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My collection

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
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I appreciate a lot of machines, but there isn't the time or the space to master them all so I keep a fairly small set of machines. My favorites are the PCjrs.

Think of a PCjr as a clone put out by IBM that just wasn't quite compatible enough. Lots of clones were more compatible with the PC than the PCjr was, but the PCjr had the magical 'IBM' letters on it. That made owning and living with a PCjr kind of interesting.

My Jrs range from unexpanded 128K models to monsters with SCSI adapters, bi-directional printer ports, clocks, hard drives and CD ROMs. Some have three floppies. It's quite a range of hardware.

Other machines in the collection are:

- PC AT upgraded to a 386, which serves as a 'big brother' to the Jr. All of the original parts to make it back into a 286 are still here, and I'm still running the Seagate ST225 hard drive that came original on the machine.

- An older PC with a BIOS date of 10/19/81. This makes it a 'PC1', and it's old enough were it doesn't count past 544K of memory and it doesn't scan the ROM areas for add-in cards.

- Timex Sinclar 1000. This is the Sinclair ZX81 clone. It was my first computer, and I really need to revisit it - it has a lot of potential, and I know almost nothing about it. Twenty years later, I'm finally ready for it.

- Spare parts for the PCs. I'm rediculously uptight about being able to keep these things running for years and years. Luckily most of the parts are easy to come by.

- Williams Defender arcade game. Yes, the real deal - in my basement. ;-) Runs a Motorola 6809.


I wouldn't mind having an Apple ][ or Apple ][+, but that would be require a parallel universe to spring up in the house. It's at least as complex/rich a machine as the Jr and would take a while to get back up to speed on it. C64s are in the same category.

In 20 years, is anybody going to brag about their Dell 8100 desktop?
 

Erik

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I'm still amazed when I think of a Peanut with a SCSI subsystem. It just strikes me as so far beyond what IBM envisioned for the machine.

By the same token it's just so cool to have that set up.

You've got tons of interesting stuff. I wish you luck on that parallel universe gig so you can expand even more! :)

Thanks!

Erik
 

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
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You are monitoring this forum way too much. Then again, it is your virtual house. :)

A Jr with a SCSI hard drive and CD-ROM is definitely cool. Especially since it's a real SCSI adapter, not a parallel port hack. However, these adapters are *impossible* to find. Not many were made, and if you know you have one you guard it carefully. Which brings up an interesting discussion ..

As these parts get harder and harder to find, the number of people who can keep these things running is going to have to be narrowed down. That and the prices will go up. That part of the hobby frustrates me. On many desirable machines (Lisa 1s) the checkbook is the winning factor now, not technical know-how. Jrs and parts aren't that rare yet, but the SCSI adapter is a good example. (I can point to Lisa auctions on eBay. In 3 years of looking I have *never* seen any PCjr hard disk system on eBay, SCSI or not. Which is more valuable?)

As for the SCSI adapter, my pet project is to make a new one. This particular adapter is based on the Future Domain 850 chipset, which is one of the classic SCSI chipsets of the 8 bit PC era. (8 bit slot that is.) I have an adapter that lets me plug 8 bit ISA cards into the Jr bus. I've gotten a Future Domain SCSI card to pass diagnostics while on a Jr. I just need a little more debug work and luck to get devices to work. If I can get devices talking on the SCSI bus, then it's just a matter of some BIOS level programming before the Jr boots a hard drive from the card.

To me, that's the joy of older hardware - having a project. I can understand most of the aspects of the project and keep it in my head. It's all well documented, except for the chipset which can be reverse engineered from the software drivers. And I potentially can make something from scratch that hasn't been available new in 10 years ..
 

Erik

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mbbrutman said:
You are monitoring this forum way too much. Then again, it is your virtual house. :)

:D

mbbrutman said:
That part of the hobby frustrates me. On many desirable machines (Lisa 1s) the checkbook is the winning factor now, not technical know-how.

There's definately that. I'd love a Twiggy Lisa (I'm happy to have Lisa 2s) and other machines like a Scelbi, an Apple I or a Mark-8. Unfortunately, aside from reproductions, those are WAY out of my price range.

Erik
 

Terry Yager

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Joined
May 1, 2003
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8,763
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Saginaw, MI, USA 48601
Erik,

Have you seen those Mark-8 kits that come up on eBay from time to time? They are repros built up from the old parts. They go for between $125.00 and 250.00.

--T
 

Erik

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I've seen the kits and I know (via email, mostly) the guy who sells them.

I may buy one someday but, having seen two at the VCF, I'd prefer an "original."

BTW, I think the last few complete kits I saw went over $350.

Erik
 

Unknown_K

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Joined
Sep 11, 2003
Messages
8,558
Location
Ohio/USA
mbbrutman said:
You are monitoring this forum way too much. Then again, it is your virtual house. :)

A Jr with a SCSI hard drive and CD-ROM is definitely cool. Especially since it's a real SCSI adapter, not a parallel port hack. However, these adapters are *impossible* to find. Not many were made, and if you know you have one you guard it carefully. Which brings up an interesting discussion ..

As these parts get harder and harder to find, the number of people who can keep these things running is going to have to be narrowed down. That and the prices will go up. That part of the hobby frustrates me. On many desirable machines (Lisa 1s) the checkbook is the winning factor now, not technical know-how. Jrs and parts aren't that rare yet, but the SCSI adapter is a good example. (I can point to Lisa auctions on eBay. In 3 years of looking I have *never* seen any PCjr hard disk system on eBay, SCSI or not. Which is more valuable?)

As for the SCSI adapter, my pet project is to make a new one. This particular adapter is based on the Future Domain 850 chipset, which is one of the classic SCSI chipsets of the 8 bit PC era. (8 bit slot that is.) I have an adapter that lets me plug 8 bit ISA cards into the Jr bus. I've gotten a Future Domain SCSI card to pass diagnostics while on a Jr. I just need a little more debug work and luck to get devices to work. If I can get devices talking on the SCSI bus, then it's just a matter of some BIOS level programming before the Jr boots a hard drive from the card.

To me, that's the joy of older hardware - having a project. I can understand most of the aspects of the project and keep it in my head. It's all well documented, except for the chipset which can be reverse engineered from the software drivers. And I potentially can make something from scratch that hasn't been available new in 10 years ..

Imagine the look on your face if someday you actually find that scsi adapter. Thats the joy of collecting the ultra rare things.
 

~llama

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2003
Messages
42
Location
Memphis
yeah, i like the ultra-rare... i have a 1400 baud microchannel modem :D im pretty fond of it :mrgreen:
 
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