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13677 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Oct 12, 2013 8:09 AM by NYEngineer RSS
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Sep 3, 2013 10:06 AM

why is there value in vintage electronics?

Other than looking pretty cool, what's the purpose of vintage electronics? I get that some things such as oscilloscopes can work pretty well as analog, but why do people bother salvaing vintage components?


Is there ever a situation where vintage stuff > modern stuff? It's difficult to image given Moore's law has not only advanced most tech but inherently reduced its pricing too.




  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 6, 2013 10:11 AM (in response to Ziggstercom)
    Re: why is there value in vintage electronics?

    The value is often historical, not performance. Vintage electronics can mark an important transition in culture, like the first transistor radio, which really ushered in the era of personal electronics. Or the early Tektronix scopes that mark technical break-throughs (built-in time base, modular design) that changed the ways engineers work. There is also the nostalgia factor for the "good old days," when everything could be fixed with a Simpson meter and a tube tester. In the case of audio equipment, the sound produced by early electronic systems is different than what is produced by solid-state  equipment, so if you want to hear the music they way it was orignally heard (and the way artists expected it to be heard), you have to use a vintage system. That's also true if you want to  produce vintage sounds, like early electronic organs and other instruments.


    As to actual components, such as early ICs and vacuum tubes, it is often the case that they are no longer manufactured, and if you need one for a repair, you have to search for a source. This can make them valuable.


    You are right in that most instruments made and sold today perform better than those that were made in the past. But until recently, it would have been impossible to find a new curve tracer, and so the old ones were still widely used in some places. (Keithley recently changed that with the introduction of it's Parametric Curve Tracer system.) Having a tool whose results you can trust and that provides the accuracy you need is valuable. So a lot of old, reliable equipment is still in use.


    Message was edited by: Richard_Comerford_Editor_Electronic_Products

  • Mteo2188 Apprentice 79 posts since
    Mar 11, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 12, 2013 10:16 AM (in response to Ziggstercom)
    Re: why is there value in vintage electronics?

    As Richard and Speaker point out, part of the reason is nostalgia. You don't think analog oscilloscopes looks pretty damn cool?

    • NYEngineer Novice 1 posts since
      Oct 12, 2013
      Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 12, 2013 8:09 AM (in response to Mteo2188)
      Re: why is there value in vintage electronics?

           Hey guys -- One thing that I've not seen so far is the answer: "Because vintage electronics "still work" and they have "great value".  Electricity is still electricity - the principles have not changed!! 

           BTW,  a few weeks ago I was touring an antique shop, being lead by my wife, and I spotted an 'old' Simpson Model 260 analogue volt-ohm-milliameter. I dialed it to read resistance... crossed the test leads, and I was suprised that it showed "0" ohms and the meter moved smoothly. Hmmmm ... the thing still worked!!!   Well, for ten bucks I have a new addition to the work bench. And, it brings back pleasant memories of my college education from the mid-sixties, too!! 

           So, keep your eyes open for old, but useful, instruments!

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