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Osborne 1 needs a new home

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Osborne 1 needs a new home

by scampls » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:21 pm

I have an Osborne 1, which I bought in 1986 from a friend who had it from new. I used it for a few years to do accounting and general correspondence in my business at the time, but was wooed away to a PC.
I have used it a few times since, but not for years.
Now I accept that I will never make any further use of it, and I need to pass it on. If there is any sympathetic place for it to go to locally, I reckon that this forum is where I will find it. So, this machine is going free to someone who can do something with it.
The case is in pretty good condition - I didn't ever cart it around that much. There's a recent post elsewhere on this forum with a Youtube link at http://classic-computers.org.nz/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=819&p=8429&hilit=osborne#p8429
I also have a copy of the User's Reference Guide and a copy of the Technical Manual in its ring binder. I can't find the box of floppies with Osborne software, so these may have been tidied away over the years.
The only real problem with it is that there is a fault somewhere around the WD disc controller which means that it cannot access the drives. The heads will load and discs spin up, but valid data is not forthcoming and read errors abound. It had a similar problem in the late 1980s which was repaired then by replacing the disc controller IC.
Is anyone interested?
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Re: Osborne 1 needs a new home

by tezza » Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:01 pm

Sounds like it might be a good deal for someone around Christchurch.

scampls wrote:I can't find the box of floppies with Osborne software, so these may have been tidied away over the years.
The only real problem with it is that there is a fault somewhere around the WD disc controller which means that it cannot access the drives. The heads will load and discs spin up, but valid data is not forthcoming and read errors abound. It had a similar problem in the late 1980s which was repaired then by replacing the disc controller IC.
Is anyone interested?


Given that the disks aren't around now, it had this fault when it was last put away yes?

I wonder if it is the disk controller? If it's already been replaced it would be unlikely to go again. Not unless something else in the circuit was zapping it, which is always possible I guess. Dirty heads, sticky rails and out of alignment is possibilities too. The first two are easy to fix.

For those who might end up with this machines, disk images area easily found and straighforward to make if you have an old MSDOS computer with a 360k drive.
[edit] I should qualify that by saying assuming the Ozzie is double density. If single density, then it's somewhat more difficult.
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Re: Osborne 1 needs a new home

by RonTurner » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:53 pm

Im in christchurch and would take it, will PM you a phone number, just call me if you want. :D

It runs on 40 track floppies, what most of mine are, its the 96 TPI (80 track) I dont have any blanks.
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Re: Osborne 1 needs a new home

by RonTurner » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:08 pm

Thanks for the first ever portable computer, its in good condition :D

Heres what I have found....

I have taken it apart and cleaned the disk drive R/W heads with I.P.A. this has restored drive 1 back to perfect function,

Formatted a couple of spare disks so Drive 1 is reading and writing faultlessly.

Drive 2 is not responding to track change signals but the spindle powers on / off at correct times

obviously a faulty drive controller board on drive 2

So I can run any of the software, but cannot backup any floppies since this requires both drives A & B'

Still the screen is very clear, and its complete with two boxes of disks and the user manuals, the handle and clips are not broken,
the cord for the keyboard is not stretched, and it was surprisingly dust free and clean on the inside.

Every disk is loading now without load errors, even though they are a bit on the "dry" side of things

It has the duel density upgrade and I found the software disk for it, this allows these formats:
•Osborne 1 single density - 92K per diskette
•Osborne 1 double density - 182K per diskette
•Xerox 820 single density - 82K per diskette
•Cromemco single density - 80K per diskette
•IBM Personal Computer (CP/M-86 format) - 156K per diskette
•DEC VT-180 - 171K per diskette

It also has the composite video socket on the front for external green screen.

Appearantly its a revision F motherboard.
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