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IBM 5155 - "Insufficient memory to run"?

Hugo Holden

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Dec 23, 2015
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Australia
For my own 5155, (since I'm not very cluey about file transfers via the ports in DOS, though its easy with my SOL-20 with CP/M it seems with PCPUT & PCGET via the serial port) and I'm better with the hardware side of things than any software, I decided the easiest thing to do was to install a dual 3.5/5.25 floppy drive in one bay of my 5155, with the "Unique floppy controller board" and an vintage Seagate HDD in the other bay. My computer also has the AST 6 pack plus card and the smaller IBM isa memory card too to get 640kb.

On the HDD I have DOS 3.3 and a number of other programs I use such as IBM's assembler and the usual DOS utilities and various other programs as there is plenty of space on the HDD. Also I put Windows V1.0 on it and Harvard Graphics. DOS 3.3 was the first version to support the 1.44Mb floppy. Also I have Procom for terminal emulation and Borland's Brief as a text editor to write assembly programs. So its all very handy having it right there on the HDD.

But the convenient thing is I have an external 1.44 floppy drive on my other more modern computers so I can easily get files, programs & data etc in & out of the 5155 that way.

There will be better ways to do it via the ports, but this hardware way "worked for me" and I have little trouble with it. The 5155 is not original though, but the two belt drive original IBM floppy drives might not have been wonderful either. I keep these with the computer & the original controller card, just in case one day I want to put it back to original. The power supply in the 5155 is up to running the HDD.

It was an interesting process to fit the HDD, it requires a low & high level format and I had to try a couple before I found a good drive unit, but it has been reliable for a couple of years now.

One thing I learnt the hard way was that the cheap external 1.44Mb USB floppy drives coming out of the far east are often really bad and corrupt files. I would advise buying something like a 1990's to 2005 vintage new old stock brand like IBM or Imation drive in its original box, cost more, but you won't have any troubles. I struggled for some weeks trying to work out why the programs I transferred via one of the cheap drives were corrupted. I only found it because I had jpeg images on a disk in the cheap 1.44 drive and noticed over time the pixels in the image were becoming corrupted, without that visual indication, I would probably still be working on it trying to find out what the heck was wrong.
 
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