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AWPJudy
July 27th, 2020, 12:23 PM
apologies in advance for the wall o text.

in a moment of temporary insanity i purchased that "local pick-up only" lot of GRiDs on ebay, and boy was it worth it. i'm only partially done cleaning/testing/cataloging, but here are the preliminary findings:

1x 1307 - booted right up.
1x 1535 - boots, but the PSU can't drive the display. needs a PSU recap.
2x 1550sx - both boot, both PSUs only partially functioning and need to be recapped.
1x 1680 - functionality TBD, gorgeous cosmetic shape
1x 1680c - functionality TBD, only machine in the lot that i'll have to part-out/swap-out. the battery exploded, ruining the case, but the screen and mobo look like they rolled off the line yesterday. sparkly and new.
1x 1720 / 2x 1755 - the 17xx machines are intermittent and can't drive their displays, but are semi-functional (enough to occasionally boot and use external vga). a full recap should restore them to 100% but the PSU is integrated with the mobo, and the dc-dc board to drive the display is undocumented, irreplaceable, and encapsulated. extensive smd rework likely required. these poor boys might be a write-off.
2x 1810 - 1 with backlight, 1 without. both booted right up.
2x 4025nc - both booted right up.

2x 2102 GPIB 5.25" FDD
3x 3401 3.5" FDD
2x 2202 5.25" stackable device bays - one of which is modified to accept 2 cards, maybe multibus or something?
1x 2200 charging station

1x 1535 expansion tray (with an ISA GPS card?!?!)
1x 16xx expansion tray

also included 5 or so extra PSUs for the 15xx series (all of which will explode if plugged in thanks to those rifa caps), a big bag-o-roms, around 8 of those weird jvc jd3824 HDDs (still in sealed boxes from a supplier!), and a handful of other drives, a bunch of cables, some spare bits and bobbins, 4-5 laptop bags..

it's absolutely overwhelming. they're all in FANTASTIC shape. all of the screens are bright and flawless.

the good news: as far as i can tell from some bench testing, every single motherboard works. the bad news: every power supply in every machine needs a recap. piece of cake on the old machines. incredibly unlikely on the 16-17xx machines.

roughly half the HDDs tested are fully functional, and still contain data. kinda sketchy, yes, but *very* cool. i've backed up what i can, but even the old win2k box i have set up to do the archiving can't talk to the earliest conner drives. i'll have to devise some alternative.

the 1535 - the one with the GPS card - belonged to novatel, and i recovered all of the software for it! one belonged to ford, one belonged to OSHA, one belonged to us west. the 1307 is tempest so i'm going to assume DoD provenance. one of the 1550s is internally marked "army 19th special forces group," but has no HDD. sigh.

i'll be posting plenty (including hopefully a gallery) as progress is made and questions arise. if you have parts to buy/sell/trade/loan just let me know. i'll be keeping a few of them and selling the rest, but i'd love to give them loving homes, and try to connect them with the grid community. 8x rare HDDs and peripheral enclosures for the gridcase 3 aren't doing me any good, so i'd love to unload them - or trade one of my other machines for a gridcase 3!

updates as they happen. cheers!

https://imgur.com/a/AxPmhau

djmartins
July 27th, 2020, 08:31 PM
Sounds great and it's nice to see them with someone who loves them rather than in the dumpster like most old puters...

Qbus
July 28th, 2020, 07:36 AM
On the EBay listing they showed a couple big black boxes under the table that looked like Rolm or Loral sixteen hundred series computers, did you pick them up too?
I would be willing to trade some fairly exotic Grid hardware or software for them.
Good luck with the power supplies and you would be well advised to disassemble and replace most of the capacitors in the pod supplies and also pull the DC to DC inverter supplies in all the fifteen hundred family systems and shotgun all the capacitors in them too, whenever I run any of those system these days I use an external supply instead of the internal just to avoid smoking up the system in the event of a failure.
Years ago I refurbished a couple dozen 1500 systems for a contract and part of that job involved removing the original Grid application ROM in the customer use sockets and they have Grid DOS 3.1 Gridscan and the Grid mode command that allows you to set up the internal modem and still think I have several of them around with maybe some of the strange SIM sticks they use, unfortunately the job also involved pulling the modem cards and at the time assumed there was no value in a 2400 baud modem so throw them all out.

TH2002
July 28th, 2020, 09:42 AM
Absolutely love early portables and laptops! Never have been able to find a GRiD system for a reasonable price though. When you're ready to sell them, I'd be more than happy to take one off your hands. PM me with a list of the models you intend on selling and how much you want for each one.

Paralel
July 28th, 2020, 12:29 PM
I am really glad this all went to a good home, and someone that recognizes the historical value of all the hardware. Many more goodies there than there seemed to be.

Sent you a PM about the 1755 486/SLC.

AWPJudy
July 29th, 2020, 11:58 PM
alright, just about everything has been disassembled, cleaned, and had some initial testing.

i've come the the painful decision to part with the gridcase 1307. it was the most superficially damaged - it's missing one screen latch, two key caps, and the hinge is damaged. not sure i'll be able to source replacements for any of those. it *is* however functional in every other way though. boots right up, brilliant screen, floppy works great.

i also haven't touched the 1810s, and i'll probably list those without too much thought. they're both in great shape too, but without working HDDs and the floppy-cartridge-thing that i can't find so much as a picture of, they're glorified serial terminals.

the 16/17xx's are going to require at minimum replacement of all those smt polymer caps. i think i'm going to go for it - i'm really interested in getting the 1680c and 1755 working. i've done micro-min soldering and hot air rework before, but this is still gonna be a scary undertaking technically. for me at least. i'm using the 1720 as the test patient - it's not old enough to be interesting nor new enough to be useful. depending on how that goes..

i'll sell at least 1 of the 4025NCs - i popped a CF card in them and have been having far too much fun playing old dos games

that just leaves the two 1550's and the 1535. i'm in the middle of fully rebuilding all 3 dc-dc boards, i've replaced the RTC batteries, and the suspend batteries as well. these 3 should be museum quality when i'm done. i'll probably sell 1 of the 1550's once i'm done.

all of the floppy drives in all the machines save for 1 worked without a hitch, but i'll still have to take em apart for cleaning, and band replacement if they have 'em. pretty low priority.

i've also got 8 or so 11/12/15/etc series PSU's to rebuild. one is dead, and the rest i dare not plug in because those rifa caps are from what i can tell filled with napalm. i might unload the lot (save 2 or 3) as-is, because some genius decided to fill the component *most likely to fail in any machine* with GLUE.

all the jvc drives and 50-pin enclosures aren't doing me any good if someone is interested. also have a couple of stylus, too bad the machines weren't tucked away in there somewhere too..

TH2002
July 30th, 2020, 03:46 PM
alright, just about everything has been disassembled, cleaned, and had some initial testing.

i've come the the painful decision to part with the gridcase 1307. it was the most superficially damaged - it's missing one screen latch, two key caps, and the hinge is damaged. not sure i'll be able to source replacements for any of those. it *is* however functional in every other way though. boots right up, brilliant screen, floppy works great.

i also haven't touched the 1810s, and i'll probably list those without too much thought. they're both in great shape too, but without working HDDs and the floppy-cartridge-thing that i can't find so much as a picture of, they're glorified serial terminals.

the 16/17xx's are going to require at minimum replacement of all those smt polymer caps. i think i'm going to go for it - i'm really interested in getting the 1680c and 1755 working. i've done micro-min soldering and hot air rework before, but this is still gonna be a scary undertaking technically. for me at least. i'm using the 1720 as the test patient - it's not old enough to be interesting nor new enough to be useful. depending on how that goes..

i'll sell at least 1 of the 4025NCs - i popped a CF card in them and have been having far too much fun playing old dos games

that just leaves the two 1550's and the 1535. i'm in the middle of fully rebuilding all 3 dc-dc boards, i've replaced the RTC batteries, and the suspend batteries as well. these 3 should be museum quality when i'm done. i'll probably sell 1 of the 1550's once i'm done.

all of the floppy drives in all the machines save for 1 worked without a hitch, but i'll still have to take em apart for cleaning, and band replacement if they have 'em. pretty low priority.

i've also got 8 or so 11/12/15/etc series PSU's to rebuild. one is dead, and the rest i dare not plug in because those rifa caps are from what i can tell filled with napalm. i might unload the lot (save 2 or 3) as-is, because some genius decided to fill the component *most likely to fail in any machine* with GLUE.

all the jvc drives and 50-pin enclosures aren't doing me any good if someone is interested. also have a couple of stylus, too bad the machines weren't tucked away in there somewhere too..

Are you going to be selling the laptops on eBay, Here on the Vintage Computer Forum, or somewhere else?

AWPJudy
July 30th, 2020, 06:25 PM
ebay most likely, but i'll offer it all here first in case there's something somebody really wants. part of me needs to be talked out of keeping literally all of it, and it's easier if it's going to somebody who has real interest.

TH2002
August 1st, 2020, 07:45 PM
ebay most likely, but i'll offer it all here first in case there's something somebody really wants. part of me needs to be talked out of keeping literally all of it, and it's easier if it's going to somebody who has real interest.

I'll send you a PM so we can discuss a potential sale there.

Dagwood
August 6th, 2020, 04:41 AM
I've been seeking MS-DOS 4.0 or 3.31 for GridCase. Even just io.sys and msdos.sys (or ibmbio.com and ibmdos.com) and command.com files from a 1520/1530/1535 hard drive would do. Also, if you need assistance I am fully equipped to produce raw images of those old Conner hard drives in a pure MS-DOS environment (so Windows won't hose the drives). In the name of preservation I would be more than happy to help, and return the drives.

AWPJudy
August 6th, 2020, 07:46 AM
my 1535 boots and has a working drive - i'd be glad to take you up on that, i'll shoot you a message.

in other news recapped the dc-dc boards in both 1550s, and they both came back to life.. except the backlights. everything else (fdd, hdd, serial etc) works, and i can see that the screens themselves work fine (as does external vga) but no backlight. does someone far more knowledgeable/experienced have any ideas? or schematics/voltages/test points to point me towards? do the backlights themselves fail? any info would be appreciated, this isn't an area i've dealt with before.

Dagwood
August 7th, 2020, 01:47 PM
The 1550sx was available with an LCD (common) and a less common VGA Plasma option. Yes, backlights definitely can fail... I don't like to remember those days. I think the LCD backlight voltage is like 130VAC and the Plasma 33VDC. The 1520/1530 have different power supplies depending on the display type. The 1550 is a different breed and I don't recall if it had different power supplies or if there were different mainboards with voltage converters depending on the display type, or both. I have a 1550sx service manual with schematics somewhere. I'm currently getting ready to post all my Grid stuff on a website I'm building but I'll try to find this manual for you ASAP.

AWPJudy
August 7th, 2020, 05:22 PM
slightly annoying news: i recapped the power board in the 1535exp, and it resurrected everything ..but the backlight! total different design, same exact symptom. or almost - this one tries to light up long enough to see that this screen at least *wants* to work.

slightly AWESOME news: of the 17xx machines i have, the two 1755's would both *occasionally* turn on, but not if you tried driving the screen, or the hdd/fdd. the 1720 however never stayed on for even a second. totally dead. i decided to use that as a test bed for replacing those smd polymer caps with thru-hole electrolytics. hobbies are supposed to feel like torture, right? (https://imgur.com/a/R9C59YI)

just replacing the 4 crustiest (and of course, least accessible) caps next to the PSU, and the machine booted right up, screen and all! i guess this means im gonna have to repair the 1755s and 1680's as well. boy this is gonna be rough.

Klyball
August 10th, 2020, 07:13 AM
I have 2 1550 , 1 lcd 1 plasma, the base unit can accept plasma , and there is a module for the lcd the plugs into the power supply board, i have switched my screens back and forth

Paralel
August 21st, 2020, 10:56 AM
AWPJudy, are you planning on keeping all the GRiD bags? I'd like to get my hands on one if you are willing to part with such.

AWPJudy
August 21st, 2020, 11:17 AM
i'm willing to part with all of them, i just have gotten around to cleaning them up and taking some photos. i've had to pause this project for a bit with some family and guests around, but i'll dive back in soon enough and get them sorted out.

Caleb Hansberry
August 22nd, 2020, 10:59 AM
Nice find! Can I ask how much you paid for the whole thing?
I almost bought that GRiD lot, but couldn't agree on a price that worked for me because I was only interested in the 16xx models. If you ever want to sell anything related to those, please let me know, I'll make an offer! Especially interested in external drives or docks.
Also let me know if you want help recapping the 16xx DC-DC board, I have experience doing that.
Was a PM, but you couldn't be PMed.

Paralel
August 22nd, 2020, 12:30 PM
i'm willing to part with all of them, i just have gotten around to cleaning them up and taking some photos. i've had to pause this project for a bit with some family and guests around, but i'll dive back in soon enough and get them sorted out.Sounds good. If you could mention here when you start putting the items up for sale, and where, it would be appreciated.

Caleb Hansberry
October 16th, 2020, 01:10 PM
How is it going?

AWPJudy
October 16th, 2020, 01:33 PM
Everything has been on hold unfortunately. Between some PCBs showing up (I designed and brought up a little homebrew minicomputer and wrote a small C standard library for it) and then starting school again, free time has been at an absolute premium. Hopefully once I've settled back into school again I can devote some more time to fixing the remaining broken machines and selling some stuff off. At least now they're in a temperature controlled environment, all the leaky batteries have been removed, and all the machines have been cleaned. I'd rather not have to completely put things off until next summer, but electrical/computer engineering school is annoyingly time-intensive!