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#1 2016-03-01 11:25:44

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
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IBM 5160 Project

I received an email tip this afternoon that I wasn't expecting at all. A nearby trade and technology school I used to attend is in the process of performing a cleanup of their old electronics, and between the stacks of Pentium 4s and broken Power Mac G4s was an absolute gem, a holy grail of machines I never expected to ever find.

An IBM 5160. The Personal Computer XT.

This machine was manufactured by IBM's Wangaratta, Victoria manufacturing plant in Australia. As such it runs on 240V mains power. Beneath the cover is a complete set of expansion cards that still need to be removed and checked, and a Miniscribe MFM hard disk drive that seems somewhat temperamental at the moment but otherwise appears to work. I think it's taking some time to start moving again after over 20 years of inactivity, but it is initialising so we're off to a great start.

Still considering whether to replace the floppy drive, I have a black fascia drive from my 486 build that would better suit this machine, but as it's a 1.2MB Hi-Density drive it wouldn't suit the era of machine this is. Of course if the drive in there is a non-standard drive as well, then it's a no brainer to swap in the one that suits the machine fascia better.


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Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#2 2016-03-01 14:43:22

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

I completed a teardown of the IBM, moving components into electrostatic shielded bags and inspecting over the case.

The entire machine is filled with dust, but not just fabric or carpet dust, more like a pulverised ash or fine powder. It's absolutely everywhere, even under the system board and inside connectors. So an extensive interior detailing will be needed. I'll pick up a static safe firm bristle dust brush and air compressor in the coming days.

There's a couple of scratches in the black paint under the system board. I'll have to touch this up with some colour matched paint to avoid rust, thankfully I'm repainting some trim pieces on the car that use the exact same shade of black. Go figure.

Three of the four case feet are missing, but thankfully I have a set of four replacement feet from another project that are an almost perfect match.


The 5.25" drive in the machine is a Mitsubishi 1.2MB Hi-Density from 1991. Another drive I have is a Teac 1.2MB Hi-Density also from 1991, except it has a matching black fascia that suits the IBM. Simple answer, swap the drives.

The screws securing the floppy drive to the machine are missing. I'll need to find a set of 8 floppy drive screws, machine threaded with a countersunk head.

The Miniscribe drive is firing up, although the wires connecting the front LED are loose at the drive end, which will need to be fixed.


And I haven't even had a chance to power up and test the CRT yet!

I expect this to be a rather lengthy and involved project, but for a machine of this type and rarity, the efforts will be worth it.


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#3 2016-03-02 03:13:06

mcdermd
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From: Corvallis, OR
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Super cool, iMic. I kick myself a little for passing one of these up for free about 10 years ago.


Daily Drivers: 27" iMac 2.8 GHz Quad-Core i7 (Late 2009), 21.5" iMac 2.7GHz Quad-Core i5 (Late 2013), 11" Macbook Air 1.6 GHz i5 (Mid-2011)
See the restored heroes here.

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#4 2016-03-03 13:22:20

iMic
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

mcdermd wrote:

Super cool, iMic. I kick myself a little for passing one of these up for free about 10 years ago.


They're a nice machine, and I couldn't let this one go.

I had a discussion with someone this afternoon about what the aim for this machine should be. There was some question about whether performing a restoration was the best idea, or whether all of its originality should be preserved. What I decided is to perform maintenance that is absolutely necessary, including repairing any damage the machine has sustained over the last 30 years. However the configuration of the system should remain the same, and as many of the original components should remain as possible.

This of course won't always be possible, as there is some chassis damage that needs to be fixed and painted, and some screws are missing that need to be replaced to ensure the components are all secured correctly. But it wouldn't make sense from an originality standpoint to shove additional cards in there or install a newer, faster disk drive for example.



With that in mind, the restoration has started. I dusted, brushed and blasted the case with compressed air to remove a lot of the dust or powder residue. Some of it was stuck on there rather well, so I washed the case down with alcohol and buffed it dry with a microfiber cloth.

Time for painting. The bare metal chassis was masked up, with every unpainted area, screw boss, case badge, label and plastic trim piece covered with masking tape. Then into the temporary spray booth it went. I lightly dusted over the problem areas with a Dupli-Color Matt Black automotive panel paint that was matched to the factory colour and finish. I tried to avoid overspray into areas where it wasn't necessary, but after the initial cleaning it became apparent that a lot of separate areas needed attention. I'd rather attend to them now and prevent rust or oxidation forming in the back-to-metal scratches later. We're forecast for a 34C (93.2F) day tomorrow and I expect it to cross 40C+ inside the garage, so the paint should bake and dry nicely.

I'm investigating potential sources of replacement drive mounting screws, and may have found a supplier here in Adelaide that can hook me up with identical replacement countersunk machine screws. Will do some calling around tomorrow to see what I can find.

With the machine apart, I took the opportunity to finish cleaning the motherboard and expansion cards. All of them were dusted down with an anti-static brush and hit with a compressor to remove the remaining loose dust.

Still don't have the necessary Torx security bits needed to open the power supply, but that will undergo a complete cleaning and inspection as well.



Finally, we have a definite manufacture date. January 1986.

More updates and hopefully some photos to follow.


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#5 2016-03-03 17:38:59

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Very cool.  I've generally shunned x86 machines, somewhat ironically because of the relatively superior software compatibility.  Newer machines and virtual machines tend to run older x86 software much better than other systems, so I didn't see a whole lot of need to pick up older x86 systems.  But I've started to change my mind on that recently, kind of like with CRTs.
I had a 5160 system when they were still viable, but on their way out.  It was definitely cool to have an hdd, and they were pretty solid systems.  I think if I had one, I wouldn't hesitate to add cards that made it more usable in a modern context, although if the hdd in it is usable, and 8bit isa ethernet cards were definitely available at that time, so I'm not sure there'd be a whole lot of call for newer stuff.

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#6 2016-03-03 19:14:10

jt
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From: Bermuda Triangle, NC USA
Registered: 2014-05-21
Posts: 1,378

Re: IBM 5160 Project

Nice project. Hated and eventually learned to like that case design as it became more and more dated. What's the graphics (if any) setup?

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#7 2016-03-03 23:32:49

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: IBM 5160 Project

Man, I gutted so many of these machines back in the 90's to use the bits for other things; the government surplus shop was selling floppy-only units for $10 each so why not? Gave away some complete machines to needy folks who wanted word processors, and for sport I upgraded a few with ridiculously newer motherboards (ranging from 386SX to AMD K6-233mhz). In the "stock" category I cobbled together a really nice 5150 with an EGA card and hard disk for my own amusement out of some of the better gems from the surplus boxes, but it's long lost to history now. (It was of course pretty much completely worthless at the time I abandoned it.)

All I have left from that era is two out of the three drive boxes for my TRS-80 Model I have IBM-embossed full height floppy drives pulled from them instead of the original single-sided drives. With the help of a double-density board 2x double-sided drives for data plus a single-sided boot drive was pretty much as good as having a hard disk when you consider how large your average TRS-80 program was. Granted there's probably something backwards about stripping down IBM PCs to upgrade a TRS-80.


Flap Different.

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#8 2016-03-04 00:15:41

bbraun
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Heh, agreed on the case.  At the time, they seemed like yet another bland desktop case.  But the bland desktop case had a long way to fall, and eventually those IBM cases started looking darn good in comparison.  smile

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#9 2016-03-04 02:37:25

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Paint is currently baking, but I'm not expecting a good finish based on when I checked it this morning. The scratches and imperfections are fixed, but some of the other areas are looking a bit patchwork. Come to think of it I should have just brushed up the imperfections and saved myself the extra work.


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#10 2016-03-04 10:43:48

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

jt wrote:

Nice project. Hated and eventually learned to like that case design as it became more and more dated. What's the graphics (if any) setup?

Completely standard with the factory IBM Colour Graphics Adapter.


Completed Paint

The machine needed some care internally to remove the absurd amount of dust and fine powder coating almost every surface of the chassis. I wouldn't have considered the condition of the frame bad by any means, and it would have otherwise been completely serviceable, but considering I have no intention to dismantle this machine again any time in the near future it made sense to address the few small problems it had now rather than later.

I chose not to repaint the entire frame, only the motherboard tray and drive carriers that took the most severe beating over the years. Why? Because respraying the entire frame would have removed stampings and date codes that were present from the factory.

Made a makeshift spray booth out of a cardboard box sitting inside a tin shed that was almost 40C inside. The paint set and cured rather well in those conditions.

Masked off in preparation for painting the drive carriers.

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A couple of hours to set and the result was much better than I expected.

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Almost time to reinstall the motherboard and reassemble the machine sans disk drives. Outside of the machine still needs to be cleaned with detergent first, and it's about time I installed the replacement case feet, but we're inching closer to having a reassembled machine.


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#11 2016-03-04 13:12:11

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
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Posts: 877
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Motherboard, PSU, hard drive and expansion cards reinstalled and working.

Discovered why the wires for the HDD activity LED aren't connecting to the drive controller correctly. One of the pins connecting the connector block on the HDD PCB has broken, and the connector itself fell off as soon as I touched it. Time to break out the soldering iron and solder on a new two-pin connector. But I'll leave that for another day.

Another observation is rather simply one of bloody hell. This machine is a mix and match of screws. Self tapping screws installed in machine threads and undersized screws that barely hold. I may have to check the thread pitch and head on every screw in this machine and replace all of them at once.


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#12 2016-03-05 03:46:06

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Reassembly

Compare these photos to the ones in the first post, particularly the ones of the motherboard.


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And it works. It produces an error 601 on startup, which is simply because the floppy drive is disconnected. The CRT doesn't work however. It seems like the cathode ray tube energises, and static can be felt across the face of the display, but no picture is displayed. So I had to use the composite output to an LCD display instead.

I case anyone was wondering, I've confirmed the hard drive is a MiniScribe 8425.


The technology odds were in my favour today, because I decided to test my much newer Honeywell keyboard with the XT and discovered that it does in fact have XT mode compatibility after all.

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#13 2016-03-05 04:20:55

LCGuy
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From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-13
Posts: 806

Re: IBM 5160 Project

I remember that NetWare logo being on the bottom of the Ipex keyboards on the computers at school. Always wondered why the heck a keyboard of all things needs to be "tested and approved" by Novell.

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#14 2016-03-05 05:50:32

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

I could be one step closer to explaining the powder and dust that coated the inside of the machine. It could be limestone dust.

While I was loading applications off the hard disk, I opened a copy of Lotus 1-2-3 that was registered to Penrice Quarry Products. Penrice operated a Limestone quarry at Angaston, South Australia until it changed ownership in 2014. They also operated a soda ash production facility at Osborne. It's possible this machine was used in administration.

Can't be completely sure, but it would explain a few things.


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Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#15 2016-03-05 07:36:57

cc333
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From: North S.F. Bay Area, CA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Posts: 562

Re: IBM 5160 Project

This makes me *really* want to get a 5150 or 5160! Question first: is the PC AT any good?

Anyway, my Quadra 840av was sorta like this when I got it. The previous owner used it in an art display and left it in a desert for a few days as part of that project. As a result, there was sand in virtually every crevice of the thing. I managed to get virtually all of it, but some remains in the power supply (which I suspect needs to be recapped or possibly replaced).

c


Main Macs: Early '09 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 13"
Secondary Macs: Early '08 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 15"
Playthings: Mac SE/30, 3.0 GHz Mavericks-based HackServe, Many others....
Desired: Lisa, Kanga PowerBook G3, Apple IIc, Apple II, Spare parts, etc.

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#16 2016-03-05 15:05:40

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

cc333 wrote:

This makes me *really* want to get a 5150 or 5160! Question first: is the PC AT any good?

I'm not actually sure. From a curiosity standpoint I believe it is, perhaps not so much from a usability standpoint though.


Not much to report this evening. I replaced the missing feet with some aftermarket felt pad replacements I have.

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Resident Professor of Alternative Methodology
Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#17 2016-03-06 10:38:49

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Of course, this is the part I've been dreading since I started this build.

Floppy Drives.

I discovered this afternoon that the TEAC FD-55GFV-17-U drive doesn't work. At least not in the XT. The IBM controller isn't capable of driving a 1.2MB drive and so far I haven't been able to find any means of forcing the drive down into 720K or 360K mode. I moved what appeared to be the speed jumper and managed to read a directory listing from the drive, but it wouldn't seek to any other track when I actually tried to execute something and a format produced little more than garbage data strewn across the magnetic disk surface.

The Mitsubishi MF501C-318M drive is XT compatible and runs in 360K mode. For the most part it seems to work, but it doesn't physically fit into the opening in the front of the machine. Not to mention I can't format a disk in the Mitsubishi 360K drive that is readable in the 1.2MB TEAC. This makes it all but useless for data transfers and only really good for short term data storage.

I need to replace a bunch of screws on the half-height drive carrier to make these drives fit. Even so, the mounting brackets require some force to fit into the opening on the front of the machine. So is it worth it?

The best bet would be to source a full height IBM or equivalent replacement drive that works in the XT and mounts without brackets or adapters. Transferring data can be accomplished by another means, like Serial transfer. Then I could produce a couple of boot floppies on the XT itself for any work that involves booting from something other than the internal drive, like running SpinRite.

If only the XT had a cassette interface. This would be so much easier. And slower. But easier.


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Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#18 2016-03-07 10:34:41

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Completed a surface scan with Gibson Research SpinRite. No Bad Sectors found across a complete end to end sweep of the drive. The MiniScribe is doing incredibly well for its age.

The Random Seek certainly helped, when I received this machine the stepper motor and head track was stuck from inactivity. Now that it's had some time to exercise and work the grease around it's moving one hundred percent freely again.

Running a scan and alignment to compensate for alignment drift, which should aid with reliability. Optimum interleave is 5, but I've configured it for the factory specified interleave of 6 for data transfer reliability purposes.


What About The CRT?

Dismantled the CRT and inspected the connections. Found the neck assembly had worked its way loose over time, but reseating it made no difference. Tested continuity at both ends of the CGA cable and found no problems there either.

Next step will be to power up the CRT with the cover removed and see whether the heater filaments are working. If the heaters are working, then the electron guns need to be verified. There could also be an issue with the video image signal itself. I should also verify the CGA card inside the machine is working, but without another CGA display this will be difficult. The card does produce a composite signal so if there is an issue with the card, I expect it to be a simple one.


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Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#19 2016-03-09 00:02:09

tkc8800
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From: Adelaide
Registered: 2015-10-03
Posts: 25
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Great job on cleaning that machine up it looks great.  Hopefully you can get that monitor working, it has that great retro-cool look.  If you need a spare video card to test with I have a spare that I don't use from my 5150.

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#20 2016-03-09 00:06:13

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: IBM 5160 Project

As I vaguely recall if the card is putting out composite it's almost certainly fine; pretty sure that the composite circuitry is all downstream of the RGB components.

If you wanted to use the machine for gaming it's actually advantageous to use a composite monitor, believe it or not. CGA is capable of a lot prettier displays using artifact color tricks than the limited dithering and ugly palettes available on the digital ports. You should download this and give it a spin!


Flap Different.

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#21 2016-03-11 16:18:50

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
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Posts: 877
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Completed the low-level format. Started on Monday at 8:30 PM, finished on Thursday at 10:00 PM. Would have finished sooner but I had to stop and resume it constantly while I was at work. However after an extensive pattern test and rewriting the tracks, I can say with confidence that the MiniScribe 8425 is one of the most reliable drives I've ever owned. Thirty years without so much as a read error or bad sector.

Now the search begins for a suitable 5.25" replacement disk drive. I'll accept either a Tandon or Magnetic Peripherals mechanism, although from a reliability and availability standpoint I'm leaning towards the MPI drive, even though the Tandon is the more sought after unit. Not expecting this to be cheap, but it needs to be done. Am checking with some suppliers first to see what they have but if all else fails, then it's off to scour eBay.


tkc8800 wrote:

Great job on cleaning that machine up it looks great.  Hopefully you can get that monitor working, it has that great retro-cool look.  If you need a spare video card to test with I have a spare that I don't use from my 5150.

Thanks, I'll consider this if I suspect a fault in the video card. At the moment I still think the issue is in the display but it would be nice to isolate the fault either the video card or display for certain.


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#22 2016-03-12 10:43:51

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

Checked the CRT over and couldn't find a fault in the tube assembly itself. The CRT is energising and the cathode heater looks to be coming on as it should:

photo.jpg

Still no picture.

I'm wondering if this CRT is even compatible with the signals being delivered from the video card. The machine came with the display, but who knows if it's the original or whether it was paired with the machine for display purposes only. I'm not even completely sure it's CGA. There's no information out there for this model.

It appears to be a Datas Display CH-121T.


UPDATE:

Well this could explain it.

photo_2.jpg


Compare this with these connector pinouts courtesy of Rob's Electronics Web Site:

db9_cga.jpg
db9_EGA.jpg
db9_MDA.jpg


And the graphics adapter in my XT, courtesy of Minus Zero Degrees:

ibm_cga.jpg

Which is clearly marked COLOR GRAPHICS.


In other words, it looks like genius over here has been connecting an IBM MDA display to a CGA graphics card.

No wonder it had no video output.


Suppose I should add a VGA card or some kind of device that can use the CGA output to my list of components to order for this machine.

Anyone need an MDA compatible display? tongue


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Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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#23 2016-03-13 22:44:20

tkc8800
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From: Adelaide
Registered: 2015-10-03
Posts: 25
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

The ultimate solution would be to get a CGA monitor but they're hard to come by.  I have a spare clone 8 bit monochrome graphics card that was originally in my 5150.  It should work with that monitor.  You're welcome to it as I don't use it.  I have a video 7 VEGA card in my 5150 that does all modes.

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#24 2016-03-13 23:40:44

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: IBM 5160 Project

I stick by saying you should pair a color composite monitor with it, at least for the time being. Quite a few cga games had support for the artifact color modes... although I suppose your location might slightly complicate things? I honestly have no idea how common NTSC composite CRTs might be in Australia.


Flap Different.

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#25 2016-03-14 05:33:02

iMic
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From: Adelaide, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 877
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Re: IBM 5160 Project

tkc8800 wrote:

The ultimate solution would be to get a CGA monitor but they're hard to come by.  I have a spare clone 8 bit monochrome graphics card that was originally in my 5150.  It should work with that monitor.  You're welcome to it as I don't use it.  I have a video 7 VEGA card in my 5150 that does all modes.

That would be excellent, at the moment the video output via composite is almost unreadable. I'm hoping to get a VGA card in there soon, but that remains an idea for the future at this point.


Eudimorphodon wrote:

I stick by saying you should pair a color composite monitor with it, at least for the time being. Quite a few cga games had support for the artifact color modes... although I suppose your location might slightly complicate things? I honestly have no idea how common NTSC composite CRTs might be in Australia.

Haven't come across much so far. I found this composite NTSC LCD which serves as a basic video output but it isn't capable of much else. Anything with colour turns into a garbled mess and even running SpinRite was an exercise in hitting the right buttons and hoping it worked half the time because the text was unreadable. I'd imagine a CRT would be much better in this regard but the location certainly makes finding a suitable one a bit harder.


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Faculty of Macintosh Restorations & Modifications - "It works, let's fix it!"

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