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AT&T UNIX PC enthusiasts out there?

djg

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
132
Location
MD
I have one Starlan board which isn't too useful. I have been pondering some on what to do. Have been looking for PC board it might talk to. Haven't seen any so far. Was also thinking that making something modern that could talk the protocol might be more useful so it could gateway to more modern machines. Too many projects so nothing other than thoughts so far.
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
Was also thinking that making something modern that could talk the protocol might be more useful so it could gateway to more modern machines.
Love the idea of something more modern being able to talk the protocol as the StarLAN cards appear to be more common for the UNIX PC than the Ethernet cards.
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
I was able to populate an EIA/RAM board that was manufactured without the memory. A tedious job that involved clearing solder from 500+ holes and mounting 60+ sockets and chips. But, it can be done and works great.
Nice work proving this was indeed possible. Good to know! Certainly don't envy that task, hah.
 

Twylo

Experienced Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Messages
228
Location
Poulsbo, WA
Hi! I love the UNIX PC as a concept, but oh my word I hate servicing them in any way! What a pain to open them up. I used to have three of them, including the coveted Ethernet adapters, but I gave them away to a friend a couple of years ago. He's put them to much better use than I ever did.
 

agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
What a pain to open them up. I used to have three of them, including the coveted Ethernet adapters, but I gave them away to a friend a couple of years ago. He's put them to much better use than I ever did.
@firebirdta84 made a disassembly tutorial for these as it is indeed a pain:

Impressive that you once had multiple machines and Ethernet cards. Some day I hope to track down one of those Ethernet cards. Until then I suppose I'll just have to "cu" my way out of the machine via the serial port to a linux machine. Or try my luck at KA9Q.
 

shirsch

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
448
Location
Burlington, VT
They really aren't all that bad to take apart, once you get the flow down. Of course, when you come back to it 3 years later you won't remember that flow. "Why it's so simple, Jim, a child could do it"...
 

shirsch

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
448
Location
Burlington, VT
@shirsch I absolutely love this...excellently done!

Thanks! It was a lot of fun to build. I still have more work ahead of me on the keyboard plug end. That's an 8-pin IDC with the sides ground down to gain clearance. Still doesn't seat all that well, so I'm about to pull the keyboard apart for a better look.
 

smj

Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
22
Location
Berzerkeley, California, USA
Do you happen to have the unicorn Ethernet card? Do you know of who makes the 3rd party memory card? I wasn't aware of any 3rd party cards so that would be interesting to know about.
I do not have one of the Ethernet cards, sadly. That's why I searched for the StarLAN 1 ISA cards, hoping I could gronk up a bridge of some kind.

The memory card has this printed on the, uh, slot cover?
PIICEON MODEL SR-2048/UPC
2 Megabyte Memory Expansion Board​

I have to mention that Emanuel Stiebler sent me that and two of the other expansion boards in a spare baseplate/motherboard some years ago. I had mentioned that I might have an issue with my system, and Emanuel just sent the entire package - I don't think he even let me pay him the S&H... Suffice it to say, I remain very grateful to him.
 

shirsch

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
448
Location
Burlington, VT
Would love to try doing this, my second mouse doesn't seem to work.

Keyboard adapter would also be useful!

I need to put a gun to my head and start a GitHub project. I need to dive back into this anyway, since it appears there is bi-directional communication between the keyboard and mouse during startup. At present it does not expect to see anything coming from the mouse during system boot. Once the mouse is moved prior to graphics screen appearing the system behaves as if no mouse is attached.
 

bifo86

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2015
Messages
127
Location
Virginia, USA
I was absolutely obsessed with these when I was in high school about twenty years ago, they were up there with Lisas and Sun 3s as unobtainium. I found this a while back but haven't gotten around to playing with it much: https://www.philpem.me.uk/code/3b1emu

The MGR source code is around somewhere, I'll look and see if I can find what I have. No idea if it was complete, or what toolchain it was intended for.
edit:
 
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agentb

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
180
Location
Philly (USA)
I was absolutely obsessed with these when I was in high school about twenty years ago, they were up there with Lisas and Sun 3s as unobtainium. I found this a while back but haven't gotten around to playing with it much: https://www.philpem.me.uk/code/3b1emu
Phil's FreeBee emulator is great! I've spent a lot of time with the code and helped fix some bugs and make some enhancements. Definitely worth checking out if you want to play around with an emulated UNIX PC. There are two drive images linked from the github which help get up to speed without having to do a full system install.

The MGR source code is around somewhere
MGR is very interesting and something I want to explore further. Is this something you used to use on UNIX PC? It requires the VIDPAL hardware mod that allows user writes to VRAM. However, there is a VIDPAL software emulator kernel driver which intercepts the MMU bus errors, and does the user read/writes to VRAM. That way MGR can be run once the vidpal kernel driver is running. It's slower of course but at least can be run. MGR "fix 4" for UNIX PC is pretty easy to find. But there was also a fix 5 which I have yet been able to track down:

The quickest way to try MGR is to use the mgr-demo.tar.gz:
 
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