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CuriousChord
January 20th, 2009, 07:02 AM
Hello, just wondering if anyone here has heard of (or has owned) a Gecco computer. I have a Gecco 486, but it seems odd that there's hardly any mention of Gecco Computers on the Internet. Here's one of the few:

http://www.cooganphoto.com/gecco.html

It would be great to find out what happened to Gecco Computers (bought out, folded outright, whatever), if anyone knows. Too bad, that little Gecco logo is rather neat.

In case anyone's curious, here's what's in the Gecco:

Intel 486DX-33
QuantumPro LPS 120MB hard drive
TEAC 3.5 and 5.25 floppy drives
3712KB (Base 640KB, Ext. 3072KB--not sure if this is RAM or ROM or what, but it looks like there are four memory modules in Bank 0, with Bank 1 empty)

Thanks for any comments,
CC

chuckcmagee
January 20th, 2009, 07:15 AM
Just looks like one of the MILLIONS of PCs that came out around 1988-1994. I have a full sized Gateway tower that looks very close to the same. There were so many small startup PC companies around then that there was no way to keep track of more than a few.

The Gateway tower is still working great to this day. I think it has it's 4th motherboard upgrade in it. When I purchased it originally in 1991, I had to settle for a 386/25. The 486 was WAY too much money at the time. Eventually, 2 years later, I managed to get a 486/DX2 50 with Vesa Local Bus in there.

CuriousChord
January 20th, 2009, 09:26 AM
Just looks like one of the MILLIONS of PCs that came out around 1988-1994. ... There were so many small startup PC companies around then that there was no way to keep track of more than a few.

Yeah, it seems like one of many perhaps modeled on Gateway's business plan, including the toy geckos seen in the linked picture above (not sure when Gateway's toy cows were available). But then there was a 1993 article in Compute! magazine that mentioned Gecco in the same breath as Dell and IBM:

http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue149/90_Warranties.php

Hence some question about Gecco's standing at that time. Maybe they paid for a nice chunk of advertising?

Cheers! CC

Chuck(G)
January 20th, 2009, 09:57 AM
Back then, the truth was that if you placed an order for a container load of stuff from any number of outfits in Taiwan, they'd plaster your name all over it.

I've even got DRAM SIMMs with boutique name stickers on them that are nothing more than commodity parts.

Everyone thought that they were going to emulate Gateway and get rich.

People think that it was computers that revolutionized the economy--I believe that the real force was container ships.

CuriousChord
January 20th, 2009, 10:06 AM
Back then, the truth was that if you placed an order for a container load of stuff from any number of outfits in Taiwan, they'd plaster your name all over it.

Hence the "Made in Taiwan" sticker on the base of the Gecco tower!

By the way, I sailed on some of those container ships in the 80s. Funny how the Nigerian pirates always knew what containers to crack open for electronic components.

Cheers! CC

barythrin
January 20th, 2009, 10:20 AM
(Yeah, ok I really just wanted to reply so I could yell "It's GEICO!!") but I've never really tried to use google news as a lookup method before. Interestingly also not that much info but it pointed to this article http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE2D81638F93BA25754C0A9659582 60 implying that they were a larger computer manufacturer but went bankrupt (mentioned in the paragraph about bankruptcy but only as they're disappearing.

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware/browse_thread/thread/ccf6f81b1dfca9e2?hl=en&q=gecco+computer#fbafcbd720f3056d is the first hit I see of interest in news groups archive on google (lmao.. Gee firefox, sell out much? I get a typo warning for not capitalizing google. .. I made my choice).

CuriousChord
January 20th, 2009, 12:19 PM
Thanks, barythrin, that answers the question quite nicely. Guess the caps in Google search DO make a difference. Next time I'll try no-caps.

Meanwhile, the Gecco will emerge from storage every now and then for Wolfenstein 3D play. That old hard drive makes a funny creaking noise whenever you enter a new room and get your bearings. The game just isn't the same without it on "newer, faster, better" computers.

Cheers! CC

CuriousChord
March 31st, 2009, 06:18 AM
Should have known the Gecco would succumb to low CMOS battery power. It's been an interesting couple of months scavenging old PCs and getting some hands-on tinkering experience, all as a prelude to Gecco revival.

In case anyone's curious...

The Gecco has one of those Varta "barrel" soldered-on CMOS batteries (now defunct). After a fruitless detour with an expired B-220 external battery, next step is to solder a 4-pin connector to a Radio Shack CR2032 holder and make an impromptu (replaceable) CMOS battery.

Once CMOS is back up, it will be neat to learn whether or not the BIOS allows connection of the CD-ROM drive I put in there. And it's time for an upgrade from DOS/Win 3.1 to Win95, courtesy of a 3GB Seagate hard drive to replace the old 120MB Quantum and an upgrade from 4MB to 8MB RAM.

The motherboard in the Gecco is a very generic mini 80486ISA. The manual is a hoot--it gives a part number, but no information about the manufacturer. But at least it identified the positive external battery connector pin.

Also, I'm wondering how likely it is that I might score a spare AT keyboard at thrift shops and yard sales (actively looking). The Gecco keyboard works great, but how long will that last?

All of which is a lot of FUN! Thank you to the folks at this forum for inspiring an ongoing adventure in old gear.

dpatten
March 31st, 2009, 10:26 AM
Also, I'm wondering how likely it is that I might score a spare AT keyboard at thrift shops and yard sales (actively looking). The Gecco keyboard works great, but how long will that last?

All of which is a lot of FUN! Thank you to the folks at this forum for inspiring an ongoing adventure in old gear.

You shouldn't have a problem finding another AT style keyboard to use in thrift shops. If that fails look for a local electronics recycler. I have two in my neck of the woods and I recently bought 4 (filthy) IBM model M keyboards for a buck each.

If that fails you and you are still having difficulty finding a replacement, simply buy an AT to PS/2 adapter and use whatever cheapy keyboard you can find. The two are electrically identical, the only differences is the size of the ATs DIN and the PS/2s Mini-DIN connector. Well, that and an extra pin... :-)

CuriousChord
March 31st, 2009, 11:54 AM
Thanks for those tips, dpatten. In Maryland the e-recyclers are pretty clear about disallowing scavengers, but I called a place in Virginia that might bear fruit. Interesting, the guy said all the stuff 486 and older goes right into their destruction process. All that "another man's treasure" ground to bits--egad!

The adapter is another good tip. Thanks again.

Cheers! CC