An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Woe and Sadness - Monitor and Keyboard problems

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I recently purchased a complete Apple IIe system from Ebay that was described as 100% working by the seller.

I was really only looking for a new Apple III Monitor to use as a replacement for the one I own and suspected of failing, but I spotted an auction that included an Apple IIe, 2 Disk II drives, a fan/power unit, and a Monitor III so I bid on the auction and won the entire package for what I considered a fairly low price. About $370 with shipping. It's an exact replica of what I already own, so a great backup was had.

When it arrived it was partially packed in bubble wrap and secured in the box by lots of styrofoam strips and pieces cut to size to hold everything in place. Unfortunately, the bubble wrap didn't completely cover the vents, keyboard, drive openings, or anything else, and many small particles from the styrofoam pieces found there way into the components.

I cleaned everything out and connected the components, and that is when I discovered the problems.

The Monitor III functions, but there is a black blob in the upper right hand corner of the screen when the green background is turned up. But when the green background is set to black, the monitor actually functions quite nicely so I'm okay with that.

The kicker though, is that the Caps Lock key doesn't work. Pretty important, right? It clicks down in place, but it doesn't do anything. Typing produces only lower case letters. I can hold down the shift key and the computer accepts commands and the drives run smooth. Real smooth, so I'm happy with the drives.

My question is, should I contact the seller for a refund or accept the fact that I got a pretty good deal and try to fix the caps lock key? Or is the whole thing fairly messed up and I should demand a refund?

I have researched keyboard issues here and found several links so I think I could conceivably repair the Caps Lock key. But I'm not sure it is worth the effort based on the money I spent. The keys appear to depress black plastic pins when I look inside the computer, but beyond that I'm not sure what kind of keyboard it has.

I blew out the keyboard with compressed air on the top and bottom and inside, no luck. Any help or advice would be much appreciated.

THANKS

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Joined: Feb 1 2009
Posts: 48
Re: An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Woe and Sadness - Monitor and ...

One other problem with the Monitor III is that the type and graphics seem to bow downward slightly in the middle of the top of the screen. Images and text aren't as straight as they are on my other Monitor III at the top of the screen.

speedyG's picture
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Re: An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Woe and Sadness - Monitor and ...

Hello apple2ee,
well any computer system with that kind of age will have some kind of smaller issues.... and i call that issues that you claimed here to be such "minor" issues.... you´ll never get a system at ebay at that price like "just out of the box"( i.e. out of the shop )...
thats just my private opinion.... with respect to the fact that such systems had solved "several years of duty" and quite a long period of storage that system seems to be in a rather acceptable condition....

instead it´s just realy recommended to solve those issues and get the system back up again to "error-free" status....
related to the keyboard i guess that you also found my thread to the keyswitches and took a closer view to the page :
http://www.harrowalsh.de/Elektronik/APPLEBOX/appleboxkeypage.htm
and viewed it entirely..... that should enable you to solve the keyboard-problem.....
and if your at that page it´s probably just a good idea to visit also the pages related to:
http://www.harrowalsh.de/Elektronik/APPLEBOX/appleboxdownload.htm
and there following up the pages :
http://www.harrowalsh.de/Elektronik/APPLEBOX/appleboxdiskiipage1.htm
related to the calibration of the diskdrives....
speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

gsmcten's picture
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Re: An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Woe and Sadness - Monitor and ...

This is just my personal opinion...
If you paid more than $100.00 for the system you describe, then you paid too much.
You have to be careful when you buy items of theis age.

Do not be afraid to ask the seller questions about the condition of the item before you bid. Keep the answers they send via eBay e-mail and if you still bid, win the system, and it is not as they say it is when it arrives, you have the e-mail evidence of fraud and/or misrepresentation on their part.
I am sure that I am not the only person here who will say this.
CYA! CYA!! CYA!!! Smile

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Steven (gsmcten)

"Apple ][.....It's ALIVE!!!!!"

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Re: An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Woe and Sadness - Monitor and ...

Hello Steven,
i respect your private opinion... but please bear one thing in mind.... there is a big difference in the prices for winning bids in the USA - and the prices you have to pay in Europe.... we are not that lucky here in Europe to get that amont of offers like in the USA and therefor prices have been remaining here in Europe rather higher that in the US....

and if you buy a US system with a bid in Germany the transport is that high together with customs that it even beats the German price level....

depending to the condition of a system ( computer, 2 Disk II drives and Monitor all together in working condition closes here at bidding with amounts between 200 € and 250 € and thats in U.S. Dollars equal to 300 to 350 bucks.... adding some 20 € ( or 28 U.S. Dollars ) for transportation within Europe....

Apple indeed did serve much more schools in the USA with computers than in Europe and they had much more customers over the pond and therefor the amount of availiable systems is in the USA and Canada much larger than here... so the pricelimit you have given is for sure good level for the USA... but in fact in Europe that level is higher....

anyhow ... the advice given about the way to track deals within ebay to avoid trouble and to make sure that description is valid same like the item that arrives is really important ... and for sure it is obligatory to realy read not only what a offer claims to offer but also to recognize WHAT WAS NOT EXPLAINED / CLAIMED IN THE OFFER.... most lies are told at ebay by not saying something important.... thats also the reason that it is upmost important to issue questions and to keep the answers...
sincerely speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

amauget's picture
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Re: An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Woe and Sadness - Monitor and ...

Hello apple2ee,

If you are equiped for soldering/desoldering, this auction from John could be a solution.

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Antony
Apple II forever

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Re: An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Woe and Sadness - Monitor and ...

Good news. I was able to fix the Caps Lock key. I blew more air around it, clicked it repeatedly, and finally rocked it back and forth a little. The gentle rocking seemed to free it up and cause it to work. The solution could have been a combination of all three though. In general, key massage was the answer and should probably be the first thing to try. The Caps Lock key works consistently now.

The only real problem with the purchase left to solve is that the Monitor III isn't as good as my original. The black blob in the upper 10% of the right corner still exists but is not apparent when the contrast is set to a black background. Green graphics and letters are not obscured or degraded in that corner, only the green background if that is turned up. Solution: don't do that.

The other problem with the Monitor III is that the graphics bow down a little in the top center of the screen and skew a little up at the bottom on the right side of the screen. Full screen horizontal lines aren't perfectly straight at the top and bottom. Let me know if anyone knows how to fix this. It is minor, but sucks.

The remainder of my testing has shown the system functions as it should. Both drives read and write great. I made copies of my System Master disk using COPYA on the System Master and wrote the copies to floppy disks in D1 and D2.

BIGGEST QUESTION NOW, what other tests should I perform before I leave positive feedback? This is an Apple IIe Standard model, not enhanced or platinum. THANKS.

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Re: An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Woe and Sadness - Monitor and ...

Hello apple2ee,
well the most common way to perform all tests would be to use the "appleIIe dealers testdisk". It´s availiable as .DSK image at the apple documentation center in the downloads. With ADT you can generate the disk. Then run through all tests in the list.
speedyG

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In early days I had a lot of money but no time - now I have no money but a lot of time....
the second part includes less friends but a lot more joy on life....

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Re: An Ebay Buyer's Tale of Success

apple2ee wrote:

BIGGEST QUESTION NOW, what other tests should I perform before I leave positive feedback?

Your computer already works as well or better than you should expect. You got a good deal; stop fretting and start computing.