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Zenith Z286LP Plus

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:39 am
by caluser2000
As I've mentioned I recently aquired a Zenith Data Systems Z286LP Plus in a recent parts haul. After a bit of searching and a little help from VCF members I've determined it's 286/12 with one built in parrallel port, two built in com ports as well a 256k vga. The system came with 4 megs of ram on board and it would seem Zenith was one of the first OEMs to ship machines with Windows 3.0 peinstalled. The drive was an IDE 20meg conner but that was non usable. When I received this system the hdd had been removed from the system. Luckily I had a pre formatted Quantum 52 meg drive, which is set up in the bios as a type 5, laying about an was able to put the system thought it's paces by running CheckIt and a few games. Every thing checks out fine.

The Bios is accessible on start up by pressing the Esc key, not mentioned in any discusions I could find, then typing SETUP at the -> prompt and apparently you can access it by pressing the ctrl-alt-ins keys while in a dos program to do debugging using the commands in the Command summery screen. This is accessed by typing ? at the -> prompt. Typing TEST will bring up the built in hardware diagnostics tools. Ctl-alt-ins can also be used on start up. Why bother to use 3 keys though when one key press will do the same job.

Apparently Zeniths OEM hdds had been formatted slightly different most of x86 clone systems, having 1024 byte sectors instead of the normal 512 bytes, so the OEM win3.0 install had a different swap file driver. The OEM Dos that shipped with them had a couple of utilities to deal with this. There isn't really that much out there with regards to x86 Zenith systems that I could find but has been interesting looking non the less. One interesting snippet was Zenith had a flat screen crt available, the ZCM-1490 Flat Tension Mask VGA monitor, which I found very interesting. One other thing I noticed having gander at the Zenith adds I found was the over use of words innovate, innovation and innovative ;). On one usenet post I found the quote "Zenith: Compatability goes out before the name goes on!"

Primarily it appears Zenith targeted their systems to compete with Apple, shipping earlier versions of MS Windows (1.x and 2.x) 0n disks with all their earlier x86 systems.

Any one local who has had dealings with later 286 Zenith x86 systems?

Re: Zenith Z286LP Plus

PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:44 pm
by xjas
When I was around 11~13??? the local uni ran a pascal short course for kids in one of their labs, which was full of those Zenith systems. They must have been similar spec to yours; they were probably a few years old already at the time. I distinctly remember those flat screen monitors. They had a much more vivid and darker black than the usual crap CRTs that were around then and I seem to recall the majority having some noticable screen burn-in.

The systems also had Arkanoid II and a game called "Snark Hunter" (which I can't even find online now?? - maybe one of the uni students instructing the course wrote it) installed, which we played the hell out of at lunch time. :mrgreen:

Re: Zenith Z286LP Plus

PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:44 pm
by caluser2000
Whew! Than goodness someone can recall using them. Seems a lot of info about Zenith.Heath x86 systems had disappeared of the face of the planet ;)

Re: Zenith Z286LP Plus

PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 6:05 am
by caluser2000
Dragged the parallel port LS120 drive out of the shed this afternoon. It's been buried, unused, for around a decade or more in a box with a couple of parallel port flat bed scanners. Hooked it up and installed the latest dos drivers. Now I have some extra storage until I sort out another hdd. Ok networking would've worked fine and be a lot quicker but there's something about using an external drive of some sort on this era machine. Also it can take 1.44 and 720k 3.5'' drives which is handy for disk copying and the like.

For some reason I'd backed up a copy of the NT 4.0 installation files and SP6 on one LS120 disk. Since then I've been given a number of NT 4.0 cds so there's no point in keeping it. It's a bit of a tedious task removing the files so I've start formatted the disk. I've transfered a copy of the programs I want to keep off the 52meg hdd over an LS120 disk. Rediscovered how useful Xtree Golds PRUNE option is and now have 12megs free on the hdd. I might fill that space up with PC Geos stuff just for the hell of it.