View Full Version : Strange CP/M box

Teck Heck
January 22nd, 2018, 07:37 AM
So i was at an estate sale, and out of the corner of my eye i saw a computer nestled between a washing machine and a workbench, after taking it home, opening up, examining, ect. i found out that the computer was made in 1984, ran on a Z80B, contained a full height 5 1/4 inch floppy drive and an aftermarket hard drive in the second bay. the computer is missing and fuse and the fuse holder is broken, so i have yet to turn it on. it also came with a an external 8" floppy drive, but the actual drive had been removed, so it's just a fan and psu,i couldn't find anything about the company listed on the front (IBC) besides the fact that it's a private company. i also checked old-computers.com and couldn't find anything about it. so, if anyone here has information about this computer, the company that made it, or it's rarity, please respond. thanks

January 22nd, 2018, 07:58 AM
Looks interesting...

The company was formed in 1921 (according to Bloomberg) - so a little before they were making computers I would say :-)!



January 22nd, 2018, 08:06 AM
Cp/m Computers with hard drives were pretty much an 80's only thing right? I wonder what purpose all those "ports" had in the rear.. Very interesting looking machine, is the front bezel missing?

January 22nd, 2018, 08:21 AM
How appropriate that a "Fresca" can is in the background... :D

Looks to me like a system designed to run MP/M, perhaps also as a CP/NET server (given the bisynch port).

January 22nd, 2018, 09:37 AM
My guess would be that Ports 1-10 connected to relatively dumb RS232 terminals, the Centronics port talked to a shared printer and the BISYNCH port talked back to the 'headquarters' computer system.

Lots of companies (banks, car dealerships, travel companies) etc. were using equipment of this type back in the days.

It may not have been MP/M - but vanilla CP/M (used as a boot and embedded operating system) to run a bespoke application?

It would be interesting to get a 'close up view' of the integrated circuits to see what is on there in detail. I would bet the two banks of 24 or 28 pin 0.6" DIL packages are the UARTS (serial ports 1-10). 8251's?


January 22nd, 2018, 10:04 AM
I remember IBC (at nearly that time, I was with a competing company).

They, like others, relied on the set of business applications originally written for the Data General Nova in BASIC from MCBA. So the emphasis of their system was a BASIC compiler called Bluebird Business BASIC, running on their own SuperDOS. Multi-user system. I believe their original product used the MicroNova CPU.

Here's a shot of the president holding your box (https://books.google.com/books?id=4i8EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=%22Integrated+Business+Computers%22+IBC&source=bl&ots=sNeFD_0sJo&sig=nlLfZMBKFOqUQWEz5tDJ7E4JyRQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJyY_ynuzYAhWL71MKHezSD8k4FBDoAQgvMAQ#v =onepage&q=%22Integrated%20Business%20Computers%22%20IBC&f=false).

IBC dallied with a number of subsequent platforms; 80386 and 68020, but eventually were done in by the PC platform.

February 4th, 2018, 06:31 PM
Looks like you have 64K dram down with room for another 64K.

That selector switch east of the ram looks unique...not sure I've seen one of those before.

Top of the MB picture you have a 40-pin header...adjacent chips may tell if it's SASI or SCSI...I'd bet on SASI...any HD controllers below?

February 4th, 2018, 07:18 PM
Very nice find! Personally I love these unsung, unmentioned bits of history. Multi-user back room machines like this were always underrated.

Before powering it on for the first time, seriously consider options for retrieving data on that hard drive. The OS would be quite uncommon, and it may even hold unique custom software.

February 4th, 2018, 08:01 PM
As I mentioned, the standard operating system for this box was SuperDOS and the apps were basically the MCBA series. We used the same code.

I suspect that their BlueBird BASIC may have been written by Ryan-McFarland--I know that they had an x80 BASIC in the works that was loosely compatible with DG Nova BASIC.

The hard drive looks like a plain ST506 interface job, given the date of the system. I suspect that the 40 position cable plugs into a controller perhaps mounted below the main board.

February 5th, 2018, 03:49 AM
Cp/m Computers with hard drives were pretty much an 80's only thing right? I wonder what purpose all those "ports" had in the rear.. Very interesting looking machine, is the front bezel missing?

I know I read that the Sony SMC-70 was to have a hard drive option available for it, but I've never seen one (nor a hard drive controller). Maybe someone else knows if one was ever released. The CP/M setup program does have the option to configure a drive though.

Teck Heck
February 22nd, 2018, 08:09 AM
sorry for the late reply, but 10 of the ports on the back are RS-232 for terminal connection, the port labelled "bisynch" is for a printer and the final port is for a mainframe connection. as for the bezel, only the bezels on the hard drive side are, the hard drive was added later so i assume the original owner took them off for that and never put them back. and as for CP/M computers with hard drives, CP/M as a whole was an 80s thing.

Teck Heck
February 22nd, 2018, 08:10 AM
I haven't checked below, although id' assume an aftermarket one.