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Adventurer
February 8th, 2017, 08:49 AM
Cold, still warming up before any further testing, but it seems to have arrived in one piece. This thing is huge, and it seems that the monitor is actually the lightest of all components, with dual 8 inch floppy drive being the most heavy...
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More information and photos to follow.

chulofiasco
February 8th, 2017, 10:02 AM
amazing !!

Adventurer
February 8th, 2017, 11:24 AM
As promised, some more pictures.

First, the disassembly of the main unit. Inside, dust and even more dust.
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Giant power supply, and a very tiny main board, compared to it.
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Power supply opened for cleaning and inspection - what a beauty!
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Ports, as seen from the outside:
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Connecting all hardware together - despite all connectors being different sizes, there are clear markings both on the machine and the connector itself, with numbers, which connector goes to which port. Nice!
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Finally, the test run - all the way to *11* - which means system is waiting for a bootable floppy, which I do not have. The disk drive is spinning, but making squeaking noises - might need cleaning and lubrication, if possible. This will be the next task, to open the giant and extremely heavy floppy drive.
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The keyboard - it is an early version of IBM model F, with lots of dust, dirt, broken fingernails and all things you can imagine could fall into it. Time for a cleaning!
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Now comes the first issue - keyboard cable looks to be damaged. In fact, the damage to the cable seems to be a strange one, the wires look cut rather than broken. Did someone manage to replace original beamspring keyboard with this one in a brutal way? Any ideas?
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Now, the keyboard with top cover removed. One wire has been disconnected, the question is - should it go to upper two pins or lower two pins - there is no where else I can connect it to.

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The other side of the keyboard - all metal, in fact, the keyboard is an extremely heavy one, compared to the ones we use today, but feels extremely solid as well.

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No other tests can be performed before I get a bootable 8 inch floppy for this computer. The keyboard issue makes me worried, however, given the fact that system diagnostics does not show anything unusual, it might as well be working. (I get three error codes when starting the Displaywriter with the keyboard disconnected).

Adventurer
February 8th, 2017, 11:27 AM
Can anyone help me with this connector? Need to assemble the keyboard back, but unsure about correct placement...
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Al Kossow
February 8th, 2017, 12:07 PM
Can anyone help me with this connector? Need to assemble the keyboard back, but unsure about correct placement...
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it looks like only two of the three pins have wires running to them.

that keyboard is fairly unusual, most look like this inside
http://imgur.com/a/ZRAaq

EMDarrow
February 8th, 2017, 02:17 PM
Aside from the keyboard cable, this thing looks in incredible condition. Nice pickup.

shattered
February 8th, 2017, 02:53 PM
What's the part number on it?

(also, just noticed the cat :))

gslick
February 8th, 2017, 05:03 PM
Can anyone help me with this connector? Need to assemble the keyboard back, but unsure about correct placement...
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What is the purpose of that dial? Keyclick volume control, or something like that?

Adventurer
February 8th, 2017, 08:43 PM
What is the purpose of that dial? Keyclick volume control, or something like that?

I'm a bit puzzled about it, since this keyboard does not have a click solenoid or even a speaker, I do not know the purpose of this dial. Keyswitch sensitivity perhaps?

modem7
February 8th, 2017, 10:18 PM
Finally, the test run - all the way to *11* - which means system is waiting for a bootable floppy, which I do not have.
Posted on Monday in a large envelope. Hopefully it will be with you soon.

Adventurer
February 8th, 2017, 11:11 PM
Posted on Monday in a large envelope. Hopefully it will be with you soon.

Thanks again, time to wait now :)

Adventurer
February 8th, 2017, 11:17 PM
Some more pictures before assembling the keyboard back:

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As for the pins, here is multimeter reading:

Upper: +1V
Middle: - 1V
Lower: + 1V

There is 0 resistance between upper and lower pins. Anyway, I left it disconnected before I figure out the meaning of the dial. I strongly suspect it is not needed for the keyboard to work.
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Adventurer
February 11th, 2017, 01:48 AM
Connector issue resolved - upper pins had more worn, so I'm pretty sure it goes there. Now there is a beep from the keyboard, several seconds after switching the machine on, it means connection is correct, and the dial adjusts the volume of keycklick speaker.

Meanwhile here is a quick peak at inside of the dual 8 inch floppy drive (after initial cleaning, of course).

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It's nice to see that the plastic is only used as a cover, it is not used for structural integrity, everything is mounted on a heavy, sturdy metal frame.

Adventurer
March 2nd, 2017, 12:46 AM
As I have a system floppy now, I'm really starting to like the machine - it is sure fun to play with:

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It has many quirks, but the fun is no less because of it. Its still very hard to accept that "Enter" and "Return" are completely different keys on the keyboard - the typical "Enter" as we know it, is a small key "Enter" on the right lower part of the keyboard, but big "Enter" key is actually a return.

While it has many features we would found very outdated today, both from hardware and ergonomics, some things have taken me by surprise, such as:

* Operating system can load from any of the drives, and you can easily swap the floppies as you want, it will find where the system disk is, and act as nothing happened
* If it has difficulty loading data from a system floppy, in the middle of the boot process it might ask to insert the floppy in another drive - smart and well thought, and often works, because drives have some differences, and one might read a particular floppy better
* Long file names, in 1980? Yep, no problem, and something I was really not expecting at all:
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* Keyboard - no surprises here, but it is just terrific, period. Have not typed on a better keyboard in my life, eve given the fact that I do own some machines with a mechanical keyboard.

There are some things I learned in a hard way :

* It's not a good idea to leave any disks in the drive after working with it, or when the machine is rebooting - there seems to be a possibility of corrupt data
* It is too easy to put two floppies in a single drive, if you are not looking careful enough
* Was expecting a more common character set than EBCDIC, whatever, it will just take more time to convert text to proper encoding, when copied to a PC.

mvno_subscriber
March 2nd, 2017, 01:53 AM
Awesome machine!! :D How are you planning to transfer files to the PC? Does it have a serial port?

Adventurer
March 2nd, 2017, 02:05 AM
Awesome machine!! :D How are you planning to transfer files to the PC? Does it have a serial port?

It does have its own proprietary ports, so, I would rather say it does not have one. After all, this is a pre-PC era. However, I have finally installed an 8 inch drive in one of my computers, so I can get data from the Displaywriter to a PC, although it does require decoding, since it uses EBCDIC code table, which is not compatible with anything we have today. Still, I am able to decode the text later, and it is a good start anyway :)

mvno_subscriber
March 2nd, 2017, 02:23 AM
What rig do you use to connect an 8" drive to your PC?

Adventurer
March 5th, 2017, 12:17 AM
What rig do you use to connect an 8" drive to your PC?

An MS-DOS compatible PC with a floppy controller, FDADAP floppy adapter, 24v, 5 V and 220V power supply for an 8 inch drive, and 50 pin cable fro FDAP adapter to PC, ImageDisk for taking floppy images.

KC9UDX
March 5th, 2017, 12:59 AM
It does have its own proprietary ports, so, I would rather say it does not have one. After all, this is a pre-PC era. However, I have finally installed an 8 inch drive in one of my computers, so I can get data from the Displaywriter to a PC, although it does require decoding, since it uses EBCDIC code table, which is not compatible with anything we have today. Still, I am able to decode the text later, and it is a good start anyway :)

Pre-PC is a good reason to have RS232.

I had one of these minus the disk drive, and I had the printer. I used the printer with another machine, and I'm pretty sure it was RS232 (or 422). But that was a quarter century ago, so I'm not certain.

Adventurer
March 5th, 2017, 01:21 AM
Pre-PC is a good reason to have RS232.

I had one of these minus the disk drive, and I had the printer. I used the printer with another machine, and I'm pretty sure it was RS232 (or 422). But that was a quarter century ago, so I'm not certain.

It does appear to have two RS/232 ports, but I have no clue how to transfer the data - a proper software is needed on PC and a Displaywriter to do this. As for the cable - did IBM use a standard Laplink cable for asynchronous file transfer?
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shattered
March 5th, 2017, 03:50 AM
Kermit under CP/M could work -- but "current release of CP/M-86 for the Displaywriter does not support these [serial communications] interfaces" (from http://www.nostalgia8.nl/cpm/ibm/cpm6dwrm.pdf) :(

Adventurer
March 5th, 2017, 07:09 AM
Kermit under CP/M could work -- but "current release of CP/M-86 for the Displaywriter does not support these [serial communications] interfaces" (from http://www.nostalgia8.nl/cpm/ibm/cpm6dwrm.pdf) :(

How about that "asynchronous communication package" for IBM Displaywriter, which was released?

KC9UDX
March 5th, 2017, 07:45 AM
It does appear to have two RS/232 ports, but I have no clue how to transfer the data - a proper software is needed on PC and a Displaywriter to do this. As for the cable - did IBM use a standard Laplink cable for asynchronous file transfer?
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If I were you, I'd follow the wires. I don't know that 9 pin connectors were common for RS-232 at that time. My fallible memory says that the connector on the printer was 15-pin, again, non-standard.

If you follow the wires, you may end up finding a 1488/1489 pair. If so, that gives a high confidence of being RS232. Either way, you'll find something that will give you reasonable guesses about pin designations.

LapLink is a parallel specification and didn't exist for probably 15 years or more yet.

Adventurer
March 5th, 2017, 08:22 AM
An interesting fact - it appears that there were third party manufactured printers, which would work with an IBM Displaywriter, and it appears they used some sort of adapter to use them on a DW:

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KC9UDX
March 5th, 2017, 08:30 AM
The pictured printer comes with either a Centronics interface, or GPIB. Centronics being the most common. It would need a special interface to connect to RS232. But that's not yet enough to confirm that the Displaywriter uses RS232.

Al Kossow
March 5th, 2017, 08:41 AM
If you follow the wires, you may end up finding a 1488/1489 pair.

the parts are house numbered. all we know is it uses an 8251 and 8253
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KC9UDX
March 5th, 2017, 10:03 AM
the parts are house numbered. all we know is it uses an 8251 and 8253
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That tells me there's a high probability yet still no certainty that it is RS232. But I expect you know more than I do about those.

shattered
March 5th, 2017, 01:17 PM
How about that "asynchronous communication package" for IBM Displaywriter, which was released?

"Asynchronous Communication Facility" described in http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102678942? It's a terminal emulator, apparently.

There was also a "Displaywriter/Personal Computer Attach Convenience Kit" (http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_sm/0/872/ENUS5150/index.html&request_locale=en):



Permits a Displaywriter system (without any communications features installed in the diskette unit) to be cable-connected to a 5150 via an Asynchronous Communications Adapter. The Compact Printer Connector Adapter (#0102) is also required. This attachment allows a Displaywriter to participate in a PC Cluster. When the Displaywriter is attached to a stand-alone 5150, the Displaywriter is used for operational control. Functions supported include transfer of documents and files between the Displaywriter and the 5150 including conversion of the document to revisable form text document content architecture (RFTDCA) prior to transfer to the 5150, and conversion from RFTDCA before transfer of documents to the Displaywriter. It is recommended that only DOS print files be transferred to the Displaywriter. Addition functions include the ability to display directories of the 5150 and Displaywriter, deletion of documents and files on either system unit, and an optional foreground execution facility which supports alternating between Displaywriter/Personal Computer Attach program functions and Textpack 4 or Textpack 6 functions.

A-ko
March 5th, 2017, 09:43 PM
the QWERTZ keyboard layout threw me off for a second! Beautiful machine! I would love to have one of these...

Adventurer
March 5th, 2017, 10:56 PM
the QWERTZ keyboard layout threw me off for a second! Beautiful machine! I would love to have one of these...

This particular all white early Model F only comes with QWERTZ layout, at least I have never seen one with QWERTY...