New Toys!

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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:32 pm

Just purchased another two 5160's with 5151 displays and keyboard.
Now to get them to Wellington :/

Edit: I only want two 5160's, so I will be selling one of them, likely an enhanced model with 20Mb. Any future 5160's I wont bid on (just in case people get mad at me for stealing them off trademe)

Edit2: thanks to Facebook keeping me in contact with old friends, I've sorted out pickup and delivery! Should have them next week I hope.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:56 am

On their way down hopefully this week, if I'm lucky I can grab them from a courier depot on Saturday.
Bit of a gamble with regards to condition, will video everything (now that I finally have a decent HD camera).

I was setup to do a video last night demonstrating that new software program I mentioned (which now can copy entire folder structures with drag and drop), but then the on-board video on the NEC Powermate 286 died just before I started! A few hours later I powered it up again and it was alright, so guessing it's a heat related issue with a dodgy component. I've also found the 486DX2/66 I've been using for development has tiny issues when left idling occasionally, I've seen EMM386 crash, and random hardware lockups - they're rare occurances but I have noticed them.

I was eying up that 1983 Panasonic Senior Partner on trademe as well, but in the last hour the bids shot up out of my range. Hope whoever gets that really enjoys it - 1983 portable with hard drive and printer - crazy stuff.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:04 pm

So they arrived. Both motherboards non-responsive but I did get to use one for a few hours. The old ST412 fired up, booted IBM PC DOS 3.2 and loaded up some insurance company software lol <3 corporations. Impressive, hard drive likely has not spun in 17 years from what I can tell. Oldest file is COMMAND.COM dated late 1985 and newest file around 1994, 0 bytes free, wonder if thats why it got put in storage.

ST225 + Controller wirred up as well and started booting, but barely got half way in to the boot cycle before forgetting where it had put it's sectors. LLF and it works fine now as well.

So, the motherboards, long story but they're going in my 'slowly fix over time pile' along with the spare 5150 board. A US contact is sending me two replacement 5160 boards - one 256K model and one 640K model.

But stuff that works:

- 2 x IBM 5151 displays
- 2 x IBM MDA adaptors (brown + green)
- 1 x Xebec First Gen IBM HDC
- 1 x WD XTGEN
- 2 x IBM Floppy Controllers
- 1 x 5.25 Tandon 360KB
- 1 x 384K generic RAM card
- 1 x AST SikPakPlus (Serial/RTC/384KB RAM)
- 1 x keyboard that throws 301 errors yet works perfectly?
- 2 x 130W IBM power supplies
- 2 x IBM 5160 cases in rust-grey
- 1 x ST412
- 1 x ST225

I've removed two spiders, a chunk of corroded foam, a tonne of dust, and many spider webs (that weren't me).
Also had a capacitor explode and fly across the room in to a wall like a firework. Fun weekend! Guttered the boards are 'dead' (its not ROM or RAM btw) but new ones on the way soon.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:42 am

So my two replacement motherboards arrived last night :) Both early model 64-256KB boards with 256KB memory.

I didn't finish building the second machine,but the first is happily booting up on it's own.
When the board arrived it had switches 5 and 6 in the same position - I knew that meant either it was setup for EGA or MDA - and thought if it was wrong it'd give 3 beeps. But apparently on this older board, if an EGA/VGA display doesn't initialise then it doesn't notice and just boots up. That suprised me, but powered down and flipped 5 and 6 to the opposite side and the MDA text appeared.

I've temporarily removed it's AST SixPakPlus because it's serial connector needs replacing and there was the bonus of not having to sit through the RAM test all the way to 640 while I was setting it up.

I backed up all the original data via a serial cable, cleared off most things, then ran Norton Calibrate to do a nice non-destructive low level format and check the interleave (5 to 1 definately optimal!!). Despite the drive sounding a tad unhealthy, it passed with flying colours and ran busily for a few hours without a single complaint. Norton SysInfo said it ran 1.0 times the speed of an IBM XT - so that made sense ;)

It is quite the noise maker. The power supply fan and worn ST412 make my existing XT seem like a silent angel. Wondering if the PSU fan is aftermarket, or if IBM just fitted a higher flowing fan in the early models - not sure. Its loud enough that you can't even hear the ST412 seeking.

Edit: but having an XT with MDA instead of MGA or CGA is quite painful, there is only so much fun you can have in 80x25 Text!
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Re: New Toys!

Postby tezza on Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:05 am

SpidersWeb wrote:Edit: but having an XT with MDA instead of MGA or CGA is quite painful, there is only so much fun you can have in 80x25 Text!


Hehehe. Yes, but it's makes for an authentic experience. In the day most of these machines were bought for business, and graphics were considered an unnecessary luxury :) . Maybe not quite with the XT but certainly with the earlier 5150s.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:37 am

I'd agree that it was with the XT's too. I think the platform was just too expensive for home use in NZ in the 1980's.
The 5151 display is very smooth and nice on the eyes too, the difference is quite apparent when you have a 5153 next to it.

I have some of the later model OEM IBM cards, at least one of which definately does graphics, so I might slip one of those in so I can put a few small games on there.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby tezza on Fri Aug 24, 2012 12:59 pm

SpidersWeb wrote:Edit: but having an XT with MDA instead of MGA or CGA is quite painful, there is only so much fun you can have in 80x25 Text!

Infocom adventure games are a text-only entertainment option. Without a cheat-sheet they require more than one sitting though. :)
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Re: New Toys!

Postby Gibsaw on Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:30 pm

A lot of games supported the hercules adapter as well... make sure it is actually MDA you have.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:24 pm

Gibsaw wrote:A lot of games supported the hercules adapter as well... make sure it is actually MDA you have.

Yeah It is actually MDA. I tried running Leisure Suit Larry which supports Hercs and CGA, 256KB memory plus a great PC speaker soundtrack.
My theory is IBM added graphics support to their card towards the end of 84 or early 85 - will try out the different models and report back tonight.

Get to build another one tonight too, woo
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Re: New Toys!

Postby tezza on Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:05 pm

SpidersWeb wrote:
Gibsaw wrote:A lot of games supported the hercules adapter as well... make sure it is actually MDA you have.

Yeah It is actually MDA. I tried running Leisure Suit Larry which supports Hercs and CGA, 256KB memory plus a great PC speaker soundtrack.
My theory is IBM added graphics support to their card towards the end of 84 or early 85 - will try out the different models and report back tonight.

I don't think IBM ever added mono graphics support to a card of their own for TTL-type mono monitors. It was an opportunity lost actually, which Hercules and i's clones were quick to take advantage of.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:48 pm

Yeah that's what I thought too, so tonights tests will be interesting.
The reason I'm curious is because my 5160 (built 1987) arrived with a full length IBM Mono/Parallel video card - yet it came with Ami for Windows,Orcad,HarvardGraphics etc which ran fine.

That card is now spare, so I'll test it, and compare it to my other two green IBM's.

If it doesn't work, I must be going crazy. My only Hercules card came with my 286XT.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:38 pm

Tested the cards.

Green originally from my 5150 - text only
Green originally from one of the new 5160's - text only
Brown originally from one of the new 5160's - text only
Green originally from my 5160 - graphics <----
Hercules Plus - graphics

Now the one I labelled with the arrow is actually in my 5150 at the moment, and rather than opening it I just ran Leisure Suit Larry on it from floppy.
So over the weekend I need to remove the card, and confirm it is genuine IBM. I didn't purposely put that card in that machine, I just had two identical looking cards and grabbed one when I rebuilt it. This card would be dated around 1987.

So yeah, need to confirm but I'm 95% sure it's a genuine IBM Mono and Parallel card - I'm sure I would've noticed if it wasn't
But if IBM did add graphics support, they certainly left it until the last minute.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Sat Aug 25, 2012 5:35 pm

bah, was wrong, it's an unnamed clone card, but is full length and looks quite similar to the IBM except it has socketed DRAM.

Oh well! Popped a text only card in the 5150, and the two new XT's can have the Hercules and unnamed clone boards. I'll keep my spare text only boards in static bags.

Both machines are now booting on there own, still concerned about the ST412 noises though.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:07 pm

Oil has settled on the ST412 and now you can't even hear it over the PSU fan.

Here is a quick video of the two new XT's now with everything bolted in place:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg7nCYH2TXs

My biggest frustration this weekend has been restoring the model F keyboard. Even in the video you can see I have a fault, and later on after looking further I found the F1 key plate had moved out of position. To get this fixed I have to remove every key cap, seperate the PCB/keyholder, fix/replace the spring/rocker without disturbing the other 83 (which have probably fallen out by that stage), realign and clip together (which is harder than it sounds btw) and then put every key cap back on the board before I can retest. As long as all 84 rockers stay in place during the attachment - it'll be fine again - so easy to just get one tiny bit wrong.

The second power supply actually works, puts out perfect voltages and boots the machine up no problem, BUT after about 2 seconds it's cooling fan gets turned off - which is really odd - and I did not want it overheating, so I just used a quieter 200W PSU I had spare. I'll look in to fixing the original on another weekend, it's exterior is badly rusted so I suspect the inside is in similar condition.
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Re: New Toys!

Postby SpidersWeb on Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:24 pm

Oh and I went to TrashPalace and grabbed one of their 'it probably doesn't work' laptops, a Toshiba 100CS.
The idea was I'd pull it apart and attempt to fix it, just to amuse myself for a few hours.

Plugged it in and it worked first time, nothing wrong with it hah. Was made in 1995 just before the Windows 95 release, so she powered up in MS DOS 6.21 and Windows 3.1 with WordPerfect and QuattroPro (DOS and WIndows versions). Early Pentium, guessing a Pentium 100 but haven't looked it up yet. 8Mb RAM 280MB HDD.

Edit: Pentium 75 and the hard drive is supposed to be larger - http://www.toshiba-europe.com/bv/comput ... oduct.shtm - 1996 apparently, but the bootup screens say 1995 (which I guess means nothing really) - will have to check it's date code.
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