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Trixter
March 4th, 2014, 07:01 PM
This post is a little weird -- bear with me.

I'm going to a demoparty in June where I plan to enter a demo running on an 808x with CGA, output to a projector so everyone can see it large. I did the same thing last year, achieved by shipping a PCjr via the USPS back and forth to the partyplace, but this year's entry needs a sound card so I can't do the PCjr again; I'm considering what other options exist for bringing a portable/luggable with me on the plane. I have a 5155, but according to United's new baggage size rules, it's dimensions are too large to bring on the plane (it might fit as-is but I would be wrapping it in bubble wrap. I also have two Panasonic Sr. Partners but they are very fragile and temperamental so I won't want to bring those. Even though it's a 286, I would love to bring my Compaq Portable III, but it doesn't have composite CGA output, only TTL RGB (not sure how I'd hook that up to a projector).

I'm not beyond trying to acquire something new that would be appropriate, but it has to accept two ISA cards, one for a Sound Blaster and another for an XTIDE variant. Doesn't need a built-in monitor, although if it does, it doesn't have to be a glass CRT. Any ideas, or should I resign myself to shipping a system back and forth again? Is it possible to convert CGA's TTL RGBI to something (composite, etc.) a projector can display?

Maverick1978
March 5th, 2014, 09:17 AM
Does it have to be an 8088-class machine, or can it be a 286/386 class machine?

If the latter, you might want to look around for some Dolch luggables, built for industrial use, typically as network sniffers. They're usually pretty expensive on eBay (desireable for their Cherry switch keyboards), but they can be had in the ~$150 range (or less if you're lucky). They can accommodate most ISA cards without trouble, so you should be able to pop a CGA card in there without problems. They're also smaller than the Compaq III and will likely work as carry-ons

I can get you dimensions of mine if you want. It's a Dolch PAC-64, IIRC with a 200mhz processor and built-in VGA. I got it for $80 shipped, originally purchased for the keyboard, but after playing with it, I couldn't bear to cannibalize it.

eeguru
March 5th, 2014, 09:20 AM
The solution is obviously to build a sound card for the peanut! I'll get right on it.

Also you could do a 8088 ISA SBC with a passive backplane like Sergey's. It would allow you to break it down to individual cards and store it anyway you like for travel. Take an PicoPSU with you for ease of power.

Great Hierophant
March 5th, 2014, 09:34 AM
I suppose a Disney Sound Source or Covox device is out of the question, otherwise you could use it. I think MediaVision implemented its Thunderboard on a parallel dongle, but the programming would be quite different from a real Sound Blaster.

A Tandy 1000 is generally smaller than a IBM PC Portable, maybe it will fit within the regulations.

SpidersWeb
March 5th, 2014, 09:55 AM
All the 8088 CGA portables (that aren't huge) with composite I can think of have a proprietary expansion bus, like the Toshiba T1200 etc. CGA composite outputs are quite often monochrome too (well on the machines I've used they were - someone correct me if that's not accurate).

You could consider investing in a half decent CGA->VGA converter - I've been considering this myself, just really hard with their pricing sometimes :/

Only portables (suitable to go on a plane without wrapping) I have with ISA are 386+VGA - Toshiba T3200SX/T5200 etc

barythrin
March 5th, 2014, 10:02 AM
Don't planes allow one computer/computer bag that doesn't count as luggage? :-) Could you add a composite video card to the Portable II? Seems like a good system to take. I'm not 100% sure what other systems you have but there are also small form factor XT clones out there too I think but that might require buying and figuring out what they are. What about your 6300? Pretty rugged.

deathshadow
March 5th, 2014, 10:24 AM
Shame you need a sound card, I'd think along the lines of something like my sharp PC-7000... though that also lacks a CGA output without the option board (which I don't have either)...

How complex do you need for a 'sound card'? Could you squeak by on something like a Covox or Disney Sound Source? (something I'm adding a simple 4 voice synth support for to my current library)

Compgeke
March 5th, 2014, 11:58 AM
Would a Compaq Portable work? The original one does CGA and can support a sound card while being portable. I don't believe the video card outputs anything in 80x25 mode however, but don't quote me on that.

Trixter
March 5th, 2014, 12:10 PM
Does it have to be an 8088-class machine, or can it be a 286/386 class machine?

386 would be acceptable; anything faster than that and it wouldn't be an impressive demonstration.


The solution is obviously to build a sound card for the peanut! I'll get right on it


LOL!


I suppose a Disney Sound Source or Covox device is out of the question, otherwise you could use it. I think MediaVision implemented its Thunderboard on a parallel dongle, but the programming would be quite different from a real Sound Blaster.

I need a Sound Blaster for DMA (background) playback, so these won't work for my purposes, unfortunately.


A Tandy 1000 is generally smaller than a IBM PC Portable, maybe it will fit within the regulations.

Hm... a "slim" PC might be the only thing that is practical. Interesting; I'll see what I have in storage.



You could consider investing in a half decent CGA->VGA converter - I've been considering this myself, just really hard with their pricing sometimes :/

Those don't actually work with real IBM CGA -- they only have RGB pins whereas IBM CGA is RGBI. The output of the converter is the lower 8 colors only, and color index #6 (brown) is the wrong color (yellow).


Could you add a composite video card to the Portable II?

No, since the internal gas plasma display is driven from the onboard video.


What about your 6300? Pretty rugged.

No composite CGA output :-) and they're not as rugged as you think.


(something I'm adding a simple 4 voice synth support for to my current library)

I look forward to hearing the results!

Trixter
March 5th, 2014, 12:15 PM
Would a Compaq Portable work?

Normally yes, but IIRC it has the same dimensions as my IBM 5155, so it won't fit in the overhead bin.

pearce_jj
March 5th, 2014, 12:25 PM
How about just the mobo and as suggested a picoPSU? "Here's my bag of bits from 80s and it does this..." :D

Unknown_K
March 5th, 2014, 12:34 PM
If you have to have a soundblaster you will need either a full PC or an Industrial chassis (PC card and an ISA backplane for the sound card). Would an IBM PS/2 model 25 work (MCGA should do CGA if they have a video out, can take an 8bit ISA card for soundblaster, not overly big).

kb2syd
March 5th, 2014, 01:01 PM
Where is this? If you're going to be within a reasonable drive I'll deliver a 5155 to you when you get here. I'm sure others would do so also.

Kelly

ajacocks
March 5th, 2014, 01:45 PM
As far as CGA output to a projector goes, you could use one of the CGA video DAC boards that I am making, along with a GBS-8220 arcade scaler. That combo works _very_ well for CGA output to modern monitors.

- Alex

RWallmow
March 5th, 2014, 02:15 PM
IBM PC Convertible (5140)? It's got a proprietary expansion connector, but its electrically ISA. There's been talk of making an ISA breakout for it in the past, not sure if anyone's done it though. Someone talked about it here http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?27545-IBM-5140-ISA-Bus-connector pinouts also at that link.

RWallmow
March 5th, 2014, 02:18 PM
Normally yes, but IIRC it has the same dimensions as my IBM 5155, so it won't fit in the overhead bin.

Its been a while since I've had hands on a 5155, but I actually remember it being SMALLER than a Compaq Portable I, but I'm a bit hazy on that, it was in the 90's when I got rid of my 5155 and Portable I (both were missing MANY bits and pieces, but in hind sight I should have kept them for parts).

wesleyfurr
March 5th, 2014, 03:54 PM
As far as CGA output to a projector goes, you could use one of the CGA video DAC boards that I am making, along with a GBS-8220 arcade scaler. That combo works _very_ well for CGA output to modern monitors.

- Alex

There you go teasing me again... ;-) I'm anxiously awaiting ordering information so I can put in an order for one! :-)

Thanks,

Wesley

Great Hierophant
March 5th, 2014, 04:22 PM
A Model 25 would be tricky to fit in an overhead storage bin and its probably very heavy. Moreover, its about as CGA compatible as VGA.

deathshadow
March 5th, 2014, 04:26 PM
Those don't actually work with real IBM CGA -- they only have RGB pins whereas IBM CGA is RGBI. The output of the converter is the lower 8 colors only, and color index #6 (brown) is the wrong color (yellow).
Their inputs are analog. I have one where I just put together a simple 2 bit ladder DAC tied across all three channels... As you mention it's ochre instead of brown, but if that matters I wouldn't think some simple gate logic to detect 0x06 to change out the resistance on green should be that big a deal.

Trixter
March 5th, 2014, 05:30 PM
How about just the mobo and as suggested a picoPSU? "Here's my bag of bits from 80s and it does this..." :D

LOL, that would definitely fit, but I don't know if I could forgive myself if the board flexed and snapped during transport.


Where is this? If you're going to be within a reasonable drive I'll deliver a 5155 to you when you get here. I'm sure others would do so also.

Cambridge, at MIT. That's a very sweet offer, but I couldn't ask that of anyone.


As far as CGA output to a projector goes, you could use one of the CGA video DAC boards that I am making, along with a GBS-8220 arcade scaler. That combo works _very_ well for CGA output to modern monitors.

I'd love to know more about this -- not just for this question, but for a future project that will do very strange things with CGA that I would like to try to capture with a conventional capture board (as opposed to shooting the screen with a video camera). Do you have more info about this on the web somewhere?


Its been a while since I've had hands on a 5155, but I actually remember it being SMALLER than a Compaq Portable I

I looked at the United luggage sizer today and got confused -- it looks like a 5155 will fit. I need to measure my own to see if it will and re-compare.

PhilipA
March 6th, 2014, 06:30 AM
From United:

Carry-on baggage allowed

Each traveler can bring on board one carry-on bag plus one personal item free of charge.

Maximum dimensions for a carry-on bag are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm), including handles and wheels
Maximum dimensions for your personal item, such as a shoulder bag, backpack, laptop bag or other small item, are 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches (22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm)

Please see our Carry-on Baggage page for more information.


I just measured my Compaq Portable I

9.25" x 16.5" x 20.5"

It's a little deep, by 2" for the overhead bin, but the taper (placed in handle-first) that the case has would probably allow it to fit. Makes me wonder what they have stuffed behind the overhead bins in the refits of the cabins to lose a couple inches of space.


--Phil

Trixter
March 6th, 2014, 08:48 PM
I just measured my Compaq Portable I

9.25" x 16.5" x 20.5"


Thanks for measuring. I got my 5155 out of storage and measured it; its dimensions are roughly 8" x 17" x 19.75" which means, astonishingly, it will fit -- but without any padding. Half of me is terrified of scuffing a vintage system, and the other half of me wants to treat the 5155 like the tank it is and declare it a "working artifact" (actual museum term) and just bring it on the plane. I think the former half is winning, because I'm not sure how much abuse the CRT can take, and I have no idea where I would find a replacement tube if it broke.

A forum member graciously offered to drive to my future location and hand-deliver a lended system for my use, so I'll likely take him up on his offer. But this is all good information to have -- thanks guys!

PhilipA
March 7th, 2014, 06:20 AM
Just print off Compaq's promo materials with the Man In Suit carrying Compaq Portable being welcomed aboard by Smiling Hostie.

It was good enough in 1983, why isn't it good enough now?! Make a scene, get on youtube, local news highlight etc.


Joking aside, glad to help. (The computer's sat about 5 feet away from me so access is fairly easy :) )

--Phil

arrow_runner
March 7th, 2014, 06:29 AM
I honestly thought that you could put a different video card in the Portable IIIs expansion bay.

barythrin
March 7th, 2014, 07:58 AM
I don't see why it wouldn't take an external card with the external ISA bus thing. There's a post here (http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/archive/index.php/t-19002.html) that sounds like it works, just might take a jumper change and an annoying screw driver.

Re:5155 though, hell yeah I'd drag it on a plane! :-) I mean I suppose there were travel cases for it if yours is immaculate but it's a portable computer. It's meant to be carried around with ease and put on the train or plane floor while you travel in style. I think you need that and a newton on your hip.

PhilipA
March 7th, 2014, 08:05 AM
I honestly thought that you could put a different video card in the Portable IIIs expansion bay.

You can. I have had and run a VGA card in mine, but the onboard CGA output on the back of the motherboard is only TTL output and not composite.

--Phil

Trixter
March 7th, 2014, 11:18 AM
I had no idea that was possible! If the internal card+monitor of the Portable III can be set to MDA, then all I'd have to do is find a CGA card with composite output that is not full-length (I have the expansion chassis, which isn't full-length) and I should be all set. Hilarious! I'll investigate that further if I have time.

per
March 7th, 2014, 03:15 PM
then all I'd have to do is find a CGA card with composite output that is not full-length
The ATI Small Wonder/Graphics Solution is a good option, if you can get your hands on one.

There is one, allthough slightly pricey, on Ebay right now. It has all the components for composite, but the external connector needs to be hacked in. http://www.ebay.com/itm/191072848778

Great Hierophant
March 7th, 2014, 07:22 PM
I have an Epson Q205 CGA card you could borrow, its 9.25" long and has a composite video output. However, it did falter a bit with the MC6845 tests with your CGA_COMP program. Something that would need to be considered for any clone card, depending on what registers you are (ab)using.

PhilipA
March 10th, 2014, 06:52 AM
I had no idea that was possible! If the internal card+monitor of the Portable III can be set to MDA, then all I'd have to do is find a CGA card with composite output that is not full-length (I have the expansion chassis, which isn't full-length) and I should be all set. Hilarious! I'll investigate that further if I have time.


I believe you can set it to be either CGA/MDA on one of the red/white jumpers, but it's been a while since I dug that information up. There's a funny quirk that it needs to be set a particular way to get a video card in the expansion carbuncle to work properly, but I ran Win 3.11 quite happily in 640x480x256 VGA (using an old plug-n-pray Trident) so it should in theory work..

--Phil

vwestlife
March 10th, 2014, 11:30 AM
The Sinclair PC200 (a.k.a. Amstrad PC20) is an 8 MHz 8086 "keyboard computer" (like an Atari ST or Amiga) with a CGA composite output on the back and two ISA slots, but there is no room inside the case for the cards to actually go, so in use the cards would be sticking up on top -- nice for a demo, to show off what you're using.

http://www.old-computers.com/museum/photos/Sinclair_PC200_Rear_s1.jpg

http://www.zxspectrum.pl/wp-content/gallery/kolekcja/sinclair_pc200_5.jpg

Trixter
March 10th, 2014, 12:18 PM
That is perfect! I will start looking for one (although it is not strictly needed for my upcoming June demo).

Update: Looks like the Amstrad model doesn't have composite output. It also appears at the Sinclair model was on the market for a grand total of 3 months which would make it exceedingly rare to find, especially for someone in the USA. Oh well.

vwestlife
March 10th, 2014, 02:10 PM
There's also the Dell System 100, a larger variation of a keyboard computer with 3 ISA slots (two full-length and one half-length) -- although it's probably also very rare, as I've never seen or heard of one aside from this ad:

http://i62.tinypic.com/5x0fti.jpg

http://i61.tinypic.com/1e1ljl.jpg

RWallmow
March 10th, 2014, 02:27 PM
Tandy 1000EX and 1000HX also have similar form factor and aren't too hard to find. I don't know how CGA compatible they are though but IIRC they had composite out, both had proprietary expansion connectors (though electrically are ISA), so sound card install would take some adapting, but I imagine one could be made to work.

Great Hierophant
March 10th, 2014, 03:03 PM
Tandy 1000EX and 1000HX also have similar form factor and aren't too hard to find. I don't know how CGA compatible they are though but IIRC they had composite out, both had proprietary expansion connectors (though electrically are ISA), so sound card install would take some adapting, but I imagine one could be made to work.

The Tandy's color composite output shows very different colors from an IBM CGA card.

sergey
March 11th, 2014, 08:00 PM
Perhaps it was proposed before - but how about using a 8088 (or whatever you like) motherboard + some ISA cards with it (CGA, Sound Blaster, XT-IDE, FDC). It shouldn't be too difficult to construct a "bench style" case for that (basically a base plate + bracket to hold ISA cards in place). Use a small PSU - either the NanoPSU mentioned above, or just a compact +5V/+12V/-12V power supply (SB might need -5V... use LM7905?!) Attach a small cheap composite TFT display (7" or 9" one normally marketed for cars).

deathshadow
March 11th, 2014, 08:33 PM
Shame you can't find one of the clone knockoffs of the Compaq portable III -- a number of vendors carried them in the late '80's and early '90s... Early models had a 8 bit CGA card with them and all of them took real PC motherboards. They were all called PC3's...

In the '90's I worked for a few years at a Boston 128 belt company that put them together for a company that did portable EEG machines. They started out as 386/40 but later models were 486/66. AHA 1542B SCSI with removable drive bays, typically with 540 meg maxtor drives. They'd scan in the data and ship the swappable drives for analysis by the experts.

I thought they were really cools since they accepted half-length desktop cards and Baby AT form factor motherboards.

A VGA one went by on e-fence not too long ago... oh, it's been relisted. Rat**** bat**** Ape**** insane price though.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/291099099030

Here's another one, similarly nutjob price.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/370596234271

But they're small, and you can put whatever cards you want/need in them.

gslick
March 11th, 2014, 09:01 PM
Here's another one, similarly nutjob price.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/370596234271


comiccardsnmore, what is that guy smoking?
$45,000 for this??? http://www.ebay.com/itm/390794812672

deathshadow
March 11th, 2014, 11:19 PM
comiccardsnmore, what is that guy smoking?
$45,000 for this??? http://www.ebay.com/itm/390794812672
$450, not 45K... still a crazy price for a IIe, easily four times the upper limit I'd even consider with the crappy little IIc monitor.

But yeah. A lot of sellers have crazy 'buy it now' prices. I'm often shocked at how many lowball offers I make on crazy priced items like that which are accepted. A year ago when I was looking for a C64 the one I got was listed as 'buy it now' at $350 when all it had in addition to the machine itself was a bag of broken joysticks (all of which I was able to fix in one way or another), and one floppy. I made a lowball offer of $30 and it was accepted. :/

I think a lot of people don't make offers for fear of offending the seller; I'm pretty insensitive when it comes to people's feelings so...

But then, that IIe does have three offers on it... probably never going to sell in that case. Could be an owner who wants to keep it and the wife doesn't... though that five grand for a fairchild and 1200 for a H89 is... yeah, pretty noodle-doodle.

jltursan
March 12th, 2014, 12:21 AM
Well, close to the Sinclair PC-200, you can also take a look at the Schneider Euro PC (http://www2.hu-berlin.de/isemuseum/cat.php?type=desktops&id=desk19). It's a pretty good machine that fits perfectly your description.

A bit easier to find than the Sinclair; but also hard tho.

gslick
March 12th, 2014, 06:39 AM
$450, not 45K... still a crazy price for a IIe, easily four times the upper limit I'd even consider with the crappy little IIc monitor.


Well, it was $45,000. Maybe that was an honest typo and they did intend $450 from the beginning and they realized that mistake and revised it at 22:41:38 PDT last night. Still high, but not crazy enough to stand out on eBay at that point.

fsession12
March 12th, 2014, 05:51 PM
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Trixter
March 13th, 2014, 07:00 AM
Use a small PSU - either the NanoPSU mentioned above, or just a compact +5V/+12V/-12V power supply (SB might need -5V... use LM7905?!) Attach a small cheap composite TFT display (7" or 9" one normally marketed for cars).

The NanoPSU, if I'm reading correctly, only provides ATX 20- or 24- pin -- is there an adapter to something a 5160 motherboard could use? (I still need to solve the how-do-I-transport-a-motherboard-without-breaking-it problem, but it does cut down on the size and weight drastically.)

As for a monitor, I've improvised in the past by using my laptop and cheap usb video-capture dongle with my laptop screen.

Trixter
March 13th, 2014, 07:06 AM
But they're small, and you can put whatever cards you want/need in them.

Those are indeed very nice, but I don't see how I'd be able to get composite CGA out of them (unless, like the Portable III, their internal card can be switched to MDA, allowing me to add a typical CGA card).


Well, close to the Sinclair PC-200, you can also take a look at the Schneider Euro PC (http://www2.hu-berlin.de/isemuseum/cat.php?type=desktops&id=desk19). It's a pretty good machine that fits perfectly your description. A bit easier to find than the Sinclair; but also hard tho.

Looking at the back of the unit from the pictures, it doesn't appear to have composite CGA output which I need to connect it to a projector. It also doesn't appear that I can add a sound card to such a system, which is also a requirement. (Still, neat form factor and I'll likely look for one.)

vwestlife
March 13th, 2014, 01:15 PM
Those are indeed very nice, but I don't see how I'd be able to get composite CGA out of them (unless, like the Portable III, their internal card can be switched to MDA, allowing me to add a typical CGA card).

Doesn't VGA default to emulating MDA if it co-exists with CGA? So if you could find a "lunchbox" luggable with internal VGA, you'd be all set.


Looking at the back of the unit from the pictures, it doesn't appear to have composite CGA output which I need to connect it to a projector. It also doesn't appear that I can add a sound card to such a system, which is also a requirement. (Still, neat form factor and I'll likely look for one.)

The Euro PC does have one ISA slot (appears to be half-length). And I wonder if the Commodore 65 was inspired by its styling!

barythrin
March 13th, 2014, 01:47 PM
Are you trying not to have it as VGA on purpose? I thought most projectors had VGA ports on them these days also.

Trixter
March 13th, 2014, 02:01 PM
Yes, not VGA on purpose. The demonstration will be using CGA and future demonstrations may use CGA in very interesting ways that can only be shown through the composite port.

eeguru
March 13th, 2014, 02:40 PM
The NanoPSU, if I'm reading correctly, only provides ATX 20- or 24- pin -- is there an adapter to something a 5160 motherboard could use? (I still need to solve the how-do-I-transport-a-motherboard-without-breaking-it problem, but it does cut down on the size and weight drastically.)


Sergey's back-plane accepts ATX power. That + a PicoPSU or NanoPSU + CPU, video, sound, and storage card. All could collapse into a small box with some ESD foam and padding.

JohnElliott
March 13th, 2014, 03:08 PM
That is perfect! I will start looking for one (although it is not strictly needed for my upcoming June demo).

Update: Looks like the Amstrad model doesn't have composite output. It also appears at the Sinclair model was on the market for a grand total of 3 months which would make it exceedingly rare to find, especially for someone in the USA. Oh well.

It's possible to disable the onboard video and put a real CGA card in one of the ISA slots. That would work on the Sinclair or Amstrad models.

The PC200's builtin CGA output isn't composite, by the way -- it's RF. The built-in CGA chipset also has a thing where attempts to write to the CGA registers trigger a NMI so the BIOS can adjust the values written depending whether it's outputting to a monitor or the RF socket.

deathshadow
March 15th, 2014, 01:01 AM
Those are indeed very nice, but I don't see how I'd be able to get composite CGA out of them (unless, like the Portable III, their internal card can be switched to MDA, allowing me to add a typical CGA card).'
The original early ones were CGA... using a CGA card... only difference between it and a normal CGA card was a breakout next to the external connector to run to the LCD decoder. They had both the 9 pin and composite out connectors as they were just ... CGA.

I've not seen one in a long time though. They are out there and do crop up from time to time.

vwestlife
April 4th, 2014, 01:54 PM
the Sinclair model was on the market for a grand total of 3 months which would make it exceedingly rare to find, especially for someone in the USA. Oh well.

There happens to be a Sinclair PC200 on eBay right now... the sticker on the bottom says it has a PAL RF output, so I wonder if they found some way to convert CGA to PAL color, or if it's just NTSC jury-rigged to be modulated on a European TV channel allocation...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/400686245895

Trixter
April 4th, 2014, 10:09 PM
Saw that, thanks. I'll pass for now, now that GH has offered to help me out the day of the event. I'll bring my cards; he'll bring the system unit.