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TRS-80 Network 4

shirsch

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
450
Location
Burlington, VT
I have been given a small networking board intended for use with a TRS-80 Mod 3 (and possibly 4). It uses a Corvus Omninet chipset and the EPROM is labeled "LNET 4.4". I believe this was sold for use with a Tandy network scheme that involved a dedicated file server. I'm unable to find any documentation besides basic ad copy and a few price-list entries. Does anyone have technical documentation and/or software for this device? Would like to find out as much as I can about it and the ecosystem it was intended for.
 

pski

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Nov 26, 2014
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New York
The Tandy/Corvus setup uses *shielded* twisted pair wiring, and you
connect *bare wires* to screw terminals on the card!

Sounds like something Fred Flintstone would use at work!

Tandys choice also meant that if you had one computer in the lab plugged into an outlet
with a hot neutral, Tandys wiring scheme would promptly blow-out all of the
machines on the network the moment you plugged that one computer in since they
tried to share a shield ground via the shielded cable. This happened fairly
often, and 30+ computers would simultaneously make Bing-Pop-Zing sounds as the
tops blew off integrated circuits inside the case, followed by burning
smells. Later, Tandy included an outlet tester with the installation kit and
recommended its use...

Fairly often? Wow!
 

shirsch

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
450
Location
Burlington, VT
Here is some information:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.sys.tandy/Xhtv_MgN9wA
According to this, Network 4 was compatible with Corvus Omninet.
I have a model 4 with one of these cards installed. Maybe we can set up a network :)

I've been collecting and restoring Corvus gear for over 20 years and have several functional Omninet servers. The real challenge is going to be understanding the hardware and software interface of the network adapter. I assume it connects to the same 50-pin bus as the Tandy hard disk (and my case, FreHD) does. Need to understand if it can coexist with the local hard disk.

Someone, somewhere must have the API and hardware docs for these things. Reverse engineering the board to understand how the computer talks to it won't be very easy.
 

kb2syd

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
1,761
Location
Wantage, NJ
I've been collecting and restoring Corvus gear for over 20 years and have several functional Omninet servers. The real challenge is going to be understanding the hardware and software interface of the network adapter. I assume it connects to the same 50-pin bus as the Tandy hard disk (and my case, FreHD) does. Need to understand if it can coexist with the local hard disk.

Someone, somewhere must have the API and hardware docs for these things. Reverse engineering the board to understand how the computer talks to it won't be very easy.
They do not interfere with the hard drive interface physically. I do not know if they interfere electrically. I'll have to open mine up.

I have never seen any of the software or manuals in the wild. I'll check my archives.
 

shirsch

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2008
Messages
450
Location
Burlington, VT
They do not interfere with the hard drive interface physically. I do not know if they interfere electrically. I'll have to open mine up.

I have never seen any of the software or manuals in the wild. I'll check my archives.

Still hoping to find software and/or docs for the Tandy Network 4 / Omninet. Someone paid stupid money for manual and diskettes on eBay last fall and apparently sat on them :-(

Update: If anyone knows how to reach Frank Durda IV by e-mail, would they please drop me a PM? I have tried every e-mail address I can find on his web site, but all of them bounce with "unknown recipient". Frank has mentioned Network 4 in his posts over the years and I'm hoping he has some information or software for it.
 
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pski

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Nov 26, 2014
Messages
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Still hoping to find software and/or docs for the Tandy Network 4 / Omninet. Someone paid stupid money for manual and diskettes on eBay last fall and apparently sat on them :-(

Update: If anyone knows how to reach Frank Durda IV by e-mail, would they please drop me a PM? I have tried every e-mail address I can find on his web site, but all of them bounce with "unknown recipient". Frank has mentioned Network 4 in his posts over the years and I'm hoping he has some information or software for it.

Network 4 and Arcnet on the Model II are one of the rarest options to find today. I don't know of a working example of either anywhere in the world today. I've looked high and low and have never found anything except the arcnet hub.

Frank has stepped away from the hobby, well I guess it was his work rather than hobby, and whether or not he returns, who knows. He has an open invitation to come on Trash Talk.
 

kb2syd

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
1,761
Location
Wantage, NJ
Somewhere, in the deep recesses of the junk in my basement is an ARCNET card for the model II and an 8 bit ARCNET card for an XT class machine. I've been excavating for about a month and can actually see the floor some places.
 
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