tkc8800

Technology and retro computer blog

Compaq Portable II new video and sound card

I recently received the replacement video board for my Compaq Portable II and I'm glad to say it worked perfectly.  See my previous post about the CPII here.  The board is Assy. No. 000525 which is a later board than what was in the machine, but it's an appropriate board for the Portable II.  There's much fewer components on this board and many of the components are surface mounted. It's great to have the internal CRT working again.


Working internal CRT
Working internal CRT
VDU Assy no 000525
VDU Assy no 000525

The Compaq Portable II is great for running CGA games, so I decided to get a sound card for it.  I managed to get hold of a Sound Blaster Vibra 16 CT4180.   This is the cheaper plug and play version of the Sound Blaster range, but it worked out well.  These cards also have a game port connector for connecting a 15 pin joystick, so needless to say I've got one of those coming as well.

I purchased the Vibra 16 not really knowing whether it would work on a 286 machine.  It’s a 16 bit board and I’ve got a spare 16 bit slot in the CPII, so I figured I'd work it out once it arrived.  Getting the sound card working in DOS took a bit of effort but I got it working.  The Vibra 16 is a PNP card designed for later machines than a 286.  So at first when I tried to install the drivers the card wasn't detected and running the Sound Blaster configuration manager would lock up the machine.


creative vibra 16 ct4180
SB Vibra 16 CT4180
creative vibra 16 ct4180 connectors
Vibra 16 ports
Compaq Portable II cards
Video & sound cards installed

In doing some research on the web I discovered a utility called EMU386 which is a driver that will emulate 386 opcodes on a 286.  The Vibra 16 software must use some 386 opcodes and therefore requires EMU386 to install properly. Once Emu386 was installed, I then installed the Sound Blaster basic drivers and the Sound Blaster Configuration Manager.  These two installs made all the necessary changes to the autoexec.bat and config.sys files and once I restarted the sound card worked.


Vibra16 sound card detected
Sound card detected
Compq Portable II ports
CPII card ports

While I was at it, I also installed MSDOS 6.22.  This took a bit of effort because I don’t have a 1.44 floppy connected to the machine, it only has the 360k floppy drive.  I didn’t like the prospect of creating 360k install disks for DOS 6.22, so I looked for another solution.  I’ve got a DOS 6.22 360k boot disk, so I used that to format the hard drive with the system files:

A:>format /s/q

This does a quick format of the hard drive and installs the system files required for a hard drive boot. Once that was done I simply removed the CF hard drive and connected it to my Windows pc.  I then manually created the DOS folder and copied the DOS files from my PC.

Here’s a video of the Compaq Portable II with Sound Blaster Vibra 16 running Prince of Persia, the sound is really impressive.





Downloads

See below for EMU386, Sound Bster Vibra 16 DOS drivers and the DOS 6.22 CD image.

DOS6.22_CD.iso.zip (1.79 mb)

EMU386_em3134b1.zip (18.15 kb)

sbbasic.zip (1.15 mb)

ctcmbbs.zip (671.25 kb)


Compaq Portable II Restoration

I recently acquired a Compaq Portable II.  It was great to get hold of this machine because I have the Compaq Portable I and III, so this completed the set.  This machine was somewhat of a basket case, the video board was defective and was preventing it from starting.  Initially on power up there was a beep and a red flashing light on the front.  The seller was good enough to diagnose this before I bought the machine and supplied a replacement IBM EGA (IBM 6278173XM), board to get the machine running.  The EGA board allows the machine to start up but it doesn't have the connector to drive the internal CRT, so you have to use an external monitor.  The 360k 5.25” floppy drive in the machine worked but the door was very sticky and wouldn’t open or eject disks properly, but luckily it read disks fine.


IBM-6278173XM_EGA_board.jpg
IBM 6278173XM EGA board


Another problem was that the hard drive only worked once the machine warmed up.  This is a classic case of "sticktion" where the head is stuck from being inactive for many years.  The hard drive is the original 20mb MFM drive (type 2).  It has the MFM to IDE converter board attached to the bottom, so it's a great piece to have, but considering the reliability issues the plan was to replace it with a later model IDE drive or CF IDE adapter.  At least when the machine was booting from the hard drive it was evident that everything was working.



The defective GA2 video board


Onto disassembling the machine to get to the drives and boards.  I found a copy of the Compaq Portable II service manual online which had directions on how to disassemble the machine.  Disassembly of this machine is quite different to the Compaq Portable I, I had to refer to the manual to work it out.

Compaq Portable II - Maintenance and Service Guide.pdf



One of the first tasks was to remove the floppy drive and service the eject mechanism.  I used some lithium grease on the hinges and on the head mechanism.  The heads also got a clean with a cotton bud.  This got the eject mechanism working smoothly.


In order to test the internal CRT the video board from my Compaq Portable I was installed.  The connector for the internal CRT is the same on both machines.  Connecting the internal CRT cable required some re-routing through the case, as the connector is at the other end of the board.  Once connected the internal CRT worked fine.  The picture geometry and brightness were all really good.  The video board from the Compaq Portable I works in this machine but it’s considerably taller and protrudes out of top so you can’t get the case back on.  So it’s only a temporary fix.




Now that the internal CRT had tested successfully it motivated me to get a replacement video board.  A search on U.S Ebay found several Compaq Portable video boards for sale, but they were rather expensive considering I have to pay international postage and exchange rates.  I found a listing for a later model video board (Assy no. 000525) for a reasonable price so I bought it.  This video board is listed in the Compaq Portable II technical manual as an option so it’s an appropriate replacement.


Having sorted out the video issue for now my focus shifted to replacing the hard drive.  I have several newer IDE drives but they’re all fairly large by the standard of the Compaq Portable II.  The smallest I have is 40gig.  The Compaq Portable II setup disk only caters for a selection of specific drives and none are anywhere near that capacity.  I’ve read that these larger drives can be used with the assistance of a BIOS overlay which is specific to the drive’s brand.  I instead decided to try using a compact flash IDE adapter that I have.  Trying several hard drive types using the Compaq Setup utility, I eventually succeeded with the 20mb type 2 hard drive option.  The CF card in use was 1gig, so it wasn’t a very good  use of its capacity.  I have a couple of smaller CF cards that are closer in capacity to those in the setup utility, so I’ll try to get one of those working later, but at least for now the 1gig card works.



With the convenience of having the CF hard drive working I was able to easily copy some applications over to the Compaq Portable II.  I loaded up several games and installed Windows 3.  I also plugged in a serial mouse to use with Windows, everything worked fine.



The machine has several extra boards installed, an Analogue Devices CT-180 which is an analogue to digital controller board.  It also has an SMC network card.


SMC_8_bit_network_board.jpg
SMC network card
Analogue_Devices_CT-180.jpg
Analogue Devices CT-180

Update: I've now managed to get a 160mb CF card working as a type 25, 134.5mb hard drive.  So only around 25mb of this  card is lost.  After using the DISKINIT utility on the Compaq setup disk I could see this CF card as the C: drive, but I couldn't boot from it.  On restart with boot floppy removed, the system would just stop booting with a blinking cursor in the top left of the screen.  I fixed this by running the following command:

A:\FDISK /MBR

This fixes the master boot record of the disk (CF card).  Once that was done the machine now boots from this CF card fine.




Compaq Portable II post 2:

New video card and sound card for Compaq Portable II

Floppy Emu disk archiving on Mac LC475

Recently I wanted to update my 400k Macintosh disk archive so that the .dsk files I was providing could easily be used on an old  Macintosh.  The .dsk files that I have can be used in MiniVmac and also in the Floppy Emu disk emulator, but they aren't easily usable when copied directly to an old Macintosh.  The .dsk versions have lost the Macintosh resource fork required by old Mac systems to associate the files with an application.  So I needed to come up with a method to restore them back to Macintosh images and preserve the resource fork.



I came up with the idea of connecting the Floppy Emu to my LC475 as the internal disk drive and then archiving each disk using DiskCopy 4.2.  The LC475 runs System 7.5 and has all the necessary utilities installed: Stuffit Deluxe 4, DiskCopy4.2 and DropStuff.

This process worked well.  I loaded all the .dsk images onto an SD card in the Floppy Emu, then one by one I "inserted" them into the LC475.  As far as the LC475 was concerned a physical floppy had been inserted.  I then used DiskCopy 4.2 to read each disk and save the image file to the hard drive.  Once archived to the LC475 hard drive the .image files contained the resource fork to associate them with DiskCopy 4.2.

While they exist on a Mac drive, the .image files will retain the resource fork, but once copied to a non Mac system the resource fork is lost.  The typical way of preserving the resource fork is to archive the files using Stuffit and Binhex.  Newer versions of Stuffit that run on System 7.x will generally open any file, but older versions that run on System 6 and prior will not recognise a file unless the resource fork is in tact.  So to make these files usable on System 6 machines you need to archive the Stuffit files with BinHex which preserves the resource fork in a .hqx archive.  The Bixhex archive (.hqx or .bin) can be opened by BinHex on System 6 machines without the resource fork in tact.  To make the process easier I decided to archive the images as self extracting Stuffit archives (.sea) prior to archiving with BinHex.  This means that only BinHex is required on a System 6 machine to use the archives.  Once extracted from the .hqx archive using BinHex the .sea archives can be run to extract the .image files. 

Once all .dsk images had been created on the LC475 using DiskCopy 4.2, I used DropStuff to create the individual .sea.hqx archives.  DropStuff can be configured to automatically create .sea.hqx archives.  Once configured you drag and drop multiple files onto the DropStuff icon and it does the rest.

See pictures of the process below.



The Macintosh LC475. This is a great machine for the retro Mac hobby, the cover unclips from the back and all the main components are easily accessible.  The hard drive and the floppy drive unclip and and can be removed in seconds. This machine also has a PDS Ethernet card and a reasonable sized hard drive which makes it great for transferring files via ftp.




The picture above shows the Floppy Emu connected to the LC475 as the internal floppy drive.  All I've done here is detach the cable from the internal floppy from the logic board and replace it with the cable from the Floppy Emu.



Once the Floppy Emu is connected you select a disk image and it appears on the Mac desktop just like a disk inserted into the internal floppy drive.



This picture shows the emulated floppy disk being read by DiskCopy 4.2.  Once read it can be saved as a disk image to the hard drive.

Go to the updated Mac 400k disk image page to download images.

Macintosh 128k - 512k 400k disk images

Macintosh 400k disk images

This page is dedicated to software that will run on the earliest Macintosh computers, the 128k and 512k.  All the software below has been tested on a Mac 512k with 400k floppy drive, running System 2.0 and Finder 4.1. 

I've provided these disk images in two formats: .dsk and .sea.hqx.  The .dsk files can be used in Mini vMac or in the Floppy Emu disk emulator.  The .sea.hqx files are for downloading straight to a retro Macintosh.  You'll need BixHex at a minimum on older systems to unpack the hqx archive.  Then the disk images can be extracted by running the .sea (self extracting archives).

 While there are dozens of applications for the original Macintosh on the web, I've been selective with the software below.  I've selected software that showcases these machines and still holds some interest value to today's user.  Let's face it, text adventures were good once upon a time, but I can't imagine sitting down and playing one today!

 

Apps

Data Flow flowchart application (1984)

Flowcharting application.

Download:

ZIP: DataFlow.zip

HQX: DataFlow.image.sea.hqx

Mac Write 2.0

Mac Write 2.0 (1985)

Download:

ZIP: Disk_Write_2.zip

HQX: Disk_Write_2.image.sea.hqx

MacBasic (1984)

The original MacBasic which was never released. It was replaced by MS Basic.

Download:

ZIP: MacBASIC.335.dsk.zip

HQX: MacBASIC.335.image.sea.hqx

Mac Draft 1.2a (1986)

Drafting application

Download:

ZIP: MacDraft1-2a.zip

HQX: MacDraft1-2a.image.sea.hqx

MacPaint 1.0 (1983)

The original MacPaint that shipped with the Mac 128k

Download:

ZIP: MacPaint.zip

HQX: MacPaint.image.sea.hqx

MacWrite 1.0 (1983)

The original MacWrite that shipped with the Mac 128k

Download:

ZIP: MacWrite.zip

HQX: MacWrite.image.sea.hqx

Microsoft Chart 1.0 (1984)

Charting application.

Download:

ZIP: Microsoft_Chart_1.zip

HQX: Microsoft_Chart_1.image.sea.hqx

Microsoft Basic v1 (1983)

The infamous Microsoft Basic for the Macintosh

Download:

ZIP: MSBASIC_1.zip

HQX: MSBASIC_1.image.sea.hqx

Microsoft Basic v2

Microsoft Basic v2

Download:

ZIP: MSBASIC_2.zip

HQX: MSBASIC_2.image.sea.hqx

Microsoft Basic v3

Microsoft Basic v3

Download:

ZIP: MSBASIC_3_disk1.zip

HQX: MSBASIC_3_disk1.sea.hqx

Microsoft Multiplan 1.11 English (1985)

Microsoft Multiplan spreadsheet application. The predecessor to Excel. This English version was hard to find.

Download:

ZIP: MSMultiplan_1.11.dsk.zip

HQX: MSMultiplan_1.11.image.sea.hqx

Mac Paint 2.0

Mac Paint 2.0

MacPaint version 2

Download:

ZIP: Paint_2.zip

HQX: Paint_2.image.sea.hqx

Picture Base 1.1 (1986)

Application for storing pictures.

Download:

ZIP: PictureBasev1.1.1.dsk.zip

HQX: PictureBasev1.1.1.image.sea.hqx

Games

Airborne! (1984)

Arcade game

Download:

ZIP: Airborne!.zip

HQX: Airborne!.image.sea.hqx

Brickles v7.0

A great breakout game, like the old Arkanoid.

Download:

ZIP: Brickles7.0.dsk.zip

HQX: Brickles7.0.image.sea.hqx

Cairo Shootout (1987)

Arcade game.

Download:

ZIP: Cairo_ShootOut.zip

HQX: Cairo_Shootout.image.sea.hqx

Microsoft Flight Simulator (1986)

Flight simulator

Download:

ZIP: Flight_Simulato102.zip

HQX: Flight_Simulato102.image.sea.hqx

Fokker Triplane (1985)

Flight simulator.

Download:

ZIP: Fokker_Triplane.zip

HQX: Fokker_Triplane.image.sea.hqx

Frogger (1984)

The classic arcade game Frogger. Requires direct booting from the disk.

Download:

ZIP: Frogger.zip

HQX: Frogger.image.sit.hqx

Fusillade (1985)

A grid style arcade game.

Download:

ZIP: Fusillade.zip

HQX: Fusillade.image.sea.hqx

Gemstone Warrior (1986)

An adventure game.

Download:

ZIP: Gemstone_Warrior.zip

HQX: Gemstone_Warrior.image.sea.hqx

Grid Wars (1985)

Arcade game.

Download:

ZIP: Grid_Wars.zip

HQX: Grid_Wars.image.sea.hqx

Klondike v4.0 (1989)

A really good Solitare game.

Download:

ZIP: Klondike_4.0.dsk.zip

HQX: Klondike_4.0.image.sea.hqx

Lode Runner (1983, 1984)

A great version of the classic Lode Runner.

Download:

ZIP: Lode_Runner.zip

HQX: Lode_Runner.image.sea.hqx

MacAttack (tank) (1984)

3D arcade game.

Download:

ZIP: MacAttack-v1_4.zip

HQX: MacAttack-v1_4.image.sea.hqx

MacCommand (1985)

A decent missle command clone.

Download:

ZIP: MacCommand_boot.zip

HQX: MacCommand.image.sea.hqx

MacJack_v3.0.1 (1984)

A decent Blackjack game.

Download:

ZIP: MacJack_3.0.1.dsk.zip

HQX: MacJack 3.0.1.image.sea.hqx

MacLanding (1986)

A clone of the old Defender arcade game.

Download:

ZIP: MacLanding.zip

HQX: MacLanding.image.sea.hqx

MacMan v1.0 (1986)

A great Pacman clone. You play as a Mac being chased by IBM pc's.

Download:

ZIP: MacMan_1.0.dsk.zip

HQX: MacMan_1.0.image.sea.hqx

MacMissles (1985)

A decent clone of the old Missle Command game.

Download:

ZIP: MacMissles.zip

HQX: MacMissles.image.sea.hqx

Phraze Craze (1986)

Wheel of fortune game.

Download:

ZIP: Phraze_Craze.zip

HQX: Phrase_Craze.image.sea.hqx

Psion Chess

A good looking chess game.

Download:

ZIP: Psion_Chess.zip

HQX: Psion_Chess.image.sea.hqx

Pyramid of Peril v1 EN (1985)

First person adventure game with line graphics!

Download:

ZIP: Pyramid_of_Peril_v1.zip

HQX: Pyramid_of_Peril_v1.image.sea.hqx

Rogue (1985)

The famous top view role playing adventure scroller which coined the phrase "Roguelikes".

Download:

ZIP: Rogue.zip

HQX: Rogue.image.hqx

Run for the Money (1984)

Simulation game

Download:

ZIP: Run_for_the_Money.zip

HQX: Run_for_the_Money.image.sea.hqx

ShufflePuck

Arcade game, based on air hockey.

Download:

ZIP: Shuffle_Puck.zip

HQX: Shuffle_Puck.image.sea.hqx

Sierra Boxing (1985)

Arcade style boxing game. Note: this game did not fit on a 400k disk with the system folder, so this disk image is not bootable.

Download:

ZIP: Sierra_Boxing.zip

HQX: Sierra_Boxing.sea.hqx

Social Climber

Arcade game with stupid premise. It was the 80's.

Download:

ZIP: Social_Climber.zip

HQX: Social_Climber.image.sea.hqx

Space Invaders (1985)

The classic arcade game.

Download:

ZIP: Space_Invaders.zip

HQX: Space_Invaders.image.sea.hqx

Wizard's Fire

A great arcade game, based on the old missle command.

Download:

ZIP: Wizard's_Fire.zip

HQX: Wizard's_Fire.image.sea.hqx

System

BinHex 5.0 (1985)

BixHex utility, archives files to preserve resource fork.

Download:

ZIP: BinHex_5.0.dsk.zip

HQX: BinHex_5.0.image.sea.hqx

CopyRom 512k

CopyRom 512k

Utility to extract rom from physical Mac. Rom can then be used in emulators like Mini vMac.

Download:

ZIP: CopyRom512k.zip

HQX: CopyRom512k.image.sea.hqx

Mac Speak speech synthesizer (1984)

Speech emulator. This was the one used in the famous Macintosh (128k) launch video by Steve Jobs. The Mac used in the video by Jobs had 512k of ram, four times more than a retail Mac!

Download:

ZIP: MacSpeak.zip

HQX: MacSpeak.image.sea.hqx

MacTerminal 1.1 (1984)

Early terminal program with xmodem transfers, very small around 90k.

Download:

ZIP: MacTerminal_1.1.dsk.zip

HQX: MacTerminal_1.1.image.sea.hqx

MacTerminal 2.2

MacTerminal 2.2 (1987)

v2.2 of MacTerminal, slightly bigger but has some added features.

Download:

ZIP: MacTerminal_2.2.dsk.zip

HQX: MacTerminal_2.2.image.sea.hqx

MacTerminal_Binhex5_boot disk (1983)

400k boot disk with required utilities for serial cable transfers. Contains MacTerminal 1.1 with xmodem, BinHex 5.0 and Packit 1.0

Download:

ZIP: MacTerminal_Binhex5_BOOT.zip

HQX: MacTerminal_Binhex5_BOOT.image.sea.hqx

Mac Tools (1984)

File and folder utility.

Download:

ZIP: MacTools.zip

HQX: MacTools.image.sea.hqx

Packit v1, v3

Packit v1, v3 (1985)

Packit archive utility, very small application, multiple files support, preserves resource fork of files.

Download:

ZIP: Packit.zip

HQX: Packit.image.sea.hqx

Red Ryder (1986)

Serial terminal program.

Download:

ZIP: RedRyder.zip

HQX: RedRyder.image.sea.hqx

Smooth Talker (1986)

Speech synthesiser application.

Download:

ZIP: SmoothTalker_2.1.dsk.zip

HQX: SmoothTalker_2.1.image.sea.hqx

Switcher_Multiple_Versions (1985)

The famous switcher application, allows you to switch between applications.

Download:

ZIP: Switcher_Multiple_Versions.zip

HQX: Switcher_Multiple_Versions.image.sea.hqx

System 2.0

System 2.0 (1985)

Macintosh System 2.0, Finder 4.1.

Download:

ZIP: System 2.0.dsk.zip

HQX: System 2.0.image.sea.hqx

System 3.3

System 3.3 (1987)

Macintosh System 3.3, contains Appleshare networking.

Download:

ZIP: System_3.3_512k_Appleshare.dsk.zip

HQX: System_3.3_512k_Appleshare.image.sea.hqx

Dungeon Hacks: How NetHack, Angband, and Other Roguelikes Changed the Course of Video Games

Dungeon Hacks, David L. Craddock

I was contacted recently by David L. Craddock who requested the use of a screen shot of Rogue that I have in my early Macintosh disk archive.  The screenshot was for use in his then upcoming book Dungeon Hacks.  He offered a pre-release copy of the book for review which I was happy to accept.  The book covers the development of the RPG game genre of Roguelikes, named after Rogue the game that started the genre.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  It's extremely well researched and written and has a great deal of interest in it, not only for people into this genre of RPG gaming but for anyone interested in computer and software history.  For example, early pioneers of Rogue were directly in contact with people like Dennis Ritchie who was instrumental in the development of Unix and C. 

I was never one who got into Rogue or any of the directly related RPG games on the Unix platform, but I did relate to many of the games and people mentioned in the book.  For example, there’s a section in the book on Sword of Fargoal on the VIC20.  My first computer was a Commodore VIC20 and one of my all-time favorites on that computer was Sword of Fargoal.  I recall at the time I had to borrow $90 from family members to buy the game and the 16k memory expansion cartridge required to run it on the VIC20.  This was a lot of money at the time.  I recall the great excitement of playing that game and finally finishing it.

I highly recommend Dungeon Hacks for anyone interested in RPG's and the history of game development.  Many of you I'm sure will relate to at least some of the games and platforms they ran on.

 

Dungeon Hacks is now available for purchase on Amazon here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012QP0Z7O

 

Also here:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/pressreleases/250827/Dungeon_Hacks_Book_Chronicles_the_Dawn_of_RoguelikeRPGs.php




David L. Craddock, the author of Dungeon Hacks

 

Commodore 64 Epyx Programmer's Basic

 Epyx Programmer's Basic, originally Hesware Graphics Basic for the Commodore 64.  Read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_BASIC

 

Epyx Programmer's Basic Toolkit

Manuals

Epyx_Programmers_BASIC_Toolkit.pdf (6.77 mb)

Epyx_Programmers_BASIC_Toolkit_Addendum.pdf (134.20 kb)

Epyx_Programmers_BASIC_Toolkit_Reference_Card.pdf (930.23 kb)

 D64 disk image: epyx_prog_basic.zip (86.90 kb)

 

Hesware Graphics Basic

 D64 disk image: graphics_basic.zip (89.05 kb)

 

Mini vMac

Mini vMac is a great emulator of early 68k Macintosh computers.  See Mini vMac site for more details.  I've prepared two downloads of Mini vMac.  One emulates a Macintosh 512k, running System 2.0 from a 400k floppy and the other emulates a Macintosh Plus running system 6.0.8 with a 40mb hard drive.  The downloads below include rom images and disk images with software already installed.  So they are ready to run.  These downloads contain the Windows executable of Mini vMac, but if you're on another platform just replace the executables with the ones you require from the Mini vMac website.

 

The distributions below have the ImportFI and ExportFI utilities already installed on each disk.  These utilities allow you to easily import and export files between the emulator and the host system without running any other software such as HVF Explorer.  They also have BinHex 5.0 and PackIt archiving utilities which allow you to easily package files for transfer to a physical Macintosh via serial cable.  See my guide: Serial cable file transfer, pc to Macintosh 128k/512k .

 

Follow this link for the Macintosh 128k / 512k disk image archive

 

vMac_512k.zip

 

vMac_Plus.zip