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hitachi
April 17th, 2012, 08:20 PM
Hello to all, I am new here, and hope to receive only a slap on the wrist if this thread is inappropriate

I recently acquired a Kaypro II. It is very different from other computers I have, such as the commodore 64, ti-99/4a, Atari 130xe etc.

What can I do with it? It turns on and says insert a disk into drive A. I have no disks. Can someone point me to a complete noob's guide to getting software to run on this? I have seen guides where people use another older computer to 'burn' images onto 5.25 floppies. I don't even have that capability. Can I burn disks with my Vista computer?

BTW, I have a very (pardon the pun) basic level of experience with BASIC, but I am a very fast learner. I am under the understanding that this computer can run BASIC, am I correct?

Thanks for your time.
Adam

Maverick1978
April 18th, 2012, 06:26 AM
Hi, Adam, and welcome to the forum! I'm no Kaypro II and am not a CP/M expert, but I read a fellow member's blog at his excellent site, and I recall that he's been exactly where you're at! - and lucky for you, he's got some pretty good writeups on his site :)

Short answer? You're going to need an old computer to function as a tweener system. See if you can pick up a Pentium-4 era system or lower (check Craigslist, freecycle, thrift shops, and your local recycler - often ppl will just give you these "useless" machines for free!). Then pick up a 5.25" drive. I'd recommend a 360kb drive and boot the tweener into DOS for easiest use, but you can also do it with a 1.2mb drive and Win98.

Tezza discusses obtaining Kaypro II software here, (http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/2010-03-24-kaypro-software-acquisition.htm) and he has a write-up here (http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/2010-02-18-writing-cpm-from-1.2mb-disks.htm) on using 1.2mb drives and Win98 to write out your images.

I think this will give you everything that you need to know - just make sure that your drives on both your tweener system and on your Kaypro are clean to begin with!

Good luck!

MikeS
April 18th, 2012, 06:47 AM
Hello to all, I am new here, and hope to receive only a slap on the wrist if this thread is inappropriateCertainly not; in fact this thread is more appropriate than some others, and what this forum is mainly about. Welcome!


What can I do with it? It turns on and says insert a disk into drive A. I have no disks. Can someone point me to a complete noob's guide to getting software to run on this? I have seen guides where people use another older computer to 'burn' images onto 5.25 floppies. I don't even have that capability. Can I burn disks with my Vista computer?The issue is not so much the OS, but whether you have a computer with a compatible disk drive and controller.


BTW, I have a very (pardon the pun) basic level of experience with BASIC, but I am a very fast learner. I am under the understanding that this computer can run BASIC, am I correct?Yes, along with many other programs and languages, but unlike Commodores, old PCs etc. which run BASIC when you turn them on, the Kaypro will need a 'boot disk' to do anything at all.

Maverick is telling you what you need in order to get it running on your own; if that sounds like a lot of trouble and effort just to see if your Kaypro actually works, perhaps you could talk one of the Kaypro folks on here to send you a 'real' boot disk in the mail. Kaypro had a somewhat confusing system of naming models, so make sure it's exactly what you say (i.e. not a 2x for example).

Good luck!

hitachi
April 18th, 2012, 07:40 AM
Thanks for the all of the help thus far. Who would I need to contact in order to get real boot disks?
For the other option, using an older computer, would a Tandy 1000tx with a 5.25 drive work?

Thanks again
Adam

Maverick1978
April 18th, 2012, 12:41 PM
For the other option, using an older computer, would a Tandy 1000tx with a 5.25 drive work?

It would work great... assuming that you have a way to get the disk image files from your current computer to the booted-and-working Tandy 1000.

I'm a big proponent of having a tweener system. If you've the space for it. There are easily 2 dozen P4-era computers on craigslist right now even for my relatively small area. If you're serious about wanting to play around with these old machines, then I'd get to looking :) If you're just looking for some boot disks to start up the machine, then put up an ad in the "Vintage Computer Items Wanted" forum - more than likely you'll find someone willing to send you boot floppies. Just be very particular about the type of system that you have, as MikeS said.

Good luck! I've a Kaypro IV PC-compatible myself... absolutely love it!

tezza
April 18th, 2012, 01:07 PM
Thanks for those kind words about my writings Maverick1978. There is another "how to (http://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/2011-12-23-disk-from-images-cpm.htm)" article here (which links to the ones described above)

Yes, the Kaypro II is a great machine. Hopefully there is someone close to you who can send you a test boot disk. It's fun making your own though. I could send you one but I'm in New Zealand! I'm sure there is someone closer who can help, perhaps for a bit of beer money for their time and effort.

Bear in mind that getting a good boot disk is no guarantee the machine will boot. Old machines can have sticky drive rails, dirty drive heads and a host of other problems that prevent the disk being read. You have to start with a known good disk though.

Then of course there is the fun in getting to grips with CP/M itself. But that's for later... :D

Tezza

GADFRAN
April 19th, 2012, 06:30 PM
Just another warm, hearty welcome to this site as another new vintage Kaypro owner and user !

You will find us very helpful and friendly, with the common goal of keeping vintage computers and that whole era alive ! We do not like to see them just to landfills if that is possible.

You already have been introduced to many. Tez in NZ is a key person on Kaypros and has done a great deal of work and published it for all of us to benefit.

I have many posts also.

We have quite an extensive Kaypro knowledge base that has developed.

It is a fascinating era with much to learn from for how computers are evolving even today.

All the best and good luck !

Keep us posted on how you are doing – success, not such successes, etc. There is always a lot for all of us to learn no matter what stage we are at in vintage computing.

Frank

atod
May 16th, 2012, 07:09 PM
Hopefully your keyboard works. I constructed an ImageDisk Win98/MS-DOS box with SSDD 5.25" drive to create the boot disk, only to find out my keyboard had issues. The foam keyboard inserts get old after awhile and need to be reconstructed. You can search the forums for the how to on that if your keyboard doesn't work.

Good luck

glitch
May 17th, 2012, 04:30 PM
Hitachi/all others, I've got a Kaypro II that I use as my development machine for 8080/8085 ASM. I can make disks if needed.

Also, interesting hack for nonworking Kaypro keyboards can be found on Tezza's blog, where a TRS-80 Model 100 is put into service as a keyboard. Really any RS-232 device could be hacked to work, since it's just serial data.