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HELP with CP/M machine and video

     I was given an old unidentifiable machine ca 1985 and a whole mess
of 5 inch floppies, and told to make it work.

     The floppies are not readable under DOS or linux dd at all,
but I do have 5 inch readers.  They work well at 360K in dos.
But I can't get dd to read even a known good dos floppy,
dd if=/dev/fd1 etc

     The machine in question has no video connected to it, but has two
cards inside.  One is clearly the hard drive card with TWO cables going
into the hard drive.

     The other has what looks like a standard 9 pin female for a serial
console and perhaps a printer port.

    There is also a keyboard din port.

    Where does the video go?

    Can I run it off the serial port?

    It probably takes an older green screen terminal that
used an RS232 cable to connect to something or other.  No clue.

    Can someone help me get some video on this thing going?

    I have at least one 5 inch disk that says 'system' on it ;)

    It's for a school that want's some OLD records back.

    Thanks in advance,

    Homer


-- 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homer Wilson Smith   Clean Air, Clear Water,    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959       A Green Earth, and Peace,  Internet, Ithaca NY
homer@lightlink.com  Is that too much to ask?   http://www.lightlink.com
0
homer
10/20/2016 4:11:58 AM
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A high-resolution photo (post a url) of the main board would be useful to figure out what sort of system/OS it uses. We could ID the micro, estimate its memory, determine if its 8bit or 16bit.

The numbers on the microprocessor would be a start.

Was the system industrial, commercial, hobbyist? Is it wire-wrapped, is it made up by standard boards plugged into a bus connector, is it a single board computer, are there cmpany names on any of the printed circuit boards.

Give us some information.

JDallas
0
10/20/2016 4:44:37 AM
On 10/19/2016 11:11 PM, homer@lightlink.com wrote:
>      I was given an old unidentifiable machine ca 1985 and a whole mess
> of 5 inch floppies, and told to make it work.
> 
>      The floppies are not readable under DOS or linux dd at all,
> but I do have 5 inch readers.  They work well at 360K in dos.
> But I can't get dd to read even a known good dos floppy,
> dd if=/dev/fd1 etc
> 

This isn't surprising at all since you first have to configure the drive
parameters to match the disks. (sectors/track, bytes/sector, etc.) The
tools you need for that are in the fdutils package. In particular, setfdprm



-- 
David W. Schultz
http://home.earthlink.net/~david.schultz
"Life without stock is barely worth living..." - Anthony Bourdain
0
David
10/20/2016 10:31:21 AM
Homer,
Be VERY cautious using those OLD Floppy's, as they may only have one more read in their lifespan, before they shed some oxide.  Get them duplicated ASAP, with one
more READ.  Then decide which way you elect to process them.



Larry
 
0
Larry
10/20/2016 1:35:17 PM
Homer,
How many 5 1/4" floppy's are you talking about?

Larry
0
Larry
10/20/2016 1:37:34 PM
Homer,
I sent you two detailed PM's, but I got a bounced message stating you don't read emails there anymore.  So, PM me with a valid email address, and change your account settings for a valid email.

Basically, you need to concentrate on making preservation copies of the Floppy's before they are ruined.  If you get a valid electronic copy of the Floppy, then you can work on them at your leisure, by several methods.

I'd skip the hardware for now, except to find out what the system was so you can locate or create a CP/M Disk definition for 22DISK, or cpmtools, or cpmtools with libdsk.  That's going to be the easiest way to go.

Larry

0
Larry
10/21/2016 4:13:16 PM
    It looks like a very old first model PC of some sort, two floppies
in the front, long XT ish boards.  Certainly not wire wrapped.

    I can certainly provide pictures.  Thanks for the offer.

    I am not sure its CP/M except some of the software says
cpm on it.

    Homer
 
Jay_in_Dallas <jay.c.box@earthlink.net> wrote:
> A high-resolution photo (post a url) of the main board would be useful to figure out what sort of system/OS it uses. We could ID the micro, estimate its memory, determine if its 8bit or 16bit.
> 
> The numbers on the microprocessor would be a start.
> 
> Was the system industrial, commercial, hobbyist? Is it wire-wrapped, is it made up by standard boards plugged into a bus connector, is it a single board computer, are there cmpany names on any of the printed circuit boards.
> 
> Give us some information.
> 
> JDallas
> 
> 

-- 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homer Wilson Smith   Clean Air, Clear Water,    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959       A Green Earth, and Peace,  Internet, Ithaca NY
homer@lightlink.com  Is that too much to ask?   http://www.lightlink.com
0
homer
10/21/2016 7:18:16 PM
    Sorry real address is homerwsmith@lightlink.com.

    The bounce warning should have mentioned it, I will make
sure it does.  I run an ISP here and every spammer from here to Mars
has my original e-mail address.

    Thanks for caring.

    Homer

Larry Kraemer <ldkraemer@gmail.com> wrote:
> Homer,
> I sent you two detailed PM's, but I got a bounced message stating you don't read emails there anymore.  So, PM me with a valid email address, and change your account settings for a valid email.
> 
> Basically, you need to concentrate on making preservation copies of the Floppy's before they are ruined.  If you get a valid electronic copy of the Floppy, then you can work on them at your leisure, by several methods.
> 
> I'd skip the hardware for now, except to find out what the system was so you can locate or create a CP/M Disk definition for 22DISK, or cpmtools, or cpmtools with libdsk.  That's going to be the easiest way to go.
> 
> Larry
> 

-- 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homer Wilson Smith   Clean Air, Clear Water,    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959       A Green Earth, and Peace,  Internet, Ithaca NY
homer@lightlink.com  Is that too much to ask?   http://www.lightlink.com
0
homer
10/21/2016 7:20:59 PM
Homer wrote:
> ...It looks like a very old first model PC of some sort,
> two floppies in the front, long XT ish boards...

If its got the PC typical accessory board slots in the back, then its likely a PC of some sort. PC's were unique from most CP/M systems in that their accessory boards had that metal plate end with any connectors that shows out the back of the case.

A PC case with two mini-floppies could also be a CP/M type system. Victor, Morrow and others had the same basic look.

Larry's comments about caution with the floppies you have is very important. Those floppies could be 35 to 40 years old, and if its been stored in coastal regions, the magnetic material on the floppy may be ready to come off, or even have some mold on it. If it was stored inland, in dry regions then the floppies will be in better shape physically. I reside in Dallas Tx and I've got lots of floppies from 1977 onward and most look as good as the day I stored them away.

If you stick those floppies in the floppy disk drive, you run a real risk of losing the floppy and its data quickly. If you google something like "Restoring vintage computers" you'll have a lot of examples about what to look for and what to do.

Usually the tantalum and electrolytic capacitors fails quickly after that many years. Sounds like you powered it up without it smoking, so that's a good sign. The power supply is a good first step to test and restore a system. Disc capacitors on the circuit boards are often damaged or broken. They're easier to replace than more modern surface mount capacitors. Once you identify the system, you may be able to find the parts list of the boards to get the correct type of replacement components.

You'll likely have a system that uses dynamic ram memory and if they used a chip to accurately create a timed pulse for its timing (like a lot of the SD Systems DRam boards), the timing could be way out of spec by now and you might not be able to replaces them directly. However it shouldn't be hard to get a tiny printed circuit board to replace that function with a modern clocked delay. Note that I'm not talking about crystals, I'm talking about delay modules that were used for a period of time in the mid-80s.

A battery for a real-time clock may have leaked and created a chemical mess. If you find that inside, read online about how to deal with that and avoid being harmed by the chemicals.

Now, the floppy seems to bind up in dust or dried-out lubricant. Sometimes you'll hear the floppy drive sound wrong as it tries to seek and fail and try again. You can find good information online about cleaning and lubricating that actuator.

The next stage is the read/write head that will actually contact the surface of the floppies. They may need to be cleaned, couldn't hurt to do a simple cleaning, if there is still trouble you might consider paying to have a knowledgeable technician to restore those floppies for you.

As to the collection of floppies that you have, I'll leave it to Larry to advise you on getting them copied first to save the information. But once you know *what* the system is, you can likely find online disk images that will allow you to create a new disk with the booth system and OS to get started. The advantage of doing that, instead of using the old floppies, is that a new mini-disk is more resilient that a 35 year old floppy. If you damage a new floppy or if the drive damages your new floppy, you can fix the problem and format a new floppy again.

But the first things you probably need to do are:
(1) Identify what the system is, what operating system is uses and what microprocessor is uses.
(2) Save the floppies away until you know more about getting restoration copies made of them. You can delay that decision for awhile, particularly if you can make a new floppy from a downloaded disk image for that system.
(3) Read up on what to expect when capacitors fail on the old boards/systems and what you can do to replace them.

That will keep you busy for quite awhile. ;)

JDallas
0
10/22/2016 4:28:11 AM
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