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View Full Version : Looking to undertake a 286 restoration/build, need advice



SimianSteam
July 16th, 2014, 10:29 AM
So lately I've been on a kick of assembling a collection of some of my first electronic devices. I've already got my hands on a Handspring PDA, a Motorola pager, and a Diamond Rio 500 MP3 Player. Next up I'm tackling the big stuff:

Apple IIe, the first computer I programmed on. I'm probably going to just keep an eye on CL for that. I've already got a lead on one.

Commodore Vic-20: The first 'computer' I ever used. Got it at a yard sale when I was 5 or 6. eBay on that one.

And the biggie, a 286 clone. The one I remember the family having when I was a kid was a Star (I think, though it might've been an Epson. Hard to peer back through that many years and remember accurately.) If it was a Star it was most likely just a standard beige-box clone.

So where to begin? I've spent a few hours combing eBay and didn't see a whole lot, surprisingly. I have no issue building it from the ground up from parts. Actually, that sounds kinda fun. I'm just not sure on where to look for documentation, sourcing parts, etc... And if this whole idea is just going to be a MASSIVE money pit.

Advice would be appreciated.

Caluser2000
July 16th, 2014, 10:56 AM
Welcome. First of all where are you located? There may be a member close by who can help out sourcing parts. You've certainly come to the right place. Plenty of helpful folk here to lend a hand and pass on helpful advice.

For less than $200 you should be able to get all the hardware you need. I started out on an 286 clone myself and recently picked up a Zenith 286 for the princely sum of $30 along with quite a few other bit n pieces. One thing you could try is placing an ad in the local newspaper.

SimianSteam
July 16th, 2014, 11:14 AM
Right outside of Atlanta, North Side. Thanks for the welcome!

Caluser2000
July 16th, 2014, 11:29 AM
It's nice to see new members in the forum. There have been some good projects put foward by vcf members and elsewhere to help keep old kit functional.

vwestlife
July 16th, 2014, 12:03 PM
286s are one of the more scarce generations of PCs. They were very expensive when new, and the big business users who could afford to buy them in the '80s were among the first to throw them out and upgrade to 386s. And by the time 286s came down to consumer price levels in the early '90s, they were quickly rendered obsolete by the runaway popularity of Windows 3.1, which required at least a 386 to run well. So many people hung on to their XT clones (which were still fine for most DOS applications) until they could afford a low-end 386SX with Windows.

Chuck(G)
July 16th, 2014, 12:10 PM
286s persisted in industrial applications for a long time. One advantage was the 16-bit bus and the availability of fast 16-20MHz Harris CMOS CPUs. Until the 386SX-type chips came along, they were extremely economical, and could be made with a small footprint.

Another consideration was that most industrial control applications didn't require 32-bit capability or high performance. I suspect most were run in real mode.

You might check with Electronics Plus to see if Cindy has a board that might suit you. She's in Texas, but will ship.

SimianSteam
July 16th, 2014, 01:24 PM
I'm starting to wonder if I'm misremembering the processor. It would've been around 89, 90...

Caluser2000
July 16th, 2014, 01:37 PM
286 machines were still being produced then. I bought mine in new 1990.

SimianSteam
July 16th, 2014, 01:42 PM
286 machines were still being produced then. I bought mine in new 1990.

Good to know.

I think what I need to do is just keep an eye on eBay to see if any clones show up at a decent price and go from there. The more I think about trying to assemble one from parts the more of a headache I get. LoL.

amadama
July 16th, 2014, 02:45 PM
Hello and welcome!
There are several 286 computers on ebay right now that would probably interest you. (between $30 and $100)
Some are complete with keyboard and mouse, others just the chassis. Even some Compaq laptops/portables.
Good luck!
Alex

SimianSteam
July 16th, 2014, 03:18 PM
Hello and welcome!
There are several 286 computers on ebay right now that would probably interest you. (between $30 and $100)
Some are complete with keyboard and mouse, others just the chassis. Even some Compaq laptops/portables.
Good luck!
Alex


I saw some of them. Wasn't sure what I should be looking for, though. My computer experience starts just a tad later, so I'm a little out of my depth shopping for a system that was made when I was in grade school. Lol.

Stone
July 16th, 2014, 03:22 PM
I think what I need to do is just keep an eye on eBay to see if any clones show up at a decent price and go from there.I am in total agreement with you on this one. If finding components for a 286 clone isn't challenging enough think about trying to fix or upgrade a 286 laptop or some proprietary mess, e.g. Compaq, etc. At least with a clone sourcing anything should be a lot less difficult that the same search for one of the non-clone alternatives (if the non-clone alternatives are even receptive to such actions).

amadama
July 16th, 2014, 04:12 PM
If you aren't in a big rush keep an eye on Craigslist or check to see if there are any local computer recyclers in your area.
I've found some real gems on Craigslist.
Also post here on VCF in the wanted section. You never know, someone may be able to sell you a really nice machine for quite a bit cheaper than on ebay.
Good luck and enjoy your vintage computer journey!
Alex

Chuck(G)
July 16th, 2014, 04:55 PM
I'm starting to wonder if I'm misremembering the processor. It would've been around 89, 90...

Maybe so-in 89. the 80486 was just starting to appear. I suspect what you remember might be the 80386 (introduced in 1985).

PeterNC
July 16th, 2014, 04:57 PM
Maybe this box is still available:
http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?23656-Hyundai-Super-286E-Plus/page2

The seller is genuine. I bought a 8086 from him last year.

80286 OEM & clones were sold through 1993.

vwestlife
July 16th, 2014, 05:50 PM
I have a "like new, in box" Citizen 286-12 that I got from Trixter that I'd be willing to let go for really cheap. It's a nice machine, but like he said when he advertised it last year, it has onboard EGA video which cannot be disabled:

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?35299-FS-Citizen-Mate-12-%2812Mhz-286-with-built-in-EGA%29

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ZG-inPSp6MQ/UPyogIe1eHI/AAAAAAAALPQ/OLO1Hzg8Fco/w702-h527-no/01200004.JPG

SomeGuy
July 16th, 2014, 06:38 PM
Someone else in Atlanta that knows how to use a computer? Incredible! :D

I don't have any 286s to spare, but unless you are looking at a specific brand or specific hardware I would recommend you browse around to get an idea of what you want. 286/AT clones came in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. And when buying off of eBay, make sure you get to see what is in it. You will want to know at least a little about the Video, hard drive, hard drive controller, etc.

Stone
July 16th, 2014, 07:14 PM
It's a nice machine, but like he said when he advertised it last year, it has onboard EGA video which cannot be disabled:
I have that board in my 286 and I have the original manual as well. It can be configured via S1 to MDA, CGA or EGA. And the onboard video can be disabled to allow a VGA card. I know -- I've got it working with VGA.

This is it:

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherboards/W/WESTERN-DIGITAL-CORPORATION-286-WD286-WDM20.html

vwestlife
July 16th, 2014, 08:10 PM
I have that board in my 286 and I have the original manual as well. It can be configured via S1 to MDA, CGA or EGA. And the onboard video can be disabled to allow a VGA card. I know -- I've got it working with VGA.

This is it:

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/motherboards/W/WESTERN-DIGITAL-CORPORATION-286-WD286-WDM20.html

I discussed that with Trixter, and he wrote: "Sadly, that is the rev 2 motherboard specs, you have the rev 1 which can't change the onboard video. I verified this before listing it :) "

Caluser2000
July 16th, 2014, 09:49 PM
It's still a sweat looking unit all the same. Whould look neat under my ega monitor.

Almost forgot to mention my Zenith 286LP Plus was put in to production mid 1990 with the capacity for 8 megs of r
am which handles Windows 3.x ok.

SimianSteam
July 17th, 2014, 04:33 AM
LoL. Y'all have my head spinning.

I just snagged a Apple IIe off of Craigslist yesterday. $60 for the computer, dual disk drive, and monitor. Not bad. :D I think I'll play around with that a bit first before moving ahead with my 286 project. Thank you for the info, though!

Now to move over to the Apple section to find out if I can hook the disk drive up to my current computer to write some programs to 5.25" floppy.

RWallmow
July 17th, 2014, 05:31 AM
So lately I've been on a kick of assembling a collection of some of my first electronic devices. I've already got my hands on a Handspring PDA, a Motorola pager...

I still carry a Motorola pager daily for work :blush:


LoL. Y'all have my head spinning.

I just snagged a Apple IIe off of Craigslist yesterday. $60 for the computer, dual disk drive, and monitor. Not bad. :D I think I'll play around with that a bit first before moving ahead with my 286 project. Thank you for the info, though!

Now to move over to the Apple section to find out if I can hook the disk drive up to my current computer to write some programs to 5.25" floppy.

You can't hook the drive to a PC, but look into ADTPro (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/), you can use a Serial or Audio connection from a modern PC to your //e to transfer disk images back and forth.

SimianSteam
July 17th, 2014, 11:19 AM
I still carry a Motorola pager daily for work :blush:



You can't hook the drive to a PC, but look into ADTPro (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/), you can use a Serial or Audio connection from a modern PC to your //e to transfer disk images back and forth.

That'll work, I think. Thanks!

SimianSteam
July 17th, 2014, 12:53 PM
I still carry a Motorola pager daily for work :blush:

LoL. Are you a doctor? The definitely still have their place, I guess, but for me it was stupid High School 'cool factor' stuff.



You can't hook the drive to a PC, but look into ADTPro (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/), you can use a Serial or Audio connection from a modern PC to your //e to transfer disk images back and forth.

Good to know. I was planning on trying to hook it up to my network anyways. Thanks!

RWallmow
July 17th, 2014, 01:13 PM
LoL. Are you a doctor? The definitely still have their place, I guess, but for me it was stupid High School 'cool factor' stuff.

Nope, I work in IT for a healthcare organization. Everyone around here still uses them, doctors, nurses, IT support, facilities engineers.


Good to know. I was planning on trying to hook it up to my network anyways. Thanks!

If you want to truely "network" it, check into the Uthernet (http://a2retrosystems.com/), its an ethernet card for the Apple II line, and the ADTPro software supports uthernet (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/configethernet.html) it for much faster disk image transfers.

;-)

geoffm3
July 17th, 2014, 01:23 PM
http://images.amcnetworks.com/ifc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/4.jpg

“Do you know if the hotel's pager friendly? I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.”

SimianSteam
July 17th, 2014, 01:24 PM
Nope, I work in IT for a healthcare organization. Everyone around here still uses them, doctors, nurses, IT support, facilities engineers.



If you want to truely "network" it, check into the Uthernet (http://a2retrosystems.com/), its an ethernet card for the Apple II line, and the ADTPro software supports uthernet (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net/configethernet.html) it for much faster disk image transfers.

;-)

Ouch. $90. That's $30 more than I paid for the whole setup. LoL. I'll probably just use Serial. I mean, this is just a silly diversion for me, not trying to make it into a full-blown hobby. I've got enough of those already. :D

SimianSteam
July 17th, 2014, 01:25 PM
Why do my posts keep getting sent to a moderation queue????

RWallmow
July 17th, 2014, 01:43 PM
http://images.amcnetworks.com/ifc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/4.jpg

“Do you know if the hotel's pager friendly? I'm not getting a sig on my beeper.”

LOL


Why do my posts keep getting sent to a moderation queue????

Happens with all new users, not sure if its number of posts, or time span that ultimately opens your posting up, but just be patient, the restriction will fall off soon ;-)

SimianSteam
July 17th, 2014, 01:52 PM
LOL



Happens with all new users, not sure if its number of posts, or time span that ultimately opens your posting up, but just be patient, the restriction will fall off soon ;-)

The weird thing is it's doing it inconsistently. Some disappear never to be seen again, some are posted instantly. I understand doing it for the first two or three posts to prevent spam, but 8?