Welcome to BitByted, my blog for retro computing!
A few years back I got into retro computing when I was at my local thrift store looking for a spare DVI cable for a buck. I saw a really old computer, with the IBM AT clone desktop case and dual 5.25″ floppy drives and a sticker that said “286” on it I bought it for five dollars and immediate went home to hook it up. After finding an adapter for a PS/2 keyboard for the AT keyboard slot, and a DVI-VGA adapter, i booted it up. Miraculously it booted up with only a few beeps saying the CMOS battery was low, but the 4MB of RAM was checked. It was actually an upgraded computer, with a 386DX-25MHz in it with 4MB of RAM and a 340mb IDE hard drive, VERY close to the specs of my first PC I have owned when I was 13.
Memories of Wing Commander., X-Wing and Ultima 7 flooded back, and I was hooked on retro computing! Those were the days when AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS file editing was a daily task, with the many strokes of DOS commands on a beige keyboard and the whir and clicking of loud hard drives, and the motors of the floppy drives sliding the read drives back and forth.
What will you talk about?
This blog is the start of documenting my weekly projects, which are many, so anyone else searching for how-to’s, or more accurately NOT-TO-DO’s, can read and be enlighten on my limited knowledge. It has been a few years since I happened upon that old computer that re-igniting my passion for all old DOS computing and I have in that time acquired quite a collection of hardware. I have 286, 386, 486, 5×86, Pentium ,etc all the way up to a 1.4GHz Pentium 3 system with ISA slots. Anything beyond that I don’t find “vintagey” enough to qualify any interest, as its too recent (ha!) in my memory. Athlon 64, Pentium-D, Core 2 Duo and so on are all designed to run at least Windows XP/Windows Vista/7 and usually don’t have ISA slots.
Here are a few of my projects that are on going:
- RTC battery modifications (well documented on other blogs and sites)
- Motherboard restoration (tantalum replacements, battery “acid” removal, etc)
- XTIDE BIOS flashing and running on ISA ethernet adapters
- MIDI and other Roland hardware (MT-32, SC55, daughterboards, etc)
- CF IDE adapters
- VLB cache controllers
I want to thank my brother who introduced me to Test Drive and Jetfighter, old DOS games that got me hooked on computing when I was eight-years old. I also want to thank my father who bought me my first PC and numerous other upgrades during my teen years.