torsdag 15 januari 2009

Compukit UK101 Revisited...

I'm not really sure how it came back to me one day in the early fall of 2008!
Maybe after talking to my teenage kids about the good old days of computing and the fact that "Dad"(me that is) had built and used one of the first so-called personal computers as well as one of Microsoft's first commercial products, the MS Basic. Maybe the first MS product what so ever!

The last time I used it must have been around -84 and I did know it was tucked in some box somewhere in the attic since the last move in -94. A attic often damp and cold....
Should it work?
Well, it took not long to find it! Fortunately it was wrapped in a plastic bag so the prospects for survival was rather good. I also found a binder with a lot of documentation, listings and notes, but not the manual, schematics nor the Basic manual.
In the bag I also found the PIA adapter (see further above) and also two old monitor ROMS, the orginal MONUK01 and "The New Monitor" that was standard in later releases.
On the other hand some parts were missing: the UHF modulator, a "baudrate" switch, the CEGMON monitor EPROM and the transformer.
The transformer was eventually found in a junkbox, the modulator could be substituted for a SCART connection but the crucial part was the CEGMON monitor.
The UK101 was modified for 32 lines and only this special version of CEGMON supported this.
And now memories came back; I had zapped the CEGMON in -84 when removing or inserting it with power on....!! Damn!
Anyway, to get the UK101 up and running, MONUK01 would do it with a half screen display (16x48).
Connected all the parts and powered on, for the first time since 1984! ........
Yippie! Got the D/C/W/M prompt and it "booted up" instantly!
Truly amazing after all these years!
Some flickering on the screen was there and sometimes only half the memory at start, but this was solved by pressing some chips now and then. These problems was to be expected due to the oxidation of sockets and IC's.
People may ask one question at this point:
Why try to refurb this vintage outdated UK101 computer when you could just start up a WinOSI/UK101 emulator in a PC and play around? Why?....
The smell of heated good ol' TTL logics? The feeling of the "tactile" keyboard? 8 KB of tight memory to play with instead of GB's? All the following small demanding problems you would encounter? All the programs you did 30 years ago, saved on cheap audio-cassettes and had forgot?....
Well, I DON'T KNOW! Perhaps everything mentioned and....of course...NOSTALGICA!

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar