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What the... What is this thing?? IBM computer switch model 5170

NeXT

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
6,748
Location
Kamloops, BC, Canada
It's as you see: An expansion box with a power bar built into it.
I'm sure someone just alspped a 5170 badge onto it.
 

Lorne

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Joined
Jul 27, 2008
Messages
1,164
Location
Chandler, AZ, USA
Gotta love people selling stuff on eBay, convinced of what it "is"...

It's not so much people selling stuff on Ebay.

It's people trying to unload their "junk" computers on Ebay.

I especially love the

LOOKS TO WORK FINE BUT NO WAY TO TEST
NO FURTHER TESTING DONE...SOLD AS IS

type comments that go along with most of the vintage stuff.
If you can't test it, and don't know that it works, then either put a reasonable (ie: non working ) price on it, or send it to the recycler.
I for one, am sick of getting stuff that "appears to be working', but when I receive it, it isn't.​
 

Druid6900

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Joined
May 7, 2006
Messages
3,809
Location
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
I for one, am sick of getting stuff that "appears to be working', but when I receive it, it isn't. [/LEFT]

Lorne, sadly, that's about 20% of my business. People buy this stuff, trusting that it "probably" works and finding out that it doesn't.

I've had people send me as many as 7 of the same item wanting me to send them back ONE that works and giving me the rest of the stuff for parts.

Obviously, I'm not going to add insult to injury so I take the parts in payment. They've usually paid MORE than enough to get their one working unit.

However, it's partly the buyer's fault for taking the risk. They usually lose.
 

commodorejohn

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Joined
Jul 6, 2010
Messages
3,135
Location
California, USA
If you can't test it, and don't know that it works, then either put a reasonable (ie: non working ) price on it, or send it to the recycler.
Gah, yes. And you just know that with 90% of these "don't have any way to test" actually means "can't be assed to plug it in and see if it turns on and don't want it to impact my sale anyway."
 

Chuck(G)

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Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Messages
38,876
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
The Rair (pronounced "rare") Black Box is not one, but a few variations. A UK-made computer it was also sold by ICL. (It's your basic personal computer. This one seems to be set up, as you say, for some sort of multiport application-probably running MP/M).

Early RAIR-branded models used an 8085; later ICL-branded ones used an 8085, 8088 or 8086 and weren't black.

For a brief time around 1980 or so, there was quite a bit of interest in the Rair BB. I almost bought one.

Note the resemblance to the IBM 5150 box.
 

Chuck(G)

25k Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Messages
38,876
Location
Pacific Northwest, USA
:confused:

It looks like it has a 3.5" floppy drive and a hard drive in it... But it's a power switch?

There were all sorts of oddball Taiwanese-origin cases back in the 80s. Note that this one actually has cutouts for connectors (which the drive installer conveniently ignored). My guess is probably two SCSI drives of some sort was the original intent. The switches and outlets were just gravy.
 

IBMMuseum

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Joined
Aug 28, 2006
Messages
1,393
Gah, yes. And you just know that with 90% of these "don't have any way to test" actually means "can't be assed to plug it in and see if it turns on and don't want it to impact my sale anyway."

As I've said before, I discovered an eBay seller listing an IBM Token Ring adapter (with DB-9) as a "video card"...

He was even indignant when contacted, and said that he had tested it with a monitor, I was wrong...

I would have liked to see that monitor...
 

RetroHacker_

Veteran Member
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
573
Location
Niskayuna, NY
See, this is another example of something that's pretty cool, and I'd like to buy, but there is no way in hell I'm going to pay that much for it. I have *no* idea where these idiots on eBay come up with these insane prices. How on earth does he think something like that (as filthy as it is, too), is worth $70 (plus $24 shipping)?

Another reason I tend to avoid eBay these days.

-Ian
 

Raven

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Joined
Mar 7, 2009
Messages
2,752
Location
DE, USA..
I rather like it, regardless of whoever made it or what box it was designed to sit by. :D

Were I "loaded" atm, I'd maybe spend $40+shipping, but that'd be pushing it - $70 is definitely not good - it would have to be an actual AT, and I've got one of those!
 

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
Staff member
Joined
May 3, 2003
Messages
6,236
I have one; the front and rear panels are exactly the same as the one featured in the auction, minus the badging. It came as part of a PCjr setup; the owner installed a second drive in the unit. It is a little overkill for just a second drive enclosure, but as a combined drive enclosure and power strip it works very well.
 

nige the hippy

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Joined
Apr 7, 2006
Messages
1,282
Location
Luton UK
I'd pay up to £40 for a "black box", it's just the shipping that would be the killer. There is a "best offer" on all the stuff. people quite often put a high "buy it now" price on if they've no idea what it actually is worth.
 

mbbrutman

Associate Cat Herder
Staff member
Joined
May 3, 2003
Messages
6,236
The poor thing has been sitting on the floor in my home office for over a year so I figured it was time to clean it up and see what it does. Here is my version of it with a PCjr which has been modified for a 2nd floppy drive:

PCjr_Homebrew_Drive_thumbnail.jpg


Click on this link for a larger image: http://www.brutman.com/pics/PCjr_Homebrew_Drive.jpg

Inside of the machine is a fairly simple, but robust power supply. Besides distributing power for the switches it also has headers to provide power for the devices in the drive bays. Otherwise, there is a lot of dead air in the case - a dream for somebody who does modifications. If I could find a few more of these at a reasonable price I'd find a way to hack in an ISA card cage and have a poor man's 5161 style expansion unit for the PCjr. (It is a low profile box so the cards would have to be mounted horizontally.)

This particular box came with shipping damage to one of the switches. They look like fairly standard panel mount neon switches. I'm combing through the DigiKey catalog to find a good match.
 
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