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View Full Version : Looking for info on some Olympia CP/M machines - ETX I, ETX II & EX 100



roberttx
February 17th, 2018, 05:46 AM
This week, I scored four Olympia boxes - an ETX I, an ETX II and two EX 100s.

Googling has not been very fruitful. I have established that the ETX II and the EX 100 are CP/M machines, SSDD 48 tpi 5.25" and DSDD 48 tpi 5.25" respectively and have seen one assertion that the ETX II is S-100 based - I won't be able to confirm that until I open it up. I found nothing on the ETX I.

As best I can figure out, these were sold as add ons for electric typewriters. You hooked them up, with they typewriter acting as keyboard and printer and you had a word processor or computer.

I think I have one interface board, that came in a box with the EX I.

Does anybody know anything about these machines? It seems like a boot disk from an Osborne One would work.

Most immediately, though, does anybody know which typewriters they worked with? I have an opportunity to go back to where I got them, today and it would be great if I didn't have to haul off every damn typewriter with "Olympia" on it!

43807

43806

Edited to add: The ETX I doesn't seem to have a floppy drive, so may not be a CP/M box. I guess I'll have to power it on and see if it gives me a clue as to what's in the firmware.

Chuck(G)
February 17th, 2018, 10:05 AM
If there's a disk mentioned in the 22Disk database, I probably have the real thing on file.

I see a floppy for an ETX II and the EX 100. Neither is compatible with an Osborne I--both use 512 byte sectors, for example.

roberttx
February 17th, 2018, 01:02 PM
Thankls, Chuck, that's saved me from going down a dead end.

I went back to the well today but, despite searching high and low, could not find a typewriter with any kind of interface port. So, the first thing to do is find out which typewriters they were used with. A thread on USENET contains a post saying that the successor to the ETX II, the Olytext 20, was usually used with 'a "200-line" model. A Standard 200, Professional 220, Or Supertype 230.' So that may be a starting point.

Chuck(G)
February 17th, 2018, 01:08 PM
Although I've never seen any of these machines, I've done plenty of Olympia diskette conversion. I'd have to review my notes, as I probably haven't seen any in at least 15 years.

roberttx
February 17th, 2018, 01:59 PM
That might come in handy, when I get to messing with these. I may end up owing you beer.

I'm not going to look at them for a little while, though. I really must stick to my 2018 to do list, at least as far as the first two or three projects, before allowing myself to get distracted.

When I do get to them, though, there will (as always) be copious photographic documentation.

roberttx
February 18th, 2018, 07:01 AM
Done a bit more digging. This advert, from 1983, says that the EX 100 connects to "current Olympia electronic typewriters", so that gives us a rough idea of age range.

https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/163346164/

On this page, we have a used ETX II for sale in 1988, which gives us an upper bound.

https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/217473907/

And this link has an advert for a disk conversion service, letting us refine the upper bound to 1985.

https://archive.org/stream/ComputingNow/ComputingNow1985-06_djvu.txt

So, we're looking at Olympia electronic typewriters that were sold in the 1983 to 1985 range, possibly a little earlier or later.

roberttx
February 18th, 2018, 08:13 AM
Yet more digging. Googling for "EX100" instead of "EX 100" brings up some additional info. Here, we learn that RS232 was added in 1983.https://books.google.com/books?id=Mdxvs6Ih7NUC&pg=PA70&lpg=PA70&dq=Olympia+%22ex100%22+-flashlight+-light+-headlamp&source=bl&ots=0dcDj1_Gjd&sig=xgBLlIoCM8NYz-9PrQiOLhvYQIg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjz2tXU-a_ZAhVDIqwKHXkHDtsQ6AEIWDAD#v=onepage&q=Olympia%20%22ex100%22%20-flashlight%20-light%20-headlamp&f=false

And here, we learn that the EX100 is actually a re-badged Systel II. That should open some extra avenues of investigation.

https://www.inc.com/magazine/19821001/7855.html

roberttx
February 18th, 2018, 08:52 AM
Also, some manuals showed up on ebay, so I bought them. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-1982-Olympia-EX100-Extension-Typewriter-Reference-Operational-Guide/323039164504?hash=item4b36a27858:g:4sUAAOSwB-1Y28q1

Chuck(G)
February 18th, 2018, 09:47 AM
Recall that Olympia also made a standard desktop PC, called the "People":

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/userdata/images/large/PRODPIC-35673.jpg

roberttx
February 18th, 2018, 10:21 AM
Yes, that showed up in some of my searches.

I had to go by my storage, today, so I grabbed some tools and a camera. First, the ETX I - here's the model # sticker:

43823

Mic and speaker ports? I wasn't expecting those. Perhaps they're for saving files to tape?

43825

And here's the port for the typewriter interface:

43827

This is the typewriter interface:

43828

A better view of the PCB. I have no idea what the spare header is for.

43830

And the connector for the typewriter. So, it seems I'm looking for one with a polarized 16 pin header inside.

43831

A quick break, then we'll take a look inside.

Chuck(G)
February 18th, 2018, 10:27 AM
Can't say much about the ETX I; it's not a disk-based unit, so it didn't make it to my radar.

My guess is that the DIN connector is just an alternative for the jacks and it's for saving data to tape.

roberttx
February 18th, 2018, 10:51 AM
Here we are with the cover off. A power supply, a single board computer and a daughterboard that appears to handle the audio:

43832

I wish I'd got a better picture of the header. It's labelled "BUS" and has 50 pins.

43833

The daughterboard is marked "Twix":

43834

I didn't get a close up of the big IC, but blowing it up it looks like an MC6850P asynch comms job.

43835

Oops! I did get a close up, after all and it is an MC6850P.

43836

On the main board, we have an NEC D8257-5 DMA controller:

43837

An NEC D780C-1 Z80 CPU

43838

And a bunch of Z80 PIOs for the typewriter interface:

43839

That's as far as I've gotten with this one, but I also had a look at the ETX II, up next.

roberttx
February 18th, 2018, 11:23 AM
The ETX II ha two switches on the front: one marked 1 and 0, presumably power and one marked M and P. The EX 100 has a switch marked Type and WP, so that may also be what the second switch on the ETX II does.

4384143840

Stickers:

43842

By way of ports, we have two 25 pin dsubs and a BNC, presumably for video.

43843

Off comes the top:

43844

And we can see part of the main board, with a couple of Z80 PIOs, from Mostek:

43845

To see the rest, I had to remove the floppy drives:

43846

Also exposing a smaller board, connected via a 50 way ribbon cable.

43847

The drives are by TEAC:

43848

And putting them back was a nightmare of lining up tab A with slot B, but I got it done.

43849

That's all for now. I'm going to wait for the manuals to arrive, before taking a look at the EX 100.

Chuck(G)
February 18th, 2018, 12:27 PM
So you didn't get a monitor with the ETX II?

roberttx
February 18th, 2018, 12:43 PM
So you didn't get a monitor with the ETX II?

I got two ETX I monitors. They look like Amber composite jobs. I'm hoping that all I'll need will be a BNC to RCA adapter.

roberttx
February 25th, 2018, 10:45 AM
And the connector for the typewriter. So, it seems I'm looking for one with a polarized 16 pin header inside.

43831



Not much in the way of progress, except to say that I went back yesterday and bought an Olympia Standard 300 typewriter. Opened it up today and there's no sign of a matching connector, so it's not the one.

roberttx
March 21st, 2018, 01:30 PM
Some false hope, today, but not much more in the way of progress. I looked again at that Standard 300 and realized that there was a panel on the base that I hadn't looked inside. Removed it and found this:

44485

On the left is a 16 pin connector that looks a lot like what I'm looking for:

44486

Sadly, "looks like" isn't the same as "is". This one is polarized by way of the shell and has all 16 pins, while the female connector on the interface card has one pin filled in for polarization. Further, I couldn't find any way of fitting the card in the case, close enough for the ribbon cable to reach. So, that didn't get me any further. :(

liqmat
March 24th, 2018, 12:14 AM
Recall that Olympia also made a standard desktop PC, called the "People":

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/userdata/images/large/PRODPIC-35673.jpg

Absolutely love the look of that.

Mr.megacham
May 9th, 2018, 12:26 AM
Hey, so recently I also managed to find an ETX-1 set from a recycling event held at our school. 45406

Here's rest of the pictures:
45407
45408
45409
45410
45411
45412
45413
45414
45415
45416
45417
45418

The only problem which I currently have, is that none of these devices have a power switch (expect monitor), in order to turn them on. So I am wondering, that if I need to have an Olympia typewriter for them to work?

Aquarius
January 30th, 2019, 10:31 AM
Hi, did you get the etx II to work?

I have some older Olympia Boss computers which have a normal power switch. Did you get software with it? Prologue or CP/M?

Best regards
Aquarius