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Any Epson QX-16 owners out there??

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    Any Epson QX-16 owners out there??

    Hi All,

    So I recently acquired an Epson QX-16 and noticed the extremely slim pickings in respects to documentation, software and accessories on the net.

    I would like to link up with other QX-16 owners to share tips, tricks and resources.

    Thanks

    Gordon

    #2
    As I understand it, this is primarily a CP/M machine, but it's got an 8088 cpu as well as the Z80 so it can run PC software as well. So there's LOADS of software. Maybe you're referring to the fact that the machine uses (I think) CP/M format disks? Which disks do you have by the say, there seems to be at least two types?

    The 22DISK software recognises the formats, so it's possible to move progs/data from other systems to the QX.

    A quick look via Google showed at least some docs/manuals available for download.

    Geoff
    Vintage Devices: Epson HX-20/TF-20, Amstrad PCW 8256 (with extras), 386 and 486 PCs with 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives, Pentium 75 with Roland LAPC-I midi card

    Comment


      #3
      I own one that I've never been able to use. I need the special CRT monitor for it from what I've read and haven't found one nor put too much time into researching if a multi-sync will work. I bought a QX-10 monitor. but it needs power from the QX to power up and again I haven't had time to supply external power and see if it will work on the QX-16. I do have the video cable, I believe.
      Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Guys,

        Thanks for the replies. As far as the monitor goes, my understanding is that it powers the monitor from the DIN cable for it. Eight pins on one side and 7 on the other and 1 supplies power. The person I bought it from said it was new and complete. Unfortunately, no monitor, software or documentation and it's not new. She says she thinks she has the monitor, software and docs in storage. Hopefully she does because without the monitor especially its just an oversized doorstop. As far as I know there is no way to use another monitor or if there is it requires an additional card and I have been unable to locate enough documentation to be able to figure out if it can use a generic 8 bit video card or something proprietary. Given the nature of the machine I'm betting proprietary if there even is such a thing.

        Getting the software to it is the kicker. I'm not sure what disks it has, but I was unaware of the 22disk program so I'll have to check that out. As far as documentation I've done a Google search for Epson QX-16 and have turned up very little, if your using a different search criteria please let me know specifically how your phrasing your search. The only documentation I've found is a QX-16 technical manual of 174 pages and some brochures and old articles about the machine.

        Thanks

        Gordon

        Comment


          #5
          Hello Gordon,

          I don't know anything about the situation with the monitor, so I'll leave that aside. But YES, you need to pester the seller to find other bits, which SHOULD have been part of the package. I take it you've not even got system/boot disks?

          Regarding the Google thing, I did a quick search basically for what you tried, and the same things came up. I've not tried digging further yet, but I did look up about the ValDocs system, which is a fairly substantial 'desktop' sort of system that may have been supplied with the QX (which was also often supplied with a matching printer - Epson again - which may be important regarding the fancy font support within ValDocs).

          The Tech Manual you've seen reference to may be important, and may in fact be the major part of any non-software documentation. There should be further stuff about ValDocs (Valuable Documents). Some articles I've seen suggest the QX was much sold on the back of ValDocs,, and many users could do everything they needed without leaving VD?

          Other things I've seen seem to suggest there were 5.25" disk versions of the QX, and also 3.5" versions, hence why I asked about this. The 3.5" version would be DSDD disks, but the 5.25 could be either 40t or 80t but not I think HD. 22DISK supports both. The HX-20/TF-20 system used the same disk format as the 40t QX computers, this leaves about 270k free space after the space reserved for system files. I guess you'd still need to have a 5.25" drive on your PC to use 22DISK, I do not know if the system would run under the 8088 CPU on the QX-16 but it would be a big help if it would.

          Most of the docs that you might be looking for would just be generic CP/M systems. The 'problem' with all of this would be the disks rather than the software as such. I.e. getting the software on a disk that your machine can work with. Hopefully you can use something like 22DISK to copy software you can download to a QX-16 format disk. There'll be the problem of finding DSDD floppy disks as well, they're not so easy to find these days?

          I use 22DISK quite a lot, doing things re QX disks I've got connected with the HX-20 (although my TF-20 no longer seems to communicate) and regarding my Amstrad PCW which has 5.25" and 3.5" drives attached. I keep at least one old PC operating with floppy disks for this primary purpose.

          Way back I was a member of an Epson User Group, regarding the HX-20, but the mag they did ended up having a lot about the QX machines. I didn't take much notice of this back then, I should have a look and see if there's anothing there that might help you.

          Geoff
          Vintage Devices: Epson HX-20/TF-20, Amstrad PCW 8256 (with extras), 386 and 486 PCs with 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives, Pentium 75 with Roland LAPC-I midi card

          Comment


            #6
            I've been looking in the technical doc, there's a lot of useful info in there. I was interested in the booting process, I see that the machine defaults to Z80 mode (CP/M) and tries to load an 8 bit OS from A:, and if that fails, then it tries to boot a 16 bit system. If it completes boot of a 16 bit system, THEN it disables the Z80 and enables the 8088. So, I assume you MUST reboot to swap between Z80 and 8088 operations. Z80 operation uses a banked RAM layout, 8088 operations can access all the RAM normally. Interesting. There's not that much difference between the CPU speeds mind you!

            Checking re the floppy disks, I note that the doc shows the floppy drives as being Quad Density, i.e. 80t with 16 sectors per track with a capacity of 565k. So the QX-16 is NOT the same as the TF-20, which matches the QX-10 only. 22DISK does support the QX-16 format though, but would need a 96tpi (80t) drive.

            Geoff
            Vintage Devices: Epson HX-20/TF-20, Amstrad PCW 8256 (with extras), 386 and 486 PCs with 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives, Pentium 75 with Roland LAPC-I midi card

            Comment


              #7
              Note that there are a lot of similarities between the QX-10 and the QX-16. Some of the docs for the QX-10 may be appropriate, and/or useful.

              Here's a site with quite a few QX-10 docs, and a bit re the QX-16 as well.

              https://electrickery.hosting.philpem...comp/qx10/doc/

              Geoff
              Vintage Devices: Epson HX-20/TF-20, Amstrad PCW 8256 (with extras), 386 and 486 PCs with 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives, Pentium 75 with Roland LAPC-I midi card

              Comment


                #8
                QX-11 was the 3.5" drive model. I got that from the QX-10/16 wiki page that has a few details on the various models, keyboards and OS systems.

                I think there was a optional plug-in board that could convert a QX-10 into an almost QX-16 and this board must be rare as unicorns since anything QX related is rare from what I've found.

                Some time back I dug into the QX-10 & 16 monitor spec's and IIRC the QX-10 monitor needs +12VDC power from the computer to power up, but the QX-16 monitor(s) have internal power supplies powered from AC. I wonder if the twin CPU's in the QX-16 took more power and rather upgrade the computer's power supply they changed the monitors? If so, finding a QX-10 monitor should be a bit easier than finding a QX-16 monitor.
                Foggier memory also has me thinking the QX-16 had two monitors, a B&W plus a color version vs just the one for the QX-10. Both QX-16 monitors might have a different horz. frequency than the QX-10 and all QX monitors were not the same as what PC's used. All old memories and so not gospel. A good NEC multisync monitor might also work?

                I did find a QX-10 monitor way back then and also purchased a QX- (10 or 16 if not both?) video cable and tried to boot my QX-16 and got no video. No sign of life from the monitor at all (CRT cathode glow etc). The computer seems to have life, but without a monitor there wasn't much I could do with it at the time. So I was going to use an external power supply to feed the QX-10 monitor and see if that was all that was needed, but never got around to it. Too many other projects going at the same time and so little internet interest in these beasts left me thinking I was the only one messing around with the QX-16 at the time. I seem to think I have Epson CP/M boot disk(s), but I'm not sure if it is for a QX-16 or a 10. Or if it would work for both. I found the QX10 service manual and got the video cable pin out and some QX-16 signal data and I believe other than the missing +12vdc both are the using same signals on the pins.

                I guess I need to put the stuff out and mess around a bit if any of you guys are active in getting these systems up and running.
                Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hey Geoff & DeltaDon,

                  Wow!! Lots of info, thanks for helping with the digging. I do have an old Pentium Pro with 3.5 and 5.25 floppies in it. It's not hooked up right now but I should be good there. The QX-16 I have has two 5.25 floppies in it. The computer also came with a Comrex card installed, which from what I can glean is an interface card for a Comfiler external hard drive. The girl I got it from is looking for the additional bits. I told her that without the monitor it is essentially a door stop. Her Dad passed away and she has a couple of storage lockers full of stuff along with stuff at his house to go through looking for the rest of the computer. The box she sent it in has an original label on it that says box 1 of 3, so I'm almost certain she probably has the rest of the machine, so finding it is the problem. With everything she has to go through the task is a bit overwhelming for her, not to mention dealing with losing her Dad. So I'm trying to be understanding or her situation.

                  What she sent me in the original QX-16 box was the QX-16 CPU unit, a mouse with power supply, Epson mousepad, keyboard, (looks new) keyboard cable, expansion slot covers and an 8 bit Comrex card installed in one of the expansion ports. Your right about parts for this thing being rarer than unicorns. I've never run across a vintage machine with so little info available on it.

                  Also, I do have about 50 new old stock 5.25 floppy disks, so if I can figure out how to write a QX-16 boot disk I should be good there.

                  However, without the monitor or a way to output to a different monitor I'm dead in the water. So right now its a wait and see game.

                  Gordon

                  Comment


                    #10
                    There seems to be much information available at that linked website. It originally came with a green display, with monochrome mode set.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I guess that you'd probably need to either make your own cable or adapter, or find a compatible Epson monitor (hopefully functional). The pinout of course would be helpful. I don't know if you were expecting a monitor inside that single computer box, but you may have to search for the green display if previous seller cannot find it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        From memory, I have the CPU unit with two 5.25 drives, a video cable and a keyboard with cable. No mouse or printer cable. Mine came in the original Epson box. But came with no documents. Never opened my CPU unit. Be aware there are some DIP switches on the back which should be recorded and not adjusted until we all know what they control. Until I have working video display I too am dead in the water as far as being able to do anything useful with it. In case anyone is interested there is a stripped QX-16 on eBay that's maybe of some use if the power supply works or you need the chassis. I almost want to buy it just to have spares in the future and I have a dozen 5.25" drives here if it uses 1.2M drives. But I think CP/M was never set up for that size drive and so OEM might have been 720K or 360K drives? Again, I guess I need to open my CPU unit and do a look see. Perhaps I should also pull the CMOS battery while in there to prevent the main board from being damaged from leakage. A new year resolution?
                        Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Probably 360k-720k capacity. You have no qx-10 to test the monitor? How many pins on each end of video cable?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hi Guys,

                            So I picked up a monitor, its a Epson Q702A,the green screen one. According to the back of the monitor is is compatible with Epson computer models Q701, Q801 and Q915 with suffix A, B or C.

                            The QX-16 is Q801A so it is compatible. So I plugged it in and fired up the computer for the first time since receiving it and no dice. I have two monitor cables that came with it and they both do the same thing. The floppy drive grinds and just for kicks and grins I put a couple of Kaypro disks in the drives to see if if would try to boot them, of course without video it's hard to tell.

                            So I pulled the case off the monitor and everything inside looks real clean, but as far as I can tell it doesn't look like it's getting any juice. Even if it's not getting a signal from the computer I would think the CRT would at least glow, but when it comes to this kind of troubleshooting I am a total newbie and one who doesn't want to get thrown across the kitchen for touching the wrong thing.

                            So for troubleshooting I am going to:
                            1. Print the technical manual
                            2. Test the fuse in the monitor, but I know it's not that, simply because I'm not that lucky, lol
                            3. Test the monitor cables to ensure they have continuity
                            4. Check the dip switches to see if they might have something to do with it
                            5. Carefully check the monitor cable to see if the computer is even sending power to the the monitor

                            That's all I can think of right now. Any other ideas?

                            Seller still hasn't gotten back to me about the missing bits and pieces. Also, some of the keys on the keyboard seem to be stuck, so assuming I can get it to respond look like I'll need to repair the keyboard as well. At least I won't be bored.

                            Also, need to get a functional boot disk for this thing. If I can get it working I'll put it in a display case right next to my Unicorn's stable, they are both equally rare, lol

                            Gordon

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You found a monitor fairly quickly. However, it looks like that monitor originally was paired with qx-10. I think that the monitor with qx-16 has a power cable attached as usual.

                              Comment

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