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Thread: Massive barn find!

  1. #1

    Default Massive barn find!

    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

  2. #2

    Default

    Sounds great and it's nice to see them with someone who loves them rather than in the dumpster like most old puters...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Salisbury Maryland
    Posts
    834

    Default

    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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    California, United States
    Posts
    99

    Default

    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.
    Vintage computer systems and peripherals I'm currently looking for:
    Any 386, 486 or Pentium-based IBM ThinkPad laptop, Any 386, 486 or Pentium-based Compaq LTE or Compaq Contura laptop, Any 8088/8086 or 286-based computer with a 3.5'' 1.44MB floppy drive (laptop or desktop is fine), Any Toshiba Libretto laptop running Windows 95, 98 or 2000, Commodore 1541 disk drive in working condition.

    PM me if you are interested in selling any of these items to me. Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    SW Quadrant of Michigan
    Posts
    256

    Default

    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.

  6. #6

    Default

    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..

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    California, United States
    Posts
    99

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AWPJudy View Post
    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?
    Vintage computer systems and peripherals I'm currently looking for:
    Any 386, 486 or Pentium-based IBM ThinkPad laptop, Any 386, 486 or Pentium-based Compaq LTE or Compaq Contura laptop, Any 8088/8086 or 286-based computer with a 3.5'' 1.44MB floppy drive (laptop or desktop is fine), Any Toshiba Libretto laptop running Windows 95, 98 or 2000, Commodore 1541 disk drive in working condition.

    PM me if you are interested in selling any of these items to me. Thanks!

  8. #8

    Default

    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.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    California, United States
    Posts
    99

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AWPJudy View Post
    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.
    Vintage computer systems and peripherals I'm currently looking for:
    Any 386, 486 or Pentium-based IBM ThinkPad laptop, Any 386, 486 or Pentium-based Compaq LTE or Compaq Contura laptop, Any 8088/8086 or 286-based computer with a 3.5'' 1.44MB floppy drive (laptop or desktop is fine), Any Toshiba Libretto laptop running Windows 95, 98 or 2000, Commodore 1541 disk drive in working condition.

    PM me if you are interested in selling any of these items to me. Thanks!

  10. Default

    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.
    My corner of the world: classicbits.net

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