This page lists the past contests, challenges and other events that I’ve participated in and written about on this weblog.

You can find more of my repair work and homemade hardware on the main page.

RetroChallenge, October 2022 (RC2022/10)

A year after the last one, I entered into the October 2022 RetroChallenge with the goal of doing some preservation work for the NEC mini5 word processors. I wanted to dump and archive a copy of Tetris that I found for the platform, as well as start the process of getting the system into MAME.

  • thumbnail for A Mini5 Hello World

    A Mini5 Hello World

    Yes, it is finally time to sit down with the mini5HA again. My goal was to figure out how to make a working program for CP/M using its built-in assembler, and I wasn’t going to give up until I had at least a “hello world.”

  • thumbnail for Roll the Tape

    Roll the Tape

    The NEC Bungo mini5 PWP-5SX Japanese word processor that I’ve been working on this month came with an instructional VHS tape explaining how to use its near-infinite multitude of features. Here’s how I captured that tape.

  • thumbnail for NEC's Tetris Processor

    NEC's Tetris Processor

    Tetris is a classic time-waster, both in and outside of the office. What good is any computing device if it can’t play this game? Tokyo System House certainly thought so, and ported it to the NEC mini5 line of CP/M-based word processors. Let’s preserve it for future generations and then see what it’s like!

  • thumbnail for The Case of the Dead Mini5SX

    The Case of the Dead Mini5SX

    In order to get a copy of Tetris for the NEC mini5 series of word processors, I had to buy it along with a whole word processor set from the previous owner. This LCD-based mini5SX is sleek, attractive, surprisingly heavy, and broken. Very, very broken. Let’s see if we can fix up this grey beast, and dump its ROMs.

  • thumbnail for Mini5 Word Crusher

    Mini5 Word Crusher

    Used Japanese word processors have been a tempting siren for me for years, but I’ve avoided them so far due to the huge shipping weight and my general illiteracy in the language. What if those word processors could run CP/M and had a CRT? Ah, now that’s a different story.

RetroChallenge, October 2021 (RC2021/10)

For the October 2021 RetroChallenge, I entered into the “Publish It!” category with the intent to finish up the Leako ColecoVision-compatible game console and release the files.

This entry was a prize winner!

RetroChallenge, September 2018 (RC2018/09)

For this event, my goal was to get my PC8801mkII equipped with a Gotek floppy emulator, and some form of colour video output. I was successful, and got the PC98 to have a floppy emulator as well!

  • thumbnail for The last ride of PC88 colour video

    The last ride of PC88 colour video

    After a respin of the PC88 colour video board, the PC8801mkII now has excellent digital colour video out.

  • thumbnail for A mystical journey to PC8801mkII colour video

    A mystical journey to PC8801mkII colour video

    I’ve been using the monochrome video cable on my PC88 ever since I built it. Colour video was a little more complicated, so I ended up designing a bunch of adapters to try and get it to work. I’m happy to announce that one of those adapters has finally worked!

  • thumbnail for PC98 - New floppy board, sound 'fixed,' more testing

    PC98 - New floppy board, sound 'fixed,' more testing

    Now that the PC98 can load a game off a flash drive, there’s a lot more parts of it I can test. Today, I spent a few minutes putting together a new revision of the floppy board and inspecting the computer.

  • thumbnail for Floppy adapter board works for the PC98!

    Floppy adapter board works for the PC98!

    After I designed the first version of my PC88 floppy board, I thought it would be fun to put one together for the PC98 as well. Why do I need an adapter for a computer that already has 3.5” floppy drives? The PC9821AP2 I own has a 26-pin floppy drive connector, like a mid-90s laptop, and most standard IBM PC style floppy drives have 34.

  • thumbnail for Revenge of the PC-8801mkII floppy adapter board

    Revenge of the PC-8801mkII floppy adapter board

    In the last entry, I found myself with a working adapter board to allow a 3.5” floppy drive (like a Gotek) to work with the NEC PC8801mkII. This liberated me from having to source, organize and maintain 5.25” floppy disks, and opens a large library of software for this computer without having to hunt through the used market. However, like all good things, there were a lot of bugs with the old adapter.

  • thumbnail for PC-8801mkII floppy adapter board

    PC-8801mkII floppy adapter board

    I wanted to get a Gotek working on my PC88, and after seeing that there were a lot of Japanese hobbyists who had managed to get an HxC floppy emulator working, decided it must be possible - even if not simple.

RetroChallenge, April 2018 (RC2018/04)

I didn’t have a specific theme for this event, and just took it as an opportunity to try and get as many machines in my hoard up and running.

  • thumbnail for SparcStation 1+ - have keyboard, will error

    SparcStation 1+ - have keyboard, will error

    In a previous installment of the SparcStation 1+ saga, I got the machine to present a serial console to one of my other old computers, but couldn’t get any video out of the video card or boot to an actual operating system.

  • thumbnail for Super Famicom Repair-O-Rama!

    Super Famicom Repair-O-Rama!

    I bought a large lot of Super Famicoms off of Japanese auction for cheap, and set about trying to repair them. Almost all of them had problems.

  • thumbnail for The C64 is alive!

    The C64 is alive!

    A power supply arrived from Ray Carlsen, and it works great. I spent the time while I was waiting by soldering a really bad video cable. I only managed to melt one DIN plug in the process!

  • thumbnail for Building a keyboard adapter for the early PC8801. (Part 1 - Research)

    Building a keyboard adapter for the early PC8801. (Part 1 - Research)

    If all goes well, I will soon be the owner of an NEC PC-8801mkII “Model 30.” The platform is famous in Japan, as later models of the PC88 featured a ton of independent games, including many from developers who would go on to create games that were popular worldwide (Thexder, Snatcher and Ys all got their start on this platform). It also has a lot of trash, but neither of these things are interesting to me right now. I’d be happier just getting the computer to work (not least, because as a non-SR mkII, there are very few games I can enjoy on it anyway).

  • thumbnail for Reassembling the Amiga 2500, Part 1 - Hard Card

    Reassembling the Amiga 2500, Part 1 - Hard Card

    Things are starting to get hectic again with real life, but there was still some time recently to work on the Amiga 2500. My objective was simple: get the machine back together into a working box again so it is no longer spread all over my workbench.

  • thumbnail for Commodore A501 memory expansion battery removal

    Commodore A501 memory expansion battery removal

    When I first got my Amiga 500, it wouldn’t boot. Suspecting something was wrong with the A501 512K memory expansion, I pulled the card, at which point it did boot. It didn’t take me long to realize that battery corrosion had killed it.

  • thumbnail for SparcStation 1+ - setup

    SparcStation 1+ - setup

    My streak of actually trying computers that are in my pile continues with this SparcStation 1+. While it has been a very loyal and very handsome monitor/keyboard stand for the last few years, it would probably be more interesting as a functioning computer.

  • thumbnail for Commodore 64 pickup

    Commodore 64 pickup

    I picked up a Commodore 64 off the local classifieds. It came with a 1541 floppy drive, a bag full of blank floppies and tapes, the C64 itself, the infamous black finned power supplies that kill C64s, a Rixon modem, and a Nortel multi-line keyset from the 90s.

  • thumbnail for Amiga 2500 keyboard refurb

    Amiga 2500 keyboard refurb

    The keyboard I got with my Amiga 2500 had:

    • A broken right alt key,
    • A spotty (at best) return key,
    • And a numpad enter key that wouldn’t stay up, but did work,