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What is this? Just a floppy controller, or more?

deathshadow

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Jan 4, 2011
Messages
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I grabbed a PC clone off e-fence since I wanted a spare XT era case and PSU, and getting one with a 640k XT clone mobo populated with cards was just a bonus... but the "floppy controller" in this thing is quite... unusual... Most of the board seems to have jack *** to do with being a floppy controller. It's got a 6502, 6522, I THINK it has 16k of RAM -- don't quote me on that, I get confused when they say 16384 words of 1 bit per chip -- a potentiometer or rotary switch on the back, two empty ROM sockets... the stuff I'd expect to be on a floppy controller is on a daughterboard (R6765P) plugged into the back of it!

Sorry for the blurry pics, no tripod and parkinsons so...

Whole card front
http://www.deathshadow.com/images/oddCard/odd1.jpg

Close-up of the fancy parts:First clear pic I've taken in four years!
http://www.deathshadow.com/images/oddCard/odd2.jpg

... and the daughterboard on the back:
http://www.deathshadow.com/images/oddCard/odd3_daughterboard.jpg

ROM label level adjusted to be legible:
http://www.deathshadow.com/images/oddCard/romLabel.jpg

I've not actually booted the system yet as the shipping was haphazard, which mixed with the age left me with a bunch of 41256's floating around loose in the case having popped out of their sockets :(

Be interesting to see what it does, but what is this thing? Some form of tape controller? Disk compression? Apple II emulation card?

I know Faraday Electronics (which can be made out on the rom) used to make a lot of oddball PC parts, from half-length cards with entire PC clones on them, to combo cards that put things like the AST sixPack to shame... but I've never heard of "Companion Technologies" or seen anything quite like this before. The presence of a 6502 and a good chunk of RAM is interesting...
 

KC9UDX

Space Commander
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I'd lean toward ][emulator if it didn't have the 6522. It's certainly an "emulator" of some kind. It even has RS232. I wonder what computers came in that default configuration?
 

deathshadow

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Jan 4, 2011
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Yeah, that Rockwell 6522 VIA chip is part of what's making me think it's something a bit different. I'm pulling up all the data sheets on the parts to see if I can come up with some form of explanation of what it might be, since my google-fu is failing me miserably.
 

krebizfan

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Connecticut
Don't you just hate very generic company names, in this case AMDA and Companion Technologies? Are there any markings on the XT itself?

There was a Companion Technologies that used to be part of Blue Cross and did a lot of software on the Apple II. My guess is that this is a semi-emulator that runs a modified version of the Apple II software under PC-DOS. But that is conjecture based on way too many gaps in information.
 

Chuck(G)

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Well, that 1.8432 crystal should tell you that there's a comm port, accessible at J2 if you look at the wiring. It's got 16KB of memory, and near the bracket, 4 unpopulated places (along with the empty sockets and spot for a crystal near the bracket for RJ-style connectors. The R6765 is, of course, a floppy controller.

I'm with the others; an emulator for some piece of gear popular in 1984. A dump of the EPROM would help to nail things down a bit.

This may have some bearing on the matter. At least you know that "AMDA" refers to "AMDA Computer Systems, Inc." of Scottsdale, AZ.
 
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deathshadow

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
1,357
Don't you just hate very generic company names, in this case AMDA and Companion Technologies? Are there any markings on the XT itself?
It's a generic XT clone... 640k on the motherboard, seems to be software selectable turbo to 8mhz, nothing remarkably about it. Came with a DFI MG-200N hercules knockoff and a pretty generic multifunction I/O card. Only thing out of the ordinary is this "floppy controller" card.

I've no time to play with it more until Sunday; but when I do start working with it I'm first going to have to decide what to put in it for video as I have no TTL monochrome displays. I'm thinking either my EG-3000 EGA card, or my Hercules inColor, since my 5154 is sitting over in the corner right now with it's thumb up it's backside.

Then will come the decision on what/if I'll do for mass storage. Add a 720k and say "close enough"? Try adding a ZIP drive? (Joe knows I've got plenty of those)... SCSI?

Anyone care to venture a guess as to what the potentiometer on the back might be for?
 
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