Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

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sgifanatic
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Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby sgifanatic » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:59 pm

Despite being absolutely inundated at work, I've somehow managed to spend a few thousand dollars recently on a range of vintage systems. I suppose it's a case of geek retail therapy to deal with the stress :-) Here are some of my buys:

    1. G4 Cube - 500 Mhz - came with 192MB, I've upgraded to 1.5GB. Has a weird random reboot problem, but more on that later. I'm actually typing this up on the Cube. It's a nice addition to my collection, since I already have its ancestor, the Next Cube. I was going to crack a Darth Vader/"I am your father" joke here, but on second thought, I'll spare y'all.
    2. Apple II GS [Yet to arrive] with display and some games.
    3. Commodore 64C - I've also ordered an SD2IEC cartridge which allows SD cards with C64 sw images to be plugged in [Has yet to arrive]
    4. Mac Color Classic [Yet to arrive] - has a power on issue which I suppose I'll figure out when it arrives. Hopefully this won't be a wasted purchase :-)
    5. Mac Plus 1MB [Yet to arrive]

Also picked up a Fujitsu Stylistic 5010 Tablet PC at the local Goodwill. Didn't have an hdd, Athereos wifi, RAM or any of the back covers, but it was cheap so I gave it a shot. The thing actually powered up. The "really really custom" IDE cable was missing, so I added some RAM & booted off USB (Linux). It worked great, other than the fact that it had a missing Wacom stylus. I was pretty intrigued with what could be done with this, so I gave ebay a visit to see if I could get the missing parts. Before I knew it I had convinced myself that it was a "better deal" to buy a lot of 5 of these things, with some extra bits!!! Other than one, they all work and have good battery life. I've been messing around with different OSs on them and am pretty impressed over all. Now thinking of ways in which to use these.

Image

The other projects I've been doing involve setting up a DOS/Win 3.1 environment on a TU Vortex86 PC, setting up some Raspberry Pis with ownCloud, rebuilding the kids' desktops and getting a couple of older (but still respectable!) laptops upgraded. Want to share more on all of these, but probably as separate posts.

Image

The SGIs are not to be ignored, however. Thus, an O2 was upgraded to 1GB RAM - I had bought the RAM more than a year ago from a fellow nekochan comrade, but didn't have time to install it until recently. Unfortunately two of the 128MB modules are causing issues (mem errors - despite reseating and switching slots) and the plastic latch on the top (black) cover broke during the upgrade (!!!). But other than that, the O2 is so much slicker than before :-) I suppose I will have to look for replacement memory modules at some stage.

About 20 of the Indigo2s and Indys from the big haul of 2011/2 are still in the garage waiting to be brought back to life. As is the Sparcstation 10, an Origin 300 and a couple of Octanes, but a man can only do so much!!

I'll add pics and updates on my adventures with all this stuff in subsequent posts.
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby robespierre » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:46 am

the Stylistic looks interesting, I remember reading about it as one of the computers with a Wacom sensor behind the display. Wacom also made solutions that combined touch and pressure-sensitive stylus sensors in the same chipset. How much stuff is inside the docking station?

If you're buying old Apple machines you should be aware that many of them have PRAM batteries that can leak or explode, and should be removed as a precaution. The electrolyte in the batteries is highly toxic and corrosive and reached the age (20-30y) when they start to fail en masse. Some interesting pictures can be seen here. I found that thread by searching, because an old IIgs that I just happened to look inside had become filled with corrosive muck.
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby sgifanatic » Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:13 am

Thanks a lot for the battery tip. I will be careful about that and will do some web searching on recommended replacements.

I don't have docks for the Stylistic tablets, but yes, they do have a wacom sensor. The stylus works very smoothly once you get used to it. I've managed to have the wacom recognized under Linux... Xp tablet edition works great, ofcourse, and I was quite impressed with the handwriting recognition! You can't install windows 8 on these, but win7 should work. I will try that and see if it affects performance any. These things can be beefed up quite a bit - more so than modern tablets. 5010 and 5021 tabs have a 1ghz processor and the chipset should do 2GB RAM, even though Fujitsu officially supports 1GB. The ATA/IDE drives are a bummer, but I am researching CF IDE + a high speed CF card as an alternative. There are Transcend and Kingspec IDE SSDs available, but pricey for old gear like this. Here's a link to the Kingspec: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/cr/B008RVN9 ... f=mw_dp_cr
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby MrBill » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:42 pm

Wow, that is quite a find on the fujitsu Tablet. I was not aware they made newer versions of it.

I myself have an older stylistic Lt-500. Came with a fancy little dock and a serial pcmcia card. Actually makes a really nice tiny serial terminal.

http://s20.postimg.org/ms8lp5mp9/fujitsu.jpg
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby hamei » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:53 pm

^
fewjie_woojie_bugleboy.jpg
fewjie_woojie_bugleboy.jpg (6.77 KiB) Viewed 2059 times


The pen in sgifanatic's photo looks almost exactly like the pen from a very early Wackem - Artzpad, maybe ? I had one sitting around for ages from when the pad died and I didn't have the heart to throw it out.
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby robespierre » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:29 pm

it doesn't look exactly like any wacom pen i've seen before, seems like they put a hole for a lanyard in it (as you might want if you were carrying it around a shop floor). the various pens used similar mechanisms, though. behind the nib is an xtal that reacts to the change in pressure by oscillating at a different frequency. this allowed pen movements that were very smooth and natural, without any physical click.

the buttons on the right of the LT-500, are they membrane switches or do you need to use the stylus to point to them?
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby sgifanatic » Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:17 pm

MrBill wrote:Wow, that is quite a find on the fujitsu Tablet. I was not aware they made newer versions of it.

I myself have an older stylistic Lt-500. Came with a fancy little dock and a serial pcmcia card. Actually makes a really nice tiny serial terminal.

http://s20.postimg.org/ms8lp5mp9/fujitsu.jpg


Cool! There are a number of later-model Stylistic tablets that developed the series beyond the models I have (5021 and 5022). For example, this recent one:

http://www.fujitsu.com/fts/products/com ... stic-q702/

I've attached a picture of the stylus that came with the 5021s. Ordinary styli/touch won't work with these tablets.

What I like most is that there is a LOT of room to expand the capabilities of these systems. There are several expansion ports available, such as:

    2xUSB ports
    1xMemory Stick/SD slot
    1xPCMCIA slot
    1xIR port
    Headphone and Audio jack
    Built in Ethernet jack
    Built in Modem jack
    Built in Bluetooth
    IEEE 1394 Firewire (not b, sadly, but 400Mbps isn't too bad!)

The internal HDD can be replaced with an IDE-SSD, RAM can be maxed to 2GB, and with a 1Ghz processor, you have a pretty decent system. I'll post a video soon demonstrating a few common tasks.
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby hamei » Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:24 pm

robespierre wrote:it doesn't look exactly like any wacom pen i've seen before, seems like they put a hole for a lanyard in it (as you might want if you were carrying it around a shop floor).

Yes, no lanyard. But the rest of it ... found it. It was sitting in front of my nose :)
wackempen.jpg

Nice helpful error message, eh ?

Pretty sure it was from an Artpadz ...
wackemstand.jpg
wackemstand.jpg (39.39 KiB) Viewed 1972 times

I can send it to sgifanatic, would be interesting if they just recycled an old part.
this allowed pen movements that were very smooth and natural ...

That depends on your definition of natural :P

I can use the pad but it's kinda fonky, actually. Got one for the Assist, she won't touch it so we sold it for half what we paid. Why do I still want a Cintiq ? Hope springs eternal, or I am stupid ?
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby sgifanatic » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:12 pm

Ok! The IIgs arrived today. Missing mouse, but powering up. That's a start!

Looking for IIgs games, I found this site: http://www.theoldcomputer.com/roms/inde ... r=Apple/II

Does anyone know how to write Apple IIgs roms to floppy disk from a PC?
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby robespierre » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:41 pm

some competing home computers (like the Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit, TI 99/4A, PCjr, or ZX Spectrum) had a cartridge port and could use software on ROM chips in cartridges. The Apple ][ series never had that. All Apple software is disk-based, with the exception of some early programs that loaded from cassette tape. The floppy disks use a GCR modulation that is incompatible with PC floppy drives. So to transfer files to a IIgs, you can use a Macintosh with 800KB floppies, or use LocalTalk, or transfer files over a serial link using sz/rz.

http://apple2online.com/index.php?p=1_2 ... re-Library
https://archive.org/details/apple-ii-disk-collection
http://apple2.callapple.org/links.html

late edit: I forgot one other way. If you have both an Apple II "SuperDrive controller" and the G7287 External FDHD Drive, you can use 1.4 MB ProDOS, or (on GS System 6 and up) HFS, floppies that can be written from a Mac or PC. Apple switched from GCR to MFM modulation on HD floppies so compatibility is easier. There were compatible versions of the controller and drive from other companies like Applied Engineering. Other methods using (generally expensive) 3rd party hardware exist...

There is also a program called ADTPro (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/) that runs on a modern computer and provides data to the Apple II over the serial port (or the cassette port for older Apples). This is not as good as LocalTalk but has some of the same advantages.
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby pentium » Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:06 am

I had one of those sylistic tablets breifly. Had the pen and everything but the IDE controller was dead because it could not see a hard drive or the CD drive in the docking station. Modern computers are pretty useless with no hard drive. :/
Getting apple floppy disk images to physical media on anything that was not a an apple II or mac itself has always been a nightmare. Ive seen so much shady software and expensive addon cards. I ended up getting a powerbook 180 and loaded it with all the floppy writing tools I could get. Now I can image and write macintosh, lisa and Apple II 3.5" disks. A localtalk bridge is used to connect to my server which stores everything.
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby sgifanatic » Sat Oct 04, 2014 5:19 pm

Just a quick update on where I am with everything, per my original list:

1. G4 Cube - 500 Mhz - came with 192MB, I've upgraded to 1.5GB. -- UPDATE: nothing changed; want to fix the reboot issue and do a new OS + app install

2. Apple II GS [Yet to arrive] with display and some games. -- UPDATE: has since arrived. Works great, but I haven't really done much. Have booted into the IIgs demo disk with the silly mouse tutorial ("IIgs territory..") Also have a adtpro cable now from Dr. Ken - but haven't been able to do an ADT pro setup yet.

3. Commodore 64 - I've also ordered an SD2IEC cartridge which allows SD cards with C64 sw images to be plugged in [Has yet to arrive] - UPDATE: This has arrived. I got the SD2IEC going, built an image with tons of games. Got an Atari joystick which is pretty sucky and either I'm not using it right, or it's not particularly usable. Am now looking for a microswitch based Zip stick. Until then, at least this system works. Also got a Commodore 1802 RGB monitor. Pretty yellowed and the original power switch is broken. Seller hacked a flip switch onto the side. Works. The most exciting thing yet has been running Geos and Geo Paint. Pretty cool to see a GUI running in 64K RAM on a 1Mhz system. I am learning a bit about C64 oddities...

4. Mac Color Classic [Yet to arrive] - has a power on issue which I suppose I'll figure out when it arrives. Hopefully this won't be a wasted purchase :-) UPDATE: This has been an ordeal. It arrived, but lots of issues. We've been discussing this one in that other Color Classic thread (viewtopic.php?f=9&t=16728961) The news as of right now is that it was sent for recapping. That didn't fix it. It has now been shipped to yet another repair tech to see if he can get to the root of my troubles. Will end up costing a packet... even if it is salvageable.

5. Mac Plus 1MB [Yet to arrive] - UPDATE: This arrived. No HDD. The Color Classic doesn't have an HDD either. So I'm going to try to figure out the HDD situation on these systems... this one does show the bootup Mac icon. No SW. I ordered System 7.1 disks which came in. Thought they were original ones, but this is copied media courtesy of an ebay seller with a loosy-goosy description. More needs to be done to get this running.

In the meanwhile, an Atari 1040 ST just arrived. Beautiful system. Looks like I won't have to do much to get this going at all. Came with a 30MB external HDD, Atari monitor and quite a bit of SW. Never used Atari before (other than the 2600 for a couple of games, 30 years or so ago...), so there will be a learning curve here too.

I ended up "accidentally" winning auctions on a Color classic and a half. One full system, one for parts. They have yet to arrive. Now I just need four times the space I presently have, and I can display these properly :-)
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:Octane2: 2 x :Octane: 2 x :O2: 4 x :Indigo: :Fuel: 20 x :Indy: 15 x :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: BeBox133 NextCube 3 x NextStation PcJr Gateway486DX25 XTClone8088 ATTPC Tandy100 Atari800 Atari1040ST C64 Amiga CommodorePET Kaypro 2 x Osborne RS/6000 PS/2Model60 SparcStation5 AppleLisa SE/30 2 x MacColorClassic MacClassic 3 x FujitsuStylistics CompaqPortable Audrey ToshibaLibretto20 Tandy1400LT MacClamshell 2 x PowerMacG4Tower PowerMacG4Cube Dozens x x86/ARM/tablets/embedded and assorted...

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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:15 pm

The Commodore 1802 (and its close relative the CM-141) is a piece of crap. It's actually a substandard composite monitor that cheats by taking the monochrome signal off the DB-9 RGB port a 128 would have. You don't have a 128, so the pathetic monochrome RGB mode it does offer is worthless to you, and the monitor will fail if you look at it wrong. Find a Commodore 1702 instead, which is a superior and indestructible composite monitor suitable for any classic computer.

If you do end up getting a 128, then I'd recommend either a 1084 or a 1902, not the 1802, both of which have a "real" digital RGB mode.
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby robespierre » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:27 pm

The Mac Plus can only use external hard disks. You can use a (stone-age) HD20, or a SCSI disk that supports narrow single-ended mode, which is a similar situation to old SGIs.
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Re: Vintage hardware buying binge and other projects

Unread postby sgifanatic » Sat Oct 04, 2014 7:05 pm

ClassicHasClass wrote:The Commodore 1802 (and its close relative the CM-141) is a piece of crap. It's actually a substandard composite monitor that cheats by taking the monochrome signal off the DB-9 RGB port a 128 would have. You don't have a 128, so the pathetic monochrome RGB mode it does offer is worthless to you, and the monitor will fail if you look at it wrong. Find a Commodore 1702 instead, which is a superior and indestructible composite monitor suitable for any classic computer.

If you do end up getting a 128, then I'd recommend either a 1084 or a 1902, not the 1802, both of which have a "real" digital RGB mode.


Thanks for the info. The monitor is working in color with my 64, though. I will try to look for a 1702 also. And yes, I am looking for an Amiga 500/600, after which a 128 will probably be on the list of stuff to get.
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