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Sharp PC-7000 - almost a dissapointment

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    Sharp PC-7000 - almost a dissapointment

    sharp-main.jpg

    I like floppy based vintage computers, so it came as no surprise, that
    I bought the Sharp PC-7000 as well. After all. who can resist the power of a
    dual 5.25 inch floppy drive, large 384 KB of RAM, and powerful 7.87 Mhz Intel
    8086 CPU. Judging from the pictures on E-bay, it looked pretty clean, working,
    and came with original master disks with some more software as well. The only
    thing that puzzled me was a giant ugly cooler mounted on the back of the unit,
    given tha fact, that the only cooler this system needs is the one mounted
    inside, which cools both - the power adapter and a floppy drive. Still, the
    price was pretty good, so I thought this is nothing serious, and I can remove
    the cooler later. It turned out a bit different way than I expected.

    sharp-big cooler.jpg

    As the package was received, at least, it arrived undamaged, and did
    boot into DOS 2.11, as pictured on the Ebay. A massive cooler was making a lot
    more noise than this machine should, so I opened the cover, cut the old wires
    with detoriated isolation - which means this "upgrade" had been performed a
    long time ago. I put everything back, and to my surprise, the machine refused
    to boot. I inserted Sharp Master disks - it booted further, but crashed dead
    (even Ctl+Alt+Del did not help at all. Multiple on/off switching did not help
    as well, it started to perform worse and worse. Decided to put a smaller cooler
    inside, directly over EEPROM chips, since this was where the old cooler was
    blowing. Some minutes later, the computer booted, I succesfully created a copy
    of SHARP Master disk, launched some programs, and it hanged again. This time I
    noticed, if I let it cool down a bit, it works again for some minutes. Now I
    understood the idea of the cooler - the cooler it stays, the longer it works,
    but still crashes eventually. Decided to use this to install Laplink 3 via COM
    port, using my now trusty NEC MobilePro 386 SX/20. Laplink was finally copied,
    but it would crash all of the time when it was launched. I could not copy any
    of the programs I wanted, and all these restarts made me think I have bought a
    lemon. Something to display, but not to use.

    This evening I decided to go further, and give this machine one more
    chance. The idea - dissasemble, disconnect everything (EEPROM chips including),
    clean, reconnect, reassemble. Meanwhile I had a better chance to look inside
    the machine as well, and test capacitors with ESR meter (only a few had
    readings out of range, most of them were good). The system board is really
    tiny, compared to floppy drive unit or even power adapter PCB, which is almost
    the same size as the system board itself. Lots of connectors, with lots of
    wires - at leas they have color markings, so it is easyer to plug them back.
    RAM chips are soldered, and this machine does not have any extra RAMs, which I
    could remove to test it. Still, my guess the main problems are with EEPROM,
    since system clock can display time such as 60:07:54, with interesting date
    values as well. At the end I removed the small cooler I installed, with the
    idea - it will either work or will be dead.

    sharp-disassembly.jpg

    The back of the machine looks much better now:

    sharp-no cooler.jpg

    To my surprise, things had changed after reassembly - the experience
    was completely different now. Laplink worked, files could be copied, with
    occasional hickups, but nothing major. Floppy formatting - fine, file copy -
    fine, running text editor (PC-Write) with larger text files - fine as well. The
    only problem - diskcopy constantly crashes on 21-th sector, but I suspect there
    might be a problem with target floppies as well - I have only a bunch of
    pretty much used ones, with possible read/write problems. Still, I did use
    sys.com to create some bootable floppies with the programs I need, and a
    multiple copies of Laplink as well - just in case. IOMEGA zip drive with
    palmzip.sys worked great as well, so I can use some extra storage, should the
    need arise, however, it works much slower than on IBM PC Convertible. Still, I
    can not complaing - from a system to be put away this one is suddenly willing
    to work, and in fact, it is working 6 hours in a row, without any indications
    of previous "overheating".

    sharp-bios.jpg

    This machine has some rather unique features as well. How about an LCD
    screen, which changes angle when you push a button on the right side? (a
    mechanical action it is, not electric, but it moves slowly like it is being
    powered). A separate "Set up" key on the keyboard to call for the BIOS settings
    when I need them (I wish all my vintage computers had a "Set up" key like
    this). The keyboard is nice as well, but it sure not beat the tactile feedback
    of an IBM 5140 keyboard.

    sharp-pcwrite.jpg

    Now, the things I need to find:
    A good DOS floppy image program, which can be run on DOS 2x
    A good file explorer, such ar Norton/Volcov Commander, with the
    same requirements. VC works only on DOS 3x as I found out...

    #2
    In case if someone needs it - I did create images of original Sharp PC-7000 master floppy, with MS-DOS 2.11, with no read errors. I can upload the image file online now.

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, I would appreciate a copy of the disk to try on the same type of machine I have here.
      www.datormuseum.se

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by MattisLind View Post
        Yes, I would appreciate a copy of the disk to try on the same type of machine I have here.
        Ok, here it is:

        https://www.dropbox.com/s/ca3o6j37g3...-7000.zip?dl=0

        There is an image file together with diskrest utility, which will write the current image to 360K floppy disk. Have fun

        Comment


          #5
          Working with iomega Zip 100 - 3x32MB storage is more than I will ever need for this machine...

          P1000994.jpg

          A zipman utility for Zip drive formatting:
          P1000996.jpg

          The screen standby indicator glows in nice orange color every 2 minutes I'm not using the computer. Forget about any other power save modes. Technically even the screen is not on standby, only the backlight turns off.
          P1001001.jpg
          Attached Files

          Comment


            #6
            Nice find! I have a PC-7000, perfect working except the B: drive suddenly stopped working correctly one day - it will only read and format one side of a disk. I've tried everything short of alignment, which I don't have the equipment to do, and I can't get it to work. Mine does have an enormous 768 KB of RAM, though, which DOS can use all of!

            The Zip drive is a good idea. What version of the Zip driver/software do you use?

            The 2 minute standby timer is important - the electroluminescent backlight has a lifespan of only 100 hours or something like that.

            Comment


              #7
              I like that display! =D
              Apple QuickTakeCollector Instagram Photos
              My Random Accessed Computer Memories Blog here on VCF!
              Follow me on YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by TheMaritimeMan View Post
                Nice find! I have a PC-7000, perfect working except the B: drive suddenly stopped working correctly one day - it will only read and format one side of a disk. I've tried everything short of alignment, which I don't have the equipment to do, and I can't get it to work. Mine does have an enormous 768 KB of RAM, though, which DOS can use all of!

                The Zip drive is a good idea. What version of the Zip driver/software do you use?

                The 2 minute standby timer is important - the electroluminescent backlight has a lifespan of only 100 hours or something like that.
                I use the only one which works on older computers - a custom driver by Klaus Peichl, which can be downloaded here:
                http://leute.server.de/peichl/palmzipe.htm

                It is a trial version, which works for about 5 minutes, and you have to restart to be able to use it again. However, full version can be bought for a very fair price of 8 EUR, and the software is still supported by it's author.

                I have succesfully used it on several DOS floppy laptops, including IBM 5140 and Sharp PC-7000. The only limitation is that you can not use partition size more than 32MB, so you will have three drive letters on a single zip disk.

                Comment


                  #9
                  ...Wait a second. My Sharp PC has issues with Laplink/etc. not working and date/time giving very erratic figures - could you have been having the same problems i was having? I've been looking for a fix like forever. Gonna have to try what you tried! did any one particular part of dis/reassembly fix it or was it just getting it done overall?

                  Mine doesn't want to read floppy disks at all and the switches get stuck - for what is ordinarily a dual drive system this is a show stopper, but mine has an expansion base that gives it a 20MB MFM drive. Go figure.
                  General Failure Reading Drive C -
                  Abort, Retry, Ignore?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by MrArgent View Post
                    ...Wait a second. My Sharp PC has issues with Laplink/etc. not working and date/time giving very erratic figures - could you have been having the same problems i was having? I've been looking for a fix like forever. Gonna have to try what you tried! did any one particular part of dis/reassembly fix it or was it just getting it done overall?

                    Mine doesn't want to read floppy disks at all and the switches get stuck - for what is ordinarily a dual drive system this is a show stopper, but mine has an expansion base that gives it a 20MB MFM drive. Go figure.
                    Basically what I did was completely dissasemble the machine, clean everything, adjust +5V on the power supply, check for bad capacitors/reassemble. I still have RAM problems though, but at least lower part of the memory works fine.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Ah! Gonna have to be more thorough on my next teardown, then. Serial I/O is still acting up on mine and i fired mine up to find it thought the time/date was... 99:99:40 on Saturday January 99th, 2107.
                      General Failure Reading Drive C -
                      Abort, Retry, Ignore?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I had one of these two years ago. I picked it up on craigslist for free on a whim and when i got it home and found it doesnt have a hard drive, i put it back up on CL.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by flashedbios2012 View Post
                          I had one of these two years ago. I picked it up on craigslist for free on a whim and when i got it home and found it doesnt have a hard drive, i put it back up on CL.
                          I prefer the one with no HDD, since original ones are usually toast, and I can alwayw expand my storage with 100MB Zip drive, which is more than enough.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by flashedbios2012 View Post
                            I had one of these two years ago. I picked it up on craigslist for free on a whim and when i got it home and found it doesnt have a hard drive, i put it back up on CL.
                            That's pretty much a given on almost any computer from 1985, let alone one as tiny as the PC-7000.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Mine has a Sharp-branded expansion base that gives it a 20MB drive. Interesting little thing, it attaches to the port on the bottom.
                              General Failure Reading Drive C -
                              Abort, Retry, Ignore?

                              Comment

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