ive bought a few different bits of gear off ebay over the last year or so, and heres my suggestions for things to look out for:
1. another oscilloscope. seriously, even if youve already got one, (and you are a geek right? thats why you're reading this) its a pain in the bum having to yank the 'scope out of the workshop and set it up with a camera for lissajous figures and wierdness and rescanning and things. and theyre really cheap. 99p on ebay if you can do the pickup yourself. i recommend a bicycle and a good backpack. it keeps you fit, is truly eco friendly and you can save on the bus fare. try and find one with a Z-axis input.
2. electrocraft 89 series RGB to PAL encoders. i picked up an electrocraft Component to PAL encoder as well, both brand new, from granada TV, both 99p. just plugging the outputs from the modular into these works with no voltage limiting or blanking or anything. ive tried some Abekas Cox ones that didnt work with any input that wasnt a valid RGB signal. meh. the electrocrafts appear to be able to take anything you can throw at them. they use a Sony encoder chip, and they rule. and the circuit board inside is tiny, easily small enough to fit behind a eurorack front panel, should you be that way inclined..
3. a Sync Pulse Generator. anything will do as long as it works. it should cost about 99p. i use an Amcron. i bought a couple of other random makes to try out and they all worked.
4. a Video Line Selector. this isnt essential, but is fun to have. allows a scope to accurately display the video signal on any arbitrary video line of your choosing, and also some of them generate positive 5 volt triggers for V sync (selectable between frame and field) and H sync, which is useful. ive got a philips, its excellent, and tiny. 99p.
5. a PAL to RGB/YUV converter. again, anything should work. if correctly listed, these generally go for more than 99p, because you can use them with big flatpanel TVs to plug in legacy things like VHS players &etc. but idiots sell things on ebay, and they dont always know what they have, or how to spell correctly.. 99p with some perseverance and trawling.
so there you have it. 5 shiny goldish coins and the worlds your oyster. hooray for the imminent changeover in Britain from analogue to digital broadcasting. all those local TV stations are unloading their meticulously maintained and initially very expensive analogue gear for 99p. because unless you're building a video synth, its all essentially useless. huzzah!
love and pez