• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here

Any Cromemco owners/users out there?

chuckcmagee

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
1,992
Location
Nevada
Well, when I owned a Vector Graphic, eventually all the internal cards became cromemco ones.

If I ever get my Northstar Horizon to boot successfully, I once again have a lot of Cromemco cards I can use. I just love their 4FDC controller. The Z80 cpu card is a winner also.
 
Last edited:

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,506
Location
Toronto ON Canada
Heh, what's that old saw about great minds (or fools)...

My main working Cromemco is in fact a Vector MZ filled with Cromemco
cards, 2 FDDs & a 150MB HD, with two external 20MB HDs and an 8" FDD.
Much quieter and easier to work on than any Cromemco box.

Also have another MZ the way it's supposed to be though...

mike
 

billdeg

Technician
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Messages
3,872
Location
Landenberg, PA USA
I have a system 1, but I don't have a boot disk. I am unsure the status, but it's a stock system. "powers up" as they say on Ebay. I have not spent too much time with it.

Here is a picture:

thm_cromemco_system_one_front.jpg


more pics:
http://vintagecomputer.net/cromemco/system_one/
 

NobodyIsHere

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
2,394
Nice!

I think I have some Cromemco S-100 boards in my stash someplace. I know I have a Cromemco Dazzler in terrible shape needing some TLC to restore. That is on the TODO list as well.

Great system you have there!

Andrew Lynch
 

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,506
Location
Toronto ON Canada
Cromemco CS-1 boot disk

Cromemco CS-1 boot disk

Nice system, although a little noisy with all those fans; what's in it?

Dave Dunfield has boot disk images for several versions of CDOS
(Cromemco's CP/M workalike) on his site:

http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm

However, not all PCs are capable of recreating the disk from the image,
because Cromemco uses a dual-density format (track 0 is SD, the rest DD)
and some PCs can't do SD.

But Dave also has a utility to create a boot diskette from scratch via
the serial port (we both worked on that, but his works and mine didn't ;-)

In any case, it should come up in the RDOS monitor; hook up a terminal
(or a PC with a null-modem adapter/cable and a terminal program) to the
RS-232 port on the FDC floppy controller and hit a few RETURNs. It should
show you a memory test and try to boot; hit ESC and you should have access
to the RDOS monitor commands if everything's working.

Let me know if you need or want any help bringing it up; I've got a few
CS-1s myself, as well as a fair pile of boards & documentation.

mike
 

NobodyIsHere

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
2,394
thanks. I could use some software. I have not tried downloading from the web and porting over to it yet.

Hi,
What sort of software are you looking for? I presume a Cromemco boot disk right? Probably another owner could make you a boot disk. Or if someone sends me a boot disk (they are the soft sector variety, right?) I could try to make a copy with my Catweasel. It handles SD/DD mixed disks with no problem, I think.

The Dave Dunfield tools are invaluable for making disks and backing up physical disks with images. Very useful for storing the backup images offline as well.

Thanks!

Andrew Lynch
 

jima

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2007
Messages
18
Location
West Midlands, UK
Absolutely!

Absolutely!

I still have a selection of boards, a Blitz Bus, a pair of FDD's and enough PSU bits to bring CDOS and Cromix on line. Now all I need is a chassis and an IMI hard drive.

@billdeg: if you care to send me a couple of DSDD soft-sectored floppies I will gladly make you a CDOS boot disk. You can email me at james AT attfield dot CO dot UK if you want to take this further.

Jim
 

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,506
Location
Toronto ON Canada
96K? Unusual for a Cromemco, unless it's got 3rd party boards in it; they were usually multiples of 64K.

And if that's a *System* 3, you'd better take someone along; they ain't light!

Have fun!
 

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,506
Location
Toronto ON Canada
If it's only got *one* 8" drive you're lucky; it'll probably be a Tandon (and you may well also have a hard disk in there). Now if it had *two* (or four) then that'd probably be a dual Persci (two drives, one motor) - nice and fast, but not the most reliable (and I wouldn't want to repair one), and they generally pre-date the hard disk models.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 
Last edited:

billdeg

Technician
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Messages
3,872
Location
Landenberg, PA USA
Update: Cromemco System Three

Update: Cromemco System Three

Today I picked up a donation consisting of a Cromemco System Three Model: CS3 S/N: 31856. The condition is excellent. There are no scratches, etc. The system came with a Cromemco desk (same as the brochure).

Hazletine 1510 - Appears to work, display is in great shape. Keyboard good, no burn-in or mold present. s/n: 213442-001 model: 4DTD155255

Texas Instruments 810 Printer and stand.
Very Good Cond.
part number 0994293-0002
s/n 04711 42035
parallel

NOTE: The three pieces of hardware were cabled together. I made notes so that I could cable the system back together when I got the system home. I am unsure the last time this system was last used. There appear to be backups as late as 1990.

THe system was in such nice shape that I decided to power it on after checking all of the cards and re-seat the chips on the cards. (ZPU, etc...the standard stuff that comes with the System Three.)

Drive A does not detect when a disk is inserted in the drive. Drive B does.

I have not been able to get to a RDOS (monitor) prompt either, following the directions from the manual.

TO DO: Get drive A to detect and read disks. OR swap drive A and B cable if possible.
 

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,506
Location
Toronto ON Canada
Sounds like one of the older systems after all, with a ZPU and 2 drives.

RDOS should wake up and test memory as soon as it sees a few C/Rs on the console and if you hit ESC you'll be in; if it doesn't, well, it could be almost anything. Terminal, cable, etc. or pretty well anything in the box.

I don't think you have separate A & B cables to swap; if you do then you have a most unusual system there... Shouldn't matter though; RDOS can boot from either drive, but if RDOS doesn't start you ain't gonna boot from any drive.
 

billdeg

Technician
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Messages
3,872
Location
Landenberg, PA USA
As I learn more...
yes I could not swap the cables, it's the PerSci dual drive set up with just the one cable. Weird, must be a mechanical problem to explain why I can't get drive A to engage a disk..I have the system cabled up exactly like it was used, same equipment and cables. The drive mechanism working or not is pretty cool...when you insert the disk, a motor engages the head and holds the disk in place, no manual levers needed. When you push the "B" button (and there's an 8" disk in the drive) the motor pops the disk out again. Never used an S-100 system with that kind of luxury. Because drive B works mechanically, I get a the clue of what drive A should be doing at least.

If I was to guess, I'd say the drive is bad, or the controller card or both. Not the cables or processor card. I can't access RDOS, and I have the dip switch settings correctly set for both the processor card and the disk controller card - what would cause that? I can't rule out the terminal as a problem. I can type at it fine, but I will try it with another system to be sure.


There's just a little screen burn, but you don't notice it without the high-res photos I took.

I have some pics and will post them here, in a few minutes:
http://www.vintagecomputer/net/cromemco/system_three/
 
Last edited:

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,506
Location
Toronto ON Canada
Ah yes, PerScis; very nice drives as long as they work, but...
Tech manual on Bitsavers AFAIK; have fun!

Can't help much with RDOS not responding; could be anything. The only DIP switch on the FDC that'd matter is autoboot (which sets the baud rate to 300bpi) and there are no switches on the ZPU AFAIK aside from the speed toggle (4MHz). There are switches on the memory board(s) but it's not likely they'd be changed.

Any chance you didn't replace the cable from the back panel console connector to the FDC correctly when you put the cards back in?

What else is in there besides the ZPU BTW? 16FDC I suppose (or possibly a 4FDC) and probably a TUART and/or a PRI, but what else? How'd it get 96KB of memory (and why, I wonder - can't see how you'd use it)?

Good luck! If you think I can help, send me a PM & I can give you my phone#; a PITA to wait for email answers when you've got a question while deep in the guts of that fine system3.

One good thing; lots of excellent documentation and software around for Cromemco systems.
 

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,506
Location
Toronto ON Canada
There is one thing, although it's not very likely: Assuming that's a 16FDC in there, it has little chokes in series with the console I/O lines and a bad ground loop or static zap would sometimes open one of them.

If you don't find anything else, you might want to check those for continuity; they look like grey 1/4W resistors or might also look like tiny coils.
 

billdeg

Technician
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Messages
3,872
Location
Landenberg, PA USA
I have the manuals fortunately. The drive card is a 4FDC. The other cards are the ZPU, 64KZ RAM card, and a PRI.

Maybe the monitor is a problem, I noticed that I can't get out of local mode, maybe the key is stuck.

Bill
 

MikeS

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
7,506
Location
Toronto ON Canada
Umm, yeah, in local mode ya ain't gonna get a rise out of RDOS fer sure.

BTW, I saw your post on CCtalk about replacing the PerScis with Tandons; I could be wrong (as usual) but I don't think the 4FDC knows how to talk nice with Tandons and you'd have to move up to at least a 16FDC. But it sounds like you've got a pair of PerScis, so maybe swapping the drives would work; the C & D drives probably got a lot less wear & tear than the A drive. Even though you can boot from any drive it's still more convenient to be able to boot from A.

So I take it that it's only got 64K and not 96? That makes more sense.

I guess the sun came out?
 

billdeg

Technician
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Messages
3,872
Location
Landenberg, PA USA
I am not going to replace the PerSci's with Tandon's. That IMHO would be a mistake. There must be a simpler solution. For now I will focus on RDOS and the terminal.
 
Top