View Full Version : Mistery ATARI ABC 286 in PC4 chassis with PC4LC mainboard...

November 29th, 2017, 12:11 PM
Hello, in the german ATARI-home.de forum a member has posted details about a mistery ATARI ABC 286 PC. Normally ATARI ABC-286 is well known, but this one is special, I have never seen this one before, also the known websites only show the normal ones (http://www.ataripc.net/ , http://www.atari-computermuseum.de/abc386.htm ). The interesting things are:

1. It is using the ATARI PC 4 chassis. ABC 286 chassis usually looks different, see http://www.atari-computermuseum.de/pics/scans/ABC28630_1089.pdf
2. Special mainboard "ATARI PC4LC", LC = Low Cost?
3. Instead of PC4 without connector for external floppy drive and without connector for the ATARI (ST) busmouse.
4. It has exactly 640 kB of ram, using 2x 64 KB and 2x 256 kB SIPP modules
5. EGA 9 pin video connector, but usually available DIP switches for EGA card mode selection not installed

Original thread in german: http://forum.atari-home.de/index.php?topic=13971.msg222667#msg222667
Detail photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/19ayU6BCd2Jb-ntWfiqhT0rr5Jmodzzza

Do you have any details aboutb this special version?

Flamin Joe
November 29th, 2017, 05:52 PM
I don't have anything to add apart from more speculation as I've never seen anything like this before. But in talking with the owner and seeing the pictures, I agree that everything seems to point to it being a low cost version of the ABC 286 made possible by reusing existing parts from the Atari PC4, even going as far producing a PC4 motherboard with as little components and circuitry as possible. I noticed too the SIPP RAM is missing an Atari P/N silkscreened on the PCB, something which the RAM included with the original Atari PC4 does have so it appears they went with the cheapest RAM they could source at the time.

It's a very interesting PC, very much a hybrid Atari PC/ABC. I find it a little amusing that they didn't even go to the trouble of hiding the fact it was using a Atari PC4 chassis by keeping with the original plastic trim with the large "PC4" molded into it. You think they could of at least incorporated PC4 into the model name so it wasn't that much out of place! Strange decision.

I should note it's not the first time I've seen some interesting things going on the with the PC4 in Germany as there is of course the Mitac Paragon 286VE (http://www.ataripc.net/pc4-286/mitac-pc4-germany/) which Atari started rebadging and selling as an Atari PC4. Makes me wonder if this is all related somehow? The Mitac rebadged as a Atari PC4 to continue that line which then allows them to shift development focus to the new ABC series and keep costs down by using existing stock of the PC4 chassis which they now have excess of. All purely speculation though....

November 29th, 2017, 09:36 PM
I still remember the Mitac PC4, I used to have one in the office where I worked in 1990. I t was a rare place where a lot of Atari PCs and (Mega-)ST/E series were used in office for daily business. Even some early TT were there and some first tries with networking.

By the way, atari-computermuseum.de has announced that they got one of these Mitac PC4 recently and will update the website soon.

November 29th, 2017, 10:46 PM
This is very unrelated, but years ago on ebay.ca I saw the most lame brained beige and vanilla Atari PC anyone has ever seen. I was thoroughly intrigued! Imagine pulling incriminating name tags off of a 5151 and dropping Atari specific tags in their place. Or really just a standard clone case. I can't remember too many specifics, but I'm lead to believe it had an 8088 duh. Maybe it was just a diabolical ruse. Maybe just maybe it was an early prototype. I'm sorry I didn't bid. Any Canadians into the Atari scene?

December 2nd, 2017, 11:12 AM
Hmmm. I guess that explains the 102-key PC keyboard I have with the Atari sticker on the back... :huh:

December 2nd, 2017, 03:13 PM
Show me. Show the world.

Flamin Joe
December 3rd, 2017, 04:54 PM
Hmmm. I guess that explains the 102-key PC keyboard I have with the Atari sticker on the back... :huh:

Is it a Mitsumi KPQ-E99YC? Do you have any photos?

December 10th, 2017, 05:23 PM
Sorry for not replying sooner. Been working or sleeping. :)

Here's a couple of shots:

It didn't come with a plate for the LEDs so I added notes with a Sharpie. The back only has the one sticker, and it's pretty faded.
I can't even remember where I got it, except "eBay." It was a long time ago, when you could buy vintage stuff without paying an insane price on eBay.

{edit} It's a 5-pin DIN. It's either an AT or an autoswitch, given the LEDs. The last computer I used it on was a Compaq Deskpro 286. I honestly don't remember if I ever used it on my PC or XT. On the other hand, the Deskpro 286 seems quite happy with the (8086) Deskpro keyboard I've been using. My helpful friends tossed the Deskpro as well as the Enhanced 102-key keyboard that went with the 286 while I was in the hospital. Sigh.

I'll have to try plugging it into a couple other systems. It's been a while since I've used it.