Forum Rules and Etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.

Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.

Rule 3: Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.

Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.

Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.

New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.

Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
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Updated Collection: 1986 IBM PC AT and 1986 ZDS PC-160

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    Updated Collection: 1986 IBM PC AT and 1986 ZDS PC-160

    It's been so long since I've last spoke of my collection, and so much has happened to them since then, I've decided to share again my small, yet hopeful vintage computer collection...

    1986 IBM PC AT

    Model Number: 5170-099

    Processor: Intel 80286-6 @ 6 MHz
    Math Coprocessor: Intel 80287-3
    Motherboard: IBM AT Type I w/ 512KB RAM (piggybacked chips)
    Memory: 2.5MB (2560KB) (512KB base, 2048KB extended)
    Floppy Drives: IBM 5.25" 1.2MB / 3.5" 1.44MB
    Hard Drive: IBM/Seagate 20MB full height MFM ST-506
    Monitor: IBM 5154 EGA (Enhanced Video Array) w/ pitch tray
    Keyboard: IBM AT 84-key
    Operating System: MS-DOS 6.22, Microsoft Windows 2.03
    Installed Cards: IBM/Western Digital MFM hard/floppy disk controller, IBM 64KB EGA video, IBM 3MB extended memory board w/ 2MB installed

    This is the prized gem of my small computer collection - my first and most complete vintage system, I obtained it for free from a family friend who was about to throw it and a matching system away, and that's when my interest in my vintage computers began. I'm expecting the coprocessor next week so I can run AutoCAD on it and do some drafting. I'm also in the process of tracking down an original 1980's IBM dot matrix printer and plotter, to make this workstation more complete. All I'd need then is a nice desk to put everything onto...

    Items Still Wanted
    • 12 sticks of 256KB 30-pin pairity SIMM's (to give extended memory card full 3MB of memory)
    • tape drive and propriety card
    • trackball
    • other IBM PC-area computers

    1986 Zenith Data Systems PC-160(?)

    Processor: AMD 8088/8086 @ 4.77/8MHz
    Motherboard: Zenith 8-bit backpane/CPU board
    Memory: 640KB (on CPU board)
    Floppy Drives: 2 Zenith 5.25" 360KB drives
    Hard Drive: Kyocera KC-30B 33MB MFM ST-506
    Monitor: Zenith amber monochrome CGA
    Keyboard: Zenith 84-key
    Operating System: MS-DOS 5.0
    Installed Cards: Zenith floppy controller. Zenith CPU/memory board

    This machine was entirely disassembled when I got it and I left it that way until a few weeks ago, when I put it together and cleaned it up some. I'm not entirely sure it's PC-160 because I can find barely any info at all about Zenith computers on the Internet, surprisingly (if anyone can verify that this is indeed a PC-160 or not, please contact me!). I might get rid of this something in the near future, I'm not sure. It's not a very imporant piece in my small collection, but it is something...


    I'm not sure what model that Zenith is, but I am sure it isn't the PC-160. The 160 is a portable (luggable), all-in one version. There should be a sticker on the back which should tell you the model number. Another trick is (with the machine booted) to hit ctrl-alt-return, and see what comes up on the screen. There should be some version of system monitor program with a title like: MFM-xxxx. That will give you something to play around with. A question mark entered will display a menu of all the commands available to use. There is a Heath/Zenith forum on CompuServe where you can go for more info concerning your ZDS systems.

    Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.

    Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.


      I've tried tracing the model number, but it doesn't lead to anything. I had another CPU board with this machine and the two CPU boards had different MFM-XXXX designations, so I'm not sure which the original would be. If I can recall correctly, one was "MFM-600" and the other was "MFM-1400".

      What the URL for this forum you speak of?



        You'll have to sign up for the forum if using it for the first time. Once you get logged on, find the vintage computing forums, then the Heath/Zenith forum. Doc Bogner will greet you there. He is very knowlegable.

        Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.

        Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.


          Could you perhaps give me Doc Bogner's e-mail address? I really don't feel like signing up, my e-mail inbox is already brimming with 50+ spam mails a day, lol...


            I'll see what I can find for ya...

            Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.

            Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.


              Compuserve requires you to sign up to get to their message areas. You can get the first month free but then you have to cancel to get out of the program. . .

              I'd prefer to avoid the hassle.

              If you are on related Compuserve forums and feel like it please post something about these boards. Maybe we'll get some converts!

              The Vintage Computer and Gaming Marketplace
              The Vintage Computer



                I msg'd Doc, and he replied that he'd rather not give out his private email addy, but will gladly answer any questions in the open forum.

                Joining CompuServe is a mostly painless process. I have been a member for five or six months and they have never tried to bill me or anything. Also have not noticed any significant increase in spam since joining. They seem to be pretty good about protecting thier members against such...

                Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.

                Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.


                  I'd still rather not sign up, though, I'm lazy I guess. College getting busy, hehe. Maybe someone could forward him the link of the pic of my Zenith? If not, it's cool.