Going to try a new format for this entry; there are some small updates to keep a record of, but nothing deserving of a full entry on their own.

PC-8801mkII: Keyboard and N88 BASIC

When I won the PC-8801mkII, it didn’t come with a keyboard. In a previous entry, I discussed how difficult the keyboard would be to replicate. It turns out that the information I dug up was used to create a super cool Arduino-based USB adapter by “snacksthecat”/Davey, so you can use the 8801mkII keyboard on a more modern computer.

At the time, I figured there was probably a good hourly rate to attach on the amount of time I’d have to spend to create an adapter to use a PS/2 keyboard on the 8801, so I got into a few bidding wars. After four failed auctions, I eventually way overbid for this slightly damaged 8801mkII SR keyboard:

PC8801mkII keyboard

When it arrived, it smelled very strongly of some kind of perfumed tobacco. Luckily, a few weeks in a sealed container with an Air Sponge appears to have gotten rid of the worst of it. The keyboard still needs some work - a few of the keys are hard to press, and there are obviously some missing keycaps - but it works, and I can use it to program simple things in N88 BASIC:

N88-BASIC graphics

My next task for the PC-8801mkII will be to open it up so I can remove the leaking clock battery I mentioned in the setup post. After that, I plan on building a colour video cable if I can overcome my fear of having to solder a DIN8.

PC-9821AP2/U8W: Hard drive on order

On Yahoo Auctions, I managed to track down a PC9821A-E05 internal hard drive and tray, which I think is the correct part I need to re-add a hard drive to my PC-9821. We’ll know in a couple of weeks from now.

Macintosh LC520 setup

For the last few weeks, I’d been seeing an ad on local classifieds for a five-dollar Macintosh II NuBus video card. Although I don’t own a Mac II at present, one of my retrocomputer dreams has always been to set one up in a six-monitor setup, and that will eventually need NuBus cards when that day comes. So I might as well pick up one now.

While I was at the seller’s place, he mentioned that he also had an old Macintosh, which turned out to be his personal LC520. It was in great condition. Everything was in great shape - in the original box - and I couldn’t help but haul it home. He explained that the machine had a bad hard drive, but it worked when I fired it up.

It takes awhile for the monitor to awaken from a cold start, which makes me think the power supply probably needs an inspection, but everything worked, except for the CD-ROM drive. Nothing happened when I put a CD-with-caddy inside it. After inspecting the System Folder, it looked like the Apple CD-ROM extension was just never installed. I copied it over from my Quadra 800, and everything worked well enough to start playing Lunicus:

CD-ROM drive works

Although the LC520 is one of the more reviled Macs, probably because of its heavy grade-school saturation bombing, I’ve always had a soft spot for the industrial design of this series of machines, and at this point any working LC Mac is a good Mac.

In particular, this one is a good fit for a lot of early-90s Mac games, and much less hassle to set up and put away than a machine with a separate monitor. Plus, unlike my non-upgradeable Mac TV, it takes a bunch of RAM, and it can be expanded.

I’m looking forward to using it more - I might even have to track down another LC PDS Ethernet card for it!