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IBM 5394-01A - Save?

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    IBM 5394-01A - Save?

    Dropped by the local recycling place yesterday to dispose of a couple of dead LCD monitors, and took a look at their pile of computers. They occasionally have something interesting, and will let you have it for $10. Well, I found this interesting beige IBM box with a floppy sticking out of the front of it that looked like something that would work in a PS/2. Figured that alone would be worth $10, so I brought it home. Looks like it is a remote terminal for AS/400, System/36, etc - connect it via a modem sort of connection, then string some twinax terminals off of it. The back only has power, a 25-pin serial-looking port, and three twinax connections. The inside has a simple circuit board with a 186 CPU and a 256kx36 RAM chip and the 3.5" 1.44Mb floppy, that does look like it could be removed and mounted on a PS/2 sled.

    So here's the it worth preserving? Sounds like an odd use case that likely wouldn't attract much interest in the current world, and no real way to modify it to do anything interesting, definitely not without a twinax terminal. There are a handful on ebay starting around $50 and none appear to have sold. I'm tempted to pull the floppy and RAM and dispose of the rest, but I also know what it feels like to hear someone else say that about something I would love to have still in one piece!



    There's a D-sub serial connection, right? Depending on the amount of memory, I suppose that one might get a version of CP/M-86 or some such to run on it.


      I'm interested I think. Snap a photo.

      Ok I see it on eBay. Curious what the circuit board looks like.
      Last edited by tipc; March 13, 2021, 09:14 AM.


        I suppose anything is possible. It has the floppy drive and a ROM chip. Probably beyond my abilities to do anything with it...other than re-purpose the floppy drive and possibly RAM chip. Here's the circuit board:



          If you are someone who has the ability to modem connect (or simulate the modem) to IBM hardware it's a little useful if you have a system at home and somehow you ran out of available Twinax ports. Otherwise it's only useful if you got two modems, some way to run your own leased line and save yourself having to run twinax across the house/garage/yard.

          I have one myself. I bought it expecting it to be an easy way to attach the terminals and peripherals to a Linux system instead of a real piece of IBM hardware using a serial port. Problem is the serial port uses Block mode for data and EBCDIC encoding, because this is IBM midranges we are talking about here. Furthermore nobody has ever developed a way for linux or any OS for that matter to fake it and allow you to use it in this manner. Even Hercules won't work.
          [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
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          = Excellent space heater


            Thanks for the info NeXT. I had a feeling it would be so oddball as to likely not be useful for anything. I'll set it aside and probably some day yank the floppy drive and ram and dispose of the rest...assuming the RAM will even work in anything else.