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IBM JX Information Page

Joined
Dec 30, 2012
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27
Location
Koo-Wee-Rup, Victoria, Australia
Hi all -

As a new years resolution I decided to archive/document as much information as I can about some of the equipment that I have.

As I have discovered that I have a rather comprehensive collection of IBM JX machines and there is very little information about them online, I have decided to create a site that collects it all in one place.

Here is where you can find it -

http://www.thepcmuseum.com/ibmjx

Should you have something that I should add to the page, please reach out to me!

Thanks;

Anthony
 

SpidersWeb

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Awesome, I love these things.

I have/had three:
My good JX is Australian with 384KB RAM (base + 2 memory cards in expansion unit) and three floppy drives. I have expansion unit #19 with a 5.25" floppy installed as C drive.
My first was a non-diskette model, with no cluster adapter, it came with price lists etc and I could tell the owner went with this version because of pricing. He wanted IBM, but couldn't quite afford it.
My other was a spare ex-AU, late model (serial number in high 9000's) which had the 720KB BIOS update.

I thought they were still around in 1986 maybe 1987.

One of mine came with a copy of JX Color Paint boxed, it's identical to JR Paint, but all the packaging and cartridge are labelled for the JX. (I noticed it was missing from the software list).

I know you've kind of covered it with the BIOS release dates, but I'd like to mention to anyone who does not know this - the early BIOS double-steps the floppy drive. So to make a boot disk I had to use ImageDisk to write a 360KB image on to a 720KB floppy with double stepping enabled.

I never checked, but the big RAM expansions with clock module seem to have 4 DIP sockets free, which I think may be pin compatible with 41464's. I never tried it, but I think it may be possible to actually drag the thing to 640KB even though IBM never offered it. I haven't confirmed or tested this, it's just me thinking out loud.

Attached are some photos I found from my twitter posts, although they're all in storage now, and the diskless + 720K model are for sale as parts units online at the moment.
Video of mine running: https://twitter.com/BaudBand/status/821210150048411650

CAkkDRUUUAAW9lg.jpgCAkfZSXU0AAFOpc.jpgCAmmLj6UIAAWzHH.jpgCC-Z6UXUgAApDSh.jpgCJboIXVUMAAfQem.jpgCJc8d_bUwAACIus.jpgDlrHiCiUcAASWaz.jpg
 

Chuck(G)

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I think one of the reasons for the lack of online information was the limited distribution of the JX. You couldn't get it in North America or (I believe) Europe. Since the JX was also distributed in Japan, I wonder if there's more information to be mined there.

In the US, there was considerable advance speculation at the time that the JX might be an 80286 system.
 

SpidersWeb

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That thing has at least 6 ugly ugly asics. And pads for 2 more. They look like demonic little spiders to me. Yuck.

Yeah all IBM custom chips, and with those square dots (testing purposes I guess?) that IBM seems to love.
Odd thing is they're not even made by IBM.
 

krebizfan

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One thing about the JX that should be more prominently displayed is the software packaging as seen in the Museums Victoria. It looks like a cassette tape case except much larger. Something very strange was happening with IBM marketing.

msibata.org/ibmpc/ has a three short page article on JX in Japanese. Mildly interesting in terms of how Japan's use of the JX differed from elsewhere. This site is referred to by Nerdly Pursuits which took a drawing of the 5 JX models from there.

I remember finding a few other Japanese JX fan pages a few years ago including one with the Japanese price list but quick searches aren't turning them up now.
 

tipc

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It's unfortunate, as it makes it uncollectible to me, even though I've had a hankering for one for a long time. A hell of a lot more stylish then the Peanut. In fact it looks better then most of what IBM produced between 81 and who knows. I do have a soft spot for the RT series and other more "industrial" looking designs. The JX beats the pants ofd of most everything.

And being I have a somewhat advanced case of JX envy, I have a mind to fabricate a case that looks like it and stick a jr mobo in it. Ok is still ha the 1 asic afaik. Or I could just gut my Sanyo MBC-555! Pretty close.
 
Joined
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I have quite a few of the plastic case software - you can see the images of the scans in the software section but Museums Victoria has two titles I don’t have (Typing Tutor and the other one). You are correct though, it is intriguing packaging. I do however have some weird IBM Token Ring driver boxes in the same packaging. The PCJr also used the same packaging as my copy of IBM Kings Quest and cartridge game Mineshaft are also in them.8F9ADA80-6E60-4D39-9CC7-4B3E85416F63.jpeg
 
Joined
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Awesome!

I, like you have a couple (5 of them - not sure if I mentioned that on the page). I am fortunate enough to have the 10 MB HD, 5.25" Drive several monitors, a few boxed software items and both ROM versions.

The unit with no cluster adaptor is interesting. I don't know what he set out to do with it. I would love to see one of the cluster adaptors to figure out how it was supposed to work.

I think I found your details on the classic computers NZ site. I signed up today to reach out to you. I'll add JX Color Paint to the list - I have not seen it and do not have it. I'll also add the double stepping - I noticed that standard PC drives didn't read it but did not understand exactly what they had done to hobble the disk size.

As for the RAM expansion cards with clocks - none of mine have empty sockets. You can see all 3 versions I have on the web page - all of mine have 4464s in the spots I think you meant. But this gives my units a full 512k RAM.

I also note that your 5.25" expansion unit has the extra slots like my 5519 HD expansion (yours is clearly the 5519 5.25" expansion). My 5519 5.25" expansion has NO extra slots. So this was clearly another variant that could be ordered - as in an optional extra. I have 3 of the Guide to Operations and I have scanned in the one with the MOST extra documentation in it. I wonder if you have any pages that might explain cluster networking - mine do not.

Very interesting! I would love to see the Joystick part number and whatever came in that box!

Thanks very much for replying!

Anthony
 

Chuck(G)

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I don't see how IBM could have hoped to make a splash in Japan with the PC-98 machines dominant. Not nearly as clunky.

You have to wonder if they did their market research.
 

SpidersWeb

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The unit with no cluster adaptor is interesting. I don't know what he set out to do with it. I would love to see one of the cluster adaptors to figure out how it was supposed to work.

With the machine came a price list and two sets of markings. One I think was what he wanted - dual disk drives etc, then you see the total and he's written the word "Jesus!".
The second actually matched the machine - 256K RAM, no disk drives, and a cassette cable. I wonder if anyone at Computerland told him that extra RAM he paid for wasn't of much use in BASIC?

I talked with the original owner of that. He thought IBM was the best, and had to have IBM, but had a tight budget. He replaced it with an IBM PS/2 Model 30-286 around 1990.
I think he was writing programs in BASIC to control stuff over RS232, but not sure.

I think I found your details on the classic computers NZ site. I signed up today to reach out to you. I'll add JX Color Paint to the list - I have not seen it and do not have it. I'll also add the double stepping - I noticed that standard PC drives didn't read it but did not understand exactly what they had done to hobble the disk size.

Yeah that's me, although that site has mostly been replaced by the facebook group now. But you can also PM me on here.

As for the RAM expansion cards with clocks - none of mine have empty sockets. You can see all 3 versions I have on the web page - all of mine have 4464s in the spots I think you meant. But this gives my units a full 512k RAM.
I'll need to dig one out, it's been so long. It may have been because I was thinking of making it 512 and using two 64KB cards.


I also note that your 5.25" expansion unit has the extra slots like my 5519 HD expansion (yours is clearly the 5519 5.25" expansion). My 5519 5.25" expansion has NO extra slots. So this was clearly another variant that could be ordered - as in an optional extra. I have 3 of the Guide to Operations and I have scanned in the one with the MOST extra documentation in it. I wonder if you have any pages that might explain cluster networking - mine do not.

I never figured out how any of the cluster stuff worked. I think I read an article at some point that talked about using an IBM PC AT as the host - but vague memories now and never heard/seen the software they might've used or even the cabling.

Very interesting! I would love to see the Joystick part number and whatever came in that box!
I'll check the part number tomorrow. Inside the box is just the joystick in it's original poly packaging - nothing additional.
 
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I am not sure why half my posts are not appearing. Anyway, the plastic casing is interesting. While common on the JX, they are also fairly standard in the IBM PCjr range and some random things. Note the Token Ring driver cover is also a rigid plastic case - and this is for a PC.IMG_3218.JPG
 

krebizfan

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I don't see how IBM could have hoped to make a splash in Japan with the PC-98 machines dominant. Not nearly as clunky.

You have to wonder if they did their market research.

IBM designed the Multistation (5550) before the PC-98. The specifications were similar except IBM included much better displays at a much higher price. The JX looks like a quick design to provide a more affordable option. Though if Wikipedia's number are accurate, even the PC-98 was an insignificant part of world wide sales of computers with 808x processors.
 

Chuck(G)

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But, at the time, PC98 (or NEC PC) had 70% of the market in Japan. Penetration would have been costly and difficult.

Contrast the NEC APC--came out at about the same time as the 5150. Superior graphics (even beats the JX, I think) and sticker price lower than a similarly equipped 5150. I remember debating whether or not to spring the extra bucks for the fully-equipped 5150 or go with the unitized, faster and cleaner APC. I tossed a coin and it came up IBM, so perhaps luck there.
 

SpidersWeb

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I think IBM's goal was to fill spots in their customer base, rather than making a huge success.
Without sabotaging the pricing of their IBM PC and PC XT models.

e.g. if a Japanese user needed/desired an IBM system with Kanji support or education/small business wanted to go with trusted IBM but couldn't afford a PC XT.

I think in AU/NZ it was basically used as a PC Jr replacement, reseting the negative media PR and with a professional keyboard.

But mostly I'm making this post because I found more photos of my diskless model, taken in 2015 when I first got the system:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18mHgk8vg6JbDodFBN6ZBwRJtCTaXGqhG?usp=sharing

I've used google drive to keep the file size/quality.

Note that the diskless model wasn't just missing the drives, it also had no card AND carrier/mounting bracket, you had to buy that separately along with the drives to upgrade. The blanking plate is also a single piece, blocking both drives.
Prices are in NZD.
 
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Joined
Dec 30, 2012
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Location
Koo-Wee-Rup, Victoria, Australia
This is GOLD! I’ll take note of all that advertised product; I am not sure the part numbers are quite right , might represent a sales function as they don’t match what I have on my known cards.

Would you have access to scan in those software lists? I would like to note them all down.

Thank you very very much for filling in some gaps!
 

Flamin Joe

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Nevermind Japan, I'm actually more surprised it was also a Australia/NZ "exclusive" if you like. I'm interested to know the reasons why they felt our market would also be a good fit as I wouldn't think it would of been that big.

Did it have anything to do with IBM already having a large presence in Australia due to already having a manufacturing plant in Wangaratta? Suppose that leads to another question, was the JX ever produced in Australia?
 

MissArgent

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AGwAXUC.png

Had to do it.
 
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