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dongfeng
July 8th, 2006, 06:48 AM
I don't know why it always happens to me - I look for ages for a decent IBM PC or XT, and none turn up, except a duffer on eBay. Today I've just picked up a lovely, original XT a couple of miles from my home!

I think it is one of the last ones made, as it was bought in Summer 1986 by the company that the previous owner worked for. He has had it personally since 1988 or so. It was used often until 1993. 640k mainboard, ugly 101-key keyboard (missing a couple of caps though), 20MB hard drive and a 5153 CGA monitor.

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_open.JPG

A bit grubby, but it'll clean up lovely :)

First, a couple of questions. I had to format the hard drive, as the previous owner had lots of personal files on it. Fair enough. It also had DOS 5 or 6 on it. I've reinstalled the original DOS 3.1, but now I need to set it up properly, identify the mystery cards that are in it, and find out how to get them working.

The first card appears to have an RTC (coin cell battery on card). Makers name is AST I/O Mini II P/N 202123(sticker is in the way of the rest). I'd like to get this working again.
http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_rtc.JPG

Second is a DB25 Male serial/parallel(?) card.
http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_card1.JPG

There's two more cards, but I'll save those later as they not really necessary.

Final query. When I change directory in DOS, why doesn't the directory then appear in the DOS prompt? C:\DOS>_ For me, it just shows C>_ even when I change directory.

To set up DOS, I booted from the DOS 3.1 floppy, fdisked, restarted, formatted (format c:/s) and then copied the contents of the dos programs and supplemental disk to C:\DOS . What is the best way to configure the config.sys?

Sorry for all the questions... my DOS is a little rusty :lol:

bbcmicro
July 8th, 2006, 06:56 AM
Final query. When I change directory in DOS, why doesn't the directory then appear in the DOS prompt? C:\DOS>_ For me, it just shows C>_ even when I change directory.

in your autoexec.bat you must include the PROMPT command, usually taking the form of

PROMPT $P$G

//edit
Just so you know, $P shows current directory, $G shows the '>' sign.

I wish I had an XT...

Chris2005
July 8th, 2006, 07:11 AM
I don't see why the prompt thing should matter. cd\dos should do it.
SEE...I TOLD YOU THERE ARE PROBABLY LOTS NOT FAR FROM WHERE YOU LIVE. Post and ad in the paper or something. You'll get a few hits at least mates.

dongfeng
July 8th, 2006, 07:25 AM
Thanks bbcmicro :) If you are looking for an XT or PC, I'll let you know if I get any leads as I haven't really got room for another.

Chris, I know I know, it's only my luck :) I've been looking for an XT for 4-5 years, but they just don't turn up. I only found this one through a friend who I happened to mention my broken XT to. I've had free classified adverts out and all sorts, but no luck, just copius emails about broken Pentium 1's :lol: At least the broken XT can be a good source of spare parts.

Chris2005
July 8th, 2006, 07:32 AM
wow, I'm surprised. I still think they're out there. You might need to be creative - leave those cards in supermarkets (on those post it board, ya know, at least they got them over here).
Big Blue boxes are nice, but there is other stuph out there. And I'm envious, cuz there's stuph we can't *easily* get over here. What about MSX boxes? You could have those shipped from say Sweden, Germany for not too much money. Good luck.

Chris2005
July 8th, 2006, 07:34 AM
and there's a load of Japanese boxes which I can't imagine ever owning. I'll make a post one of these days when I find that issue of BYTE. Like the Mitsubishi MyBrain. I can't remember the particulars of that one, but some of them were crazy as all get out. One I think even had an 8086 and a 68000.

Terry Yager
July 8th, 2006, 07:34 AM
Yes, the 'prompt' command is necessary to display anything besides the default prompt. Actually, you can customize the prompt in many different ways, such as including a 'hello' message, etc. BTW, the 'P' in the prompt= command is for 'path', which shows the path back to root dir.

Usually the config.sys doesnt require much tweaking. You may want to increase the number of files and/or buffers if the default is not enough. Sometimes, you'll want to load 'ansi.sys' and/or other system files. On your side of the water, you might also want to load a UK keyboard layout & character set. All this is kinda complicated and best not attempted without the DOS manual in hand.

As for the cards pictured, the 'Async' card is a serial port, and should not require any configuring, except mebbe to select between COM1 & COM2, etc, using the little jumper block in the upper right corner. The I/O card is probably a parallel/serial/rtc, and I have no idea how to set up the ports without documentation, however, you'll likely have to find the software for it to enable the clock.

--T

dongfeng
July 8th, 2006, 08:11 AM
"PC's" never really caught on over here until the late '80s, they where VERY expensive (mine was apparently nearly 7,000 new), whereas for 500 you could get a BBC-B to do the same thing :) Most early IBM's where in Universities. Mine was apparently used by Granada - a television broadcasting company.

So far in the config.sys I have the country=44 , looking in to the keyboard layout too. Not so sure if DOS 3.1 supports the 101-key as it keeps giving funny results under UK layout.

Any idea about the clock software? I've tried Google but no luck.

dongfeng
July 8th, 2006, 08:13 AM
Wa, what a weird card! I have *no* idea what this could be. It only says "Delta Digital Design" printed on it with 12224/2468 in pen. Looks home-made from a kit.

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_weirdcard.JPG

Terry Yager
July 8th, 2006, 09:08 AM
Wa, what a weird card! I have *no* idea what this could be. It only says "Delta Digital Design" printed on it with 12224/2468 in pen. Looks home-made from a kit.

Ain't got a klew, mate. What are the chips?

--T

Chris2005
July 8th, 2006, 09:11 AM
"Most early IBM's where in Universities"

Maybe a good place to look... ;)

Terry Yager
July 8th, 2006, 09:13 AM
So far in the config.sys I have the country=44 , looking in to the keyboard layout too. Not so sure if DOS 3.1 supports the 101-key as it keeps giving funny results under UK layout.

Besides the 'country' command, you'll prob'ly want to insert a 'keyb=' command, to change the keyboard layout to UK. (I'm not sure what the code is, and I don't have a 3.1 manual to look it up). Right now, you're prob'ly using an American keyboard layout with a UK character set, so things might come out a little funny.

--T

Chris2005
July 8th, 2006, 09:17 AM
it would be nice if you could take some better shots of that card, both sides. Hopefully the part #s on the ic's will be visible also. I'm suddenly intrigued by it.

bbcmicro
July 8th, 2006, 11:26 AM
The country number for the UK is 44, at least with the DOS's I've used.

Terry Yager
July 8th, 2006, 12:31 PM
OK, but you still need to add a line sum'n like:

KEYB=UK

to the config.sys file.

--T

bbcmicro
July 8th, 2006, 02:28 PM
Yes, you add KEYB=44

dongfeng
July 8th, 2006, 02:34 PM
From what I think is correct, the lauguage=044 makes the date, time and currency British, and the keyb=UK to British keyboard. Let's try it...

dongfeng
July 8th, 2006, 02:36 PM
"Most early IBM's where in Universities"

Maybe a good place to look... ;)

Sadly, most of them bit the dust years ago. I had no luck at my University!

When I was at College (2000-2002) they still had some XT's and PC's gathering dust, and some AT's still in use. When they upgraded, the whole lot went in the skip... not after they took a hammer to the monitors though :(

Apparently, even if you steal from a skip they are still legally liable for any damage you may cause to yourself. :cry:

Similar thing happened at my University too.

bbcmicro
July 8th, 2006, 02:40 PM
My dad is hoping to get me a PC (fairly modern) from his university at their next chuck out, 'cos I haven't got one any more!

hmm...the web says KEYB=UK, but my MS-DOS bible says KEYB=44

:confused:

Eh, go with Terry, he's more knowledgable than I!

dongfeng
July 8th, 2006, 02:41 PM
Ain't got a klew, mate. What are the chips?

Ta-daa...

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_weirdcard2.JPG
http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_weirdcard3.JPG

Terry Yager
July 8th, 2006, 02:45 PM
From what I think is correct, the lauguage=044 makes the date, time and currency British, and the keyb=UK to British keyboard. Let's try it...

Yes, I think that's correct, although it might work the other way too (I don't have much experience with changing the codepage stuph, since I am American). How's that old joke go? If ya speak three languages, you're tri-lingual, and if ya speak two languages, you're bi-lingual, and if ya speak one language, you're American!

--T

Terry Yager
July 8th, 2006, 02:56 PM
The 'country' code does indeed change date format (mm-dd-yyyy vs. dd-mm-yyyy), etc. It also changes the (display) character set for certain keys (# (shifted 3) vs. GBP symbol, f'rinstance). The keyb command re-arranges the keyboard layout to match that used in certain countries (qwerty vs. azerty, etc).

--T

dongfeng
July 8th, 2006, 03:07 PM
I have the country=044 in my config.sys, but it doesn't seem to change the keyboard layout. The time changes to the "right" way though. I can't seem to get the keyboard sorted using keyb, it's giving me messages saying it doesn't understand. More reading in the DOS book I think!

Terry Yager
July 8th, 2006, 03:26 PM
I don't have documentation for DOS 3.1, but I'm looking at my 3.3 manual, and it starts with the following disclaimer in the first paragraph:


Note: The keyboard programs provided on previous versions of DOS are not compatible with DOS 3.30 and should not be executed when running under DOS 3.30. (pg. 7-143)

That said, I dunno how helpful this info is, but there's also a 'KEYBOARD.SYS' file that needs to load in order for the keyb command to work (if I'm understanding this correctly). The manual states (under the 'KEYBOARD.SYS' heading:


The KEYBOARD.SYS file contains tables which direct the KEYB.COM to convert scan codes to ASCII characters. (pg. 7-145)

Of course, YMMV (did I mention that this type of fiddling shouldn't be attempted without manualage in hand?).

(I'm hoping Mike will jump-in somewhere here and mebbe shed a little more light).

--T

Terry Yager
July 8th, 2006, 03:31 PM
Did ya notice the number of the error? There's a table here with errorlevel codes from 0 - 6, including #2, Bad or missing keyboard definition file.

--T

modem7
July 8th, 2006, 04:43 PM
Re the AST I/O Mini II card.
The jumper settings are at http://th99.too.it/
A program to support the RTC may be in amongst the ones in the RTC.zip that I provided in the 'Device Software Request' thread (Jun06).

dongfeng
July 9th, 2006, 03:25 PM
Ain't got a klew, mate. What are the chips?

According to a chap on the Uncreative Labs XT forum, they are as follows:

Here's what your chips are:
74HCT688N:
8-bit Magnitude Comparator

74LS00N:
Two input NAND gate

DM74LS37N:
Octal D-Type Transparent Latches and Edge-Triggered Flip-Flops

N82S123N:
Sub Data IO 29B.

256-bit TTL bipolar PROM 32 x 8
16 Pin DIP

SN74LS174N:
Hex D-Type Flip-Flops With Clear

Any idea what you could do with that little lot?

====

The keyboard settings - I've worked it out now. config.sys line DEVICE=C:\DOS\KEYBUK

Took a little bit of working out, since my DOS 3.1 manual doesn't seem to tally with the 3.1 files on the HDD...

However, it seems to lose the \ backslash key. Do I have to tell the computer I am using a 102 key keyboard instead of the earlier 83-key?

====

Even if I can't get the RTC working, how to get the serial port on the card to work? At the moment it doesn't, and despite loading drivers the mouse doesn't work in Windows 1.04.

====

Sorry for all the questions... you've all been very helpful so far :D

dongfeng
July 9th, 2006, 03:31 PM
After a couple of hours carefully dismantling, scrubbing and cleaning... the XT is looking grand!

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_clean.JPG

I'm not too keen on the Granada Business Centres badges, but I don't want to remove them as they are original. Maybe I'll swap the case cover with my other XT. Or I'll just get used to them :)

Erik
July 9th, 2006, 03:43 PM
Is that keyboard original to the machine? I didn't think the XT and the Model M crossed. . . or, more specifically that IBM ever put model M's on the XTs.

Also, what's with the extra funky keys on that thing? You've got a spare key between the " and enter keys (and your enter key is turned the wrong way) and you're missing a key next to the ]. Also, you've got a spare key between the Z and left shift key.

Very odd. ;)

dongfeng
July 9th, 2006, 04:10 PM
The keyboard is certainly original to the machine (it's dated June 1986) - the very last XT's came with 101/102-key keyboards. It's different to the Model M in that it does not have LED indicator lights for caps lock, etc.

The "strange" keys are part of the British layout! The keys where shuffled around slightly to make room for a pound sign . Goodness knows why they shuffled the rest around though!

I'll snap a photo in a moment...

dongfeng
July 9th, 2006, 04:16 PM
Here it is:

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_britishkeyboard.JPG

The blank key to the right of the left-hand Shift key is missing it's cap. It should have a \ and a | on it (the key that is above the Enter/Return key on US models). I'm pretty sure only the XT's with the last revision 1986-dated BIOS can support 101-key keyboards (and 720kB 3.5" floppy drives).

I wonder if the 1986 BIOS XT's could actually support AT keyboards, or whether it's just an AT "style" XT keyboard? I'll try it on my 486 tomorrow!

mbbrutman
July 9th, 2006, 04:18 PM
It's probably original to the machine. As Dong said, the last version of the XT came with a Model M as an option, and the BIOS was enhanced to support the new function keys (F11 and F12). That particular keyboard is probably 1390120, which works on both XT and AT class hardware.

dongfeng
July 9th, 2006, 04:35 PM
It's not a Model M as there are no LED lights on it.

The label on the back states the following:

1389969
55-0078844
13-06-1986
(barcode)
MANUFACTURED IN UNITED KINGDOM
(c) IBM CORPORATION

mbbrutman
July 9th, 2006, 05:21 PM
I'm wrong about the model number of your particular, but Model M keyboards can certainly not have lights on them.

http://www.clickykeyboard.com/ibm_chrono_gallery.htm

modem7
July 10th, 2006, 02:59 AM
, but Model M keyboards can certainly not have lights on them.
According to Upgrading & Repairing PC's (Fifth Edition), some of the 101 keyboards were designed specifically for the XT (with the later BIOS that is). Because the XT motherboard has no bi-directional keyboard interface (eg. required to drive keyboard LEDs), there was no point puting LEDs on those keyboards.

modem7
July 10th, 2006, 03:09 AM
I wonder if the 1986 BIOS XT's could actually support AT keyboards, or whether it's just an AT "style" XT keyboard?
A keyboard designed ONLY for the XT will not work in an AT, and vice-versa.

According to Upgrading & Repairing PC's (Fifth Edition), some of IBM's 101 keyboards had a switch to select between XT or AT modes (just like a lot of clone keyboards), and some IBM 101 keyboards autoswitched between XT and AT modes.

modem7
July 21st, 2006, 04:30 PM
Wa, what a weird card! I have *no* idea what this could be.
I've seen boards like this in old Novell Netware 2 servers. A bit like a dongle - if the software didn't see it, the software wouldn't play ball.

aquasonic
August 25th, 2006, 03:18 PM
kinda off-topic, but windows running on your system is 1.01,02,03 or 04?

dongfeng
August 26th, 2006, 01:32 AM
It's Windows 1.04 :)

dongfeng
September 8th, 2006, 07:43 AM
I thought I would post the solutions to my keyboard problems, in case anyone has a similar problem in the future. Also, the information for International keyboard settings prior to the changes made in DOS 3.3 can be hard to find.

To set international layout, just load C:\DOS\KEYBxx.COM in the autoexec.bat, KEYBUK will load the UK keyboard layout (there is also KEYBFR for French, KEYBIT for Italian and so on).

This works perfectly for the original 83-key keyboard, but my problem was using the Enhanced 102 key keyboard the mapping is strange.

The solution is to add /E to the KEYBUK command:

KEYBUK /E

Then the enhanced keys will now work :)

Also on DOS 2.11 and newer you can add COUNTRY=xx (xx being the country number) to your config.sys to set date and time layouts :)

willyk
November 21st, 2006, 06:37 PM
Greetings, I'm new here but an old PC geek.
I was just playing with my 8080 XT clone collection and found
you guys. I have a similar rtc + io card, but not identical.
Do you have software for the clock portion?
I found http://alienc.netcentre.ca/gallante/ibmpc
which has a link to mmclock which works with mine and has docs.
My system came with a timer.com program which also does the job.
Both apparently are based on the National Semiconductor MM58167A chip
for the timer.

I have just posted elsewhere about another card which only has a clock,
"Clock Plus Card". I'm looking for software for it, it is not compatible
with above. The timer chip is different, mitsubishi M5L8255AP-5.

If you get desperate, and I have just been doing this,
you can use a port/com sniffer programs (I wrote some
if you can't find one, but debug works) to find where the
ports are, then start changing dips and see where they go.
I know this is not elegant, but when in doubt go for it.
Otherwise use it as it is... ;)

Regards will

modem7
November 22nd, 2006, 02:48 AM
I've put my small collection of programs for PC/XT clock boards at:
http://members.dodo.com.au/~iamextinct/rtc.htm

I'll add a couple of more in the next few days.

WillyK. If your TIMER.COM is different to the one I've got, then please send me a copy.

Mike Chambers
November 22nd, 2006, 11:03 AM
wow, what a sexy clean XT! i like the black case, very sleek.

as for that mystery card... never seen one of those! is it some sort of extra RAM card or something? that's all i can think of considering there are zero ports on it. just a couple chips and a DIP switch. interesting.

nige the hippy
November 22nd, 2006, 01:27 PM
looking at that mystery card, it could be a dongle.
the 82s123 is a 32 by 8 bipolar prom,
the 688 is a magnitude comparator, and it looks like it's on the address side of the bus, so that's probably doing the address decoding ( comparing with the address set on the dip switches) to map the prom into memory or i/o space
the 374 is a latch, with output enable to control access to the data bus
the 123 is a flip flop (probably glue) & the 00 (nand) is glue

could also be a 32 character message from the other side.

PS have you tried the bios yet?

dongfeng
November 23rd, 2006, 01:24 AM
This is a thread I was suprised to read after such a long time!

I have the clock card working now, the standard AST driver worked (I think it is called ASTCLOCK.COM). The card is similar to the AST SixPakPlus but without the built in memory expansion.

Regarding the mystery card, I am pretty sure it is a dongle, but any way to work out what it is a dongle for?

I will check the Epson BIOS tonight! I left it at work and then took some time off... which was stupid of me :lol:

dongfeng
November 23rd, 2006, 01:28 AM
Another thing I had problems with, was the keyboard. It went very intermittant and eventually stopped working. Quite amazingly, I managed to find an identical one locally, same case, part number and only a month newer :)

I also fitted an 8-bit network card, and with Mike's software I can use the XT to host a website! I am waiting for his IRC software to be finished now, hehe :p

Mike Chambers
November 23rd, 2006, 01:47 PM
Another thing I had problems with, was the keyboard. It went very intermittant and eventually stopped working. Quite amazingly, I managed to find an identical one locally, same case, part number and only a month newer :)

I also fitted an 8-bit network card, and with Mike's software I can use the XT to host a website! I am waiting for his IRC software to be finished now, hehe :p

lol, glad you're getting good use of it! i havent worked on the IRC client for a while, i get way too sidetracked! but i've really been meaning to work on it. maybe before the end of the month or early next month i'll have it up and ready. :)