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Hey there! Back to PCjr

Postby Petteri » Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:17 am

Hello all!

I've just joined after winning an eBay auction for a 128k Jr and monitor. It boots up to basic just fine. It's missing the keyboard cable and I don't have any floppies or software other than a copy of Wizardy. So I can't yet really test it. The keyboard may have some issues as in basic it seems to type some gibberish. I've got an RJ12 cable as well as the TexElec breakout board. So hopefully it's just an IT issue.

I've also got a power expansion sidecar on the way and hopefully a 128K memory board as well.

The PCjr was my third PC growing up as a kid. We had a TI99/4a and my dad had a 5150 for work, but I didn't get to play with that beast too much.

So now what? I'm really at a loss on how to get software on 5 1/4 floppies. Been doing some reading and have a few ideas. I'll keep reading up and hopefully find some good stuff here and elsewhere to build things up.
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Hey there! Back to PCjr

Postby Brutman » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:03 pm

The keyboard should be able to work on batteries alone without the keyboard cable. If you have batteries in it and are within a few feet of the front of the machine the keyboard should work fine. Bright lights can confuse the infra-red receiver, but that should lead to beeping, not gibberish.

The short story for data transfer is you probably want to get another machine. Something that has both 5.25 and 3.5 inch floppy drives in it is the most versatile solution. That way you can make boot diskettes and transfer software fairly easily. In the vintage computer community these are called "tweener" machines - as in "in between". I call them "motherships" as they can handle the smaller machines needs, but whatever - the concept is important, not the name.

Just as an example, my primary machine for data transfer is a 386 with a hard drive, networking, a 1.44MB drive, and a 360KB drive. I can add SCSI peripherals, a Zip drive, and a Compact Flash reader as needed.

My Jr also has a hard drive, networking, and can also accept SCSI peripherals, a Zip drive, and the same Compact Flash reader. I really don't need the mothership machine anymore because I have more than enough boot floppies.

If you don't want to get an entire other machine you need to get boot floppies and probably something like a Micro Solutions Backpack floppy drive or an old DataFab Compact Flash reader. After that you are fine as long as you have enough copies of your boot floppies; floppy disks do get corrupted easily.
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