New PCjr fan

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New PCjr fan

Postby Vint » Sat May 01, 2010 7:40 am

Hi, it's just me, no need to get up. I'll be brief.
I'm joining in to learn about the Jr. I've wanted one for some time and I just scored one off eBay for next to nothing - except the shipping :)
I haven't had an IBM since '93 when I bought my first PC which was an IBM PS/1 Consultant. Before that it was mostly Commodore 64 for me but I go all the way back to buying my first computer in 1978. That was a TRS80 Model 1.
So, now I'm going to be a Jr. owner and I really am soaking up the info. It's going to be a fun new ride, I know :)

Vint
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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby Brutman » Sat May 01, 2010 8:19 am

Hi Vint,

Welcome to our elite little club .. What kind of machine did you pick up?

My first machine was actually a Timex Sinclair 1000 in 1982 or 1983. Back in the timeframe you describe, the TRS-80 machines were just something to stare at through the window of the local Radio Shack. (My, how much Radio Shack has changed over the years.)


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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby Vint » Sat May 01, 2010 12:41 pm

The Jr. I won was described as:
Fully working PC Jr. with a JrCaptain Sidecar module that adds a parallel port and extra RAM, the power supply, wireless IR keyboard, and a joystick. No monitor. There was a monitor screenshot to show the unit working though.
It was this item 260593530275 on eBay.
My only problem now is that I don't have a monitor for it. I know I won't be happy with the composite output - so I'll be looking around locally for a monitor for it. I don't think I'd want to buy one online after reading so many people's bad experiences with arrived damaged or totally broken monitors.
I don't know how much RAM this Jr. has, but I'm thinking 128K. I only have about a dozen 8-bit machines in my collection, but I'm very excited about adding this Jr. I don't know why, really. It not very capable compared to today's machinery - but it's still a lovable little brute, and these things have to be preserved now, don't they :)
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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby Brutman » Sat May 01, 2010 6:59 pm

That's a good starter system. The base machine will have 128K and I think the jrCaptain adds at least 256KB, a clock, and a parallel port. The scanned docs are on the other part of the web site.

The composite monitor output is tolerable with a monochrome monitor. I used my machine like that for all of it's life - it had an Amdek 300A monitor. Sixteen shades of amber wasn't great for gaming, but not having three guns to focus made it a sharp display. I didn't own a real PCjr monitor until 1992. Running the composite output through a VCR or to a television is passable, but you definitely don't want to be reading that for more than an hour at a time. If you have a CGA monitor around you can run it with an adapter. The PCjr has non-standard connectors for everything, which is a pain, but that's part of the "charm" of the machine.

Be careful - that's a 16 bit system disguised as an 8 bitter. The 8088 is a weirdy, but I think the 16 bit ALU qualifies it as a 16 bit processor. It's kind of like the 386 and the 386SX were .. in that case you had a 32 bit system masquerading as a 16 bit system.

I would never try to compare a 25 year old machine to a modern machine. However, it is still a pretty capable little system. The games are still playable, and I can get mine on the Internet using Telnet, FTP and IRC. :-)
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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby Vorticon » Sun May 02, 2010 11:25 am

I'm like you as I only acquired a PCjr late last year although I have been using PC's starting with the original since 1986. My first computer however was a TI 99/4A in 1981 which I still program BTW :) With the help of Mike here and his site, I was able to beef up my vanilla 128K Jr with a variety of extensions (640K, 2 parallel ports, Tandy modification, clock chip, parallel zip drive, Xircom net adapter, NEC V20 processor) and now it has a permanent place in my den next to my modern PC, and I have to say that I use almost daily, especially the telnet function developed by Mike.

I am amazed at how much tinkering this machine allows...

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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby CommodoreJohn » Sun May 02, 2010 8:35 pm

Hi! Are you still in need of a monitor? The PCjr I was selling in this thread has been taken, but the buyer didn't need the monitor. It's the proper PCjr color monitor, and having never seen one of these systems before, I was pretty flabbergasted by the picture quality; I've seen VGA monitors that aren't that crisp.
Packard-Bell 286 (DOS 3.3, 32MB HD, 2.6MB RAM, HGC/EGA)
Tandy 1000TX (DOS 3.2, 640KB RAM, TGA)
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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby Vint » Mon May 03, 2010 2:37 pm

CommodoreJohn wrote:Hi! Are you still in need of a monitor?


That's very tempting, but I have to pass on the monitor (for various reasons.)
Thanks really, for the offer though.
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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby Vint » Tue May 04, 2010 12:47 pm

Now here's a twist. I won a PCjr. on eBay the other day for basically the shipping costs. Trouble is now the seller says he 'accidentally' mailed it to someone else. I took the offered refund on the deal, partially because I don't know whether to believe the guy or not. Perhaps selling his PCjr. for 99 cents turned him off. Whatever, anyway now I'll have to find me another.
In the meantime I d/l the latest MESS emulator and I at least have a working 'emulated' Jr. to play with while I'm shopping for another Jr.
I believe I had my problem of no boot disk about solved too. I have an older PC that's BIOS will allow me a 5.25" drive (if I disconnect my 3.5" - because it only handles 1 floppy.) I aquired a 5.25" drive from a friend and was about to hook that all up and see if I could make me a boot image on the 5.25" for the Jr. when my above Jr. deal fell through.
So, I guess I'm on the back burner for a while now.
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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby Brutman » Tue May 04, 2010 1:22 pm

Let me do a little digging .. I have sources.

For example, I just picked up two machines a few weeks ago. Both have jrCaptains on them, but neither has the power adapters and they were barn finds. They definitely need some cleaning and care to get them going.


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Re: New PCjr fan

Postby MattCarp » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:55 pm

Vorticon wrote:I'm like you as I only acquired a PCjr late last year although I have been using PC's starting with the original since 1986. My first computer however was a TI 99/4A in 1981 which I still program BTW :


Hey, my first machine was a TI-99/4 (the sneaky predecessor to the 4A!) But, I couldn't afford to expand it and there weren't many other TIs in my circle of friends, so a few years later, Dad decided to get a PCjr!

Vorticon wrote:I am amazed at how much tinkering this machine allows...


Hmm.. well, I'd say that the PCjr community was quite resourceful. In fact, it's an interesting reflection on the PCjr demographic - probably smarter than the typical C64 owner [now I'm stirring the pot!], but probably not as much cash, so unable to get a decked out Apple IIe or an IBM PC. "Necessity is the mother of invention", so the community developed enhancements beyond what papa IBM intended.

I'm sure there are other PCjr sociologists with a different take, but that's the best I could do in 100 words!
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