View Full Version : Strangest XT you have ever seen...

October 7th, 2017, 10:51 AM
It's again made by Olivetti, it's again a wordprocessor system, but it's even more strange than the wordprocessors ETV 260, ETV 2700 and ETV 4000s. Those are "integrated" systems where you have one box which integrates the DOS-PC (in case of ETV 4000s it's even Windows 3.0) and the printer (in case of ETV 4000s it's a thermotransfer printer, the other have daisywheel printers), plus an extrnal monitor. ETV 260 has an external PC style keyboard (same as Olivetti M19 PC), for the others it's attached to the system itself.

The one I got now is called Olivetti ETV 2900. So it's from the same series, but it's design is quite different while it uses almost the same software as ETV 2700. The PC system is integrated into the monitor and has two 720 kB floppy drives. As far as I know no harddisk option. If you know Olivetti's PCs of 1989, you immediatelly see, that the ETV 2900 is just the slim upper part of an M200 PC. The M200 additionally has a large box beneath the floppy drives and offers some ISA slots. The processor is a NEC V40 and and it has 256 kB RAM what is enough for the special wordprocessor software, but it should be extendable to 768 kB.

Until here nothing special. So here it comes, the description misses the keyboard and the printer of the wordprocessor system.

So, there is a cable, plugged into the DIN keyboard connector of the ETV 2900 system. The other end of the cable is plugged into ... an Olivetti ET 2200 office typewriter with optional ETV kit. So, yes, the keyboard of the typewriter is the ETV 2900's keyboard, and the system prints over the keyboard interface with the daisywheel printer of the typewriter. Ever before have seen a PC which prints over the keyboard interface ???


The concept of this is very similar to the oldest system of the ETV series, the ETV 300 from 1982, but that one was based on CP/M, and the typewriter was connected over serial interface. Since about two weeks I also have one of these rare systems, unfortunatelly the typewriter of this one has power supply problem, I need to fix this, the wordprocessor box boots from disk and requests for connection to the typewriter..


October 8th, 2017, 02:16 PM
That is certainly strange! A lot of Olivetti's machines were weird like that! Nice find :)

January 24th, 2018, 09:48 AM
Ok, one more... Olivetti Editor 100. Olivetti Editor originally is electromechanical typewriter of the 1960/70's, very fast and reliable where the top model Editor 5 had proportinal spacing, carbon ribbon and the possibility to write justified text (writing every line two times, first time with a counter for spaces go up, and in the 2nd time that counter counted backwards to tell you how much micro spaces you have to insert between the words).

Editor 100 from 1990/91 wanted to take up that traditional name for very successfull Editor series for a new video typewriter model. The concept was very interesting but too late. It was using the NEC V40 processor again, with 768 kB RAM two 720 kb floppies or one floppy plus 20 MB harddisk. The printer uses thermo trasfer print head with ribbons to print on standard paper. Computer, floppys (or harddisk) and printer are integrated into one typewriter looking chassis. It even has two ISA slot at the rear side with exit to the left, strange for a thing which is concepted as a just wordprocessor. But so, I would be able to insert an XT-IDE-controller. The keyboard is not that good as on other ETV series systems, it is bending while you write. The Editor 100 is using the same external monitor as ETV 2700, black&white (greyscale) CGA through composite video cable which could be mounted on an arm which you can fix on the desk. The operating system of Editor 100 was MS-DOS 3.20 (Olivetti branded) like on ETV 2700, ETV 2900 but a from them different a word processor software. This software was similar to the previous model of semi professional type video typewriters, Olivetti CWP-1 (CP/M based in ROM), quite easy to use with a lot of function on the F-keys and the monitor display the current meanings of the F-keys at the lower border. I have nit checked yet how compatible this software is to documents written on the ETV series and CWP-1, but I saw that it can include b&w graphics into the documents.

My example of Editor 100 is "new old stock", I was the first person to unpack it since 27 years,since it has been produced. But I had to readjust the monitor and to fix the diskettes, they were mostly unreadable for the Editor. But I was able to make working copies using my Atari STacy with FCopy Pro III and Xcopy nibble mode on Amiga for some bad tracks.

January 24th, 2018, 01:48 PM
Do you think these are strange?


I don't, but they sure are hard to work on. The membrane keyboard is plugged into the keyboard port on these.

April 14th, 2019, 12:32 PM
I have to add, that since a few days, I have Olivetti ETV 2900 (1st above) brother, the Olivetti M200 Personal Computer. If you compare ETV 2900 and M200 you will find similarity in design, the upper part of M200 is the same as ETV 2900. M200 adds a box with 2 ISA slots and 30 MB RLL harddrive and has standard keyboard instead of a typewriter.


A nice little NEC V40 based XT, 768 kB RAM, CGA monochrome (with OGC mode, 640x400 like M24), RLL 30 MB harddrive, very silent. Maintenance is difficult, to open the case you need to turn the whole machine upside down. Then you can open two screws to separate the upper part which consists of monitor, mainboard and floppy drives (the MS-DOS-iMac, same as ETV 2900), or with three different screws you can open the bottom of the box case and get access to the harddisk and ISA slots.

April 15th, 2019, 11:38 AM
If you want strange, check out my Zaisan. It has an 8088, z80, and 6805. Not that it can use them at the same time, the 8088 is for dos, the 6805 I think is for the organizer program in rom, and the z80 is for terminal emulation.

April 16th, 2019, 10:07 AM
That Zaisan is also nice. Has it phone included?

April 16th, 2019, 10:32 AM
What a bunch of obscure computers never heard of this models before, so cool.

April 16th, 2019, 11:53 AM
That Zaisan is also nice. Has it phone included?

Yup, has the original handset with it. Just missing the brightness knob. And it unfortunately doesn't have any documentation or software

April 16th, 2019, 02:03 PM
A few other odd ones:

Cordata CS40, with integrated monochrome monitor:


Vendex Headstart Explorer -- like the Amstrad PPC luggable, except without the built-in LCD or battery pack. The keyboard folds up into the top of the case. It came with its own unique GUI.



Zenith eaZy PC - another integrated NEC V40 based system, similar to the Philips machines shown above.


May 4th, 2019, 12:00 PM
Olivetti M19


Works exelent , expanded to 640k

May 6th, 2019, 09:39 AM
M 19 is not strange, it's just cute. I also have one. I also have it's big sister, Olivetti ETV 260, same mainboard as M19.


May 7th, 2019, 01:15 PM
Were all these Olivetti wordprocessors re-purposing the PC/1 hardware? That was a small general purpose XT-class machine where the entire system including floppy controller, parallel and serial controller and CGA graphics controller was implemented on a single, relatively small board (a lot of integration on a big ULA chip from Yamaha) with an ISA compatible-ish edge connector on the end. Unfortunately it was probably just a bit late to the party for XT class hardware and was sold as a budget machine. But it had an NEC V40, CGA graphics (the word processors might call the graphics 'Greyscale CGA' but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts it's colour CGA out of the board but just connected to a greyscale monitor), MS-DOS 3.2, it's all the same as these wordprocessors. Just a differing amount of RAM.

Those dark grey 720K floppy drives are carried straight over (bet you they have orange LEDs?), some of the case mouldings appear to be borrowed too (particularly the Editor 100 where the monitor case is clearly a very minor revision of the PC/1 colour monitor case).

May 8th, 2019, 12:25 PM
Which PC1 do you mean? Atari PC1, Commodore PC1 or Olivetti Prodest PC1? (These are the PC1 I know, there might be more).

Prodest PC1 shares V40 processor and chipset with ETV 2700, ETV 2900, Editor 100, Quaderno and M200. Maybe more, but these are the ones I know. Most of them have CGA with composite video, ETV 2700 and Editor even share the same monitor (CRT 2700). Only Prodest PC 1 has standard CGA output and analoque RGB video to use monitors like they can be used for homecomputers like Atari ST and Commodore Amiga; and Quderno subnotebook with LCD.

53083 53084
Compare that M200 with ETV 2900, the upper part (monitor downto floppy drives) is the same.