My HARD OFF Megathread!

Posted 2023-01-14 | Back to blog index

My HARD OFF Megathread!

HARD OFF is my favorite store ever. It's a Japanese chain of tech thrift stores that will buy your junk and resell it. There's also OFF HOUSE (clothes/household items), the confusingly unrelated BOOK OFF (used books, games and other media), LIQUOR OFF, etc

I'll start off by posting some overview photos of what kind of stuff you can find there, and then start following up whenever I find something interesting

Let's go!

I'll start off with some games stuff before getting into the PC, camera and AV gear.

Of course they have all your old game consoles from the famicom onward, including handhelds. I've seen untested Disk Systems go for 1000 yen.

Piles of controllers of course, as well as lots of games.

Not pictured: blue bins full of random unpopular games from Famicom to PS3. Accessories like PAX Powergloves, drum controllers, etc.

Shelves full of old game consoles: Famicom, Super Famicom, Sega, Nintendo Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Playstation 2. Oddly no N64 A rack of old handheld consoles: Sega Game Gear, Game & Watch, etc Racks of blue bins full of game controllers marked N64/GC, PS, PS2, SFC, WiiU Racks of bagged famicom and Super Famicom games.

Now on to my favorite part: the computer hardware!

Fist of all they sell old PCs. Macs do show up here, usually flat panel iMacs and PowerMac G5s/Mac Pros, but I've also got a PM 8500, a PB G3 Wallstreet, and a sunflower iMac here.

They also have bins full of accessories and cables, anything you could need. Firewire cables, SCSI terminators, I even found the Serial to 2,5mm cable I needed for a APC UPS network card in here!

Racks of PCs, both desktop and laptop Three aluminum iMacs Blue bins full of mice, keyboards, cables, internal IDE optical drives, etc Blue bins full of cables

If you're not into pre-built PCs, they have everything you need to build your own!

Piles of dubious old motherboards, piles of CPUs of unknown pedigree, piles of RAM, piles of terrifyingly lightweight PSUs - it's all here!

Blue bins with motherboards in them. The motherboards are all old enough to have PS/2 ports on them. Most also have serial and parallel A blue bin full of loose CPUs each wrapped in a plastic baggie. 2 blue bins full of loose RAM split into laptop and desktop RAM A blue bin full of random ATX power supplies

Also catered to are all your internal storage needs - be it spinning rust hard disks or optical drives. I did run across a SCSI DVD drive here once that I nabbed but otherwise it's mostly SATA with the occasional PATA

Laptop users aren't left out, with a wide selection of PCMCIA cards mostly missing their dongle cords that are required to actually use any of the non-WiFi ones

As for networking there are also piles of hubs, switches and home internet routers, with the occasional dial-up modem

A bunch of spinning rust internal harddisks hung up on pegs Blue bins full of internal DVD and CD drives A blue bin full of loose PCMCIA cards Blue bins full of 100 Mbit ethernet switches

As for storage media, you have your obsolete memory cards here, as well as any kind of common tape or disc format (not pictured: the MO disks)

In addition to the computer cables, they also have any kind of AV or antenna cable you could need, mixed in with piles of busted old cassette and CD walkmen.

Lately I've also seen a lot of 8mm film playback equipment

Plastic boxes with memory cards - SmartMedia, miniSD, PS Vita, Memory stick, compact flash, XD A blue bin full of tapes - Video8, Hi8, SVHS-C, audio cassette (type I and II), floppies, beta Blue bins full of cables - RCA, S-video, microUSB, AC adapters, VGA adapters 8mm film projectors and splice editing stations

Which brings us to the camera stuff.

They have bins full of 35mm camera bodies (not pictured, sorry), P&S cameras, handycams, mouldy old lenses and hot shoe flashes. They even have a bin full of the chargers for those proprietary camera batteries!

Blue bins full of point & shoot cameras and handycams, that all look in terrible condition. Blue bins full of 35mm camera lenses Blue bins full of hotshoe flashes A blue bin full of battery chargers

Finally it's the Audio-Visual gear!

They have everything to set up a 90's home Hi-Fi, from amps to speakers to record players.

If you just want a small boombox for the office they have no end to those either. Many with built-in minidisc players!

Shelves full of amps and large speakers Shelves full of record players Shelves full of bookshelf speakers Shelves full of small boomboxes

On the video end of things, there are piles and pile of DVD players, Blu-ray players and DVRs. With a handful of VHS, Betamax and laserdisc players mixed in for good measure. This is also where I first saw VHD before the Techmoan video on it!

Also popped in a photo of some mini-stereos that I liked the look of but didn't fit in the previous toot!

Shelves full of video players Closeup of a betamax player Closeup of a stack of VHS, Beta and Laserdisc players A couple of 80's and 90's mini stereo systems

Occasionally some oddball stuff shows up - some professional U-Matic/Betacam decks, or really really massive concert hall speakers.

There's also a music section with things like mixer boards and guitar amps.

TASCAM rack-mount CD player and recorder Sony U-matic SP and Betacam SP decks Tube amps and professional mixer decks Huge speakers

Some more stuff that didn't fit into any theme above, including The DankPods Cashies aisle

Bins full of AC adapters, sorted by voltage Phones and fax machines Electronic Kanji dictionaries Piles of cymbals

That's it for now!!

When I'm in the mood I'll add in some specific interesting things I've run across or bought.

I try to drop by every other week or so to see if anything fun has showed up, and when I see something I'll be sure to post it!

I forgot to post the most important thing!

A padlock of rhinoceros

Update on 2023-02-01:

I just dropped by a HARD OFF I hadn't been to before, which is in a smaller town than the city where I live.

And right before I was going to leave I spotted this little boy on the bottom shelf!

The plastics are brittle and there's rust on ths shielding, but the battery is intact, and at a first glance there don't even seem to be any green fuzzies on the pads around the caps!

I had to rescue him, he's coming home with me!

A PowerMac 7600/132 on its side with a 3300 yen price tag The motherboard of a PowerMac 7600 revealing an intact Tadiran battery A PowerMac 7600 strapped into a car with a seatbelt

One more thing I picked up was this 22" Cinema Display M8149 that went for 550 yen! I have a friend who wants to use it as a (working) prop in a video. For 500 yen even if it doesn't work it's no huge loss.

Presumably it's so cheap because an ADC display is useless for 99.9% of people.

An Apple Cinema Display LCD M8149 on a rack with other LCD displays

Some other fun stuff I spotted today at the "new to me" HARD OFF

Chonky dot matrix printer that was gong for 5000 yen!

This store still sells HDDs and not only that but PATA ones!

A dual-CPU server motherboard from Supermicro

A Super Famicom modem

Big beige dot matrix printer Clear bins full of hard disks in clear plastic baggies, some marked IDE some marked SATA A box marked Supermicro Server motherboard A grey box marked SuPER Famicom 通信モデムNDM24

A portable VHS deck (presumably for use with a pre-camcorder video camera)

This funky red Betamax deck and a video wipe generator

A karaoke LaserDisc player with 5-song track selection

A US-spec closed captions decoder??

MacLord S32 VHS deck with a handle A red Sony Betamax deck A laserdisk player with big buttons marked 1-5 A TeleCaption 400

Update on 2023-03-07:

I went to a new (to me) HARD OFF today and spotted a Wacom tablet. There are always lots of Wacom tablets and they're always USB, but wait a second… that looks like a miniDIN plug… and… isn't that an ADB pass thru?

Yes indeed, today the MARCHintosh gods smiled upon me and now I am the proud owner of an ADB Wacom ArtPad II!

A gray tablet with a circular miniDIN plug with a pass thru on the back. The price tag indicates 550 yen. A blurry closeup of the plug revealing it is indeed ADB The underside of the tablet with ArtPad II TABLET and KT-0405-A written on it

They also had a G4 and 2 G3s, but the G3s were in a sad state :(

A PowerMac G4 Quicksilver with an internal MO drive for 1500 yen, a PowerMac G3 for 2000 yen and another G3 for 1100 yen The side of a PowerMac G3 revealing a large chunk of missing plastic

Update on 2023-09-07:

Today in weird HARD OFF finds - a Windows XP laptop with no pointing device whatsoever! Anyone have any ideas what the use case for manufacturing a niche machine like this would be?

A gray Fujitsu FMV-610NU2 laptop, but where normally a trackpad would be, there is just a gray expanse of plastic.

And as you can see there are no pop-out trackballs or mice or anything like that like on some older laptops.

Bottom of a laptop revealing Windows XP license tag and battery and hard disk releases Left side of computer revealing DC jack, network jack, IR jack, 2 USB ports, power switch and audio controls/jacks Front of laptop revealing floppy drive, battery bay and CD-ROM drive Right side of computer revealing PCMCIA card slots

Today I also ran across some useful Apple cables - a PowerBook HDI30 SCSI cable and a serial adapter that I both picked up

A handful of SCSI and serial cables in front of blue bins full of more cables and computer parts

Big fan of this webpage I found about Fujitsu laptops with a GIF of a spinning logic board

Update on 2023-10-21:

Spotted today: this Wyse Cx0 Thin Client from 2011

A small black device with a metal mesh grill and the letters WYSE MODEL NO: Cx0WTOS 1G 128F/512R DVI ES JPNNO: 902175- 09LL NO: 2JUDKC00281DATE MANUFACTURED:DECEMBER -2011

A pair of combo AV devices: A dual Hi8 + SVHS player, and a dual LaserDisc + DVD player. With these two you're all set!

A silver Sony WV-ST1 and a gold Pioneer DVL-9

Pretty sure my parents had this same woodgrain cassette tape drawer, maybe with different branding

A Randix ATD-36 cassette tape drawer with ALL of the woodgrain

Japan has always had a low adoption rate of home PCs so whenever I see a product like this I wonder if they also sold well elsewhere? This is a DVD burner you can hook up directly to a video camera or digital still camera to burn your videos to disc without a PC. It even supports burning HD video to AVCHD DVDs

A Sony VRD-MC5 box with a DVD burning unit, a video camera and a digital still camera pictured今まで撮った思い出も。これから撮る思い出も。パソコンなしでかんたんに、DVDにダビング&保存思い出をDVDに保存、プレゼントにも便利ビデオカメラレコーダー、デジタルスチルカメラに対応ハイビジョン画質DVD作成ソニーハイビジョンハンディカム”(ハードディスク/メモリースティック)対応DVDライター VRD-MC5

Update on 2024-02-15:

I get that they're desperate to put "smarts" into everything these days who but ever asked for a smart *egg*?!?!

A white, rounded device on a clear matte blue-grey plastic stand with a small slot in it labeled CASIO and a sticker on the side that says smart eggで印メモプリントUSB

Yeah well *I* mouse with a sports car, do you?

A blue bin full of old USB computer mice. On top is a blue mouse shaped like a sports car, with a scroll wheel in the hood

A product category I had never heard of before - an automatic watch winder

A grey plastic box with two round smoked windows, with a label on it that says tutelary watch winder 2

A working laser disc player for $35... If only I had the space.

A black laserdisc player marked Pioneer VLD-770.There is a label attached that says ジャンク品LDプレイヤーCLD-770pioneer動作未確認 チェック時LD再生できましたが、ピックアップは弱っています現状品¥5,500

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