View Full Version : Ibm 5150

July 23rd, 2006, 10:43 AM
Following with my recent success in getting a perfect working XT a couple of weeks ago, I've now picked up a 5150!

It's very grubby, having sat in a warehouse for many years, but it should clean up nicely. All I can tell from the photos is that it's a dual-drive system and it boots into BASIC 1.10. It also has the monochrome 5151 monitor. No disks or keyboard, sadly.

The same guy also had an EARLY 5150, 16-64k and 3-screw case, but the mainboard was dead. I'll probably pass on that due to postage costs. Very rare in the UK, since the IBM's never officially went on sale until 1983!

All I need now is an AT :D

July 23rd, 2006, 11:48 AM
You'r lucky!... take some photos when it arrive.

By the way... when was 64-256kB motherboard in 5150 introduced?

July 23rd, 2006, 01:07 PM
I will post pictures, certainly! I might do a before/after photo session, showing how to properly clean the computers. I didn't do that with my XT, which I regret.

I think the 64-256kB mainboards came in 1982/1983? Not exactly sure, but someone here will know!

I am also wondering if the diagnostics disk for an XT is the same as on a 5150?

July 23rd, 2006, 10:52 PM
I think that diag disks are the same.
DD that I have used had option to save log onto cassette.

July 24th, 2006, 01:35 AM
I think the 64-256kB mainboards came in 1982/1983? Not exactly sure, but someone here will know!
See http://www.myoldcomputers.com/museum/comp/ibmpc83.htm

July 24th, 2006, 01:44 AM
I am also wondering if the diagnosis disk for an XT is the same as on a 5150?
The diagnostics disks are very hardware dependent.
In the 80's, if we wanted to see if a PC clone was really the quoted "100% IBM compatible", one thing we always did was to see if the the IBM diagnostics disk ran without error on the clone.

There are subtle hardware changes between the PC and XT, and so there maybe problems. Maybe when IBM made the XT diagnostic disk, it designed it so that it would run on a PC as well.

Anyone ever tried this?

July 24th, 2006, 03:58 AM
Diag disks are universal, or I have version for 5150...

And... can someone list all BIOS versions for 5150?

July 24th, 2006, 05:42 AM
I'm quite certain that the diagnostics disks for an XT work just fine on a PC. Of course the ones created after the XT was introduced are going to check the 'model' byte to determine what is appropriate to test. I'm sure it's not going to check the cassette interface on the XT. :-)

The real test would be to get an early diagnostics disk for the PC and run it on an XT.

July 24th, 2006, 06:21 AM
I didn't mind checking c-port.
My diag disk have option to save log on cassette recorder.

July 24th, 2006, 09:31 AM
I have two XT diagnostics disks - 2.02 and 2.05 - I haven't seen one "newer" than 2.05 yet. It would be interesting to see if it works on the 5150, cetainly there was no option for saving to cassette that I can recall.

I'll open the machine up when I get it to find out the date of manufacture.

Luke, do you have a 5150 too? Since you mentioned the cassette port.

July 24th, 2006, 09:43 AM
Sadly - I don't have 5150, only 5160 but I'd pay well if I had money for 5150.
I don't know what ver. of diag disk I have but I'am sure that there is mentioned option to save log on cassette.

July 24th, 2006, 11:18 AM
I am sure you can find a 5150! It took me 4 years to find a decent machine I could afford, but now I have an XT and a 5150. I also have a dead XT system unit. I am running out of space...

I will check my diagnostics disks later!

July 25th, 2006, 12:45 AM
can someone list all BIOS versions for 5150?
According to Upgrading & Repairing PC's (fifth edition):

Release 1: 04/24/81
Release 2: 10/19/81
Release 3: 10/27/82

All used the 'ID Byte' of FF.
None had a 'Sub-model Byte'

July 25th, 2006, 01:49 AM
can someone list all BIOS versions for 5150?
Guessing what the next question will be: How can you tell which release you have?
I don't have a 5150 yet (very soon though) but on my 5160 (with a BIOS dated 11/08/82) both of the following techniques work:

1. Run CheckIt 2.1 (see http://members.dodo.com.au/~iamextinct/ ) then go to the Sysinfo/Configuration page.

2. Run DEBUG per the following:

FFFF:0000 EA 5B E0 00 F0 31 31 2F-30 38 2F 38 32 FF FE 28 .[...11/08/82..(

July 26th, 2006, 12:58 PM
The 5150 arrived today! It's already been dismantled and I have washed the chassis, dusted off the mainboard and PSU, both drives have been throughly cleaned. So far, it has scrubbed up lovely - tomorrows task will be to clean the case lid and the 5151 display.

It was made in 1984, and appears to have a full 256kB on the mainboard. I think the expansion card has another 256kB on it, but I won't be able to tell anything more unless I get a suitable keyboard for it. Dual FH IBM disk drives and no hard disk. 64W PSU! Stickers on the display show that it used to belong to Enfield County Council, which is near to London, so I guess it was used for admin and office tasks.

One thing I have learnt is that the 5150 does not show the counting of the memory when booting like the XT does. Also, when used without a keyboard, the 5150 boots into BASIC, whereas the XT says "Press F1 to Continue".

Pics to come...

July 26th, 2006, 01:06 PM
The marks on the display look like scratches, but it's a strange dust that will clean off nicely. Shame about the burn-in though, but it's not that noticable.


July 26th, 2006, 01:38 PM
After testing the 5150 and seeing that it does indeed boot with no problems, it is time to dismantle and give it a through clean!

Mainboard before and after:

Also the dual full-height 360kB drives after being cleaned, oiled and run through a 5.25" cleaning diskette.

And finally, the bare chassis after being washed and scrubbed (don't forget to cover up the date stamp as it is paper!). Also had to use white spirit to remove the stickers from the back. Now there is no dust or dead spiders in the case.

Reassembled and being tested:

Tomorrow - cleaning the case and the 5151!

July 26th, 2006, 01:56 PM
I have a few 5150's I can afford to part with, Luke. One of them has replacement 5.25" floppies, and only one is the very old 64KB board, but that makes them less expensive.

It's nice to see somebody really going all the way with computer restoration...

I have a few that need that kind of treatment, were I to get the time!

Micom 2000
July 26th, 2006, 02:33 PM
Great job. Only wish I had that kind of focus and dedication. Looks good on you.


July 26th, 2006, 03:12 PM
To me, one of the most interesting things in getting a new item is taking it apart and giving it a through clean. Computers seem to get really dirty and dusty over time, so to get it back to an almost-new-and-gleaming condition is very satisfying :)

I would say it took 2-3 hours to do the above, and maybe another 2 to finish the remainder. Luckily, I have holiday time from work at the moment!

July 26th, 2006, 03:34 PM
Yeah, I washed a few VIC-20 cases last Saturday. I got rid of a bit of dirt, but as we all know, the yellowing doesn't go away with soap and water. Yet it disgruntled me a bit that a computer stored in a crowded (dirty?) basement for years catches less dust than one kept nicely in a desk drawer. I thought about taking pictures, but didn't.

Since before, I know about a web page that step by step goes through restoration of a BBC Master 128, and yesterday I saw a similar page describing how to restore a Commodore Plus/4. Maybe this is something more people should do, in particular with more difficult systems to disassemble properly.

July 27th, 2006, 01:46 AM
About an hours progress this morning, but unfortunately rain stopped play so the 5151 will have to wait until it clears up.

The best cleaning product I have found so far - Cif and a scrubbing brush! You can see how mucky and scratched the case was.

The front panel was removed (5 screws), washed and scrubbed as was the metal back panel. The front cleaned up very well, but the metal cover was really scratched on the left hand side and on the top. There was all sorts of pen marks over it too. I found that automotive scratch-remover paste works wonders! Compare the photo of the side with the ones on the second page. Here are the "after" pics:




As you can see, I have removed the old network card from the expansion slots, leaving two available. I'll have to look in my box-o-bits to see if I have any blanking covers to fit.

July 27th, 2006, 01:56 AM
Yeah, I washed a few VIC-20 cases last Saturday. I got rid of a bit of dirt, but as we all know, the yellowing doesn't go away with soap and water. Yet it disgruntled me a bit that a computer stored in a crowded (dirty?) basement for years catches less dust than one kept nicely in a desk drawer. I thought about taking pictures, but didn't.

It's very true, the computer that have been used the most are always a nasty yellow colour. I have two VIC-20s, one was hardly used, and another was used heavily. The unused one is a beautiful white, the heavily used one is a disgusting dark yellow! Of course, the unused one is broken due to lack of use (I've swapped the boards over now, he he)

Since before, I know about a web page that step by step goes through restoration of a BBC Master 128, and yesterday I saw a similar page describing how to restore a Commodore Plus/4. Maybe this is something more people should do, in particular with more difficult systems to disassemble properly.

I might do just that with the photos from this thread, it would be useful I think!

July 27th, 2006, 04:42 AM
On the topic of yellowing, I noticed that there are two tabs on the top of the IBM 5151 display that cover the case screws. The IBMs where painted beige, whereas these tabs where just plastic coloured to match. And guess what? The tabs are a nasty yellow, whereas the IBM is still the correct colour.


July 27th, 2006, 05:08 AM
The sun has come back out, and now the 5151 has taken it's turn to be cleaned up.

You have to clean the front of the display very carefully, as it is nearly impossible to dismantle it. DO NOT use water! I used Cif cream cleaner on a dry brush, and it does work. Wipe it off with a towel, then use a rinsed-out towel to clean afterwards. The back of the display can be removed and cleaned.

So, now for the beauty shots :D






All I need now is a keyboard......

July 27th, 2006, 05:12 AM
Looks great!

July 27th, 2006, 06:15 AM
All I need now is a keyboard......
You'll probably end up cleaning that too when you get ahold of one! :-)

Nice job of cleaning it. The computer would probably generate at least 25% higher bids in an auction if presented in that condition?

July 27th, 2006, 06:54 AM
Of course the keyboard would get its chance too :D

I am sure it would be worth a fair bit more than I paid, simply becuase it is clean. I noticed that on eBay scruffy PCs and XTs sell for relatively little, whereas nice clean ones complete with manuals can fetch horrific prices.

I don't have any manuals for it, but some will turn up on eBay with time.

Earlier in the year there was a 5150 identical to this one, but was complete with the Guide to Operations and DOS manuals, along with the original boxes, which fetched 1,100!

Mine isn't for sale though, I'm going to enjoy it :)

July 27th, 2006, 07:16 AM
About an hours progress this morning, but unfortunately rain stopped play so the 5151 will have to wait until it clears up.

The best cleaning product I have found so far - Cif and a scrubbing brush!

Funny, as in exactly what I used to clean up my 5160 :)

July 27th, 2006, 07:29 AM
It's fantastic stuff! Slightly abrasive to take away the dirty layer, yet it won't do any damage or scratch. I highly recommend it :D

July 27th, 2006, 08:21 AM
Great computer! ;)
Screen on 5151 looks much better that on 5153. Like someone said: "CGA was a crap" ;)

I'am going to do general cleaning to my Xt now... you know I've got a keyboard for it :-P

And... mbbrutman I suggest you to put BIOSes specifications to 5150 vs. 5160 thread.

July 27th, 2006, 08:28 AM
That is very true, the 5151 seems to have much better text clarity than the 5153, and also easier to read. But the CGA is colour... I don't know which to prefer! For games, 5153 is better, but for typing, 5151. The 5151 also seems a lot lighter than the 5153.

Post some photos of your XT! It's always nice to see pictures of others :)

July 27th, 2006, 08:32 AM
I just double-checked the memory in the 5150. The mainboard has 256kB, and the expansion card has 192kB (3x63kB) - 448kB in total. I have two other expansion cards in my dead XT, a 256kB and a 128kB. I might consider putting them to my 5150, but even with 448kB it is sooooo slowwwww to boot... it takes over a minute - 640kB would take the rest of the day :razz: Also it would only give me one expansion socket remaining. I can see why the XT with 8 expansions was so popular :lol:

July 27th, 2006, 10:20 AM
Okay, when I'll go back home I'll make general clean and post some pictures.

If you want put full-lenght hercules card in your 5150, if you could find old one then it would be quite original.
Then you will be able to play games and design some graphics programs.

July 27th, 2006, 10:58 AM
Yes, you can! Start a new thread about your XT! I always like to learn about systems of others :)

Hercules card is a good idea, but I have XT for games. Maybe I will find one, I will put it in. Actually my XT has Hercules CGA card, I don't know how different this is to the IBM one.

I just realised, actually, 5150 DOES have a total of 640kB memory! I had counted the memory on the card incorrectly, not realising that the third row was 256kB, I thought they where all 64kB :rolleyes: So that is 384kB on the expansion card.

August 10th, 2006, 11:20 AM
http://cgi.ebay.com/VINTAGE-IBM-PC-XT-AT-HERCULES-Video-card_W0QQitemZ150020462226QQihZ005QQcategoryZ4193Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

This might interest you - it's propably original Hercules card...

August 10th, 2006, 12:38 PM
I think I might have a spare (old) hercules card- just help me think in a few weeks as I'll be on holiday now.

p&p from Holland to England should not be the problem.

August 11th, 2006, 03:11 AM
Thank you for the info, Luke!

Jorg, if you do have a spare Hercules I would be interested, please let me know otherwise I'll take my luck on that eBay one :)

My XT has a 5153 CGA display with a Hercules card. I think the model is GB200, but I can't find any info on the Internet. Does anyone know anything about this?

Hercules CGA front (http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_herculescga01.JPG)
Hercules CGA back (http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/xt/newxt/xt_herculescga02.JPG)

August 11th, 2006, 04:16 AM
Hercules also made a CGA-compatible card, the Hercules Color Card, which could coexist with a monochrome HGC and still allow both graphics pages to be used.

Found in wiki.

August 11th, 2006, 10:09 AM
I tried to plug in 5151 to Hercules HCG colour card... but there is nothing, just blank :(

August 11th, 2006, 10:15 AM
It still work?

This is CGA card. It work with CGa monitors.

August 11th, 2006, 01:31 PM
I did it by accident a couple of weeks ago, my 5150 and XT where stacked on top of each other and I plugged the wrong machine!

Luckily it did not damage anything. But it is Hercules CGA, not IBM CGA card.

August 16th, 2006, 01:14 PM
Look what arrived in the post today - original IBM 5150 keyboard! Many many thanks to Terry Yager for this :D


Today I have been having fun with Microsoft Adventure on 5150 ;)

August 16th, 2006, 01:18 PM
if I can be so gauche to ask, what did the freigt cost?

August 16th, 2006, 01:25 PM
Freight was about $30 I think, and that was posted in late June. Sounds expensive, but it's still cheaper than the last one that sold on UK eBay :( They are so hard to find here!

Terry Yager
August 16th, 2006, 01:28 PM
Got another one, if someone needs it.


August 16th, 2006, 01:55 PM
Right now all I have is a 5150 clone keyboard with a label on the back that reads "CHAMPION KEYBOARD" - it has 82 keys and one blank that doesn't push down...

I wouldn't mind completing my 5150 set!

August 16th, 2006, 01:58 PM
$30 isn't horrible I guess. I guess a whole computer + the keyboard would probably run around $125 give or take. Who did you use Terry?

Terry Yager
August 16th, 2006, 03:15 PM
Ummn, I think that was USPS, Economy (surface) Mail. AirMail would have still been under fitty, IIRC. If yer tryin' to do the math, figger a nine-pound package (the board weighs eight + packaging), from 48449.


Terry Yager
August 16th, 2006, 03:23 PM
Ummn, in the picture, I can't see the right-hand 'ear' (or whatever it's called) for the kbd leg. Is that a trick of the lighting, or did it go missing/broken in transit (I'll send another)?


August 16th, 2006, 10:24 PM
The box was rather battered when it arrived, so I guess it went missing in transit. The leg is still there and it does still works though :)

Terry Yager
August 17th, 2006, 10:29 AM
I'll send another, if ya don't mind installing it yourself.


August 17th, 2006, 10:37 AM
That must've been pretty harsh treatment during shipping - IBM keyboards are *tough*.

August 17th, 2006, 02:02 PM
If you have one to spare (as in, on a broken keyboard), let me know how much shipping is :) But it's probably not worth it, and after all the keyboard does still work perfectly. The leg even works, just the little tab is missing. Not really a problem.

Terry Yager
August 17th, 2006, 02:50 PM
I don't think it'll be difficult to dig up a 'parts' keyboard. Sorry for not packing it better, but I'm kinda of the belief that those things are practically indestructable.


August 17th, 2006, 02:53 PM
It's not your fault Terry! The box was pretty bashed about, and it also looked like it had been opened and resealed. It still works perfectly, which is pretty impressive given it was in the hands of the postal services for 7 weeks!!!

Terry Yager
August 17th, 2006, 02:57 PM
I haven't tried it yet, but I do believe that if one were to take a couple of pot-shots with a small-caliber handgun, the bullets really would bounce off.


August 18th, 2006, 02:05 AM
The keyboard was fairly clean, but it's not going to escape the Cif treatment :twisted:

If you where wondering what a Model F looks like broken down into its component parts... this is it :D


Here is a breakdown of what gives the keyboards that wonderful clicking sound - the (in)famous buckling spring!


One thing I did find is that without the key caps, the spring plates fall forwards and set to the "on" position giving the 5150 a 303 keyboard error on bootup. I also found that you should tilt the keyboard backwards when replacing the caps, else they can stick in the on position, again giving a keyboard error.

Can't upload a picture of the finished product until later :)

August 18th, 2006, 02:07 AM
BTW, I also found out that putting the keyboard back together is VERY tricky and involves a bit of selotape to keep the spacebar spring from jamming into the incorrect position.

If you want to save a LOT of time, leave the space bar in position and don't dismantle the spring plates from the board ;)

August 19th, 2006, 06:38 AM
And the finished product :)



August 19th, 2006, 06:46 AM

Now, can anybody recommend me any software that is can work with floppy drive and monochrome 5151? At the moment I only have DOS, DisplayWrite1 and Microsoft Adventure :)

August 19th, 2006, 08:41 AM
101 Monochrome Mazes, Typing Tutor, VisiCalc and a few more were introduced with or shortly after the PC and work on mono.

Terry Yager
August 19th, 2006, 09:00 AM
Beautiful! Well worth the effort.