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Booting a 1985 NEC APC

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  • Kyle Owen
    I have located a couple of APCs, but I don t know where I should begin with booting them. I turned them both on, and on one, I could see a raster, but it
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 10, 2012
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      I have located a couple of APCs, but I don't know where I should begin with booting them. I turned them both on, and on one, I could see a raster, but it vanished. I think something is shot on the video board, as it never did display the raster again. The other one has a severely burned in screen, but seems to be in a bit more of working order. The floppy drives light up when the disk is inserted the correct way. I have a couple of 8" disks, but they are not clearly marked. I don't have the systems right next to me at this point, but I hope to debug them sometime.

      I'd be interested in taking the best parts from both systems and making one good one. Both systems seem complete with keyboards. 

      These are dated from 1985, but I cannot remember what specific model they are. 

      Any help, advice, or cheer-leading would be much appreciated!

      73,

      Kyle
      W4GNU
    • Systems Glitch
      Well, I ve got copies of the system media in known-working condition (they were made from the NEC masters earlier this year). MARCH now has my APC + software +
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 10, 2012
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        Well, I've got copies of the system media in known-working condition (they were made from the NEC masters earlier this year). MARCH now has my APC + software + manuals, as it wasn't getting much use around here.

        They're neat machines, though, and snappy CP/M-86 boxes! If your machine is really ready to boot, you should see

        [ * ]

        in the upper-left corner of the screen. It will change to [ M ] when trying to boot MS-DOS and [ C ] when trying to boot CP/M-86. Also, if you don't have a keyboard plugged in, some of the alt/graphics options are enabled and text won't display properly, so you may just get a block in the upper-left corner.

        In any case, MARCH now has a fully working/testec color APC with all of the original disks and manuals, which should be helpful!

        Thanks,
        Jonathan

        On Mon, 10 Sep 2012 22:28:55 -0500
        Kyle Owen <kylevowen@...> wrote:

        > I have located a couple of APCs, but I don't know where I should begin with
        > booting them. I turned them both on, and on one, I could see a raster, but
        > it vanished. I think something is shot on the video board, as it never did
        > display the raster again. The other one has a severely burned in screen,
        > but seems to be in a bit more of working order. The floppy drives light up
        > when the disk is inserted the correct way. I have a couple of 8" disks, but
        > they are not clearly marked. I don't have the systems right next to me at
        > this point, but I hope to debug them sometime.
        >
        > I'd be interested in taking the best parts from both systems and making one
        > good one. Both systems seem complete with keyboards.
        >
        > These are dated from 1985, but I cannot remember what specific model they
        > are.
        >
        > Any help, advice, or cheer-leading would be much appreciated!
        >
        > 73,
        >
        > Kyle
        > W4GNU
      • Evan Koblentz
        ... It s true! Kyle: I forget where you re located, but you are welcome to bring your APC here and work on it side-by-side with our known-good system. You can
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 10, 2012
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          >> In any case, MARCH now has a fully working/tested color APC with all of the original disks and manuals, which should be helpful!

          It's true!

          Kyle: I forget where you're located, but you are welcome to bring your APC here and work on it side-by-side with our known-good system. You can also copy our disks, etc.
        • Kyle Owen
          Well, that s very generous! I am located in Alabama, which is quite a stretch for me. I do have family in VA (previously NJ), so I may get up there sometime,
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 10, 2012
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            Well, that's very generous! I am located in Alabama, which is quite a stretch for me. I do have family in VA (previously NJ), so I may get up there sometime, likely without my systems, just to check things out. I've heard lots of great things about the exhibits. 

            I need to track down some good 8" media. I have all of the 5.25" I could ever need, but only 4 or so 8" disks. I am now in possession of a spare 8" drive for the APC and three 8" half-height drives from a Tracor-Northern system, though. Doesn't exactly help the media end, however. 

            I'm also still trying to track down some hard sector boot disks for my N* Horizon; my machinist friend who was going to help me with a floppy punch has been too busy lately.

            The AHCS is going to put on quite a show at the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire, so I hope to make it to that with a few of my systems. I'm sure an IBM PC/AT with Carmen Sandiego would be a hit with the kids. Tic-Tac-Toe on an SWTPC 6800? Maybe not so much...but that won't stop me from bringing it!

            Kyle

            On Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 10:47 PM, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:
             

            >> In any case, MARCH now has a fully working/tested color APC with all of the original disks and manuals, which should be helpful!

            It's true!

            Kyle: I forget where you're located, but you are welcome to bring your APC here and work on it side-by-side with our known-good system. You can also copy our disks, etc.


          • Evan Koblentz
            ... Sounds good. Give me plenty of notice so we can give you an insider tour. ... Better yet, they re planning VCF Southeast 1.0 for February 2013.
            Message 5 of 17 , Sep 10, 2012
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              >> I do have family in VA (previously NJ), so I may get up there sometime, likely without my systems, just to check things out.

              Sounds good. Give me plenty of notice so we can give you an insider tour.

              >> The AHCS is going to put on quite a show at the Atlanta Mini Maker Faire

              Better yet, they're planning VCF Southeast 1.0 for February 2013.
            • Systems Glitch
              ... You ll need double-sided, double-density soft sector disks for the APC. Fortunately, those are the common/cheap ones. I ve got a large quantity available,
              Message 6 of 17 , Sep 11, 2012
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                > I need to track down some good 8" media. I have all of the 5.25" I could
                > ever need, but only 4 or so 8" disks. I am now in possession of a spare 8"
                > drive for the APC and three 8" half-height drives from a Tracor-Northern
                > system, though. Doesn't exactly help the media end, however.

                You'll need double-sided, double-density soft sector disks for the APC. Fortunately, those are the common/cheap ones. I've got a large quantity available, you can contact me off-list if you need them and can't find them elsewhere.

                Thanks,
                Jonathan
              • B. Degnan
                ... could ... 8 ... Tracor-Northern ... Fortunately, those are the common/cheap ones. I ve got a large quantity available, you can contact me off-list if you
                Message 7 of 17 , Sep 11, 2012
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                  -------- Original Message --------
                  > From: "Systems Glitch" <systems.glitch@...>
                  > Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 9:10 PM
                  > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Booting a 1985 NEC APC
                  >
                  > > I need to track down some good 8" media. I have all of the 5.25" I
                  could
                  > > ever need, but only 4 or so 8" disks. I am now in possession of a spare
                  8"
                  > > drive for the APC and three 8" half-height drives from a
                  Tracor-Northern
                  > > system, though. Doesn't exactly help the media end, however.
                  >
                  > You'll need double-sided, double-density soft sector disks for the APC.
                  Fortunately, those are the common/cheap ones. I've got a large quantity
                  available, you can contact me off-list if you need them and can't find them
                  elsewhere.
                  >
                  > Thanks,
                  > Jonathan
                  >

                  I have a shortage of 5 1/4" DSDD disks while we're on the subject.

                  Bill
                • s100doctor
                  Josh (or Kyle, both names are used) described two NEC APC computers he obtained, with some problems. I have one of these but don t do much with it. The APC is
                  Message 8 of 17 , Sep 24, 2012
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                    Josh (or Kyle, both names are used) described two NEC APC computers he obtained, with some problems. I have one of these but don't do much with it.

                    The APC is an 8086 type CP/M based computer with a built in color CRT. The problem Josh described on one of them, sounds like a fairly typical CRT color monitor type of problem. I suggest you look closely at the "video board" and see if you can identify damaged components. (Be careful, there's 25,000 volts on that CRT.) Find someone with color TV repair experience to work on it; that's a lot easier than finding someone with 1980's computer repair experience.

                    Evan says that MARCH has a working APC, and extends an invitation to visit. What would it cost Evan to make a bootable 8-inch diskette and mail Josh a copy - rather than have Josh travel 1000 miles just to do the same thing?

                    Herb Johnson
                  • joshbensadon
                    ... Hi Herb, Ummm, unless there s another Josh online, I think you have my projects confused with someone else. My current projects are the IMSAI, Mark-8,
                    Message 9 of 17 , Sep 24, 2012
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                      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "s100doctor" <hjohnson@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Josh (or Kyle, both names are used) described two NEC APC computers he obtained, with some problems. I have one of these but don't do much with it.
                      >
                      > The APC is an 8086 type CP/M based computer with a built in color CRT. The problem Josh described on one of them, sounds like a fairly typical CRT color monitor type of problem. I suggest you look closely at the "video board" and see if you can identify damaged components. (Be careful, there's 25,000 volts on that CRT.) Find someone with color TV repair experience to work on it; that's a lot easier than finding someone with 1980's computer repair experience.
                      >
                      > Evan says that MARCH has a working APC, and extends an invitation to visit. What would it cost Evan to make a bootable 8-inch diskette and mail Josh a copy - rather than have Josh travel 1000 miles just to do the same thing?
                      >
                      > Herb Johnson


                      Hi Herb,

                      Ummm, unless there's another Josh online, I think you have my projects confused with someone else. My current projects are the IMSAI, Mark-8, HP9825 and an EAI Analog Computer.

                      I am definitely going to pick your brains on the Analog Computer, but not until I do my homework first. I have too much respect for you and your time to ask simple questions that I can answer for myself by doing some reading.

                      Cheers,
                      Josh
                    • Kyle Owen
                      Yup, this was all me (Kyle). I have several projects, among school and work, of course, and the two NEC APCs are a couple. I would be interested in buying a
                      Message 10 of 17 , Sep 24, 2012
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                        Yup, this was all me (Kyle). I have several projects, among school and work, of course, and the two NEC APCs are a couple.

                        I would be interested in buying a couple of bootable 8" disks from MARCH, if that could be done. 

                        73,

                        Kyle, W4GNU

                        On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 4:33 PM, joshbensadon <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                         

                        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "s100doctor" <hjohnson@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Josh (or Kyle, both names are used) described two NEC APC computers he obtained, with some problems. I have one of these but don't do much with it.
                        >
                        > The APC is an 8086 type CP/M based computer with a built in color CRT. The problem Josh described on one of them, sounds like a fairly typical CRT color monitor type of problem. I suggest you look closely at the "video board" and see if you can identify damaged components. (Be careful, there's 25,000 volts on that CRT.) Find someone with color TV repair experience to work on it; that's a lot easier than finding someone with 1980's computer repair experience.
                        >
                        > Evan says that MARCH has a working APC, and extends an invitation to visit. What would it cost Evan to make a bootable 8-inch diskette and mail Josh a copy - rather than have Josh travel 1000 miles just to do the same thing?
                        >
                        > Herb Johnson

                        Hi Herb,

                        Ummm, unless there's another Josh online, I think you have my projects confused with someone else. My current projects are the IMSAI, Mark-8, HP9825 and an EAI Analog Computer.

                        I am definitely going to pick your brains on the Analog Computer, but not until I do my homework first. I have too much respect for you and your time to ask simple questions that I can answer for myself by doing some reading.

                        Cheers,
                        Josh


                      • Evan Koblentz
                        ... We ll try to accommodate. May take a while.
                        Message 11 of 17 , Sep 24, 2012
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                          >> I would be interested in buying a couple of bootable 8" disks from MARCH, if that could be done.

                          We'll try to accommodate. May take a while.
                        • Kyle Owen
                          That s no problem at all; I m in no hurry to get these going. Just something for fun on the side, that s all! :) Kyle
                          Message 12 of 17 , Sep 24, 2012
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                            That's no problem at all; I'm in no hurry to get these going. Just something for fun on the side, that's all! :)

                            Kyle

                            On Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 4:39 PM, Evan Koblentz <evan@...> wrote:
                             

                            >> I would be interested in buying a couple of bootable 8" disks from MARCH, if that could be done.

                            We'll try to accommodate. May take a while.


                          • B. Degnan
                            ... MARCH, if that could be done. ... Mike Lee knows how to do this bd
                            Message 13 of 17 , Sep 24, 2012
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                              -------- Original Message --------
                              > From: "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...>
                              > Sent: Monday, September 24, 2012 6:07 PM
                              > To: "MARCH Yahoo Midatlanticretro" <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
                              > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Booting a 1985 NEC APC
                              >
                              > >> I would be interested in buying a couple of bootable 8" disks from
                              MARCH, if that could be done.
                              >
                              > We'll try to accommodate. May take a while.
                              >

                              Mike Lee knows how to do this
                              bd
                            • Michael Lee
                              ... Yes, indeed I do, and at the moment, might even be able to accomplish it in some timely manner. If you d message me directly, I ll see what I can do.
                              Message 14 of 17 , Sep 24, 2012
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                                On 9/24/2012 5:23 PM, B. Degnan wrote:
                                > > >> I would be interested in buying a couple of bootable 8" disks from
                                > MARCH, if that could be done.
                                > >
                                > > We'll try to accommodate. May take a while.
                                > >
                                >
                                > Mike Lee knows how to do this
                                > bd

                                Yes, indeed I do, and at the moment, might even be able to accomplish it
                                in some timely manner. If you'd message me directly, I'll see what I
                                can do.
                              • B Degnan
                                See mike...it was your destiny, that NEC. -- Sent from my PDP 8/e.
                                Message 15 of 17 , Sep 24, 2012
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                                  See mike...it was your destiny, that NEC.
                                  --
                                  Sent from my PDP 8/e.
                                • Kyle Owen
                                  Hey, what do you know? I got one of the machines booting! It s running MS-DOS 2.11, but I am missing the other disks apparently. I have few external DOS
                                  Message 16 of 17 , Sep 25, 2012
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                                    Hey, what do you know? I got one of the machines booting! It's running MS-DOS 2.11, but I am missing the other disks apparently. I have few external DOS programs, like edlin.

                                    I still would like to get a set of DOS and CP/M disks, though. I'll be sending a private email shortly.

                                    Kyle

                                    On Sep 24, 2012 10:51 PM, "B Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    See mike...it was your destiny, that NEC.
                                    --
                                    Sent from my PDP 8/e.

                                  • Kyle Owen
                                    Oh, and I forgot...here s a picture! http://i.imgur.com/NEWMb.jpg Kyle
                                    Message 17 of 17 , Sep 25, 2012
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                                      Oh, and I forgot...here's a picture!

                                      http://i.imgur.com/NEWMb.jpg

                                      Kyle

                                      On Sep 24, 2012 10:51 PM, "B Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                                       

                                      See mike...it was your destiny, that NEC.
                                      --
                                      Sent from my PDP 8/e.

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