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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Ready to explore TI-99/4A after months of troubleshooting!

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    Ready to explore TI-99/4A after months of troubleshooting!

    Finally, after months of limited time and testing a lot of random things, I managed to fix both of my TI-99/4As to perfect operation! In the process I went down the rabbit hole of understanding production revisions and became much more familiar with the hardware. My first experience with the TI-99 was in the 1990s when I found one at a thrift store. But it only contained TI-Invaders and no documentation so it wound up binned. But this past year I became more intrigued by it again and had a couple other machines I'd accumulated so thought to get everything up and running!


    Silver Model (2nd Run)

    This is the second run that doesn't contain the "Solid State Software" emblem (which in early runs had filled in the volume slider cut-out of the early TI-99/4). This had become extraordinarily corrupt months ago (not the typical RAM symptoms) after I accidentally left it on for days. There was one bad VDP RAM but more going on. I replaced TMS9918 and GROMs as well. But most often it'd just be solid black with a constant tone, eventually ruled it down to CPU malfunction. In the process I enjoyed watching the three part series from Adrian's Digital Basement where he troubleshot a similarly defected TI-99 and after replacing most components his conclusion was that the CPU was the culprit all along but other things went bad as part of the troubleshooting process. The lack of sockets on almost every chip including the beast of a 64-pin CPU made I tedious to add ones and test. In any case it now has all working chips again and I added fresh arctic paste to the VDC, which I recommend everyone doing if they have it disassembled as the original paste will be long dried up and ineffective. This one has an ALPS keyboard and everything works perfectly.

    Beige Model (QI, Pre-2.2)

    Interestingly, the beige model I had, which only had a bad keyboard, is a Frankenstein monster cross between the original Beige and the QI version. The actual molding, mainboard PCB and RF shields were all from the QI rearrangement (including shielding above the keyboard and no front-side shielding). Yet the power supply was still the original four-pin style, but is possible it had been replaced at some point. The best part is that it was still on the 1981 ROM, so does not suffer the third party blocking that v2.2 brought. The keyboard it had was the terrible mylar style and very few keys were working. Repairing these can be hit-or-miss, but luckily I had a second dead parts unit I picked up many years ago from a garage sale for a few bucks. That one contained an ALPS switch keyboard. I swapped it into the beige QI and it works perfectly. I still intend to use the silver as my primary unit as it matches the speech synthesizer, and FinalGROM seemed to behave a bit better with the silver model in my early testing.


    I have what I'd consider a pretty decent setup for the TI-99/4A now.
    • Accessories from Arcade Shopper including the Brewing Academy FinalGROM99 multicart with 16GB SD, composite cable and 32K Sidecar Memory Expansion.
    • Original speech synthesizer
    • Two pairs of original working controllers
    • TexElec's TI-99/4A to Atari 2600 Style Joystick Adapter
    • Nintendo-style TI-99 controller for single-player gaming from retrogameboyzcom
    • A box full of original carts, manuals and case cover from a friend on Facebook.
    While digging through old bins of parts I had this weekend to find my old controllers and parts machine, I found more TI-99 catalogs and documents which also included a full paperback TI-99 book "Time Lost" that is part comic book, part programming. I looked it up and found an old thread on AA that discussed it. Apparently the paperback form is quite obscure, mine was just in a box with other TI-99 stuff I picked up from a sale but then forgot about. There is a digital PDF version here.

    Looking forward to discovering the TI-99 world in the months to come!

    Hey Matt, looks like you did yeoman's work on you TI setup, and it's great looking. Don't be a stranger here.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-Fu fighting