old computer collecting - Conduct, tips and safety

Collecting tips

  • REMOVE ALL BATTERIES - Remove all batteries and either dispose carefully or place in acid proof containers. This particularly applies to machines which have battery-backed BIOS memory/real-time-clock on the mainboards. These often leak causing costly damage.
  • DO NOT APPLY POWER TO OLD MACHINES - If the machine has been stored for some years then it will need specialised procedures in order to safely apply power to avoid causing damage. For example, old machines used large capacitors in the power supply that will need "reforming" or they could explode.
  • VISUAL INSPECTION BEFORE POWER - machines should be inspected, carefully cleaned, re-inspected, researched (for gotchas) before applying power.
  • RESEARCH BEFORE ANYTHING - before even connecting a keyboard, research the system to understand how it should be configured. For example many systems from the 1990s had proprietory keyboards with generic sockets. A recent PS/2 keyboard plugged into these systems can cause damage due to signal mismatch.


  • NEVER UNATTENDED - As a prudent measure never leave unattended old machines connected to the mains power supply.
  • CRTs ARE DANGEROUS - Never work on CRT (cathode-ray-tube) devices without a thorough understanding of the handling procedures. Never work alone with CRTs or exposed power supplies; in case of accident bystanders need to know what to do.
  • PROTECT EYES, SKIN - safety equipment should be warn when needed to avoid hazard.
  • WEIGHT MANAGEMENT - old computers can be extremely heavy; caution should be excercised when moving or packing.

Code of conduct