Once I 'finally' get a way to sell off some of my excess antique radios, I want to set up at least a small work area and try to learn to do at least the basics on these old systems. I've already had two power supplies conk out on me in the past few years and it isn't going to get any better. I am wondering how these people are going to feel once these model IIs they are buying for such high prices suddenly die on them? Monitors are another thing as most of my monitor IIs now need work as well. Those I am going to try and get an expert to look at. The place that redoes my arcade monitors have said their guy can probably do those as well. He agreed that the days of just 'Going out and getting another' are long gone and that now we have to start trying to repair them.
That's a laudable goal. Keep in mind that repairing these things is interdisciplinary. So to speak. There are people that do good with noisy RF, or power supply circuits, or logic. I personally do well with PCB & socket repair, cleaning, and logic troubleshooting, and disk drive repair. While I can recap a monitor or do a keyboard I hate that stuff. I also do well with determining if something is supposed to operate this-a-way or that-a-way.
Part of classic computing repair is knowing where to find the necessary information like schematics and part numbers and voltage levels. Diagrams and testing software are important too, as is proper test equipment. You can get a basic cheap scope for measuring the simple stuff for under $50, a good DMM for $25, and a logic probe for around $10-$20. As your skill increases you will want more and better equipment. Don't forget an EPROM burner/programmer either.
After one has had enough of repairing and fixing you start to look at ways to preserve your hardware. That means minimal usage, but still some usage. If I want to play a game of Star Blazer I'll probably do it in emulation. In fact, I bought a second set of drives for my big archiving operation so I wouldn't wear out my original ones. I also made temporary keycap covers to protect the granulated texture finish.
Like right now, now that I've finished gathering ALL my disks, I transferred them to the PC. It is there that I will conduct library operations - organizing and sorting, vetting and testing, curating and matching, all through emulation. Merging, splitting, creating compilations, verifying, and more. For every 20 hours spent in AppleWin emulator, I may go back to real hardware for a few minutes to test a corner case or something. Or grab a nostalgic moment.
In emulation I can blow through Copy II+ and DDD operations instantly. Hit the turbo key in AppleWin and you instantly unpack something or move DOS or bulk files from one image to another. Or blast through slow loading disks. Instantly view program listings.. All that.. And having CiderPress and the vast capabilities of the PC file system only helps the process. I could not imagine ever doing this on real hardware exclusively. Not a chance!
What BBS sysops wouldn't have given back-in-the-day for resources like we have today! Woot!