So many moons ago, I ordered a “non starter” off trademe. The Magnum PC MK II – I had to have it – the case is painfully 80’s and I just love it!
On arrival I discovered (as expected) a non starting motherboard. It wasn’t even making beeps, so had a core problem. Commonly this is just bad RAM in the first bank. The easy way to test for this is using the Sansoft Diagnostic ROMs in place of the original BIOS ROM. This requires very very few features to be operational in order to work – but still nothing – dead in the water. Beyond this point for me it starts to become “too hard” so I put the boards in a static bag for another day. I removed the hard drive, which had seized, and managed to get it spinning again. It was a 10Mb Tandom TM502, and after it started spinning it hasn’t let me down once.
This left me with an awesome case but no goodies inside. How will I play Leisure Suit Larry or Digger on this? Eventually a very generous person donated a few goodies to my collection – one bit of which was a Turbo XT motherboard – fitted with an NEC V20 @ 8Mhz and an 8087! It also came with cards – floppy controllers, NE1000 network cards, and so on – so this was perfect – combined with the Tandon hard drive the Turbo XT was reborn.
I also managed to find in my boxes a multi-display card. 8 bit and it’ll do anything from Mono to VGA – brilliant. I combined this with a Taxan Supervision III (a generic RGBI monitor from the 80’s) and a Commodore 128 CGA cable to get some nice old school colour graphics. Twenty minutes later, the screen lets off a big bang, so I ended up popping a Commodore 1084S on top – and we’re going again.
Unless I can fix the Taxan, chances are the XT will be running a VGA display. Simply because that 1084S belongs to my Amiga 2000HD and for the life of me I can’t find CGA or EGA monitors anywhere.