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Informer Portable Workstation 213 374 208B

cfreidsma

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
17
Location
Michigan
Hi everyone,

I just received an Informer 213 from eBay. Link below;
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Informer-Portable-Workstation-213-374-208B-w-Case-And-Power-Cord-/112335963255?_trksid=p2047675.l2557&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&nma=true&si=%252B13r9xi9jbzebTlUbMqYi%252Fzb6fw%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

DSC_0507.jpgDSC_0506.jpgDSC_0505.jpg
DSC_0517.jpgDSC_0516.jpg
When turned on, it shows the screen like in the eBay posting, and you can type like usual. The posting says it needs "reprogramming" which I am assuming is running setup when connecting it to a server. This was kind of just one of those impulse buys. I have always wanted a luggable type computer. One of the Compaq portable computers has always been on my wish list. I was browsing eBay, and this came up though. I bid once and ended up winning it. Now I am the proud new owner of a terminal :D

I don't know what types of things people have managed to get these to do. I have Googled it quite a bit, and ended up with using it as a terminal for Linux computers. I am planning on hooking one of my spare raspberry pi up to it once the cable arrives. I could then either run the pi off of another wall plugin, or use my portable battery.

Anyone know anything about these, or what all can be done with it? This being a terminal, I am assuming no sort of alternative system or firmware can be loaded on it.
 
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inotarobot

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Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Messages
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
Well done getting it.

GREAT impulse buy.

Now the good news.


Late last year, I bought a Informer 200 series terminal. It finally arrived about 3 weeks back, and in the case was also a users guide for NONE OTHER than a Informer 213 Portable work station. Its about 60 pages A4 size. I will try and get it scanned and uploaded to Bitsaver in the next 14 days.


The manual says

" PRODUCT PURPOSE

The Informer 213 Portable workstation is a lightweight, portable IBM compatible device, which emulates a IBM 3278 Display Station attached to a 3174/3274 Control Unit (Model 1C, Configuration support level C).

The 213 ia used as a workstation in an IBM SNA/SDLC (system Network Architecture/Synchronous Data Link Control) or BSC (Binary Synchronous Communications) Network.

its a low cost, easy to use alternative to more expensive units." end manual quote.

I would consider selling this original manual plus postage, if your interested.
 
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inotarobot

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Feb 7, 2014
Messages
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Melbourne, Australia
Hope the following will give you some help..

From the 213 User Guide page B-20 it states

To enter the setup menu "Hold down the ALT key and press the TEST key."

then to exit the setup menu "Hold down the ALT key and press the TEST key.

Interestingly on my Informer 200 it uses the ALT key and press the ENTER key, to access or leave Setup Menu
 
Last edited:

MattisLind

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
898
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
I have exactly the same terminal. Check my page here.

As far as I understand this device need some kind of very specific IBM type of equipment to do any useful. However there are a Youtube clip with someone that has a different firmware which makes it VT1xx compatible. I been in contact with one owner with such firmware but he didn't have aEPROM programmer and was not able to dump the firmware. Mine is sitting on the shelf doing nothing. (up for trade for something interesting...)

Here is an my old vcfed thread on it.

Here is a cctalk thread as well.

If you happen to find a better firmware please copy and distribute it!
 

inotarobot

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Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Messages
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Melbourne, Australia
I have exactly the same terminal. Check my page here.

As far as I understand this device need some kind of very specific IBM type of equipment to do any useful. However there are a Youtube clip with someone that has a different firmware which makes it VT1xx compatible. I been in contact with one owner with such firmware but he didn't have aEPROM programmer and was not able to dump the firmware. Mine is sitting on the shelf doing nothing. (up for trade for something interesting...)

Here is an my old vcfed thread on it.

Here is a cctalk thread as well.

If you happen to find a better firmware please copy and distribute it!

Hello,

I will endeavor to open my unit up and get some internal pics and see if the main chips are the same. I suspect so. Hopefully if they are then maybe my firmware will run your machine as well.

When I locate my eprom programmer (hopefully by end of this April), I will take a copy of my Informer 200 eproms and get them added to Bitsaver.

Also I will get a scan of my Informer 200 manual and get a your 213AE manual added to Bitsaver.

I have added your 213AE manul link here as well. Hope thats ok. ?

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/96935524/Datormusuem/informer-213-ae-manual.pdf

Be good to have a Informer added to both the PDF's and Software Bitsaver sections.

I see you have the manual on your site for the
 

cfreidsma

Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
17
Location
Michigan
Hi again,

here is the "" "me to" tube"" video link on one of these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvPR8UypXNw

At least that video will give you some ideas on it.

I will try and get the firmware copied from mine and added to Bitsavers

I've seen that video, and the one with it connected to a BSD computer. I might have to contact the poster and see how they got it to work.

As far as I understand this device need some kind of very specific IBM type of equipment to do any useful. However there are a Youtube clip with someone that has a different firmware which makes it VT1xx compatible. I been in contact with one owner with such firmware but he didn't have aEPROM programmer and was not able to dump the firmware. Mine is sitting on the shelf doing nothing. (up for trade for something interesting...)

That explains why I haven't had any luck connecting it to my Raspberry Pi. I am going to try connecting it to some other Linux computers when I get a chance to.

I would consider selling this original manual plus postage, if your interested.
How much are you thinking?

Regardless of if I get it to connect to anything, this is still an awesome addition to my collection.
 

MattisLind

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Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
898
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Hi again,

here is the "" "me to" tube"" video link on one of these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvPR8UypXNw

At least that video will give you some ideas on it.

I will try and get the firmware copied from mine and added to Bitsavers

Yes. That is the Youtube clip. As you probably have seen me and two others asked about a firmware dump in the comments. I also asked the man that scanned the manual (no it wasn't me who scanned it, it was Jeff T Kaufmann who did the scan, thanks to him) but he didn't have a EPROM programmer so he was unable to help out.

If you infact have a different version it should be seen in the setup display of the terminal (pressing ALT-ENTER) as in the video clip. Look in the upper right hand corner. The version in the clip says US 1.7 while mine says 374/SNA rev 2.1.
 

inotarobot

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Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Messages
1,084
Location
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Yes. That is the Youtube clip. As you probably have seen me and two others asked about a firmware dump in the comments. I also asked the man that scanned the manual (no it wasn't me who scanned it, it was Jeff T Kaufmann who did the scan, thanks to him) but he didn't have a EPROM programmer so he was unable to help out.

If you infact have a different version it should be seen in the setup display of the terminal (pressing ALT-ENTER) as in the video clip. Look in the upper right hand corner. The version in the clip says US 1.7 while mine says 374/SNA rev 2.1.

This is a Black and White Pic of my screen. Top right Corner shows ICT102 Ver2.30.

nZ0zrnD.jpg


I will create a new post about my Informer so as to not 'hijack' yours. So then also you can look at differences between machines.
Mine runs a Z80 CPU.

I took some internal pics as well. Next task is to find my eprom programmer and then take copies of the 3 eproms. That could take a week or two
 

MattisLind

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
898
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Well done getting it.

GREAT impulse buy.

Now the good news.


Late last year, I bought a Informer 200 series terminal. It finally arrived about 3 weeks back, and in the case was also a users guide for NONE OTHER than a Informer 213 Portable work station. Its about 60 pages A4 size. I will try and get it scanned and uploaded to Bitsaver in the next 14 days.


The manual says

" PRODUCT PURPOSE

The Informer 213 Portable workstation is a lightweight, portable IBM compatible device, which emulates a IBM 3278 Display Station attached to a 3174/3274 Control Unit (Model 1C, Configuration support level C).

The 213 ia used as a workstation in an IBM SNA/SDLC (system Network Architecture/Synchronous Data Link Control) or BSC (Binary Synchronous Communications) Network.

its a low cost, easy to use alternative to more expensive units." end manual quote.

I would consider selling this original manual plus postage, if your interested.

Hello!

Did you ever upload that manual for the BSC / SDLC variant of the Informer 213? Do you still have the manual. I am interested in it!

/Mattis
 

soviet9922

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2013
Messages
500
Location
Montevideo, Uruguay
Hi guys a couple of days ago got the INFORMER 213AE terminal from ebay.
This is the setup:


Still waiting for the postal service to deliver it, from the picture seems to be the vt100 compatible model ?.
If this is the case are you still looking for the rom dump ?.
 

Al Kossow

Documentation Wizard
Joined
Sep 1, 2006
Messages
2,731
Location
Silicon Valley
yes, along with pictures of the logic board and a good scan of the manual

I was going to go after it but there were too many people bidding
 

MattisLind

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
898
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
I got dumps of the ROMs out of a VT100 capable Informer 213. The PCB is not the same as mine though. From the picture it looks like this is an updated variant of the one I have.

I put everything here. Not tried them in mine.
 

mrbunwah

New Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
3
MattisLind, I have the IBM (not VT100) mode manual for mine and I can give a go on scanning it at some point if you'd like still.

Soviet9922, I don't suppose you could dump the ROMS on your Informer? I'd worked on the currently available ones, and just realized they are version 1.6 - your photo indicates you have a 1.7 set though. If needed, I'd be happy to ship you an EPROM reader.
 

mrbunwah

New Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Messages
3
My manuals appear to be the same, if lower quality actually, so that's rather nice. As for my units, they are SNA versions, so BSC roms are no go - they match currently dumped SNA versions.

On aside, I did some examination of the CG rom on a lark - it's the same between both SNA and VT100 units it seems, and appears to just be graphics data. Conceivably, one could change the font with careful modification. I doubt however it could be modified to make the VT100 unit 8-bit ASCII capable though without modifying the main rom, as my testing indicates it ignores bit 8.
 
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