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View Full Version : what boot disk will i need for a heathkit?



jeff0172
September 7th, 2012, 11:31 AM
hi i purchased my first cp/m machine and was woundering if anyone knows what kind or type of cm/p boot disk i will need for a heathkit h-158 i have found someone that will sell me one its just he has no idea what kind i will need or that will work with my system or if anyone knows how i can make a copy it would be much appreciated heres a list of one's he has for sale
http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/zenith_mans.html#z150

patscc
September 7th, 2012, 11:37 AM
I think a regular 5.25 360k DOS boot disk would work.
patscc

jeff0172
September 7th, 2012, 11:48 AM
are you sure? he said that a nomal dos would not work i would need the one made for the heathkit and said i might be able to find it in the manual but i cant find a online manual either i found a publication that said it would be compatible with most ibm software

Chuck(G)
September 7th, 2012, 12:07 PM
Few people knew the machine as a kit, but the factory-assembled version was the Zenith Z-158, which will bring you many more search results.

The marketing literature for the Z-158 (http://www.thecomputerarchive.com/archive/Computers/PC%20desktops/Zenith%20Z-148%20Z-158%20Z-200%20desktops.pdf) says that it's completely IBM PC-compatible, although the slot for the video card was different from standard ISA.

So yes, any garden-variety DOS disk should work to boot the beast.

jeff0172
September 7th, 2012, 12:11 PM
ok thank you very much so basicly the z-158 was right out of the box version and the heathkit h-158 was the kit version

Chuck(G)
September 7th, 2012, 12:15 PM
Exactly so. At the time, Zenith (may its corporate bones rest in peace) owned Heath. The assembled-ready-to-go stuff was offered with a "Z" in place of the "H". So an H-89 kit was also available as a Z-89. In fact, the floppy disks that came with the system were labeled "Zenith" and not "Heathkit".

Anyone remember the Heathkit "Tunnel Dipper"?

jeff0172
September 7th, 2012, 12:22 PM
very cool so that makes it rare i love rare things lol. i want to get a heath tube radio also i do have a zenith record player somehere in my room its a base style i picked up at the flea market for 10 bucks i might have a copy of the 360k dos boot disk just need to check

barythrin
September 7th, 2012, 12:27 PM
If not you might consider updating your profile with a location. If folks are close by they might be able to help you out as well. It's a little tough sometimes when you're getting into your first older PC.

jeff0172
September 7th, 2012, 01:00 PM
will dos 3.3 5.25 work?

jeff0172
September 7th, 2012, 01:10 PM
If not you might consider updating your profile with a location. If folks are close by they might be able to help you out as well. It's a little tough sometimes when you're getting into your first older PC.

ya i will.

would a dos 3.3 5.25 floppy disk work?

barythrin
September 7th, 2012, 01:25 PM
MS-DOS should, but your Apple dos 3.3 won't if that's what you're asking. But yes any MS-DOS should be happy to load on the system. Funny I was on ferndale (well I think it was flint actually but a listed in ferndale) craigslist earlier today from an unrelated search around the area for vintage computers. Have you poked around that much? Computer category and searching for keywords like "dos" or "vintage" or "5.25" etc.

patscc
September 7th, 2012, 01:30 PM
If it's a 360k one, it should work. You might want to give your floppy heads a quick clean, though, just to be safe.
patscc

MicrocomputerSolutions
September 7th, 2012, 02:01 PM
Yes, a DOS 3.3 disk from an IBM or IBM compatible will work.

I used to use Zenith DOS 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 on PC Clone computers.

I believe there was a version of CPM-86 that worked as well (Digital Research IBM Compatible, as well as a Version offered by Zenith or maybe HUG (Heath User's Group).

jeff0172
September 7th, 2012, 02:16 PM
ok thank you guys for the tips i will def give the heads a cleaning ya its the apple version so i will need to pick up a ibm version or i might as well spend a few more dollars to get a zenith brand disks

patscc
September 7th, 2012, 04:17 PM
Apple DOS and PC or MS-DOS are completely different, not just different versions.
patscc

Chuckster_in_Jax
September 7th, 2012, 06:01 PM
I have the disk images of the Zenith version of MS-DOS ver3.3 Plus in 3.5" format. I don't know if your machine has 3.5" floppy drives.

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 12:48 AM
nope no 3.5in floppy:( any chance you have it in 5.25 format?

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 03:00 AM
MS-DOS should, but your Apple dos 3.3 won't if that's what you're asking. But yes any MS-DOS should be happy to load on the system. Funny I was on ferndale (well I think it was flint actually but a listed in ferndale) craigslist earlier today from an unrelated search around the area for vintage computers. Have you poked around that much? Computer category and searching for keywords like "dos" or "vintage" or "5.25" etc.

sorry i did not see your reply yes i have and nothing but a over price commodore 64

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 06:33 AM
this it what the guy i talked to about obtaining some boot disk's said i am not sure what to believe i am pretty sure its ibm boot disk comp becuase i have found publication saying so but he is telling me no this is what he said:
"360K IBM compatible" simply describes the diskette physical format, not
much else.

I suggest you find someone that can provide a "free" copy of some early
IBM-PC compatible boot disks, and see if that happens to work. My guess
is that it won't. My guess is then, that you'll need a disk that
actually boots up another Heath Zenith model identical to yours. OI
simply don't have that.

There's no point in my charging money to make you a MS-D0S 3.2 or 2.1
diskette if you find it won't work - when somebody with an ordinary IBM
PC compatible can do that for you for "free". Sorry to put it this way,
but I simply don't offer the level of support you are asking for, and I
don't have the exact information or software you need.

Chuckster_in_Jax
September 8th, 2012, 07:14 AM
I'll dig out my Z-158 later today and see what DOS version is on it. I usually put MS-DOS ver6,2 on my machines. As I recall, the Z-158 is quite compatible and should run the MS versions fine.

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 07:18 AM
ok thank you

Chuck(G)
September 8th, 2012, 07:24 AM
He might be right--or just confused. The Z100/Z150 certainly used their own versions of MS-DOS--compatibility with IBM's systems was pretty marginal. But the 158 should be the first of the IBM compatible line. I say that if no one has a 156 boot disk, try a plain vanilla PC-DOS or MS-DOS boot and see what happens.

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 07:29 AM
ya i think he got confused with other model's the problem is i dont have one since most of my computers are apples prodos i was asking him if he would make me one and i would pay him for his time but he refused saying it would not work and he does not want to sell me something that wont work

Chuck(G)
September 8th, 2012, 08:59 AM
Do you have a "tweener" machine that supports 360K 5" drives and runs MS-DOS? If so, you can make your own boot disk.

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 09:04 AM
nope:(

Chuck(G)
September 8th, 2012, 09:10 AM
Well, you're not out in the middle of nowhere, so perhaps you can post a "wanted" item on the forum...

MicrocomputerSolutions
September 8th, 2012, 10:26 AM
ya i think he got confused with other model's the problem is i dont have one since most of my computers are apples prodos i was asking him if he would make me one and i would pay him for his time but he refused saying it would not work and he does not want to sell me something that wont work



I don't think that legally anyone can just "make" you an MSDOS disk copy (which would be piracy). As far as I know, MSDOS is still protected by copyright. The only legal way you can obtain a copy of MSDOS would be to buy one whether new or used with the original master disks, and the COA.

It should not be that difficult or expensive to locate and buy a legal copy of MSDOS. Have you tried the used bookstores located inside of your local libraries?

Chuck(G)
September 8th, 2012, 10:41 AM
One can also use DR-DOS or FreeDOS without any copyright issues whatsoever.

mgarlanger
September 8th, 2012, 05:34 PM
He might be right--or just confused. The Z100/Z150 certainly used their own versions of MS-DOS--compatibility with IBM's systems was pretty marginal. But the 158 should be the first of the IBM compatible line. I say that if no one has a 156 boot disk, try a plain vanilla PC-DOS or MS-DOS boot and see what happens.

The non-compatible ones were only the H/Z-100, H/Z-110, and H/Z-120. The H/Z-100 was an all-in-one, with a built-in CRT tube. The H/Z-120 was a low profile model that required a separate monitor. Those ran Z-DOS or CP/M-85 (there may have been a CP/M-86 version too). The system had an 8086 processor for the 16-bit stuff and an 8085 for the 8-bit functions. Any other Heath/Zenith models numbered 130 or above - Z-13x, Z-14x, Z-15x all were PC compatibles and should run stock MS-DOS.

Chuckster_in_Jax
September 8th, 2012, 05:54 PM
I drug my (2) Z-158 computers out this afternoon and found the following:

I hadn't upgraded either to 5.25 HD or 3.5" drives.
Both of my machines had 360K floppies. One had a 10MB hard drive, the other a 20MB drive.
One had MS-DOS v2.1, the other MS-DOS 3,2.

According to the Operations Manual, there are 2 boards that are standard with these computers. A CPU/Memory board and a Video/Floppy board. There is also and optional Zenith MFM HDD controller. These boards are taller than the standard ISA boards found in an IBM PC and can only fit in the 3 slots that are closest to the power supply.

I tried to put a Unique FDD floppy board with built in BIOS, but on bootup it kept saying no floppy found when one was hooked up Tried to hookup a Microsolutions backpack 1.44Mb (external, parallel port)) Floppy unit. On bootup it kept saying "No Floppy Drive found".
I have a ATI VGA card in the computer so I took out the Zenith Video/Floppy controller to see it it made any difference , but the computer then refused to boot.

I am making an assumption that there is a board conflict that is causing the errors.

Tomorrow I may try to take out the MFM controller and install an XT-IDE controller to see if that will work.

Chuck(G)
September 8th, 2012, 06:18 PM
The non-compatible ones were only the H/Z-100, H/Z-110, and H/Z-120. The H/Z-100 was an all-in-one, with a built-in CRT tube. The H/Z-120 was a low profile model that required a separate monitor. Those ran Z-DOS or CP/M-85 (there may have been a CP/M-86 version too). The system had an 8086 processor for the 16-bit stuff and an 8085 for the 8-bit functions. Any other Heath/Zenith models numbered 130 or above - Z-13x, Z-14x, Z-15x all were PC compatibles and should run stock MS-DOS.

I recall that the USG (IRS, ISTR) bought a mess of the Z-151s. I suspect that they might have demurred if it weren't PC compatible.

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 06:19 PM
I drug my (2) Z-158 computers out this afternoon and found the following:

I hadn't upgraded either to 5.25 HD or 3.5" drives.
Both of my machines had 360K floppies. One had a 10MB hard drive, the other a 20MB drive.
One had MS-DOS v2.1, the other MS-DOS 3,2.

According to the Operations Manual, there are 2 boards that are standard with these computers. A CPU/Memory board and a Video/Floppy board. There is also and optional Zenith MFM HDD controller. These boards are taller than the standard ISA boards found in an IBM PC and can only fit in the 3 slots that are closest to the power supply.

I tried to put a Unique FDD floppy board with built in BIOS, but on bootup it kept saying no floppy found when one was hooked up Tried to hookup a Microsolutions backpack 1.44Mb (external, parallel port)) Floppy unit. On bootup it kept saying "No Floppy Drive found".
I have a ATI VGA card in the computer so I took out the Zenith Video/Floppy controller to see it it made any difference , but the computer then refused to boot.

I am making an assumption that there is a board conflict that is causing the errors.

Tomorrow I may try to take out the MFM controller and install an XT-IDE controller to see if that will work.
the two top full length boards correct?
10217

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 06:33 PM
yup i seen a publication that said they bought them

Chuckster_in_Jax
September 8th, 2012, 08:03 PM
the two top full length boards correct?
10217

In your picture notice that the top slot is empty. The first board shown is the Video/Floppy board and the one underneath it is the CPU/Memory board.

I'll try to get the Operations manual scanned and posted. It explains all that including the jumper settings.

Tonight I got the system working without the Zenith Video/Floppy controller installed. With an add-on floppy controller that has BIOS support for high density floppy drives, i got it to boot to MS-DOS 6.22.
The video board I'm using is a 16-bit ATI card, but driving a monochrome monitor for now.

*****The XT-FDC would be a nice addition to a machine like this. And throw in an XT-IDE too! ********

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 08:22 PM
In your picture notice that the top slot is empty. The first board shown is the Video/Floppy board and the one underneath it is the CPU/Memory board.

I'll try to get the Operations manual scanned and posted. It explains all that including the jumper settings.

Tonight I got the system working without the Zenith Video/Floppy controller installed. With an add-on floppy controller that has BIOS support for high density floppy drives, i got it to boot to MS-DOS 6.22.
The video board I'm using is a 16-bit ATI card, but driving a monochrome monitor for now.

*****The XT-FDC would be a nice addition to a machine like this. And throw in an XT-IDE too! ********

so is everything there or is it missing stuff? or are the board's just in the wrong slots? sorry never owned a heathkit before just apples and those are kinda simpler

Chuckster_in_Jax
September 8th, 2012, 08:56 PM
You have the basic boards needed to boot from floppy. However, I don't see that it has a hard drive. Adding one would not be hard and really improve the functionality of the machine.
What are you using for a monitor?

jeff0172
September 8th, 2012, 09:04 PM
You have the basic boards needed to boot from floppy. However, I don't see that it has a hard drive. Adding one would not be hard and really improve the functionality of the machine.
What are you using for a monitor?

i am not sure yet as its still in the mail i should be getting it monday or tuesday what monitor would work would a apple color from a iigs work? also what ide controller card would work? any other suggestions on upgrades? would this one work
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-IBM-Xebec-MFM-Hard-Drive-Controller-as-found-in-5150-and-5160-IBM-PC-XT-/190723175484?pt=US_Vintage_Computing_Parts_Accesso ries&hash=item2c67fcb43c

Chuckster_in_Jax
September 9th, 2012, 07:33 AM
i am not sure yet as its still in the mail i should be getting it monday or tuesday what monitor would work would a apple color from a iigs work? also what ide controller card would work? any other suggestions on upgrades? would this one work
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-IBM-Xebec-MFM-Hard-Drive-Controller-as-found-in-5150-and-5160-IBM-PC-XT-/190723175484?pt=US_Vintage_Computing_Parts_Accesso ries&hash=item2c67fcb43c

The monitor that will work with your computer needs to be a 9-pin TTL, or composite with an RCA connector. If the Apple monitor has a 15-pin connector, then it won't work unless you upgrade to a different video card.

You will also need a keyboard that is XT compatible. If you can find one that is switchable between XT and AT, that would be good. If try to use an AT keyboard you will probably get an error message at startup and not be able to complete bootup.

That Xebec controller listed on eBay will only work with a few low capacity MFM drives that are rare and very unreliable.
I strongly suggest the XT-IDE controller being sold through Andrew Lynch on this website. It's a kit, so you would have to have some soldering skills.

The Z-158 was introduced as the most expandable computer made by Zenith. Other options you may consider would be a graphics card and an AST SixPak multifunction card.

jeff0172
September 9th, 2012, 08:35 AM
ok thank you for the info i will def check into that hdd controller card they are pretty cheap to i am hopeing to score a org monitor and keyboard but that will be almost impossble any idea on the model numbers for the keyboard and monitor that camne with the h-158?

Chuckster_in_Jax
February 11th, 2014, 05:18 PM
Well, I finally got around to scanning the User\Operations and the Service manual for the Z-158.

https://www.mediafire.com/folder/nd5ff78didwzo/Zenith_Z-150_PC

k2x4b524[
February 17th, 2014, 02:17 PM
bout time someone showed up that had those, i've been looking for them for ages for my Z-158, it's a good solid machine, but i could never figure out what the jumpers on either board do, and couldn't drag out balls big enough to do, hopefully this clears it up a bit. Thank You :)

I just took a look at the user and operations manuals, VERY through, and it looks like just about every piece of built in equipment can be disabled via jumper or switch, so upgrading this beast should be a cinch.

Again, thank you Jax.


Well, I finally got around to scanning the User\Operations and the Service manual for the Z-158.

https://www.mediafire.com/folder/nd5ff78didwzo/Zenith_Z-150_PC