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Getting a Classic PC Working After 25 Years?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the lotus-123-baby dept.

533

tunersedge writes "Yesterday I dug out of my parents' basement a PC they had bought brand new in 1984: Epson Equity I personal computer; 512K RAM; 82-key keyboard; 2 (count 'em!, 2) 5.25" floppy disk drives; 13' RGB monitor (with contrast/brightness knobs); handy on/off switch; healthy 25-year-old yellowed plastic; absolutely no software. (My mom ran a pre-school, and they used it to keep records and payroll. I cut my programming teeth on this thing. GW-Basic was my friend. Kings Quest screens took 2 minutes to load when you walked into a new one.) When I resurrected this machine I pulled the case off, dusted out a little, and plugged it in. It actually fired up! I'm stoked, except the disks we had are missing. What I'm looking to do is either buy some old working disks with whatever I can find (MS-DOS 3.22, GW-Basic, whatever), or try and recreate some using a USB-based floppy drive and some modern software. Has anyone tried to resurrect a PC this old before?"

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533 comments

You already know where to go for disks.... (5, Informative)

Cheviot (248921) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649367)

Ebay is your friend!

Re:You already know where to go for disks.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649463)

I couldn't find single density 5.25" disks a couple of years ago. Double density is easy to find.

Re:You already know where to go for disks.... (4, Funny)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649765)

I think the Epson Equity was the one that had a typo in the BIOS when you inserted a floppy disk. The typo was in the word disk, and exhorted the user to insert a system dick when they booted with a non-boot floppy.

Re:You already know where to go for disks.... (2, Informative)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649501)

True enough - I did the same thing with my ancient Mac Plus. Between Ebay and the dedicated enthusiast forums, I was able to get all the software I needed to get it up and working.

OT: sig (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649811)

An operating system should be like a light switch... simple, effective, easy to use, and designed for everyone.

I'd like my operating system to have more than two possible settings. Operating systems are complex because the world is complex.

Re:OT: sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649925)

You sir, obviously need to operate more l light switches.. I have one lightswitch that has a dial for 'amount of light'! When was the last time you had an a analog OS?

Re:You already know where to go for disks.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649513)

Yeah, gotta love Ebay where I keep hearing about people buying things like PS2 or Xbox games that say "PROPERTY OF BLOCKBUSTER" all over them. What a bunch of niggers.

Re:You already know where to go for disks.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649553)

eBay is fine for obtaining a supply of disks, but not necessarily so fine for finding software. However, see the FreeDOS site [freedos.org] for a likely operating system. That software should allow you to connect a CD-ROM drive (again eBay can be your friend), after which you should be able to find all sorts of DOS software you can run (eBay, again!).

resurrection of a compaq 286e (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649369)

i found some old dos disks at a friend's house

512k! (5, Funny)

webax (1034218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649375)

Well it's not *that* old, it's not like anyone has or ever will need more than 512K of ram...

Re:512k! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649405)

har har har har. That stupid fucking joke is about as old and lame as his computer. It stopped being funny about 24 years ago.

Re:512k! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649653)

It stopped being funny about 24 years ago.

Well then I guess it's not quite as old as the computer then, is it?

Sad Joke... (-1, Flamebait)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649781)

har har har har. That stupid fucking joke is about as old and lame as his computer. It stopped being funny about 24 years ago.

Funny? No, actually it's sad. Sad that it's based on an actual comment from the almighty one in Microsoft (oh, the irony, thick as butter today...)

Re:Sad Joke... (2, Informative)

iapetus (24050) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649871)

If you want to mock an actual comment from the almighty one, I prefer "What's a network?"

Re:Sad Joke... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649883)

"I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time ... I keep bumping into that silly quotation attributed to me that says 640K of memory is enough. There's never a citation; the quotation just floats like a rumor, repeated again and again." http://groups.google.com/group/alt.folklore.computers/msg/99ce4b0555bf35f4?pli=1 [google.com]

Re:Sad Joke... (5, Informative)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649905)

Sad? No, actually it's annoying. Bill Gates never actually said what you think he said.

Re:Sad Joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649959)

Sad that it's based on an actual comment from the almighty one in Microsoft

Actually, Gates never said that. http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/1997/01/1484

Re:512k! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649435)

And 640K? Now you're just being ridiculous.

My advice to you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649385)

fire that bad boy up, and get yourself a FIRST POST! BOO YAH

Re:My advice to you (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649431)

get yourself a FIRST POST! BOO YAH

Hello good sir, would you like a bucket of fail? No? *sighs*

Buckets of fail here, get your bucket of fail here.

Buckets of fail for sale.

Back on topic...I know the answer to the question I'm about to ask is going to be "because I can", but seriously, why bother with this? Not trolling, just asking a (in my mind) legit question. What could you do with this computer that would be worth it? Say you get it working, then what? Now you can point at it when someone comes over to your house and say "That computer is 25 years old!" They can say "so what can you do on it?" "Nothing".

Re:My advice to you (0, Offtopic)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649587)

He could attempt to do something totally pointless with it and post to twitter from it! :D

Re:My advice to you (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649631)

I think they have been going for "funny", as in First Power-On Self Test.

But I agree with your "wtf is the point?", I can understand an older Amiga/Pentium system, 50/75/100MHz etc, they can actually do something, play media, file storage, work as an advanced router, etc or be "fun" enough for a kids (like 5-8 year old) PC.

USB 5.25 Floppy (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649397)

I've been wanting one of these for years... they need to make one that's compatible with all systems, not just IBM Compatible. I wonder if one of the numerous C64 floppy adapters (that uses parallel) would let you write to IBM format.

For DOS, I'm pretty sure FreeDOS would work.

Re:USB 5.25 Floppy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28650011)

The C64 used a physically different track layout than IBM-compatibles. I ran into this a while back when I was writing a piece of software for the C64. I developed it in C using a cross-compiler and tested it on an emulator. Of course the next step was to physically put it on a floppy to run it on a real machine, but I ended up having to build a special cable (from online designs) and use a piece of special software to actually connect the 1541 to a PC. The endgame was much more elegant...I added a cartridge bootloader, burned the software to an EPROM, and put it into a physical cartridge that the machine could load from.

FreeDOS (4, Informative)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649415)

FreeDOS probably would boot on this machine.

I actually know the machine you're talking about - except I had a HDD. I know for a fact the thing will run MS-DOS 5.0.x

Re:FreeDOS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649503)

"except I had a HDD"

Rich brat! I had to walk twenty miles to school, up hill, both ways!

Contact Customer Support? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649419)

I know that may be a joke to you but call up Epson or submit a ticket [epson.com] explaining to them your situation. Who knows? Maybe they have a storeroom with old floppies lying around so you can get the original software back? I imagine those disks wore out all the time. Just ask them if they have any of the original software for that model lying around. That would be amazing support if they did.

They do host the manual [epson.com] that indicates you have a parallel port and a RS-232C serial port to play with and also something that looks like expansion slots designed for peripherals. Good luck and have fun!

Re:Contact Customer Support? (4, Informative)

Wain13001 (1119071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649561)

I used to do this all the time with game companies back in the nineties. Often times they'd send me free copies of their C-64 programs and whatnot. It is absolutely worth a shot even though nowadays the operator on the phone is probably not going to even understand your request and/or believe that such a product ever existed.

Re:Contact Customer Support? (4, Funny)

Col. Panic (90528) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649927)

imagine the tech receiving this tech support call. "hi, i'd like to get the original software that came with my system. ... 1984. ... hello?"

Just admit it... (5, Funny)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649437)

Yesterday I dug out of my parents' basement a PC they had bought brand new in 1984: Epson Equity I personal computer

Just admit it, it was under your bed wasn't it? At least now it's on that thing you call a table.

Not going to be easy (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649455)

Perhaps using FreeDOS might help. You could create boot disks if you still have a 5 1/4" spare drive and put it in a modern computer. Good luck.

Watch out on the usb floppy.. (4, Informative)

tuorum (1001313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649461)

Thought they make them, they are probably all 1.2MB ones, which use a much smaller write head and might not be easily readable on the old 360KB drives. YMMV and it can't hurt to test. Good luck!

Re:Watch out on the usb floppy.. (1)

psybre (921148) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649509)

right, but ms-dos, freedos can format disks to 360k, and ms dos 3.x were distributed on 360k that can be read by any high density 5 1/4" drive.
~psybre

Re:Watch out on the usb floppy.. (5, Informative)

tuorum (1001313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649537)

Right. However, creating 360k disks in a 1.2MB drive may not be easily readable by an actual 360k drive due to the different read/write head sizes between the two. The smaller head on the 1.2 doesn't have a problem with the wider tracks of the 360k, but the other way around is know to cause issues.

Re:Watch out on the usb floppy.. (1)

psybre (921148) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649635)

Yeah, I remember that now, and the source of great frustration and resulting keyboard abuse. Curse you for reminding me. Twice!
~psybre

Re:Watch out on the usb floppy.. (4, Informative)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649613)

Just a thought - unless I'm mistaken, the floppy cable that plugs into a 3.5" drive also fits in a 5.25" drive - and the power connector for regular PATA hard drives also fits the 5.25" floppy drive. If that is still the case, all he needs to do is put his old 5.25" drive next to a new computer, plug in the cables and fire it up. Create a boot floppy using the Windows 95 'create a boot floppy' utility or however you make boot floppys now (I have a .img file of that boot floppy I use to create boot CDs, so it's been a while since I made a boot floppy - format a: /s maybe?)

Put the 5.25" drive and your new boot floppy back in and Voila! you are all set.

Re:Watch out on the usb floppy.. (2, Insightful)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649983)

Nope, different connectors on the drives, although he could likely change the cable too. The real issue is that the BIOS likely won't know what to do with the drive...

Never tried that, but... (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649473)

I've never tried to resurrect a "PC" that old. I did try to resurrect a 1981 Osborne 1, though, as well as an old Kaypro, both predating the "PC" by a yiddle. CP/M, yeah baby!

5.25" floppy disk drives (2, Informative)

rs232 (849320) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649479)

Replace the 5.25" floppy disk drives with 3 1/2 inch and download DOS from some site. As to what you can run on it, you may have better luck with one of the smaller Linux distros, like Damn Small Linux [damnsmalllinux.org]

Re:5.25" floppy disk drives (3, Informative)

sigmoid_balance (777560) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649585)

Problem is Linux runs on 386+. You might be able to run something like ucLinux on 286, but i doubt you'll be able to run anything like Linux on a 8088/8086/80186. With 512k RAM you won't be able to boot any kernel, no matter how old.

Re:5.25" floppy disk drives (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649997)

It *may* be possible to compile a kernel for a 286, but no distro targets it. Even Slack gave up supporting 386 several years ago when Pat accidentally discovered that 386 had been broken for several years and no-one had noticed.

Re:5.25" floppy disk drives (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649603)

No version of Linux will ever run on this machine - unless you don't mind running everything as root.

Re:5.25" floppy disk drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649705)

whoever modded "run Linux Distros" like Damn Small Linux as informative should hand in their nerd card right now.

Re:5.25" floppy disk drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649717)

Just make sure that you get a double density (720K) 3 1/2" drive and matching DD floppys. High density (1.44M) drives usually don't work with older XT-style floppy controllers.

Quality that lasts. (3, Informative)

Qwrk (760868) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649485)

Getting these things up and running is no surprise to me. It seems that they used quality stuff in them days. I have loads of these oldies that haven't been booted for 10+ years and upon plugging them in they start off as if nothing ever happened. Drives with a ST-506 interface in particular seem to be of an indistructible kind of quality-make. Feel free to contact me for disks, or as stated; check eBay of contact Bruce Damer of the DigiBarn [http://www.digibarn.com/].

Re:Quality that lasts. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649643)

Getting these things up and running is no surprise to me. It seems that they used quality stuff in them days. I have loads of these oldies that haven't been booted for 10+ years and upon plugging them in they start off as if nothing ever happened. Drives with a ST-506 interface in particular seem to be of an indistructible kind of quality-make. Feel free to contact me for disks, or as stated; check eBay of contact Bruce Damer of the DigiBarn [http://www.digibarn.com/].

Is it really quality, or is it more like that engineering principle that the more complex a thing is, the more likely it is to break down? Because today's machines are one hell of a lot more complex ...

Re:Quality that lasts. (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649741)

Nah, it's a typical lifecycle for expensive products that become commodities. When that PC was new, it probably cost upwards of $5,000 in 1984 dollars. Many parts were Made In USA instead of by some faceless penny-scraping OEM in Taiwan. Heck, people used to actually send hard drives in for repair instead of just RMA'ing them and getting a new one. You'll see this in other products too...automobiles, washing machines, sewing machines, etc.

Pimp tips ! (4, Insightful)

T-BoneX (223972) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649517)

Cool, it is very educational to work with old computer's

Nice things to do:
- add extra ram by using an ISA memory expansion card (up to 2MB !!!), running windows 3.0 would then be possible !
- 200mb+ IDE/MFM drive (the latter where mostly smaller though and a bit hard to get)
- ISA VGA card
- ISA Soundblaster
- ISA ethernetcard
- run Arachne and surf the WEB !!!!!!!!!!!!, heheh yes you can this baby on slashdot :)
- a lot more upgrade options, FPU etc.. etc..

Greetings and Enjoy and good luck hunting down Dos software

Re:Pimp tips ! (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649841)

I'd also recommend getting a 3.5" floppy drive if the system supports it (don't know if it does, but I do know that my Toshiba T1000 has 2 3.5" drives (and a 10MiB HDD, and full 640K RAM!))

Weird Stuff, store in CA may have your disks (1)

b1gp0pp4 (1157069) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649521)

There is a store called "Weird Stuff" in california that would probably have some old disks. They have literally hundreds and hundreds of old old stuff. I can't really explain it all here, but try googling the store, give them a call, and let 'em look for you.

Amstrad PC1512 (3, Funny)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649533)

My parents dug up an Amstrad PC1512 while tidying their house and called me up asking me what to do with it. I said throw it away. They said isn't it worth something? I laughed.

Re:Amstrad PC1512 (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649899)

That's a shame. You could at least have put it on Craigslist for $20 and let someone give it a good home.

This might help... (5, Informative)

drakaan (688386) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649545)

...healthy 25-year-old yellowed plastic...

This [wikispaces.com] might help with that part of the restoration (cheap and DIY)...

Impressive (5, Funny)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649555)

Personally, I'm more impressed with the 13 foot monitor. I'm assuming its some sort of front projection device. Wonder what the resolution is? :)

Re:Impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649791)

Personally, I'm more impressed with the 13 foot monitor. I'm assuming its some sort of front projection device. Wonder what the resolution is? :)

Nice catch

Yesterdays PC, todays Embedded chip (1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649573)

I'm assuming this is either an 8088 or 8086 chip. Many people learned embedded programming on these chips, and there are probably millions of them in use in embedded systems around the world.

This sounds like a great opportunity to program your own embedded OS for the machine. Get a PROM burner and your favorite compatible compiler and have some fun! You're a programmer, and you cut your teeth on this PC. Learn another aspect of programming with it.

Re:Yesterdays PC, todays Embedded chip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649803)

While the old processors are remarkably similar, if not the same as the CPUs inside microcontrollers, the peripherals are almost completely different. There's hardly a point dragging the PC hardware into an embedded environment, unless you need it, and in that case you're better off with an existing OS. On the other hand, if your name is Linus, disregard this comment and start writing your own OS.

Re:Yesterdays PC, todays Embedded chip (1)

RealGene (1025017) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649895)

I'm assuming this is either an 8088 or 8086 chip. Many people learned embedded programming on these chips, and there are probably millions of them in use in embedded systems around the world.

Actually, I'm pretty sure the Equity I has an NEC V20 chip.

Resurrect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649591)

I am posting this from an older PC than that, you insensitive clod!

Also, first post. It took a long time to load the page over my 1200 baud modem.

Re:Resurrect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649819)

1200 baud?

In my day we were happy to wait through hours of busy signals to connect to the one line BBS at 600 baud!

GET OFF MY LAWN!

Do a hardware upgrade! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649593)

It will probably be the best upgrade you have ever done!

FreeDOS (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649625)

FreeDOS has been discussed here before, at length. It should work on your machine well enough to get you started. There are a lot of resources available related the FreeDOS efforts; so, you may be able to find a lot of what you are looking for.

The USB drives likely won't work with this old machine -- but you now that are I'm assuming you're talking about creating the floppies. I haven't seen a 5 1/4" external for some time... You may need to put a 3 1/2" disk into the old machine initially.

Dear God, why? (4, Interesting)

Abalamahalamatandra (639919) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649661)

I guess it must be the difference between ages that causes someone to think that a cruddy DOS machine is actually something worth bringing back up.

Me, I cut my teeth on Radio Shack Model 4 machines, quickly discovering how much more software I could run once I got Montezuma CP/M running on it and downloading public domain software from the local (multi-user) CP/M bulletin board system.

Once the actual PC came along, I think just about anyone who had run a CP/M system saw it for what it was: a crappy copy that took none of the good from CP/M and just about all of the bad, running on a machine that supported a bit more RAM (not 640K yet, RAM was way too expensive) and a slightly faster processor.

I'm sure users of any of several pre-PC architectures would feel the same way - that the PC came along and the party stopped, kind of like that kid everybody hated at school showing up to a (previously fun) private party with a few of his friends.

Re:Dear God, why? (1, Troll)

sudotcsh (95997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649779)

I'm supposed to believe a story like this coming from a user with a six-digit Slashdot ID? Likely story. Tell your grandpa you're done taking dictation for the day.

Awesome find!!! Here's some software suggestions. (5, Informative)

samalex01 (1290786) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649675)

Hi!

What an awesome find! You can actually download all the software you'd ever want for the system here - http://www.vetusware.com/ [vetusware.com] - which is a website with hundreds of abandoned software titles for download free. They do have various versions of MS-DOS, which I'd suggest MS-DOS 5.0 or higher because I still have nightmares of edlin *cringe*. They do have MS-DOS 6.22 for download along with GWBasic, QBasic, Borland C++ for DOS, etc for development. I assume since you said the system is from 1984 that's it's an 8086 or 8088 which rules out Windows 3.x.

After years of using TRS-80 systems I moved to an 8088 XT clone in 1990 running MS-DOS 3.3, and as you that's where I really started learning to code with GWBasic. About 6 years ago I had some stuff in my closet shift one evening and that old system fell from the top shelf to the floor never to boot again. I wish I still had it, but a few years ago I did pull out an old 486SX system I picked up used in college (around 1996) and played with some of these old DOS languages and games.

Have fun though... so many people cast away these old systems as boat anchors, but they're awesome to work with if you have some patience.

A 13' monitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649679)

Sweeeeeet.

Re:A 13' monitor? (2, Funny)

bograt (943491) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649869)

In ancient times...
Hundreds of years before the dawn of history
Lived a strange race of people... the Druids

No one knows who they were or what they were doing
But their legacy remains
Hewn into the living rock... Of Stonehenge

Still have the manuals... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649687)

http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?oid=14213

Gotta hand it to Epson for their corporate memory and support abilities... Someone else mentioned contacting them to try and get your hands on some disks but now I'm thinking that might actually work...

I wonder what standard the internal HDD uses? I don't think ATA-1 showed up until '86 or 87... I was thinking you could pull the drive and plunk an image down onto it, but that might not be a viable option.

Double density or high density drives? (1)

Cprossu (736997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649709)

Find out if your epson's got DD or HD 5 1/4 drives, and don't mix the two ever! a disk formatted with a HD drive will never work right with a DD drive again!

As far as images of disks and abandonware, google is your friend, I think you can *cough* still find images of boot disks for dos 5 and below just fine for the 5 1/4's (although there's nothing stopping you from running 6.22 on that machine)... The next thing you need to do is find out if you've got 360kb or 1.2mb floppy drives... Then find an older floppy cable that has the old edge style floppy connector and either pull one off the epson or find one elsewhere to attach to your PC and go into bios to see if it's an option (most likely 360kb). Then you'll need some blank 360k floppies.. I usually snag those at goodwills when I see them, but I am sure ebay is an option too..... if you want to go the 3 1/2 route though, find out if that sucker will support a 1.44mb drive, it's as easy as finding the drive, putting a newer style (or a double type) floppy cable in and setting it up...

HOWEVER if memory serves me, those epson's bios utility was on a floppy so your mileage may vary.

Re:Double density or high density drives? (1)

Cprossu (736997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649757)

^ to further elaborate on the DD 3 1/2 (720kb) option that I didn't mention, just don't go there, it's not a fun road to travel, stick with 5 1/4's if the option is between them and not a 1.44mb 3 1/2 drive.

trash 80 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649733)

My 1979 TRS-80 model 1 still works. As does my '81 CoCo.

Ask an old guy (1)

madfilipino (557839) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649751)

What you need to do is think old.

There are some 8 bit ISA network cards and 8 bit SCSI cards. Now to find an old SCSI hard drive (really old Macintosh). As for floppy drives, buy a 3.5" floppy (Fry's Electronics), a 5.25" to 3.5" adapter, and drop it in there.

Look around Goodwill or Salvation Army, they might have some stuff in there. Same with some older churches; they usually have shit sitting in a dark room gathering dust because some grandma willed it to the church.

As for the operating system, if you have an MSDN subscription, you can download DOS 6.22, or go FreeDOS.

COMPARE IT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649755)

After you get it working, you should definitely compare to a modern-day, name-brand computer! You can compare specs and then you can do a write up and then you can put it online and then you can post it to slashdot so we can all enjoy how clever and awesome you are!

Osborne 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649769)

I'm still looking for CP/M for my old Osborne 1.

What are you guys talking about? (2, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649773)

I went to school for programming, and I've only been out for a year, so I'm still pretty new to all this. But what on Earth does "Cut your teeth" mean?

I have experince with this. (5, Informative)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649793)

You need to upgrade the RAM to 640 KB. Generally Radio Shack has some SIPPs you can add to the motherboard to add the last 128 KB.

You will need to find a Double density 3.5 floppy drive with a Card edge adaptor. This will allow you to use double density 3.5 floppies in the computer. (High Density will not work.)

You can network this be getting an 8-bit NIC that has a BNC and AUI port, then adding an AUI to UTP tranciever, but you can't use DHCP with it. The WATTCP stack for Dos will require a static IP.

If the video card is in an ISA slot, (and some times even it it isn't.) get a 16 bit ISA Trident VGA Card. This will give you VGA, EGA and CGA support. You can then plug the Computer into a standard monitor.

It's not that old... (3, Interesting)

FRiC (416091) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649825)

At work we have PC's much older than that, running manufacturing equipment. If any of them break down, I have a whole room full of old PC's that I could simply search for parts. Eventually we'll run out of parts (the equipment need ISA bus to operate), but at this rate, we're good for another 25 years or so.

My 1984 mac works just fine (1)

edbosanquet (729289) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649893)

and the boxes of software mean I can play Sim City although without the manual the ancient DRM causes my city to get destroy after 10 minutes.

How time flies... (1)

sgage (109086) | more than 4 years ago | (#28649931)

I have a number of old computers from days gone by, stashed in a closet here. Several of them still work fine. I especially enjoy firing up my 1992 Zeos 486 DX2-66 from time to time. This was my workhorse for years, came with Windows 3.1. I jacked up the RAM and HD, and it ran Windows 95 quite well. Built like a tank!

I also have an original Osborne 1, a 1989 Zenith SuperSport, a 1997 Micron 200 MHz Pentium MMX, an HP Pavilion PIII 500MHz, and a Vaio PIII 500MHz. The magic smoke leaked out of the Zenith long ago, and it doesn't work any more, and the Vaio boots maybe 50% of the time, but the rest of 'em still work as well as they ever did.

I think I'll fire up the Zeos this afternoon for old time's sake! If I do, I'll post a message from it...

You can probably find DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649947)

On an Abandonware site somewhere...

Welcome to teh Retro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649975)

First, ignore all of the 'why' and 'useless' remarks. It's obvious that, for whatever reason, you've decided to have fun with your antique computer. As an Apple II collector, I sure as hell sympathize.

Second, your best bet is to purchase some manner of system disks from eBay. You probably even have ISA slots that could host an IDE controller so you could load a big ole 100-megabyte hard drive full of Sierra warez and maybe even make your own creations with Borland Turbo C. Have patience. Getting all the necessary tools to get antiques running again can take months. But make no mistake, you can get that thing on the Internet and/or running tons of warez off your local network with enough time and elbow grease.

Enjoy the computing that makes you happy, and remember that Lotus 123 on that beast will probably recalculate a spreadsheet just as fast, if not faster, than Excel running on the very latest dual-Xeon beast.

I have one of these... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28649991)

Well, an Equity I+, anyway. I don't remember what the "+" means. I know mine has the Hercules card and high res mono monitor. Probably dead.

Issues you'll run into:

  • 360k floppies can't be written on a 1.2MB floppy drive and then read in a 360k drive, generally. You're best bet to write floppies that can be read by the 360k drive is to move the drive to a newer PC (something with an ISA bus probably has 5.25" floppy connectors) and image them there.

  • Floppy disks don't last very long, so any stashes you might locate are unlikely to be readable. Maybe if they've been stored under ideal conditions the whole time.

    I tried to archive the contents of my old floppies associated with this machine 10-15 years ago, and I couldn't scrape all the bits off. I lost the WordStar executable, sadly. (I may have gotten good OS install floppy images, though.)

  • I don't know if the BIOS can handle newer hardware, like a 720k or 1.2MB floppy drive, or an IDE controller. If you have the MFM controller, you could transplant that into a newer ISA machine and image the hard drive from there.

I would be willing to sell you mine if it would help, but the machine is worthless. Unless a museum is willing to pay you to assemble and ship it to them, I would leave it on ice for another decade or two. (I guess that's what I'm doing, although more out of laziness than planning.)

If you do get the machine running, you can set the MS-DOS console to the serial port. Then if you can find an ancient Kermit or something you can transfer files to a real computer without trying to find an Ethernet card and drivers.

Why resurrect it? (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 4 years ago | (#28650003)

I have a few old computers... and let me tell you one thing : IT ONLY TAKE SPACES IN YOUR HOUSE lol.. I'm about to dump them all lol or sell it via ebay... BUT

You have a few choices :
1- Sell it
2- Search for someone who have msdos installation disk (I have thoses... even win3.1 and they still works)
3a- Search for an old floppy drive... they're a few adaptor to plug them into your USB drive... cost ~20-30 bucks (Ex: http://techgage.com/article/vantec_sataide_to_usb_adapter/ [techgage.com] )
3b- Download an MS-DOS boot disk... you only need to format C: /S or SYS C: you know... (If my memory is good lol) (Ex: http://freepctech.com/pc/002/files010.shtml [freepctech.com] ... if you have an HD lol

Have fun

Visit the Vintage Computing Forum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28650007)

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/ is your friend. Plenty of help there for old machines. And if you can't or don't want to get it working, I'm sure someone there will be happy to take it off your hands.

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