My Bear Den and Commodore Cave

Dave's Bear Den and Commodore Cave

It has been way, way too long since I last updated this over 17 years ago.

As a kid, I had always been interested in electronics, and spent many weekends tinkering with old TVs. Fortunately this was the 1970s, and by then most people were upgrading to colour TV and so I had an endless supply of old B&W TVs to experiment with. My high school in 1972 had a big programmable calculator that took punched cards, which I found fascinating, and so, I got my own calculator in 1975. Yes, I overclocked it! At the time, computers were still very expensive and certainly not a consumer item. So I was not expecting to have my own in the forseeable future. Yet only a few years later, I purchased my first computer, a VIC-20 in 1982. I then upgraded to a C-64 the following year. I even had a 300 baud modem on my C-64, later upgrading it to a blisteringly fast 1200/75 baud modem so I could access 'Viatel' (anyone remember it?). I also had a home made EPROM programmer on my C-64, and used it to modify and burn custom kernel ROMs for it.

Like many C-64 users, I became aware of the Amiga quite early on. While I drooled over the A1000, I could not afford one at the time. The A500 became available in 1987, and I ordered my first one before it was actually in the shops. When it did arrive, it had an extremely low serial number, something like 00000240, if my memory serves me correctly, and had what looked like a Rev 3 motherboard. I now regret selling it when I later upgraded to a Rev 6 A500. The allure of 1MB Chip RAM was too strong! I expanded and upgraded it over the years, adding an A590. That 20MB hard drive seemed truly enormous!

A few years later, I upgraded to an A2000, and gradually expanded it over the years. These expansions included a GVP seriesII with 105MB hard drive, which I was convinced would never need upgrading...ever! Also a VXL-30 68030 accelerator, and a Retina ZII graphics card. By then, I had learnt my lesson and no longer sold off my old computers.

During the 1980s, I was a DJ at the Laird, a popular gay leather/bear bar in Melbourne, where I played '70s disco and '80s Hi-nrg, much of which was 'underground' and never played in mainstream venues or on radio. Because of this, they rarely had music videos, so I used my Amigas, a genlock, and several S-VHS recorders to create and edit video clips for them. This was at a time when a PC was lucky to have 4 colours and to beep at you when it crashed!

Eventually, I really hit the big time when I purchased a shiny new A4000D. As it turned out, it was the week before Commodore went bust in April 1994. That A4000 was also heavily upgraded over the years. Eventually I put it into a Micronik tower case, added a CSPPC, and crammed it full of Zorro cards. This remained my main computer until I was finding that the Amiga web browsers were no longer able to properly handle many websites

This began a slow transition away to Linux for me. For quite a while I used my Linux machine for the internet only, and continued using my Amiga for everything else, well into the early 2000s. But eventually the fact that I lived in a small flat at the time, and convenience meant that I eventually had to mothball the Amiga. Yes, I did remove the battery. Much later, I purchased a house out in the country, and when I retired from work in 2014 at the age of 55 (defined benefit superannuation is wonderful!), I decided to build myself a large shed as a mancave/workshop.

While I engaged a builder to build the external structure, and got an electrician to wire it, I did all the internal lining and fitout myself. It took quite a few months to do it, but I eventually made quite a nice 'Commodore Cave' to hold and display all my machines.

Below on the left is the frame of the shed under construction. It is actually bigger than it appears here. On the right is the frame for the internals being built. The shed contains a large display area for computers, a workshop, a mezzanine floor where the PCs are banished to, and several storage areas.

Below on the left is me playing with a 4016 PET, on the right is an old 1949 TV set I restored. Yes, its a Motorola! They used to make TV sets too.

Below on the left, I have my big red probe out, on the right is a rack of test pattern generators. There is an A1200 hidden in there somewhere! .

Below, two views of the Commodore Cave. The one on the right taken from the mezzanine floor

Below on the left is a view of the workshop. You can spot a few A4000 items. On the right is an A4000D, an A4000 in a Micronik tower, an A600, and an Amiga one XE.

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This site was introduced June 15th 1998. Revised 27 May 2021. Version 2.0