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ECNeilson
January 6th, 2015, 08:21 PM
For months I have been transferring data from old deteriorating 5 1/4" and 8" floppies over 19.2k and 38.4k serial links in an effort to digitally preserve software used on the marvelous Zenith Z-100 computer - a computer so versatile that it could run CP/M, CP/M3, CP/M-86, Concurrent CP/M, ZDOS and MS-DOS. I'm finally done and the repository is now publicly available here (http://planemo.org/retro/definitive-z-100-software-manual-repository/). In addition to the software, most of the Z-100 manuals have been scanned and OCR'd as well.

Enjoy My Z-100 Brothers!

amouse
January 9th, 2015, 04:20 AM
You have done a really fantastic job. I don't have a Z100 machine to hand but remember it.

Thanks for your dedication and hard work

marcus b.

JDallas
January 9th, 2015, 04:48 AM
...transferring data from old deteriorating 5 1/4" and 8" floppies...to digitally preserve software...

I share an interest in preserving vintage floppy-resident data.

My advise is to throw away NOTHING, even if your floppy disk controller cannot read the data anymore. Unless the media has disintegrated, there is still data that can be read by other means.

Note that my floppies from as long ago as 1977 have been stored in Dallas and none show any signs of physical disintegration; that appears to be more common in coastal environments.

You might be interested in a local (Dallas Tx) vintage computer group that's beginning to get enough membership to make it viable:
http://www.meetup.com/North-Dallas-Area-Retro-Computing/

Chuckster_in_Jax
January 9th, 2015, 06:48 AM
Thanks so much for all of the work you put into creating this archive. I have a couple of these machines, so this is a major resource for me.

Zenith referred to the Z110\Z120 CP\M computers as the Z100 series. They muddied the waters later when they started referring to the Z150 PC compatibles as Z100 series also. The PC compatible models won't run software written for the Z110\Z120 computers.

You may want to clarify which Zenith models this archive is for.

Thanks again!

deramp5113
January 9th, 2015, 07:03 AM
Great work! Having access to archived code, floppies, ROMs, and documentation has been critical for much of the restoration work I've done on vintage systems. We all benefit from efforts like yours.

On another note:

You might be interested in a local (Dallas Tx) vintage computer group that's beginning to get enough membership to make it viable:
http://www.meetup.com/North-Dallas-Area-Retro-Computing/

I'm in the Dallas area and a member of that same group. We should get together sometime, especially in regard to our floppy drive/media work.

Mike

zbase
January 9th, 2015, 07:17 AM
Excellent, thanks! A few years ago I picked up a Z-100 in pretty rough shape, hoping to get it working. If I remember correctly, back then I did get the power supply working (or at least reading correct voltages), but that was where I left off, and it went up to the attic. Just recently I dug it out, thinking I would get back to trying to restore it, but could not find the service/technical manuals anywhere. This archive will be very helpful.

Thanks!

barythrin
January 9th, 2015, 09:10 AM
Thanks also for the dedicated work and preservation! Does anyone in that group have any of those flux data type copiers KryoFlux or other? As JDallas indicated, sometimes data can still be imaged despite the floppy controllers alignment or ability to translate the coding of the disk.

Kudos also to the club! Have you all talked much with MIT-A or the (Why am I thinking Freeman?) Perot Computer museum?

JDallas
January 10th, 2015, 08:28 AM
...I'm in the Dallas area and a member of that same group...

Did you buy that VCF set of 16 hard-sector floppies the other day? It very sold quickly.

That local vintage group has been online for awhile but the October meeting seemed to mark its critical mass; it appears to have the membership now to keep regular meetings, holiday season not withstanding.

I've considered presenting "Floppy Drives - Your Handy Robotic Primer" as a different perspective/twist to make "Floppy 101" more interesting. Teaching the basics as a mechanical control device hiding inside most vintage systems. But as I'll be tied up in estate paperwork, I'm more likely to write the primer as an online article.

SomeGuy
January 10th, 2015, 12:17 PM
A++ work on the scans! And thanks for sharing.

Just glancing at a few of the software archives I see you have lost all of the timestamps information. Things that clearly should have timestamps in the 1980s are 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately timestamps can be important in determining version information. Would it at least be possible to post directory listings showing what the correct time stamps should be?

I appreciate you sharing what you were able to get off of the disks, but I would still encourage you to create complete disks images. Especially of boot disks. Non copy protected 5.25" disks should be easy to read in in their entirety using ImageDisk on a PC with a 360k or 1.2mb drive. But to make sure every bit is read either a KryoFlux or SuperCard Pro device would be great.

ECNeilson
January 10th, 2015, 12:51 PM
I see you have lost all of the timestamps information.
It' s normally not possible to preserve the time stamp when you transfer over serial cable, however, a number of the non-factory original disks were indexed with a disk cataloging program that time/date stamped each file. Look for a .DID text file in each zip file. Here's an example from the Autodex-80 zip file:

--AXID.DID --AXID.DID 041883 Code to identify the contents of the disk
--AXID.DID AX.COM 041883 AUTODEX
--AXID.DID FINETUNE.COM 041883 Options for AUTODEX
--AXID.DID INSTALL.COM 041883 Install AUTODEX from B: to A:
--AXID.DID TERMDEF.COM 041883 Terminal Definition (Not normally used)
--AXID.DID TERMDEF.TXT 041883 Notes on TERMDEF

I plan to ImageDisk some of the system disks which will preserve the time stamps as well. The Concurrent CP/M system disks are first on my list. I will either need to get out my old PC rig for doing this or (and this seems much more exciting) see if I can get a recently acquired Gemini Board working in the Z-100 and use ImageDisk from there. The Gemini Board promises much better IBM PC compatibility but I'm not sure how much that compatibility will extend to low-level disk drive access.

And I need to give special thanks to Bill Adney. It was his system and software I acquired over the summer and he took immaculate care of his equipment including indexing all of his floppies. I only ran into one disk I wasn't able to archive.

ECNeilson
January 10th, 2015, 03:36 PM
Thanks Dereamp for the Dallas Meet-up link. I'm in the Plano area and always up for a coffee or a beer so count me in.

I installed the Gemini Board this evening but alas, I got the power-on beep and could hear key clicks, but no video or boot ROM prompt. After disassembling the Z-100, I learned that I have the 2nd generation 8 MHz version. I wonder if the GB is only compatible with the original 5 MHz Z-100. Does anyone here know?