View Full Version : SORD Computers

February 27th, 2015, 09:18 AM
I open a new post to describe the machines I recently discovered.

A few weeks ago I won an auction on Ebay.fr for a SORD M223 Mark III. Considering the weight of the computer and my limited trust in French Post Services to handle fragile items, I proposed to the seller to pick up the computer myself. The seller, a very friendly man , explained that he was used to work in a computer shop selling inter alia SORD models in the eastern part of France. Unfortunately when he retired, he also moved to a new location and got rid of all remaining documentation, floppies and computers because none of his relatives or friends was interested :shock: . However he proposed me to take the only three SORD computers he had kept.

A few hours later, back home with my car completely full of hardware :)

SORD M223 Mark III
The computer starts but has a display problem. I don't know yet the cause: monitor or video controller. I need to investigate.

SORD M203 Mark III with the associated monitor and floppy drives
The computer starts and displays the usual message «set a diskette and strike any key». Unfortunately I don't have any system disks.

SORD M23 with the associated monitor and a cartridge labelled M2-PSW but no floppy controller
The computer starts and displays the usual message «set a diskette and strike any key». Or I should rather say «started». Recently I had a nice white smoke due to a PSU capacitor I have now to replace.

SORD M343SX with a hard drive and a floppy drive (according to internet, it seems to be a PC compatible)
I haven't tested it yet because I cannot plug any monitor or keyboard. If I'm not mistaken, the keyboard must be plugged to a specific SORD monitor, that is connected to the central unit with a DB25 connector labelled CRT.

Double floppy drives FD-120
It seems to be for the M23, however the connectors look strange, certainly not as the connector of the floppy controller cartridge I can see on internet.

I have posted some pictures HERE (https://plus.google.com/photos/106121479663534197456/albums/6119084461781703841)

Of course I would like to make them fully operational.

In particular I need help to:

find documentation for the different models in particular regarding their OS and their configuration, for instance they all have a series of switches on the back but I don't know the meaning.

Find system disks for the M223, M203 and M23. I suspect that the M203 and M223 can use the same disks. Most probably not the M23. To be tested.
The seller told me that the M343SX hard drive should still be configured with DOS.

Find a floppy controller for the M23. I guess it will be very difficult due to the rarity of the model...
I'm wondering as well how to use the cartridge. Is it possible to boot the computer with it?

Understand the pinout of the DB25 connector for the M343SX so I can build a replacement cable to connect any PC keyboard and monitor.

I have also to look at the M223 display problem.

Any information, documentation, copies of software, etc... you might have will me greatly appreciated ! :wink:

Soon I will tell you the results of my on-going investigations...


Lawrence Woodman
February 27th, 2015, 10:39 PM
Congratulations on your buy. My mother had a Sord machine, which from looking at your pictures was probably an M23.

I remember the machine had a realy nice solid feel to it. I spent many hours programming using their PIPS application. If you ever manage to get hold of PIPS for the machines, you may be as impressed with it as I was.
It was a sort of Lotus Symphony style application, but at that time felt much more powerful, configurable and user friendly. I found a small article referring to it, Pips: A New Revolution in the Making? - Computerworld 11 April 1983 (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lgWyB6scRx4C&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=sord+pips&source=bl&ots=9yF0n7km_3&sig=JNDQrqWA00SB0qHJYhiv9VFvCeo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Z3HxVI-UK4XuUKefgdgD&ved=0CCIQ6AEwATgK#v=onepage&q=sord%20pips&f=false)


February 28th, 2015, 11:40 PM
Thanks for the link to the article. Indeed, I have been told that PIPS was quite advanced when released. I hope to be able to get it one day.