What Price An Electron?

By Thomas Ives

Originally published in EUG #02

In "The Bit At The Back" in EUG #1, you said that you would welcome comments and opinions from Electron owners so I am sending a few of mine. First of all I would like to say that I am a big fan of the Acorn Electron even though I also own and use other machines. I think that what you are trying to do for the Electron is worthwhile and I wish you every success.

Having said this, I trust that what I have to say next will not be misunderstood. The particular bee I have buzzing round my bonnet at the moment is the ridiculous prices some people seem to be asking for second hand Electron equipment.

Looking through the classified advertisements that can be found in several computer magazines, it is not unusual to see disk-based Electron set-ups being offered for sale for well over £300. It makes me wonder if these people have been living on the moon for the last five or six years! Don't they know that it is now possible to purchase a very respectable 16-bit computer second hand for that kind of money?

I repeat that I am a fan of the Electron, but it cannot be denied that the machine is based on out of date technology. The only reason I can think of for these inflated asking prices is that the vendors are trying to recoup an unrealistic percentage of their initial investment.

I feel you should warn your members against paying 'over the odds' for second hand equipment as there is another side to the coin and some advertisers are virtually giving stuff away.

Your readers might be interested in a table of 'fair' prices that I have drawn up based on adverts I have seen over the past eight months. If buyers are asked to pay more for used hardware, I would suggest they look elsewhere.

Unexpanded Electron with PSU £30.00
64K Electron £65.00
Plus 1 or Slogger Rombox £20.00
Plus 3 Disk Drive £50.00 - £70.00

As you can see, at these prices it should be possible to buy a 64K Electron, Plus 1 and Plus 3 all for around £150 - which is half of what some misguided optimists would expect you to pay.

T. Ives, Croydon

I can see your point. Perhaps some sellers are being a bit ambitious with their pricing, so as with any purchase, it's best to shop around. Has anyone picked up a real bargain lately?

Will Watts, EUG #2