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Osborne Vixen Alive Again !!

codeman

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
143
Location
Huntington Beach CA
I got this Osborne Vixen in a pile of Kaypro stuff , Was really hoping it was working but, this was all i got .

photo-2-300x224.jpg


So i tore it all down and got out the scope and started looking around.

There are some schematics on archive.org but i believe there are for the prototype.

Chip numbers and pins used are different on this production unit.

But the basic design is the same .

Found out the 7406 in A7 was bad video going in and nothing coming out.

Once i replaced it .

Video looked great now just need to make a boot disk and see how it all works .

photo-1-300x224.jpg


Also disassembled some of the bios and there are some IO routines in the 0xF0-0xFF range
and they are not internal to the Vixen so as a guess it would be for the Hard Drive .

ken
 

snuci

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Messages
1,275
Location
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Congrats! Thanks for posting this. I have a Vixen that is very similar to this. I get the start up beep but the video is like your "before" photo. I don't have a scope but if I can find a 7406, I'll give it a shot.
 

codeman

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
143
Location
Huntington Beach CA
Should have mentioned since the 7406 is a open collector part you can just piggy back them as a test to see if it works .
So you don't have to remove the chip and solder a new one in to test it .
ken
 

codeman

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
143
Location
Huntington Beach CA
Finally got around to making a boot disk, looks like she works :)
And after using it for a bit seems like a very nice cp/m machine .
photo (1).jpg
ken
 

snuci

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Messages
1,275
Location
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Codeman,

Not only did you fix your vixen but you fixed mine too. It was the exact same IC that had messed up my video. Thank you! Now I just need to make the boot floppies to check screen alignment and close her up.

I've spent most of the day trying to get two questionable 5 1/4" floppy drives to work with no luck. Now I remember the frustration of working with PCs when you bought them a part at a time.

Anyway, thanks again and good luck on your auction.
 

codeman

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
143
Location
Huntington Beach CA
That's great seems to be a fault in the design there .
Its a really nice computer good size and all .
that's why i put it at a high start price so if it don't sell i will keep it .
If you cant get a drive to work PM me your address and i can send you a copy of the disk set.
ken
 

barythrin

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
6,256
Location
Texas
I wonder if that affects the other clone of that system (Zenith .. um lol.. Z-171? (google.. woohoo! guessed right) and I thought there was one other also that used that same case/system but can't think of it right now. Ah ok, The Morrow Pivot.
 

snuci

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Messages
1,275
Location
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
I wonder if that affects the other clone of that system (Zenith .. um lol.. Z-171? (google.. woohoo! guessed right) and I thought there was one other also that used that same case/system but can't think of it right now. Ah ok, The Morrow Pivot.

Things do start getting hazy in the Osborne chronology so I just want to make a correction on your post. I don't believe the Osborne Vixen has a clone and it was made by Osborne. There also aren't too many around and actually is "rare".

As one of the sites on the Zenith Z-171/Morrow Pivot describes, this model was contracted out to Osborne as the Osborne Encore (Osborne 3) and was DOS based as was the Zenith Z-171 and Morrow Pivot. The Osborne Vixen is the Osborne 4 and is only CP/M. They don't look anything alike :)

Now I need to look for an Osborne Encore (Osborne 3) to fill in the set. <sarcastic>Thanks for that</sarcastic> ;)
 

Marty

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2009
Messages
3,141
Location
Boulder , Colorado USA
Hi All;
I some years ago had an Osborne one or two can't remember which..
And so I never heard of a Vixen, Can You post a Picture of the whole machine, for comparison sake with what a one or two looked like ??
Of course I never heard of anything past the one or two.. I thought that was all they made..
THANK YOU Marty
 

snuci

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2012
Messages
1,275
Location
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
Quick update from me:

I was able to make the Osborne Vixen disks finally. I spent a few hours wondering why these disks wouldn't work and recreating them over and over again. Tried to clean the drive heads manually but no luck. I then tried to line up the floppy hole with the hole in the media and determined that the drive wasn't spinning even though it sounded like it was doing something. I finally opened the floppy drives up and inspected drive A carefully and found a screw missing. When you put the floppy in twist the drive handle, there was a screw missing in the knuckle that would push down and clamp down the top head assembly. Once that was going, it worked like a charm.

It is a great machine.
 
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