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Thread: IBM5110 Question

  1. #1

    Default IBM5110 Question

    It is said that the IBM5110 ran Basic and its keyboard looks like it is set up for Basic commands. But where was the Basic program located, was it ROM resident within the computer, or was it resident on the external large disk drives that were attached to the computer?

  2. #2
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    BASIC was in ROM. APL could also be in ROM. The ROS also included additional functionality in ROM spread over multiple boards. Just the ROM chips alone had to cost about $2,000 (1976 prices) since it totaled almost 300 kB of ROM.
    The 5110 could be purchased in a lower cost tape only version so loading software from disk was not practical.

  3. #3

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    Thanks krebizfan.

    I was also wondering if I had a 5110 (without the original external disk drives or the tape unit) how easy it would be to store BASIC programs in some sort of more modern non volatile media , such as a more modern external disk drive or NVRAM attached to its output ports, or perhaps directly to the data bus with appropriate address decoders etc, or would that likely be tricky ? (I can build hardware that works in ISA slots for my 5155 but I'm not sure about the 5110)

    Are the external disk or tape drives these came with very rare items ?
    Last edited by Hugo Holden; September 4th, 2018 at 09:01 AM.

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    Now you are getting beyond my knowledge level.

    I think that most 5110s were paired with a 5114 drive unit but I have not seen a 5114 offered for sale. 5114 weighed more than 100 pounds so be prepared. The drives themselves were standard 8" models so modifications to use other devices in place of 8" drives could be adapted for the 5110. I think the IBM connector was unusual* so it might require some adjustments to a 50 pin cable. Core offered a hard drive line for the 5100, 5110 and 5120 but I have only seen an ad for it, I have no information on how it worked.

    It looks possible if you find a 5110 with a disk controller but I am not aware of anyone having done modern storage on a 5100 series systems.

    5106 external tape unit seemed rare; I believe the trade press indicated that most users either suffered with the internal tape only or went for disk drives.

    ftp://ftp.informatik.uni-stuttgart.d...m/ibm/ibm5110/ has a bunch of manuals in PDF. Not enough to allow me to clone a 5114 but maybe it will help you.

    * Ah, checking documentation helps. More weird than I remembered. The connector between units had 3 25-pin connections: 2 for data and 1 for power.
    Last edited by krebizfan; September 4th, 2018 at 12:36 PM.

  5. #5

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    Thanks. There is quite a bit of information on how the tape drive worked and it would be possible to emulate that but it would be quite a job. It looks as though the internal ROM based "microprograms" support the RS232 serial interface so it might be possible to store BASIC programs via that to an external memory or modern tape drive. And it looks as though the 5110 (without any external accessories) could act as a dumb terminal. It is interesting just how far the technology had come between the 5110 and the 5155 in a relatively short time frame.

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