Peter's z80.eu site blog
Elektor SC/MP system, now the real pictures 
Saturday, November 10, 2018, 09:10 PM
Posted by Administrator
CPU (SC/MP 8A/500D aka INS 8050)

I/O board

keypad (self made, not the original pcb)


The related link points to the Elektor site with the related article overview.

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Elektor ("Elektuur") SC/MP - the real device and the emulator 
Thursday, November 8, 2018, 12:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Somebody told me his father had experimented with the SC/MP processor many years ago, so I pleased him to look after this again. He found the "archived" boards, and now he handed over this to me. This is great, because the CPU is already about 43 years old, and very rare.
I will try to make photos from it, and also to run it again.
Unfortunately the first thing I have to figure out is what happened with the power supply, which looks a bit exotic and perhaps the capacitors are already died, too.

While looking for documents about the SC/MP, I found some hints about a website, which offered also an emulator. Unfortunately the author of the website, Sipke de Wal, already died in 2004.
So I tried to find it on archive.org and yes, I found something about it here:
https://web.archive.org/web/20050403201729/http://xgistor.ath.cx:80/scmp.htm
But the emulator can't be downloaded anymore (written in Visual BASIC 6.0), so if anybody knows where to find "Scmp09.zip", plz inform me.

Sipke wrote about the availability of the emulator in 2001, see also
http://www.verycomputer.com/44_e9dcb0c463ab0a0c_1.htm

Picture of the emulator:


The dutch Elektuur magazine from 1977 can be found here:
https://archive.org/details/Elektuur16319775

The archived english versions can be found here:
https://archive.org/details/ElektorMagazine
Look for the issues 11-1977 to 03-1978 for the SC/MP system itself,
later issues covering cassette interface and other extensions

A really nice photo can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eveliensnel/3115361201

Some other sites also referring to SC/MP related informations, see related link.

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Raped IBM PC/XT on Youtube, ignorance for details at it's best 
Saturday, October 13, 2018, 12:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Some people might have cool ideas, also to modify originals for a new functionality.
If someone try to modify an original IBM PC/XT to implement a new PC in it, it might be still worth to mention it, especially if the conversion to a modern PC is subtle (not intrusive).
So if someone do this but let the PC still look like the original, and make it possible to use the original floppy disk drives (but with the modern hardware inside), it would be even cooler.

The opposite is ugly. If you destroy half of the original case (e.g. the backside) and if you just use the floppy drive bezel, but remove the rest of the drive(s), it sounds like a brutal modification, without any style.
And even more worse, they use the floppy drive bezels, but mount them reverse (upside down), see the picture taken from the Youtube video:


But judge yourself about the (not well done) conversion, see "related link".

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Finally I managed to re-active my Central Point Option Board... 
Sunday, September 16, 2018, 10:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
It works now, but it was quite a high effort to get it running.
First, I had to figure out that a Compaq Portable has REALLY not much space inside.
I added first a 256KB RAM card, because otherwise some software can't be started with only 256KB RAM (on board).
But then I recognized that the original video (CGA) card was fixed with a horizontal arranged screw, but the hole for this screw was ONLY in slot #2.
In slot #1, the original floppy disk controller resides, and guess, the cables are really short. So to connect the floppy drives to the first version of the Central Point option board, I had to look for much longer cables, but with two old style shugart connectors and with an AT style connector at controller side. Because this was a pain to arrange it, I decided to exchange the A: and the B: drive connector (so the cable didn't crossed itself). Also, the original floppy disk controller is really "full height", so no space to arrange things more flexible.

Finally it runs, at least with older TRANSCOPY versions (2.x):


This is really tricky to arrange:


And this is the resurrected card (a 16MHz crystal was broken, so I replaced it).


It is even possible to copy special Apple II floppies, see related link.

Edited later: TransCopy 4.2 seems to be the last version which works with the first version of the Option Board (not the "Deluxe" one).
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And another CP/M chess program: MYCHESS 2.3 
Friday, September 14, 2018, 02:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Btw. another strong playing chess program for CP/M is MYCHESS.
The latest version is 2.3(b). It comes with a configuration program (MYCONFIG.COM).
At least you can change the cursor positioning ESC sequence, which makes it possible to place the pieces on the right screen position ;-)
Unfortunately the preconfigured MYCHESS.COM uses already very different ESC sequences to show block graphics I guess, see below.

Starting screen:


Game play screen if MYCHESS.COM is started on MyZ80:


Game play screen if MYCHESSN.COM is started on MyZ80:


Game play screen if MYCHESS.COM is started on VirtualKaypro (emulating a Kaypro 4):


Btw.: Using VirtualKaypro (Java based) is a pain. You have to know that it runs only with country setting "English (USA)", not with a german setting, because the class function for converting the time to a string presumes only US date/time format.
Also, you can't use a directory name containing blanks.
And finally, preloading a "blank" virtual floppy disk with files using the java program archive "format.jar" is also chaotic, because there is no description for the parameters you have to use. The "raw" format is NOT a real binary sector-by-sector raw format, instead, it presumes to have a header, too.

Related link points to a ZIP file with all CP/M files of MYCHESS 2.3b.

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