But hey, $50-$70 for a PIII laptop without any other major flaws…

    I am going to get it up and running if possible, after a tear down/rebuild.

    I think I may donate it once I get it working.

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  3. Eric

    Why did you wait. It was only ten dollars. You should have grabbed it and ran the minute you saw it.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Well, mostly because I don’t need another computer. But also because I try to avoid impulse buying things. Particularly computers. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. The_englishman

    Perhaps your next small application that you try out could be scale2pics on Puppy Linux so I can see the pictures of your new machine at a viewable size ๐Ÿ™‚

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