Looks like I won’t be installing the latest iOS version straight away, there’s a first time for everything!
On the plus side:
Looks like I won’t be installing the latest iOS version straight away, there’s a first time for everything!
On the plus side:
Following on from my last post, here is the best explanatory article I have found on aligning the heads on a floppy drive:
Also, the “TestFDC” program looks to be useful in terms of real time feedback, as used in this “5.25 inch floppy drive inspection, repair, cleaning, alignment” video by FloppyDiskWorkshop.
I am just awaiting a couple more tools and parts to take a decent crack at getting this done.
Currently listening: Cardiacs - “Is This The Life”
I’ve bought a cheap oscilloscope to enable me to align the heads on a floppy drive… Or at least, initially. Hopefully it will have more uses than just that and will prove a useful bit of kit.
The model is a “Hantek 6022BE”, and the official software for it looks like it hasn’t been updated in 20 years! There were some open-source options, but development for the Windows version looks to have been dropped a while back.
Currently listening: “Jamie xx - Gosh”
I received another kind donation at my store recently, a couple of old school hard drive based iPods! They had both been well-loved and well-used, I gave them both a damn good clean and proceeded to pull them apart to assess them.
The first was one of the venerable 3rd Gen with a failing hard drive and dead battery. The tiny internal plastic frame from around the dock connector had snapped, which I removed and carefully glued it back together.
The other was a 5th Gen where the battery had swollen and killed the LCD. I know that scenario is the cause of the “black spot” curse that a lot of the iPod nano models suffer from, but I’d not seen it happen on this model previously. Unfortunately the replacement LCD I’d had for years in my spare parts collection turned out to have some odd blotches after I swapped it in, most likely due to flexing or pressure at some point, so I have another replacement on order. The original 30GB hard drive surprisingly passed a surface scan, which is great news.
All in all, great to work on these two, I fixed so many iPods 2003-2007 that it really did bring back memories :)
Currently listening: Total Science Volume 2 (1996)
Following on from a previous post where I replaced the RTC module on a Socket 7 Motherboard, I wanted to resolve a similar issue with a couple of other Motherboards I have; a 286 and a 486. The 286 motherboard was missing the CMOS battery when I received it, and the 486 had a dodgy barrel battery that I was surprised to see had yet to leak. Time to fix them both!
The option I went for was the “Vertical Barrel Battery Blaster”. I uploaded the gerber files of the PCB to OSHPark, ordered the battery holders and diodes, and a couple of weeks later had everything ready to assemble. Quick solder job later, ready to go. I built a few extra just in case I need a couple more.
I have just been installing and testing them both today, and everything indeed works as it should. Hooray!
Currently listening: “Paul Allen’s Mix (Ambient, Jungle, Jazzy, 90s DNB Mix)”
Today was a little frustrating, I spent a couple of hours trying to get a “MacSD” working with Windows 98.
The MacSD is a device that allows for mounting of ISO images of hard drives and CDs stored on an easily sourced/fast/cheap Micro SD card.
It was dead easy to get working with a Macintosh SE/30 - literally the very definition of plug-and-play! However, despite the webpage listing compatibility with Windows 98 and specifically the family of Adaptec SCSI cards I was using, no luck.
I know the SCSI card itself works, as I was able to connect a SCSI2SD v5.5 and format/mount a couple of virtual hard drives through that without issue.
The Adaptec EZ-SCSI utilities from that era were helpful, as they allowed me to confirm the SCSI card could detect the virtual devices I specified.
What was odd was the closest I could get was Windows displaying an Audio CD roughly the same size as the ISO, which the Audio CD player would report as a data disc…
More experimentation is required!
Currently listening: Overdrive: A DJ Mix By Aphrodite
HP t5730 Thin Client: I received the longer IDE ribbon cable I’d ordered, which has given me enough slack to position the mSATA drive/adapter in an area inside the case with enough room. I’ve then been able to close the casing all back up and have sitting it upright on a vertical stand, thereby resulting in an even smaller footprint for the machine!
The unit I have has WiFi hardware, but I have it disabled as I prefer wired networking, especially given that it would only support older encryption types over WiFi anyway. Generally I don’t have this machine networked all the time.
Lastly, I am just waiting to try out the DVI to HDMI adapter which also “injects” audio into the HDMI output. Hopefully Windows XP will recognise that USB audio and output through it correctly. I’m currently lending to someone the monitor with an HDMI input that I use with the KVM, but I should have it back in the next 2-3 weeks, and can try the adapter then.
Pwnagotchi: All of the required hardware components arrived, I have to now print the correctly sized case (yep, the one I printed was not the right one, oh well), and follow along with the “Pwnagotchi Tutorial, Pt. 2: Software” video.
Colour SE/30: The 8.4-inch LCD arrived, and despite my concerns when I saw graphical glitches on the initial “No Input” screen, it works fine! Now to look at assembling it all inside the transparent SE/30 case.
Currently listening: Oliver Tree - “One & Only”
I had a customer very kindly donate to me an “Intersil Intercept Junior” recently, along with some add-ons cards.
I believe it was literally a “barn-find” as it is in need of a damn good clean!
One interesting thing with this is the CPU is a PDP-8 in a chip:
I hope I can get this going, as it will be earliest system in my collection :)
Currently listening: KNOWER - I’m the President
The last couple of weeks I have been having a lot of fun revisiting some late 90s games under Windows XP running on an HP t5730 Thin Client.
This machine takes up very little room, has powerful enough graphics for Unreal Tournament, and thanks to a lack of internal fan runs silently :)
I upgraded the RAM from 1GB to 4GB, and swapped out the 1GB 44-pin IDE Flash Memory for an adapter to a 128GB mSATA module.
Using a DVI to HDMI adapter, I’ve connected to my KVM, so it is easy to switch between it and a couple of other machines I have at the same desk.
Last things I need to do are figure out a better way to mount the storage so the internals aren’t exposed to the world, and when it arrives, try an adapter I’ve ordered that should route the audio through the HDMI connection, so I can leave my speakers connected to the KVM.
Currently listening: Vulfmon - Vulfnik (Full Visual Album)
Now, the main reason these exist is to aid in testing WiFi security, but I knew I had to build one when my daughter fell in love with its facial expressions :)
Well, I had been looking for something to 3D print anyway!
So, I printed a verison of the “Slimagotchi” casing I found here, and picked the bright “Pineapple Yellow”, unfortunately choosing PETG rather than PLA accidentally when slicing the files. I think the resulting print is slightly off as a result, but should still be usable.
I have the battery, RPi Zero W, and small E Ink display on the way, I will post again when those arrive and I put it together :)
Currently listening: Hélène Vogelsinger - “Contemplation”
This week I pulled the trigger on deleting all of my Twitter accounts, some of which I’d had since 2007.
It just felt like the time was right, I hadn’t used any of them since Twitterrific had been killed off.
I am no longer interested in taking part in any social media, unless you count this blog, it just seems all of these platforms have descended into their equivalent of the Biff Tannen alternate 1985…
Inspired by Mac84 and others, I had been working on the different parts of building my own colour SE/30…
Step one was getting my Lapis ColorServer PDS/30-17 working. The supplemental VRAM modules brought it back to life! So, it wasn’t that the existing ones were faulty, it was that the replacement ROM I had burnt was for a model of card that expected more VRAM than mine. Good to have diagnosed the issue correctly and have that now working happily.
The next piece of the puzzle was building a custom power cable to directly supply the main logic-board the inputs it requires. Within a typical SE/30, the mains power goes to the analogue board which powers the internal CRT as well as then powering the main logic-board. With the setup I was working on, the display would be connected through the Lapis card, so I could thankfully leave off the 30+ year old power supply and CRT and replace the former with a relatively new ATX power supply (this is the typical PC desktop type power supply). The only voltage rail missing is the -5V, which did in fact used to be part of the ATX specification. To get around that I found a project on Tindie which uses a voltage regulator to add that power rail back in. I also ordered an ATX extension cable, an inline power switch that connects the ATX pins that tell the power supply to switch on and off, the smaller Molex Mini-Fit Jr. connector that most of the compact Macintoshes used for the main logic board power (AKA the “J12” connector), and a small form factor ATX power supply. Finally everything was assembled this week, I removed every wire from the ATX power extension, cross referenced the pins, inserted just the necessary pins/wires, double-checked all the voltages and ran through the first test of connecting everything (AKA the “smoke test”).
Success! I can now run this machine quietly and safely on my workbench, in glorious colour :)
Currently listening: Urban Flavour - Modern Jazz Drum n Bass (1998)
Pour one out for these examples of greatness.
Well, the good news is I haven’t been using Twitter any more, and come the end of the month, Reddit either…
Gee, maybe this should be called “What’s not behind my TV?“…
I had pre-ordered a few months back a new bias lighting / back lighting kit called the “Lytmi Fantasy 3” to replace a failing LED strip that I had connected via a Smart WiFi plug and the tiny Apple 5W USB adapter. That LED strip in the end only worked when held at an angle using duct tape, and I had been on the look-out for years for the right replacement. I knew I wouldn’t be happy with one of those back-lighting kits that had terrible latency, let alone one that used a camera at an angle above the TV aimed at the screen.
When I saw a YouTube review of this model, I was very interested! It ticked all the boxes… My unit arrived this week, and so now time to install.
When I took the TV (65-inch Sony Bravia) off the wall, I thought I would take a picture to go over all the other clobber that is hidden there…
From middle top clockwise there is a wall-plate with two HDMI outlets that come from across the room where a sideboard sits, that connection is for a Wii U and a Switch, there is a HDMI repeater there as well due to the signal being borderline with the 7.6m Amazon Basics HDMI cable - most likely due to an HDMI splitter at the other end. I was originally planning to use one HDMI run for the Wii U and one for the Switch, but ran out of inputs on the TV.
There is more cable conduit on the right, mostly for additional capacity when needed, along the bottom right to left is a power outlet for the TV and the Apple TV, the centre speaker below with the IR bar for the Wii U, a wall-plate with 3x Ethernet outlets (the fun part with that was drilling through the concrete slab below and behind the wall to reach the rack I have in the garage), then a bunch more cables hidden in the conduit on the left, including an IR repeater. Top left is the Apple TV and next to it is the Home Assistant Yellow, between them a recessed power outlet. Finally in the middle is the TV wall mount, and behind that a recessed wall alcove to fit the console of our Bose CineMate 520. There is gap below that which contains a bunch of the speaker wires, as well as a special (optical?) HDMI cable I had to run for the PS5, also across the room.
All this so I could replace an IKEA cabinet I had previously wall mounted below the TV, everything else that had been in that I moved to a side-board I mentioned which sits across the room. I also moved the TV down slightly as it had been too high before.
I will post again once I have set up and used the new back-lighting kit, hopefully it meets my high expectations!
Currently listening: LTJ Bukem - Twilight Cosmic D&B Set
I had bought a couple of RTC modules a while back from a company in New Zealand, and I finally got around this week to fitting one. It was to replace a defunct OEC12C887A on an old Socket 7 Motherboard (Pentium powah, baby!).
The ODIN OEC12C887A is an encapsulated package which has a small coin battery and a crystal oscillator on top of a chip. In keeping with the fine tradition of planned obsolescence, the coin battery is not designed to be replaced and the whole thing is soldered on to the motherboard not socketed! Given the battery is pushing 25+ years old, it no longer holds any semblance of charge. This means the time/date is lost when the power is pulled, but more annoyingly, all of the BIOS settings have to be redone as well.
To replace it, I first dremeled off most of the top half of the ODIN package - nasty material to go through. I removed the coin battery and the oscillator inside, then used the Dremel to shave down the sides of the chip below, meaning I could then use side-cutters to chop the legs off the chip. I then used my soldering iron to heat each pin on the underside of the motherboard, and pulled through the remainder of the chip legs with ceramic tweezers. I then wicked up as much of the solder as I could. Finally, I (very!) carefully used a pin vise to drill through the solder still remaining in the through-holes.
I’m sure there is a less labour-intensive way - I do own a hot-air station - but hey, the end result is, after soldering on a socket and installing the replacement RTC module, the motherboard is much happier now, and a lot less of a pain in the rear to use :)
Currently listening: Brother’s Gonna Work It Out - A DJ Mix Album by the Chemical Brothers
The HDMI connector for the VersaTerm arrived, I soldered that on and all is well. Last step is 3D printing the case, I have chosen an era-appropriate drab grey :)
With the E Ink Display, I have assembled and tested it using the demo program Waveshare provided, it is working fine… Where I am stuck is finding something that will let me update the image more easily, as I have yet to come across a simple program that will work with this panel. Ideally I want to be able to press a button on the Stream Deck and have the Raspberry Pi update the graphic shown. Easy enough to have a button that issues a “GET” for a local website in the background, that part is covered. I tried this project, but it didn’t seem to be compatible with my panel. More research is needed!
Another project that I have been working on is resurrecting a colour video card for the Macintosh SE/30. It is a Lapis ColorServer PDS/30-17, and when I first connected to either of a couple of SE/30s, nothing would be output on the display connected to the card, the internal screen would remain grey, and there was no HD activity… So essentially just stuck.
The first thing I tried was burning a replacement ROM, after fitting that the card has the below output. Not perfect, but definitely on the right track… I assume now that one (or more!) of the video RAM modules is faulty, I have some replacements on order. When those arrive I will swap and test ‘em out, hopefully that will take care of this and I will have a functioning card - then that’ll be part of a bigger project I am working on :)
Currently listening: Trans-Central Connection (1996)
Received my order from Mouser Electronics this week which included the bulk of the rest of the components I was waiting on for the VersaTerm, the final thing still on the way is an HDMI connector. Given the VersaTerm has a VGA out as well, I decided to finish the assembly process anyway…
The trickiest bits were soldering on the surface mount diodes and running some wires to a couple of pads on the RPi Pico. Last bit was copying across the software, which involves holding the “BOOTSEL” button down whilst connecting the RPi Pico to a machine via a Mini USB to USB cable, dragging across a UF2 file, the RPi then disconnects and reboots.
After that, I fired it up and it is indeed working, F12 brings up a settings menu with a plethora of options… Now to try it out with some serial devices!
In other news, here’s a fun website toy my kids have been playing with recently: Orb.Farm
Currently listening: Atmosphere Chapter 2 - Deeper Drum And Bass (2007)
I ordered one of these handheld Android gaming devices recently, and it will be arriving soon. As processors in the mobile phone space rapidly improve, it’s interesting how other use cases become feasible - enough power/different form-factor and a device focused on emulating a vast range of older gaming systems even up to the PlayStation 2/GameCube/Dreamcast is realistic. I’ll also be trying out builds of Mini vMac and DOSBox, hopefully they’ll be usable also. TBH, I will probably get more jollies from setting it up and tweaking things than I will from actual game time…
I chose “Clear Purple” pictured as it resembles the classic “Atomic Purple” colour-way that sets off a whole bunch of old school Nintendo nostalgia vibes :)
Currently listening: Peshay Studio Set (1996)
I ordered the PCB for this project a while ago, I’ve been gathering up the parts over the last couple of months, and so almost ready to begin assembling. When it’s all together and finished, I can plug in a VGA or HDMI display, connect up a PS/2 or USB keyboard, and I’ll have myself a serial terminal AKA dumb terminal. I’m old enough to have used the last of DEC’s venerable VT line up in the early-mid 90’s, so there is definitely the nostalgia factor at play with wanting to set one of these up!
Currently listening: Dr Alex Paterson’s Voyage Into Paradise
Powerpal Home Assistant Integration - made some progress, as the build errors I were running into were happening to others and a fix was found, but I’m now stuck further along… More banging my head against the brick-wall is required I think.
Prusa MK3S+ OctoPrint / HyperPixel Mod - I have set up OctoPrint and gotten the HyperPixel touchscreen working properly with it on the Raspberry Pi. Finished printing the parts, I carefully installed the HyperPixel into the new front panel only to find the I2C chip on the back of it now had loose pins… Resoldered those today, all happy again… See picture below. Now just waiting on a couple of last little parts, then will have to swap things out, test, and hopefully everything will be good :)
Store front door E Ink display: Finally got the shipping notification for the E Ink display, it has been on back order for 6 weeks or so! Looking forward to that arriving in the next few days. The current ethernet run I had that goes almost to the front door seems to have a faulty pair, so will try redoing the RJ45 connectors and run another cable if that still doesn’t sort it. Then I have to fit everything in the frame I have, and then just figure out the software side of things (Draw-the-rest-of-the-freaking-owl vibes right there). Currently listening: Wipeout: 1997 Liquid D’n’B Mix
I spent a very enjoyable day on Saturday meeting up a bunch of like-minded vintage Apple enthusiasts, including Ken Gagne, the editor of Juiced.GS, which is the sole remaining Apple II focused magazine. Got to help out with resurrecting a Lisa (I think technically it was a Macintosh XL), which was neat. I also learnt you can have emoji in SSIDs (WiFi network names) :)
Currently listening: BLKSMIITH - “breakcore mix to chill and study to 2”
Of all the donations I have been the appreciative recipient of at my store over the years, this takes the cake… Someone dropped off a PowerBook 150 and the oh-so-chunky “Apple Low-Power AC Adapter” yesterday. It is not booting, and a quick internal inspection does reveal evidence of both battery and capacitor leakage, so I may have a bit of a project ahead of me rubs hands together with glee…
The one request the lady who donated had was for me to erase any and all data on the hard drive - I did offer to attempt to recover it. To be able to see if the 2.5-inch SCSI hard drive is even functioning, I have ordered from Aberco on eBay an adapter from the SCSI connector variant these old 2.5-inch drives use to the more common 50 pin connector on 3.5-inch drives (I did have one of those adapters a long time ago). So, once that arrives I will see if the drive works and run through a secure erase or three…
Update: Noticed this morning when looking at the entry in Mactracker that the PowerBook 150 actually uses IDE for the internal hard drive! So, pulled the drive, connected it up via a IDE/USB bridge, and… it spins, but not detected. May be worth trying in in an older machine as the adapter may be “too new” for it to work.
Update 2: I connected to an internal IDE connector in my Power Macintosh G3 tower, wouldn’t mount, Drive Setup said it couldn’t initialise it, but DiskWarrior v2 rebuilt the directory successfully and it mounted! All empty, but ran through a secure erase anyway. 120MB capacity, back then that seemed like so much :)
Currently listening - AllttA (Featuring a AI-generated version of Jay-Z) - “Savages”
Something I picked up on a recent day trip at a Church book sale, first published 1958…
Currently listening: Michna & Dust La Rock Mix The Orb