Monday, October 16, 2023

RC2023/10 Halftime Update!

We have a small group of contenders this year and it is nice to see that they are nearly all making great progress. I also really appreciate the variety of projects this year. If you are making progress and have some blog posts we missed, let us know in the comments.

Mousepad prizes have been ordered, and we can expect to have a few prizes from the Australian Computer Museum Society as well!

Here is the halftime update (after the break), or just keep an eye on the RC2023/10 Entrants List!

Status: Making Progress...
Granz RC 2023/10's avatar : @retrocheng
Platform: MS-DOS, x86

Project : I think that I will commit to using MS-DOS on a daily basis (I did this throughout the late 1980s and into the 1990s, in several different professional positions.) I plan on connecting my chosen system (see first post in my blog thread) to the internet (maybe through an ESP modem.) Then I will try to figure out how to post to my thread (or some other) to keep my blogging up.

Halftime Update: Granz is keeping us well updated with his endurance challenge and is making great progress getting his Zenith Z-Star configured and connected to peripherals. Reading the the good book and dealing with cursed CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files... what a combo! Happy birthday!

Etno RC 2023/10's avatar
Platform: VG-5000µ

Project : Using an emulator to develop for a retro-machine can easily result in code that runs smoothly but not on the real hardware. I will try to build an interface for the VG-5000µ which injects a binary and grabs the display in an automated way. Thus exercising the real graphics chip (EF9345). I want to compare the resulting images with the output of emulators running the same code.

Halftime Update: Etno has built up a clean looking breadboard for his VG-5000µ ROM emulation device "hot ROM". Nice progress!

Gergő RC 2023/10's avatar : @gergo_erdi
Platform: HomeLab-2

Project : I'll be making a game (or maybe several) in Assembly for the Hungarian HomeLab-2 computer from 1982.

Halftime Update: Gergő just barely got us his first post in time for this half-time update. Looking forward to more content here!

JKnightandKARR RC 2023/10's avatar
Platform: Zenith Z-Star EX

Project : Repair an old Zenith laptop for DOS and WIndows 3.1x gaming

Halftime Update: How many Z Stars does Granz have?! JKnightandKARR got an early start on things and is still battling replacement drives and batteries. Hopefully the parts he ordered will do the trick!

ep00ch RC 2023/10's avatar : @ep00ch
Platform: Synertec MBC020

Project : I will focus on some 6502 projects, mostly my Synertek MBC020 ExorBus board. I never got it working correctly as a terminal: skewed video and no keyboard yet. Let's see if I can get all of this working properly!

Halftime Update: epooch got us one post with some fixes to his Synertec MBC020. Hopefully he can get a keyboard working with it!

Kerry RC 2023/10's avatar
Platform: DEC PDP11

Project : I have spent hundreds of hours repairing a PDP11/10 CPU box which is now working. It is lonely for a peripheral and I have just the thing, a PC05 high speed paper tape punch/reader. I am hoping to get it cleaned, repaired and interfaced to my PDP11/10 and loading the DEC pdp11 paper tape basic. Utilising another previously restored paper tape punch I will be creating the tape and the absolute loader to suit.

Halftime Update: After "getting his bits together" and punching some necessary paper tapes, Kerry is working hard on the restoration of his PC05 paper tape reader and has a lot of video updates to show his progress. I am really enjoying the multidisciplinary effort on this one! His short videos are definitely worth watching.

Digitalrampage RC 2023/10's avatar
Platform: Multiple

Project : I’m attempting to setup an ISP, restore a broken Micro PC 286, fix a PowerBook 2300 PPC laptop and others

Halftime Update: DigitalRampage has added to his list of things to do by damaging the power supply on his 286 Carry-I terminal PC. At least he got a bit of time playing Leisure Suit Larry.

TiredGeezer303 RC 2023/10's avatar : @ElonIsEvil303
Platform: iBook g4, IBM Netvista circa 2003

Project : Doing the endurance challenge!! Trying to use my iBook g4 and NetVista computer for all of my computing with a few exceptions for work, texts, phone calls, etc.

Halftime Update: TiredGeezer made some initial progress with his Net Vista PC, installing Debian 10, but I fear we may have lost him. Give us some more updates!

Cefiar (aka Stuart) RC 2023/10's avatar
Platform: Applix1616

Project : Restoration/rebuild of an Applix1616 kit computer that hasn't been powered up in years. Cleaning, checking all components, redoing bodge wires, etc, through to booting the system and hopefully accessing files on a SCSI attached volume (on a BlueSCSI V2).

Halftime Update: Cefiar is making awesome progress with his handsomely minimalist Applix1616. Great photos and great content here, as he basically re-solders the entire logic board and installs a BlueSCSI card. Keep up the great progress!

paulscottrobson RC 2023/10's avatar
Platform: Sinclair LC3

Project : Try to recreate the Sinclair LC3 unreleased prototype as accurately as possible. There's not much information, but some intelligent guesswork will do. I have inquired of both of the main people involved, not "for information" but to ask if my thoughts and guesses were right. If it changes, it changes, that'll teach me to write code that can be adapted easily. I'll write some games and system software for it.

Halftime Update: Paul is back with another ambitious entry! He gave us some great background posts about the Sinclair LC3 and his choices for period appropriate components. Finally a post about video RAM and sprites before we might have lost him. We are looking forward to more progess on this project!

John Honniball RC 2023/10's avatar : @anachrocomputer
Platform: Compukit UK101

Project : I built a Compukit UK101 from a kit in February 1980. 43 years later, I'm going to write a demo program for it. Something snazzy that'll wow the onlookers.

Halftime Update: Only one great background post about the Compukit UK101 so far. John usually makes a late surge, so we won't count him out yet.

LambdaMikel RC 2023/10's avatar
Platform: Busch Microtronic

Project : My goal is to create a multi-purpose expansion for the Busch Microtronic Computer (1981, 4bit). I already have a Raspberry Pico set up to emulate the Microtronic's 2114 SRAM. The Pico enables me to store and restore Microtronic memory dumps as files to resp. from SDcard, in milliseconds (the cassette interface takes minutes for a decent program!) By "snooping" the address bus and SRAM (which the Pico emulates), the Pico also knows the instruction currently being executed by the Microtronic. I can hence turn the Pico into co-processor, adding new op-codes to the original Microtronic. I plan to add op-codes for OLED display output, sound, speech synthesis, a Real Time Clock, as well as bank switching. The goal is to have a working prototype at the end of the Challenge month that can then be turned into a PCB (consisting of a Pico, OLED display, loudspeaker am op-amp, SDcard, speech chip, and a few buttons for the user interface).

Halftime Update: LambdaMikel gave us a thorough log post and video right at halftime. He demonstrates the voice function and fully functional SD card. He even has the RPi Pico interfaced with the Busch Microtronic allowing it to run programs directly from the to RPi. Great work so far!

Status: Non Starter
MacEffects RC 2023/10's avatar
Platform: Apple Lisa

Project : Restore a non-working Apple Lisa 2/5

Halftime Update: Hmm, not sure where I should be looking for updates here.

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