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Olivetti ETV 300 Restored


Aug 6, 2014
Québec, Canada
I recently found a Olivetti ETV 300. When i saw the inside, all the caps were bad as they were having dry acid on them. Nothing to damage the board at least. I just finished to replace the caps on the motherboard, the video card and the floppy controller.
Test it 10 minutes ago and voila. It is working :)
The program i have on disk is working also.

I simply need a compatible Olivetti typewriter now like a ET 221 or 225 to do stuff on it.
Really happy about the result. :)

wow, great! i am happy to see that you saved another great Olivetti device!

i might come back to you regarding the Software. It would be great if you could Archive it somewhere.
I am also looking forward having an ETV 300 one day. The problem is, if you have only the ETV 300 box with/out monitor and not the related typewirter (typically ET 121, 201, 221, 225, but also ET 111, 112, 115, 116, but mostly ET 121 as this was the cheapest combination). This is because usually the ET series typewriters do not have the optional serial interface (LCU, line communication unit) for ETV series. This is really difficult, because these LCUs can have different firmwares, for ETV communication, for telecomunication (Teletex), printing, external "DU 116" floppy drive communication, etc.). So even if you have an LCU, it might have the wrong firmware. I have an ET 116 with "LCU 116" (I got that LCU separated from another auction, in fact that was the first LCU which I have seen ever in eBay), this is 2x serial interface for printing purpose, but not for ETV communication. The serial interface hardware is the same, but protocol, escape sequences etc to communicate with the ETV are not public documentated, and I have my doubts if Ivrea would hand out it. The LCU itself fort all ET xxx series are little computers having their own Z80, Z80SIO/PIO or NEC 780x CPU+peripherial chips and they have their own firmware, depending on the purpose of the LCU model number.

So if you want a fully working ETV 300, 350, 500, you have allmost only chance to get it working if you get WITH the typewriter which was originally sold and configured with the ETV. If you buy a separated ET with serial interface with the correct ETV LCU firmware, next thing you should do is playing Lotto as you are a lucky guy.

So those peoples which kept the ETV 300/350/500 for some purpose and threw away the related typewriters are just stupid. Without the typewriter these ETVs unfortunatelly have no usage as the typewriter is the keyboard (and printer) for them.

So currently, if you like to use an ETV as a fully working CP/M system, better get the ETV 250, there, typewriter and computer is in one chassis, on one mainboard, but both parts of the system still communicate with an onboard interface to each other. I have one and playing the zork adventures onto it makes fun. Other software is difficult as the ETV uses an unknown terminal emulation, I haven't found any software yet which is compatible with more than the ASCII terminal settings. See my galery for the ETV 250 http://www.vcfed.org/forum/album.php?u=33579

Anyhow, be happy that you have a working ETV 300, they are quite rare today.
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@olivetti for the software i have on disk, i would just need help to how to dump it and then will gladly share it to everyone.

@1ST1 I got the ETV 300 with the monitor and the serial cable to connect to a typewriter and thats all. The person i got it from said she was using a ET 111 typewriter.
The person sold it separately :( So your telling me, im pretty much out of luck right?
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The person is stupid to sell the ET 111 separated. Maybe you should ask this person to get in direct contact with the buyer of that ET 111. Then get another ET 111 or even better ET 112, 115, 116 and make a swap with the buyer. Otherwise allmost no chance to get the ETV running.

I also would be interestet to get copy of your ETV 300 system disks. You should be able to make images of the disks using the Imagedisk (or Teledisk) floppy tool for MS-DOS. -> http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm
wow, great! i am happy to see that you saved another great Olivetti device!

i might come back to you regarding the Software. It would be great if you could Archive it somewhere.
count me in. coming to you :)
Sure will try to dump that.

I tried with all the Olivetti ET series i can see for sales locally and did ask them all first if they have the serial card.
Sure will try to dump that.

I tried with all the Olivetti ET series i can see for sales locally and did ask them all first if they have the serial card.

You didn't understand well what I wrote. You do not only need any ET series typewriter with a serial interface. You need an ET series with serial interface WITH ETV firmware. That is still a big difference. My ET 116 with LCU 116 seial interface for example will not communicate with the ETV 300 as the LCU has the wrong firmware.

And it's even more complicated. For ET 112 and ET 116 one was able to buy plugin LCU module, like my LCU 116. This LCU was available with different firmwares for ETV, Floppy, printing, communication, ... An LCU for external DU-116 floppy access can't work with the ETV. An LCU for ETV can't be used to convert the ET into a printer for PC, and so on. The right LCU firmware for the right purpose. Otherwise no chance. Almost, because the ETV kit does not only consist of the LCU. But you also had to break out an area right to the keyboard what would make bigger the hole for the keyboard. This is as additionally this ETV add on kit contained additional keyboard buttons which you then could plug on previously hidden switches of the keyboard. These additional keys were necessary for the ETV user interface, for example cursor keys. For ET 111 and ET 115 it was similar, but even more complicated. The LCU was not just a module which you plug in the rear side of the machine, but it was an add on card with serial cable to the rear of the machine. You had to open ET 111/115, plugin the addon card on the mainboard, add some extra EPROM to empty socket on the mainboard, laydown the serial cable under the printer to the rear of the machine and so on. And finally again, add additional keys to the keyboard for ETV use.

So you can't just use any ET with any serial interface. It must be the one with ETV firmware, additional keyboard buttons, etc. And if ET 111/115 (or ET 121, 201, 221, 225 - here ven more complicated) the installation of the LCU is not that easy as on ET 112/116.

This is what it makes so difficult to get a fully working and complete ETV 300/350.

So the thing you really need is that ET 111 which originally was connected to your ETV 300. You need to contact the previous owner of the ETV and ET 111 and try to get both together again. Offer the buyer of the ET 111 another typewriter for swap. Try to get ET 115 or ET 116 (newer model) for him, it has more memory, LCD, constant text memory, capability to write in multiple rows, formular programs, etc.

Ps.: I have saved the (german) service manuals for all the mentioned typewriters, with chapters about the different LCUs and their installation procedures. I used to work at Olivetti 25 years ago and I - that's really remarkable - still remember a lot more technical details from there as on later jobs I did.
yeah i did understood correctly. its just because i did not write correctly what i was trying to say. I did send an email to all the people locally who have Olivetti ET to sell asking them if they have a serial interface card. If they can simply respond to me saying yes, then i will go a step further by hoping it is the right one for my etv 300.

For the original owner that had the ET 111 with the ETV 300. i tried to contact him but still not answer yet.
i just tried to dump the floppy but it does not work. it is using a special format for this computer i think. so what next?
Hello, the ETV 300 disk format is 40 tracks single sided mfm with about 160 kB (8 or 9 sectors per track). You should be able to read it with any 360/720/1.2 5,525 inch diskdrive on a PC. There are several tools which could be usefull: teledisk, imagedisk, 22disk, aliendisk. They all are for MS-DOS.
Olivetti ETV 300

Olivetti ETV 300

Hello, did anybody got further with ETV 300? I have also one, but I have the same problem... Only the box. No monitor, no LCU with ETV firmware for any of my ET series typewriters (I think I have now all ET series machines except of ET 101).

etv300-1.jpg etv300-2.jpg etv300-3.jpg
Besides this ETV 300 I have secured now another one, this time, and I am very happy, with monitor, typewriter and system diskette. Unfortunatelly the ET 121 typewriter seems to be defective (power supply broken) but that can be fixed. I will pick it up in two weeks.
So, here we are...The ET 121 has a power supply issue, but I have circuit diagram. This ETV 300 system is complete, and I have a 2nd unit.

etv300-4.jpg etv300-5.jpg
I've got two of these EVT300 and, unfortunately the same issue with input device. So it's not really a matter of just find the LCU, but it needs to be the right one for that machine. That's really a shame