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WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 01:45 PM
Hi everyone!

After seeing Gib's IBM 5155, I became interested in the system and am looking to possibly purchase one. I love MS-DOS and would be very happy to have an earlier DOS system.

However, I looked on eBay, and the IBM 5155's there were VERY expensive (see here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-XT-Portable-Personal-Computer-Model-5155-/300734861612?pt=Laptops_Nov05&hash=item460531d12c#ht_500wt_1156 and here http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-XT-5155-Portable-PC-RARE-/150836371485?pt=US_Vintage_Computers_Mainframes&hash=item231e8c601d#ht_500wt_1287.) These systems are advertised as rare; I never thought the 5155 to be rare, but maybe I'm wrong. Gib said he picked his up for $80, which is a good price for me.

As far as prices go, I only know the Apple II series.

What's a reasonable price for a working 5155 system with power supply and MS-DOS boot disk?

Also, I have quite a few 5.25" floppy disks that came with my Apple IIc. If I do indeed purchase a 5155, how can I format these disks for it?

Like this?
FORMAT B:
SYS B:

Thanks for your time,
WMH

mikey99
July 2nd, 2012, 02:12 PM
Look on craigslist.....you'll find a better deal there.
Sometimes the sellers are willing to ship the items or you might get lucky and find
one close by. Or possibly you may know someone close to where one is located
that could pickup/ship for you. Either way, be patient it might take some time to
find the right deal.

Try a google search on :

site:craigslist.org IBM 5155

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 02:33 PM
Thanks!

I'll start looking.

barythrin
July 2nd, 2012, 03:47 PM
Like any computer, it'll vary quite a bit depending on what the seller is hoping it's work and depending on functionality/condition. You might also try other creative searches like "ibm luggable" or "ibm portable" (portable will unfortunately probably get lots of newer stuff). It depends if the seller really pays attention to the model number.

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 03:53 PM
Alright, will do.

Thanks for the suggestions!

By the way, if you're viewing this and have a 5155 you may want to get rid of, see my thread "Looking for IBM 5155" in Vintage Computer Items Wanted.

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 04:41 PM
Oh, I still have a couple questions.

Can any 5.25" floppy disk be formatted from MS-DOS like so?

FORMAT B:
SYS B:

And here's a question I'm throwing in: can the IBM 5155 access the Internet via an Ethernet card and the Lynx browser?

Thanks again,
WMH

commodorejohn
July 2nd, 2012, 04:48 PM
As long as it's soft-sectored and the right density/number of sides, I've never had a problem formatting floppies from other systems on a PC, or vice-versa.

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 04:56 PM
Alright, thanks commodorejohn.

That's what I thought, but I'd hate to waste my 5.25" disks for no reason.

Ole Juul
July 2nd, 2012, 04:57 PM
Oh, I still have a couple questions.

Can any 5.25" floppy disk be formatted from MS-DOS like so?

FORMAT B:
SYS B:

You don't need the second line. That is for transferring system files to make a disk bootable. As you show, the SYS command can work independently, but if you are formatting and making the disk bootable at the same time you might as well just type:
FORMAT B: /S
As with most DOS programs you can type "progname /?" to get the syntax and switches.


And here's a question I'm throwing in: can the IBM 5155 access the Internet via an Ethernet card and the Lynx browser?

I haven't seen a port of Lynx which will run on an 8088. The one I'm running takes up almost 1.8MB so it won't fit on a 360 floppy. lol

You can put a network card in it and run FTP, Telnet, etc. Another way is to use PPP and connect it to the net through a modern machine running pppd. Check out Mike B's mTCP - you won't be disappointed.

Edit:

That's what I thought, but I'd hate to waste my 5.25" disks for no reason.
There's no waste even possible. You can read and write the disks very many times. :)

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 05:15 PM
Alright, thanks!

I don't know why I forgot the /S switch in FORMAT, I feel kind of dumb now. :)

I haven't noticed the PROGNAME command before (maybe I missed it,) is it a PC-DOS only command?

The fact that the machine can run Telnet makes me happy, it's my favorite protocol! :)

Is setting up a network connection in DOS hard, or can I do it through a driver in config.sys?

Ole Juul
July 2nd, 2012, 05:26 PM
I haven't noticed the PROGNAME command before (maybe I missed it,) is it a PC-DOS only command?

Hehe, it's my short form for "program name", meaning you type the name of the program. You then follow that by what is called a "switch". In DOS a switch is usually preceded by a "/", but also sometimes a "-" like in *nix. However MS uses the "/" so you type the name of the program, then a space, then "/?" and it will return information on the program whose name you typed.

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 05:43 PM
Right. What would we do without switches? :)

Now I feel really dumb. :) I've just usually seen it expressed like (program) /?

Thanks again.

ibmapc
July 2nd, 2012, 05:49 PM
Another option for buying a 5155 for a good price, would be to find one that's not working and fix it. I bought one on Ebay a while back for 50 bucks shipped. The seller said it wasn't working, so I thought worse case I could use it for parts. The problem keeping it from powering on turned out to be a shorted capacitor on the video card. It was very easy to find and fix. I ended up trading it to another member here. So look for one that doesn't work, but is in good physical shape. There are plenty of folks here who can help with the technical questions. Probably the most dificult repair would be the monitor, so steer clear of one that has a broken monitor, unless you plan to salvage the other parts.

Also, I've run Bobcat on a 5155 with a hard drive to access the internet. It was very slow and most web pages are to large for the limited memory. Also, older versions of Arachne will run, but is even slower than Bobcat. I don't think you can do much useful internet surfing on an 8088.

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 05:52 PM
Another option for buying a 5155 for a good price, would be to find one that's not working and fix it. I bought one on Ebay a while back for 50 bucks shipped. The seller said it wasn't working, so I thought worse case I could use it for parts. The problem keeping it from powering on turned out to be a shorted capacitor on the video card. It was very easy to find and fix. I ended up trading it to another member here. So look for one that doesn't work, but is in good physical shape. There are plenty of folks here who can help with the technical questions. Probably the most dificult repair would be the monitor, so steer clear of one that has a broken monitor, unless you plan to salvage the other parts.

Also, I've run Bobcat on a 5155 with a hard drive to access the internet. It was very slow and most web pages are to large for the limited memory. Also, older versions of Arachne will run, but is even slower than Bobcat. I don't think you can do much useful internet surfing on an 8088.

Good suggestion, but I'm somewhat of a fail at fixing small electronic components; for some reason, I just never can get it right.

I assumed that it would be slow browsing the web, but it's always been one of my dreams to get an IBM machine running MS-DOS and use it to do normal tasks like browsing the web and printing documents.

1ajs
July 2nd, 2012, 06:06 PM
GE also did a rebranding thats black and uses the 3 1/4 floppies with options for a hdd that was used in the industrial world if u look around u prolly rescue one of those pupies and may even find a 5155 in the process.

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 06:09 PM
Interesting, 1ajs. Thanks.

I'll look into that.

Gib
July 2nd, 2012, 06:13 PM
Hey WMH, here's more detail about my 5155 than you probably want, but just in case...

Although I was an early Apple II user back in the 80's, I needed a PC for work, so I picked up a 5155. Turned out I really liked it. Can't remember why I let it go. I also sold my 1955 Chevy Belair convertible after college, so obviously I have no idea about classics I should hang on to.

Now that I'm retired, I've been looking for a 5155 to go with all the Apples from that era that I've already re-acquired. Found one on the Dallas Craigslist. My brother lives in the area and picked it up. It was listed for $100, but when the seller demo'd it, it wouldn't boot, so he lowered the price to $80. It cost another $80 to FedEx it to me in Oregon. I cleaned the drives and one of them works now, but I'm replacing the other with a 1.44 that will run off of a replacement controller with 2MX software.

There's a Youtube that shows a 5155 connected to the internet, sort of. Looks like a painful experience for the computer and the user. I use it for something it's really good at -- word processing.

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 06:19 PM
Hey WMH, here's more detail about my 5155 than you probably want, but just in case...

Although I was an early Apple II user back in the 80's, I needed a PC for work, so I picked up a 5155. Turned out I really liked it. Can't remember why I let it go. I also sold my 1955 Chevy Belair convertible after college, so obviously I have no idea about classics I should hang on to.

Now that I'm retired, I've been looking for a 5155 to go with all the Apples from that era that I've already re-acquired. Found one on the Dallas Craigslist. My brother lives in the area and picked it up. It was listed for $100, but when the seller demo'd it, it wouldn't boot, so he lowered the price to $80. It cost another $80 to FedEx it to me in Oregon. I cleaned the drives and one of them works now, but I'm replacing the other with a 1.44 that will run off of a replacement controller with 2MX software.

There's a Youtube that shows a 5155 connected to the internet, sort of. Looks like a painful experience for the computer and the user. I use it for something it's really good at -- word processing.

No, information is always great! So the seller planned to sell what he thought was a working system for $100? That's still reasonable, if I can find one.

I saw that video, too. May be a painful experience, but I would love to get the following prompt through Telnet on a system that old:

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\Users\User>

I don't know, just a strange fascination of mine. :)

Oh, and I could surf some of the few remaining BBS's out there, just for fun.

1ajs
July 2nd, 2012, 06:27 PM
Interesting, 1ajs. Thanks.

I'll look into that.

good luck

theres a 5155 for 149 atm on ebay

also the ge's pop up for 100 bucks once and a while on ebay and the one listed for 450 is worth that cause of the options it has installedhard drive scsi controllors and such and they had about 10 of them back in jan listed and have been slowly selling including the ones they listed for 1000 bucks.. so yea

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 06:37 PM
good luck

Thanks.

Gib
July 2nd, 2012, 07:02 PM
WMH, yeah, I can appreciate the fun part of figuring out how to get a 5155 onto the internet and logging onto a BBS. Makes me curious about who's still running those.

I put a lot of effort into tricking out one of my Apple //es (enhance kit, 80 col + memory, CFFA card formatted for several 32mb hdds full of games and other software, etc.), and it was fun to getting everything working. But I don't use it much anymore. I find that I need longer and longer breaks after playing Raster Blaster and other favorite games. The only remaining challenge is to get it to display on an LED VGA monitor. I'm not sure what comes after that. My grandson likes it, though.

I'm hoping my enjoyment of word processing on the 5155 will continue as long as I keep my blog going. I don't think I'll find a modern computer as satisfying as the 5155's CRT and keyboard.

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 07:07 PM
I'm hoping my enjoyment of word processing on the 5155 will continue as long as I keep my blog going.

Alright, then. Enjoy!


I don't think I'll find a modern computer as satisfying as the 5155's CRT and keyboard.

Agreed. There's just something cool about using a command-line interface on a tiny, retro monitor.

Gib
July 2nd, 2012, 07:21 PM
Here's an advantage of the 5155 over any other computer I've ever owned. When you open it up you'll see that it's got an aluminum shield completely covering its internal electronics. That's a Faraday Cage! So in the event of a gigantic solar flare or an EMP that fries every other electronic device, our 5155s will still run! (As long as we have gas for our backup generators.)

WMH
July 2nd, 2012, 07:24 PM
...in the event of a gigantic solar flare or an EMP that fries every other electronic device, our 5155s will still run! (As long as we have gas for our backup generators.)

Yay! Even more reason for me to buy one! :D

1ajs
July 2nd, 2012, 07:51 PM
Here's an advantage of the 5155 over any other computer I've ever owned. When you open it up you'll see that it's got an aluminum shield completely covering its internal electronics. That's a Faraday Cage! So in the event of a gigantic solar flare or an EMP that fries every other electronic device, our 5155s will still run! (As long as we have gas for our backup generators.)

i never thought of that touche! touche! and the ge has the same cage
witch u can see here
http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/9499/workmasters.jpg

ibmapc
July 2nd, 2012, 09:00 PM
Good suggestion, but I'm somewhat of a fail at fixing small electronic components; for some reason, I just never can get it right.
There's really nothing to be afraid of in a 5155. The electronics aren't that small, so repairs are pretty easy. If you're serious about vintage computers, you'll be a lot better off if you can do at least some simple soldering repairs.

Tell you what, If I can find one like the other one that I fixed and traded away, maybe we can work something out. Although shipping from Oregon to Florida will be expensive and somewhat risky since the 5155 has a CRT that could be damaged in transit. The longer the trip the more risk in my mind.

Gib
July 2nd, 2012, 09:40 PM
WMH, you're best off buying from someone like ibmapc on the forum. I guess your local Craigslist would be second, and eBay would be third and probably most expensive.

As you may be aware, Craigslist warns users against mailing their items to far-off buyers, so it's hard to do a deal unless you are fortunate, as I was, to have a friend or relative near the seller to make the purchase on your behalf. If your circle of family and friends is well distributed nationally, you might want to use this site to search all the local sites with just one entry: http://www.craigslistsearchengine.org/

There's a couple listed right now.

mikey99
July 3rd, 2012, 06:06 AM
Here's a few pictures of my 5155 which I picked up from a local freecycle a few years ago.
Its fairly cramped inside with all accessible slots full. It came with a Tandon drive which
wasn't working well, so i replaced that with a Seagate ST-225.

954595449543

WMH
July 3rd, 2012, 10:08 AM
Thanks for the replies, guys. Sorry I've been offline for a while.

ibmapc, that sounds like a good idea. Just a question: who can repair a CRT if it is damaged? That's cathode ray tube, correct? Maybe someone who services TV sets?

Gib, thank you for the advice and the suggestions. I'll be watching Craigslist.

mikey99, nice system! It is pretty cramped, but I guess the more accessories the better. :)

pearce_jj
July 3rd, 2012, 10:23 AM
Here's a few pictures of my 5155 which I picked up from a local freecycle a few years ago. Its fairly cramped inside with all accessible slots full. It came with a Tandon drive which wasn't working well, so i replaced that with a Seagate ST-225.

Is that spring-clip thing over the CGA and RAM card original? I've not seen that before.

mikey99
July 3rd, 2012, 11:20 AM
Is that spring-clip thing over the CGA and RAM card original? I've not seen that before.

As far as I know its original...... This 5155 came from the original owner although its possible it was added on by him.

ibmapc
July 3rd, 2012, 04:12 PM
Is that spring-clip thing over the CGA and RAM card original? I've not seen that before.

Yup, it's original. Mine had one. Unfortunately I lost it years ago.

Ole Juul
July 3rd, 2012, 08:36 PM
Yup, it's original. Mine had one. Unfortunately I lost it years ago.

I've got an original machine as well and can vouch for the clear plastic "clip". It's not flexible so I'd call it a holder. Since my machine has two short IBM memory cards, it only holds the video card, but does look exactly like the one pictured with two grooves. That means that the 3rd card cannot be full length if the holder is used.

ryan42
July 3rd, 2012, 09:33 PM
Alright, thanks!

I don't know why I forgot the /S switch in FORMAT, I feel kind of dumb now. :)



Gah! And I forgot you could do it after-the-fact with the SYS command!

Gib
July 4th, 2012, 12:09 PM
Yeah, that plastic clip over the full-length cards is kinda hard to wiggle off when you want to remove them, but the little plastic washer-filler pieces for the disk drives are also fun to hunt down when you remove a drive and they fall onto the motherboard.

ibmapc
July 4th, 2012, 12:09 PM
I've got an original machine as well and can vouch for the clear plastic "clip". It's not flexible so I'd call it a holder. Since my machine has two short IBM memory cards, it only holds the video card, but does look exactly like the one pictured with two grooves. That means that the 3rd card cannot be full length if the holder is used.
The third card can not be full length anyway due to the back side of the brightness and contrast pots being in the way.

Ole Juul
July 4th, 2012, 11:36 PM
The third card can not be full length anyway due to the back side of the brightness and contrast pots being in the way.

Ah, thanks. I didn't check carefully enough. That explains why there's only two grooves in the bracket.

modem7
July 6th, 2012, 06:22 PM
Is that spring-clip thing over the CGA and RAM card original? I've not seen that before.

I've got an original machine as well and can vouch for the clear plastic "clip". It's not flexible so I'd call it a holder. Since my machine has two short IBM memory cards, it only holds the video card, but does look exactly like the one pictured with two grooves. That means that the 3rd card cannot be full length if the holder is used.

In a PC Magazine review of the 5155, they devoted a whole page to the plastic 'thing'.
See page 121 (PDF page 6) of:
http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/5155/misc/PC%20Magazine%20Review%20IBM%20Portable%20PC%20May 1984.pdf

(Yes, the review contains some technical errors.)

Shadow Lord
July 6th, 2012, 07:33 PM
Skyhook and Blue screws??????


Neither of my 5155s has those. Damn! But then mine are super clean and work so I guess that is a fair trade off!

Ole Juul
July 6th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Skyhook and Blue screws??????

I assume that article was making fun of salesmen, but you gotta admit the idea of having a removable bracket that one can take out and play with is an earth shattering idea - or at least one that can entertain even the most hardened executive for hours. Though I suppose there are different perspectives on that.

As for the blue screws, mine has them. However they seem somewhat faded. Were there different kinds used? Can anybody else confirm an impermanence or variation in the finish of the screws?

modem7
July 6th, 2012, 10:24 PM
As for the blue screws, mine has them. However they seem somewhat faded. ... Can anybody else confirm an impermanence or variation in the finish of the screws?
The blue screws in my 5155 are pictured at http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/5155/photo/5155_mine.htm
There is quite a bit of variation.


Were there different kinds used?
Yes. See the following photo (half height drives in a 5160).
http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/misc/Slide_plates.JPG

Shadow Lord
July 7th, 2012, 12:11 AM
I assume that article was making fun of salesmen

Oh, I agree the article was trying to be funny. Its just that neither of my systems came w/ the clip. They are probably lost in the sands of time. A closer look at my computers screws shows them to be blue TINGED/Faded so I guess that takes care of that issue! ;)

modem7
July 7th, 2012, 12:19 AM
Its just that neither of my systems came w/ the clip. They are probably lost in the sands of time.
Mine is missing too.
It is the kind of item that a technician would remove during a servicing of some kind, and then not refit it because they viewed the item as optional.
Or perhaps they needed something to impress the kids (or management).

pearce_jj
July 7th, 2012, 09:45 AM
In a PC Magazine review of the 5155, they devoted a whole page to the plastic 'thing'.
See page 121 (PDF page 6) of:
http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/5155/misc/PC%20Magazine%20Review%20IBM%20Portable%20PC%20May 1984.pdf

(Yes, the review contains some technical errors.)

Like everything they've written about the 8th slot, for example! Thanks for posting that link though, a very interesting read nevertheless.

ibmapc
July 7th, 2012, 10:01 AM
My issue is with the screws. IBM used a fine pitch screw in the 5155 presumably due to the thinner sheet metal used. The PC and the XT used heavier sheet metal and therefore were able to use 6-32 screws. However, the thinner sheetmetal in the 5155 could not adequitly hold a course thread. In fact, the fine thread screw threads are a little weak as well. I've stripped out a couple of them without much effort and had to resort to a larger screw. IBM should have reinforced this area, or used "PEM Nuts" or some other insert.

Gib
July 8th, 2012, 04:19 PM
To those asking about the blue screws... My 5155 has them, and they are faded in places (as if painted with watercolors that dry unevenly in spots), and they do still screw in cleanly and provide a firm grip.

WMH
July 18th, 2012, 04:20 PM
title Renew Thread

dosseg
.model small
.stack 100h

.data
_message db 'Renew Thread',0dh,0ah,'$'

.code
main proc
mov ax,@data
mov ds,ax

mov ah,9
mov dx,offset _message
int 21h

mov ax,4C00h
int 21h
main endp
end main


Hey guys, I'm renewing this thread because I've got another question relating to the 5155.

First of all, I don't know (or care for that matter) if the assembly above is correct, so no need to tell me my code is bad... :)

My question is: What is a program for copying programs to the 5155? There's ADTPro for Apple II, so I assume there's something like that for IBM devices.

Thanks again!
WMH

Ole Juul
July 18th, 2012, 04:47 PM
My question is: What is a program for copying programs to the 5155? There's ADTPro for Apple II, so I assume there's something like that for IBM devices.

It's not about IBM but rather the operating system you are running. :) Presumably it will be DOS, so the COPY command will be in the shell. However that only does 64K at a time so it is faster to use XCOPY which usually comes as a utility. I prefer CP like the *nix command. There is an endless choice on Simtel and elsewhere.

As for the input link, that could be TCP/IP networking, or the wonderful Interlnk/Intersver which is included with DOS 6.0. That allows you to automatically mount remote drives and run remote programs - works on serial or parallel with special cable. Instructions are included with the OS distro. All the above commands work with Interlnk.

billdeg
July 18th, 2012, 04:52 PM
I put a high denisity 3.5" in my 5155. I can always put the orig drive in later.
Bd

WMH
July 18th, 2012, 05:12 PM
It's not about IBM but rather the operating system you are running. :) Presumably it will be DOS, so the COPY command will be in the shell. However that only does 64K at a time so it is faster to use XCOPY which usually comes as a utility. I prefer CP like the *nix command. There is an endless choice on Simtel and elsewhere.

As for the input link, that could be TCP/IP networking, or the wonderful Interlnk/Intersver which is included with DOS 6.0. That allows you to automatically mount remote drives and run remote programs - works on serial or parallel with special cable. Instructions are included with the OS distro. All the above commands work with Interlnk.

Ah, I see. I can transfer files with TCP/IP.



I put a high density 3.5" in my 5155. I can always put the orig drive in later.
Bd

It'll take a standard 3.5" HD drive? I had no idea.

Gib
July 18th, 2012, 06:29 PM
For ADTPro-style computer-to-computer file transfers between PCs, I use FWL (FastWire LX), which I got off my PC-compatible Zenith MiniSport. (The program is probably as defunct as the computer, so I could send it to you.) Laplink is popular, but I don't think it's free. File Maven is a free program that should do the trick. (You'll need a null modem cable for any of these.)

modem7
July 19th, 2012, 01:03 AM
I put a high denisity 3.5" in my 5155. I can always put the orig drive in later.

It'll take a standard 3.5" HD drive? I had no idea.
As supplied, the IBM floppy controller (pictured below) in the 5155 is not capable of HD operation.
So that suggests that Billdeg's 5155 does not contain the original floppy controller.

http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/5150/early/5150_later_diskette_adapter.jpg

modem7
July 19th, 2012, 01:04 AM
My question is: What is a program for copying programs to the 5155? There's ADTPro for Apple II, so I assume there's something like that for IBM devices.
Some options are at http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/transfer/transfer.htm

kb2syd
July 19th, 2012, 05:35 AM
As supplied, the IBM floppy controller (pictured below) in the 5155 is not capable of HD operation.
So that suggests that Billdeg's 5155 does not contain the original floppy controller.
But it should drive it as if it were a 720k drive.

WMH
July 19th, 2012, 05:55 AM
Everyone, thanks for all the suggestions!

Gib, seems like you've get a couple of good options there. If I need a copy of that program, I'll send you a PM.

modem7, thanks for the link. Looks like there's a few good options on that page.

barythrin
July 19th, 2012, 09:07 AM
Later version of dos (although you can fit it on a bootable floppy depending on drives and supported formats) but natively intersvr.exe and interlnk.exe (http://www.pcxt-micro.com/dos-interlink.html) were included in dos to allow you to transfer files via null modem and share a hard drive.

WMH
July 19th, 2012, 09:59 AM
Later version of dos (although you can fit it on a bootable floppy depending on drives and supported formats) but natively intersvr.exe and interlnk.exe (http://www.pcxt-micro.com/dos-interlink.html) were included in dos to allow you to transfer files via null modem and share a hard drive.

Interesting, I'll have to look into that if I get a 5155.

modem7
July 19th, 2012, 11:32 PM
But it should drive it as if it were a 720k drive.
In the subject hardware configuration (5155 with original controller), yes - boot/read/write 720K diskettes in a 1.44M drive.
Other hardware configurations differ.

billdeg
July 20th, 2012, 04:43 AM
As supplied, the IBM floppy controller (pictured below) in the 5155 is not capable of HD operation.
So that suggests that Billdeg's 5155 does not contain the original floppy controller.



Ah yes, that little detail.....I put in a floppy controller capable of handling a high density disk as "A". For this set up if anyone cares I use DOS 3.3 by habit.

Some on this thread may not see it this way if they're newer to the IBM PC line, but adding a 3.5 disk to any PC / XT is well documented and nothing special. The issue you're going to run into with my set up is when you try to run newer software...just because you can get it on a disk and boot up a 5155 (IBM XT portable) does not mean you can run the program. Case in point imagedsk does not work very well here. Nor will Windows 1.0 or most things made for the PS/2 line. The 3.5 drive is simply a convenience to port programs between the two drive formats, the 5155 is a "portable disk converter". Otherwise it's confined to old PC/XT software unless you follow whatever upgrade path you'd follow on an XT to add capability.

bd

barythrin
July 20th, 2012, 08:57 AM
I forget all too often using pkzip and pkunzip in dos using the span option and keeping track of my xx floppies in order to feed into the other system. Sure works well as a simple no hardware solution. Also depending on hardware and dos versions the parallel zip drive saved me a ton of time on older systems but I'm not sure I used it on anything older than a 386.

Gib
July 20th, 2012, 01:03 PM
I, too, am modifying a pristine 80's IBM in ways that may offend some.

As described in another thread, I wanted to swap out the 360kb B: drive in my 5155 with a 1.44mb (using 2M-XBIOS to access the full potential of the drive) and retain the original IBM-logo (Qume) 360kb A: drive. That combination didn't work for reasons not entirely understood by me or other members, so I'm swapping out both original 360kb drives for two 1.44mbs (A: as a 720kb and B: as a 1.44mb), a combination that the computer, software, and drives all accept. (I'll hang on to those 360s, of course, and pass them along to the next user if I ever sell the 5155, or if my heirs do.)

As you say, billdeg, 3.5 in. floppy drives were routinely substituted for 5.25 in. drives back in the day, although we didn't have the 1.44 via 2M-XBIOS option.The thing is, I want to actually get some practical use out of my 5155, and that's just too hard to do with 360kb floppies. I'll be adding an XT-IDE, too, when the new version is available.

WMH
July 20th, 2012, 06:54 PM
I, too, am modifying a pristine 80's IBM in ways that may offend some.

None taken. :)

Modding vintage systems to perform modern tasks is half of the fun, in my opinion.



Wow, I've sure been asking a lot of question about this system.

In case you didn't already know I'm in negotiations to get an IBM 5155 from a user on this forum. Unfortunately, negotiations stalled out over the past couple of days, and I don't know if my offer was accepted.

In the meantime, here's another question. :)

I've got a floppy image of Windows 1.01. Don't know the exact physical format that it is, but it's contained in a .img file.

Anyways, if I do get the image on a floppy disk, will it run on the 5155? I know I won't have a mouse, but it'd still be pretty cool. :)

modem7
July 20th, 2012, 07:36 PM
I've got a floppy image of Windows 1.01. Don't know the exact physical format that it is, but it's contained in a .img file.
Anyways, if I do get the image on a floppy disk, will it run on the 5155? I know I won't have a mouse, but it'd still be pretty cool. :)
From the Wikipedia entry on 'Windows 1.0':
"The system requirements for Windows 1.01 constituted CGA/HGC/EGA (listed as "Monochrome or color monitor"), MS-DOS 2.0, 256 kB of memory or greater, and two double-sided disk drives or a hard drive."

You are not restricted to DOS 2.
See http://www.computing.net/answers/windows-31/windows-10-dos-version/12015.html

Gib
July 20th, 2012, 09:47 PM
I've been running DOS 6.22 and DR-DOS 7.03 on my 5155. But as for Windows, I've got an i3 and i5 to run that. My old IBM portable is devoted to DOS. It's been fun remembering (and looking up) all those ancient commands to enter from the prompt.

WMH
July 21st, 2012, 11:16 AM
I've been running DOS 6.22 and DR-DOS 7.03 on my 5155. But as for Windows, I've got an i3 and i5 to run that. My old IBM portable is devoted to DOS. It's been fun remembering (and looking up) all those ancient commands to enter from the prompt.

Yep, I know what you mean. That's so much fun; I've been running DOS in VMs for years now. (v3.3, 5.0, 6.22, 7.x) I have Windows 1.01 and 2.03 running on top of two 6.22 VMs.

I just thought I would be fun to tell people I have Windows running on a machine that old.

I try to get Windows running on as many things as possible, even my phone. Just another one of the strange things I enjoy. :)

Here's another couple of questions. The first one's probably a dumb one, but for some reason Dr. Google couldn't give me any info on it.

Does the 5155 have BASIC in ROM? I assumed since it was an IBM-built PC compatible that it would, but I have no idea.

And my second question: How does one go about adding RAM to the 5155? Can I throw in a card?

Ole Juul
July 21st, 2012, 11:36 AM
Does the 5155 have BASIC in ROM? I assumed since it was an IBM-built PC compatible that it would, but I have no idea.

And my second question: How does one go about adding RAM to the 5155? Can I throw in a card?

The 5155 is basically the same as an XT but in a portable format. It is not quite correct to call it a "compatible" since that is what the compatibles were compatible with. The XT did not have BASIC in ROM.

RAM can be added with cards. IBM made at least two models of RAM cards that I'm aware of, but there are lots of options from other companies. It is amazing how much will run with less RAM, but since cards are cheap and easy to come by at this point in time it is probably a good idea to bring it up to the famous 640K. The XT (and 5155) is actually a very capable machine and had quite a long run for business use - even after faster machines had become available.

WMH
July 21st, 2012, 11:39 AM
The 5155 is basically the same as an XT but in a portable format. It is not quite correct to call it a "compatible" since that is what the compatibles were compatible with. The XT did not have BASIC in ROM.

RAM can be added with cards. IBM made at least two models of RAM cards that I'm aware of, but there are lots of options from other companies. It is amazing how much will run with less RAM, but since cards are cheap and easy to come by at this point in time it is probably a good idea to bring it up to the famous 640K. The XT (and 5155) is actually a very capable machine and had quite a long run for business use - even after faster machines had become available.

Ah, I see. So if I want to use BASIC, I load it from MS-DOS.

It's great to hear that I can upgrade RAM with cards. I wasn't looking forward to getting out the soldering iron just to add some RAM.

modem7
July 21st, 2012, 02:09 PM
Does the 5155 have BASIC in ROM?
Yes, it does.


And my second question: How does one go about adding RAM to the 5155? Can I throw in a card?
Rather than using a dedicated RAM card, I expect that quite a few owners added a card that provided other functionality as well.
Take a look at http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/5155/photo/5155_mine.htm

WMH
July 21st, 2012, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the reply, modem7.

So it does have BASIC in ROM? How does one get to it, booting with no disks?

Also, thanks for the suggestions about RAM.

Ole Juul
July 21st, 2012, 03:13 PM
So it does have BASIC in ROM? How does one get to it, booting with no disks?

Oops! My sincerest apologies for giving you wrong information. (blush) I've got a 5155 sitting right beside me here, so I should know better. I don't usually use BASIC so I hadn't noticed. I just unplugged the HDD and left the FDD empty and then turned it on. Lo and behold, there was the BASIC screen! modem7 knows a lot more than I do. :)

ibmapc
July 21st, 2012, 04:47 PM
... I wasn't looking forward to getting out the soldering iron just to add some RAM.
I am a big fan of putting as much memory as possible on the motherboard. If your unit has not yet had the 640K mod done, then yes, you'll need to solder a jumper at E2 pads 1 to 2 and insert a 74LS158 chip in the empty chip socket U84 and install at least 2 banks of 256k DRAMs. You also could go even further with the mod described in the attached document. Then you can configure some of that memory above 640K as UMB, all without using a single expansion slot.

WMH
July 21st, 2012, 06:27 PM
Oops! My sincerest apologies for giving you wrong information. (blush) I've got a 5155 sitting right beside me here, so I should know better. I don't usually use BASIC so I hadn't noticed. I just unplugged the HDD and left the FDD empty and then turned it on. Lo and behold, there was the BASIC screen! modem7 knows a lot more than I do. :)

No problem! I've given some wrong information, myself

WMH
July 21st, 2012, 06:29 PM
I am a big fan of putting as much memory as possible on the motherboard. If your unit has not yet had the 640K mod done, then yes, you'll need to solder a jumper at E2 pads 1 to 2 and insert a 74LS158 chip in the empty chip socket U84 and install at least 2 banks of 256k DRAMs. You also could go even further with the mod described in the attached document. Then you can configure some of that memory above 640K as UMB, all without using a single expansion slot.

Thanks for the tip and the document. I haven't got a 5155 yet, but I'll have to check for the mod when I get one.

Gib
July 21st, 2012, 06:53 PM
You'll find yourself in BASIC whenever you don't boot into DOS, either intentionally or unintentionally.

WMH
July 22nd, 2012, 12:36 PM
You'll find yourself in BASIC whenever you don't boot into DOS, either intentionally or unintentionally.

That's what I was hoping. Now I just have to wait for a response on the 5155 I hope to purchase...

RWallmow
July 23rd, 2012, 04:45 AM
That's what I was hoping. Now I just have to wait for a response on the 5155 I hope to purchase...

If you don't end up finding, or working a deal on a 5155 now, there's always the Compaq Portable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compaq_Portable)'s, they predate the 5155, and they are probably the reason IBM built the 5155 after seeing Compaq's success with a portable system (they set all kinds of sales records their first 3 years as a company selling these things). They seem to be much more plentiful than the 5155's and are in the same class of machine, could hold you over (and provide much fun) while you hunt down the elusive 5155 ;-)

WMH
July 23rd, 2012, 11:40 AM
Hey guys.

I wanted to ask your opinion on this system. http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-Personal-Portable-Computer-model-5155-RARE-FIND-640k-Has-Hard-Drive-/280923307076?pt=US_Vintage_Computers_Mainframes&hash=item4168557c44#ht_1010wt_72

I was thinking about making an offer if there are no bids in a couple of hours when the auction ends, but just wanted to ask you guys. I can see it's missing the port shutter, but it has an aftermarket hard drive. I hate to lowball him too much, but I was thinking $125 + shipping.

I might point him to this thread, so what do you think a good valuation is?

Also, when writing a program in BASIC on the 5155, how does one save the program? Is there a SAVE command like in Apple DOS?

Thanks

(P.S. Thanks for the suggestion, RWallmow. I thought of that, but I kind of wanted true IBM hardware.)

barythrin
July 23rd, 2012, 11:54 AM
Shipping price is unfortunate but I wouldn't feel bad about that offer. Some folks have an auto-accept/reject but if not it may take him a bit to go through the offer or not catch it in time. Yes there's a save/load command in basic but I can't quite recall if it's bsave or save"a:\filename.bas"

WMH
July 23rd, 2012, 11:56 AM
Shipping price is unfortunate but I wouldn't feel bad about that offer. Some folks have an auto-accept/reject but if not it may take him a bit to go through the offer or not catch it in time. Yes there's a save/load command in basic but I can't quite recall if it's bsave or save"a:\filename.bas"

OK, thanks. I'm going to make an offer of $125 + shipping when the listing ends.

Too bad the lister thinks it's rare, even though it's somewhat common and it's not worth $375 (at least that's what I was told earlier in the thread.)

It's good that it has a hard drive. What type of hard drive was common then, the ST-412?

WMH
July 23rd, 2012, 12:29 PM
Also, just another question I'm throwing in. Since the 5155 is essentially an XT in a portable (actually luggable...) case, wouldn't it be compatible with normal PC/PC-XT games, cards, etc.?

I was just wondering because I don't want to buy a system that is a headache to get any software or hardware for.

barythrin
July 23rd, 2012, 01:01 PM
typically yes it's compatible with regular cards. You can see the slots along the back. The only restriction you might find is how many full length cards but I haven't opened one up recently to recall if that'd be much of an issue. Typically if there were any cards that would be blocked by other parts there are still usually a few slots that could be longer off to the side. Software wise, yes it's compatible and supports external monitors depending on the video card if you wanted color again.

WMH
July 23rd, 2012, 01:06 PM
typically yes it's compatible with regular cards. You can see the slots along the back. The only restriction you might find is how many full length cards but I haven't opened one up recently to recall if that'd be much of an issue. Typically if there were any cards that would be blocked by other parts there are still usually a few slots that could be longer off to the side. Software wise, yes it's compatible and supports external monitors depending on the video card if you wanted color again.

OK, that makes things much easier. There's 21 minutes left in the 5155 auction; hope I can get it.

WMH
July 23rd, 2012, 01:49 PM
Just contacted the seller, and dropped links to the VCForums and this thread. Hope I get a response!

(Also, a note to the mods: this thread may be worth stickying. It answers all kinds of questions pertaining to the 5155.)

ibmapc
July 24th, 2012, 11:23 AM
Also, when writing a program in BASIC on the 5155, how does one save the program?

As long as you boot to DOS before calling BASIC you can LOAD and SAVE programs and data to a floppy (or Hard Disk if one is attached). However, if you boot the machine with out a floppy in drive A and no Hard Disk with OS, then it loads ROM BASIC (also called Cassette BASIC from the days of the 5150 with the cassestte interface). While in ROM BASIC there is no disk access, so you can't save anything, unless you're using a 5150 with a cassette connected to the cassette port which was left off of the 5160/5155 Mother Boards.

So, boot to PC DOS, then call BASIC or BASICA. Then you'll have disk access from BASIC.


Since the 5155 is essentially an XT in a portable (actually luggable...) case, wouldn't it be compatible with normal PC/PC-XT games, cards, etc.?

The 5155 uses the same motherboard as the 5160. So, if you have a Hard Disk attached, it's 100% software compatible with the IBM PC XT(5160). The only limitations with the 5155 vs. the 5160 are the expansion slots. The 5155 takes the same cards, but in a stock 5155 you only have one full length slot empty. OF the 5 other slots, one of them is slot 8 which is not compatible with some cards and can only take a 1/2 length card. Slots 6 and 7 are normal slots and can only take 1/2 length cards. Slot 5 can take a slightly longer card than 6 - 8. In fact, I have my LAN Card in slot 5. It is a 16 bit card so it's between a 1/2 and 3/4 length card and it touches the side of the floppy drives. Slot three can accept a 3/4+ length card, but the floppy controller is normally there. Slot 2 is the empty full length slot, and slot one normally contains the CGA card.

Gib
July 24th, 2012, 04:47 PM
Since ibmapc answered most your questions thoroughly, I won't cover that ground, but regarding games...

Keep in mind that your display is a 9" amber CGA (unless you attach a larger external color monitor), so it's not going to offer you the full benefit of a game's visual attributes. Other than that, you should be able to run the same games on the 5155 as an XT, since it's the same main board.

Gib
July 24th, 2012, 05:12 PM
Oh, just in case you'd like to have the IBM 5155 operations and service manuals in PDF, here are links:

http://classiccomputers.info/down/IBM/IBM_PC_Portable_5155/IBM_5155_Guide_to_Operations_6936571_JAN84.pdf

http://ibm-pc.org/manuals/ibm/5155/5155.htm

And here's a link to GWBASIC, which I like and whose programs can be saved to disk:

http://www.gw-basic.com/downloads.html

WMH
August 1st, 2012, 05:48 PM
Oh, just in case you'd like to have the IBM 5155 operations and service manuals in PDF, here are links:

http://classiccomputers.info/down/IBM/IBM_PC_Portable_5155/IBM_5155_Guide_to_Operations_6936571_JAN84.pdf

http://ibm-pc.org/manuals/ibm/5155/5155.htm

And here's a link to GWBASIC, which I like and whose programs can be saved to disk:

http://www.gw-basic.com/downloads.html

Sorry for the long wait for my response, haven't checked this thread in a while...

Thanks for the links. I'm definitely going to get GW-BASIC and put it in an emulator for now.