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View Full Version : Restoring a Wang PC



SpidersWeb
March 2nd, 2014, 05:58 PM
Although strictly not a PC clone, it was close, and came with an MDA emulator and IBM PC emulator and did run DOS? So hopefully it's allowed in here.

Does anybody own one of these?

Does anybody have a set of disk images?
I have the originals but a few bad sectors are popping up and I'm crossing my fingers I can eventually get them to read by doing a second pass.

My story so far:

- 2 x machines, no keyboards/displays (128KB 8086-8 and 256KB 8086-8 + memory cards / video cards / HDD cards etc)
- purchased keyboard off ebay (ouch)
- computer passes self tests and makes awesome lighting effect in the process - see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmGo4-I7v6g
- If I remove the video cards (plural) I can use RS232 to see the boot sequence - "WANG PROFESSIONAL COMPUTER REV 2.40"

From here I can get it to attempt to floppy boot, Winchester, serial etc. If it starts on the hard-drive it brings up messages about the Wang Partition Startup Manager etc, then a delay, then the hard drive accesses for a while then it hangs the machine. (Messages are copyright style titles, not errors).

I've tried 3 different floppy drives now - and always get Format Error when using my originals - but those same drives are able to image those disks perfectly fine on a normal PC.
Any ideas on that? The original drive will not seek - on the Wang or a modern PC - so I'm substituting. I used another original in an IBM PC a while back, so I know they're compatible. The only thing the Wang does differently - is instead of a twisted cable setup - you use straight through cables - separate cable per drive, but standard 34 pin.

So if anyone knows anything about the reinstall or boot procedures, or has a user manual (I have the 1985 Tech Ref from Bitsavers) - I'd love to know anything you know. I will be playing with it some more - but I'd love any additional resources / information. I could be just missing some simple detail without realizing.

SpidersWeb
March 3rd, 2014, 10:28 AM
I had the thought that I was using the disks provided with a machine dated 1987 and a much earlier motherboard - perhaps the old booter didn't support 9SPT.
So I switched the ROM's, it's now a WANG PROFESSIONAL COMPUTER REV 2.50 but behaving the exact same way.

I'm still getting Format Error.
The original drive doesn't seek, but the replacement drives do, and there is a test in ROM which allows me to position the heads as I please. I've been given an older version of the boot disks, so will try those and see how I get on.

SomeGuy
March 12th, 2014, 11:41 AM
Someone just put some ~1986 Wang system disks up on eBay, but the nutjob split them all up and wants a pile of arms and legs just for a couple of floppy disks without manuals:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/Vintage-Computing-/11189/i.html?_from=R40&_mdo=Computers-Networking&_armrs=1&_pcats=58058&_nkw=wang&_in_kw=1&_ex_kw=&_sacat=11189&_udlo=&_udhi=&_ftrt=901&_ftrv=1&_sabdlo=&_sabdhi=&_samilow=&_samihi=&_sadis=15&_stpos=&_sargn=-1%26saslc%3D1&_salic=1&_fss=1&_fsradio=%26LH_SpecificSeller%3D1&_saslop=1&_sasl=+comiccardsnmore&_sop=10&_dmd=1&_ipg=50

But they do have "make an offer" available.

Never knew there was a WANG OEM of Windows 3.0. I wonder if that is actually for the Wang Professional Computer, or just for generic PC hardware.

geoffm3
March 12th, 2014, 01:08 PM
Since the head steps this probably isn't it, but since the Wang uses a straight through cable, are the drive select jumpers set properly?

SpidersWeb
March 12th, 2014, 09:03 PM
The Wang DOS, and Parition Utility are for the Wang Professional Computer - the others are the Wang PC (286/386 etc). His pricing is rediculous :/
There has been complete systems on ebay - one I can afford and is an epic collection - but postage to NZ would be in the 400-500 dollar range.

geoff - got given some Wang DOS images - 3 of 3 - and the machine certainly does like them (No more invalid format type messages) but I keep getting random issues - I need to do some drive maintenance as the Wang seems to be very intolerant. For example I'll write the images with a drive, then use that same drive (reconfigured) in the Wang, and sometimes it makes all the right "I'm booting DOS" noises, othertimes it complains about "Drive not ready" or read errors or it stops for no reason.

My concern at the moment, is that potentially Wang DOS expects a video card - because once booting starts I get no output via the console anymore :( It sounded like it booted right through on one attempt, and each time I pressed a key it accessed the drive again, but nothing on console :/ I'll have to do my drive maintenance, and toy with the disk images to confirm.

What is awesome, is because it's MS DOS based, the disks can be edited on a normal DOS PC without any problems.

Still very very keen to archive *any* Wang Professional software. Especially a newer version of DOS, because my original disks are a set of 5 not a set of 3.
It seems all my disks are dead, as SomeGuy pointed out to me, it's likely somebody used them to save data on an Apple II :( missing 35 of my 80 tracks :(

SpidersWeb
March 14th, 2014, 09:30 PM
Used a Shugart 360KB drive that was originally from another Wang PC.
This worked well, and judging by noises (and the fact key strokes make stuff happen) - it booted DOS just fine!

However, I don't think Wang MS DOS supports using the serial port as a default output device - because once it starts booting, I stop getting any output. So now I need an 800x600@60Hz TTL monochrome display - neato. From what I gather, many Wang terminals used the same display, so I'll just have to keep an eye out. Finding a tested one, on it's own, for sale at a reasonable price does feel a bit unlikely - can't find a Multisync display locally either (been looking for a few months).

SomeGuy
March 17th, 2014, 07:09 AM
There is another set of ~1986 Wang Professional Computer disks with manuals on ebay here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ALL-ORIGINAL-WANG-PC-MANUALS-and-SYSTEM-SOFTWARE-DISKS-Professional-Computer-S1-/181353525481?pt=US_Vintage_Computing_Manuals_Merch andise&hash=item2a398330e9#ht_1698wt_1124 but again they want a few arms and legs for it.

Have you tried putting "ctty com1" in your autoexec.bat to redirect IO to the COM port?

barney
April 11th, 2014, 02:09 AM
I have a Wang 286 16MHZ system myself and I had a hell of a time getting a hold of the system disks. I'm sure I still have them if you want a copy of them. Let me know. Thanks.


Someone just put some ~1986 Wang system disks up on eBay, but the nutjob split them all up and wants a pile of arms and legs just for a couple of floppy disks without manuals:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/Vintage-Computing-/11189/i.html?_from=R40&_mdo=Computers-Networking&_armrs=1&_pcats=58058&_nkw=wang&_in_kw=1&_ex_kw=&_sacat=11189&_udlo=&_udhi=&_ftrt=901&_ftrv=1&_sabdlo=&_sabdhi=&_samilow=&_samihi=&_sadis=15&_stpos=&_sargn=-1%26saslc%3D1&_salic=1&_fss=1&_fsradio=%26LH_SpecificSeller%3D1&_saslop=1&_sasl=+comiccardsnmore&_sop=10&_dmd=1&_ipg=50

But they do have "make an offer" available.

Never knew there was a WANG OEM of Windows 3.0. I wonder if that is actually for the Wang Professional Computer, or just for generic PC hardware.

SpidersWeb
April 14th, 2014, 12:00 PM
Have you tried putting "ctty com1" in your autoexec.bat to redirect IO to the COM port?
Not yet. It's a bit of a frustrating exercise because I can't see any startup or error messages once DOS starts booting.
I should give this a whirl - but looking through the code I could see it's not the standard MS DOS we know and love - it could be CTTY SER1 or maybe CTTY isn't there - on the bright side I won't need to use MODE because I recently got an RS232 signal analyser with auto-detect (overkill but hey!). I'm confident the machine's hardware is OK.

For the most part I really need a screen - so I'm just keeping an eye out. Disks in particular I'll really need in the future will probably be the low level format tool and partitioning utility.
I really hope that somebody buys those high priced untested disks, discovers they're readable, and uploads the images. If Make Offer comes back up I'll take a stab at it.

barney - I posted up the setup disks for the Wang PC200 and 300 series a while back if that's the model range you mean? I've got a PC-240-3 (286) - great little machine - they were IBM compatible, the original Professional Computer is a whole different beast.