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
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.
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!
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!
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
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
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!
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!
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!
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.
Some more stuff that didn't fit into any theme above, including The DankPods Cashies aisle
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!
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!
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.
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
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??
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!
They also had a G4 and 2 G3s, but the G3s were in a sad state :(
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?
And as you can see there are no pop-out trackballs or mice or anything like that like on some older laptops.
Today I also ran across some useful Apple cables - a PowerBook HDI30 SCSI cable and a serial adapter that I both picked up
Big fan of this webpage I found about Fujitsu laptops with a GIF of a spinning logic board http://www.katch.ne.jp/~toshiaki/index0.html
Spotted today: this Wyse Cx0 Thin Client from 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!
Pretty sure my parents had this same woodgrain cassette tape drawer, maybe with different branding
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
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