Glad to Have a PCjr Again

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Glad to Have a PCjr Again

Postby Roscoe » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:44 pm

Hi All,

Just joined the board because I just got a used PCjr, and I wanted to say "Hi!" and share my PCjr story.

The PCjr was my second computer. My first was a TI-99/4a that was already discontinued when we got it free with new carpet. Had that for a while then we got the PCjr, and I think about a month later IBM announced it was being discontinued.

That's when my family learned to buy only well established technology. :roll:

Nonetheless, I loved my PCjr. I had the monitor, 2nd drive add on, 640K RAM, parallel port sidecar, joystick and 1200 baud modem! (Compuserve here I come!!!!) I typed in so many BASIC programs from Enter magazine, Family Computing, and Compute! I had the Compute! IBM books, the Micro Adventure Books, David Ahl's books, and Scott Adam's (not the Dilbert guy) books. I wrote my own BASIC programs and had dreams of being published in one of those magazines. I spent hours with Jumpman, Super BoulderDash, Lode Runner, Flight Simulator, and Touchdown football (It talks!). Whoo-hoo! Those were good times!

I used it into high school when it was put into storage and replaced by a Packard-Bell 286 with no soul.

Then, while off at college the unthinkable happened. You know those horrible stories about how some parents throw out baseball cards or comic books? Well, my PCjr was donated to a shelter or something. I'm sure in the mid 90's it went straight into the trash. To be fair, my dad meant to donate his IBM 5160 and somehow mixed the boxes up. (I mean, come-on, it says PCjr right on the box!) But because the wrong computer was donated, all the disks, books, and accessories were not. They were found in a box years later when my dad moved. I now have that box and have been carting it around for years. Why? I don't know...

Then, I read Ready Player One. Reading the authors fond memories for his old machines awakened the nostalgia in me. It hit me hard. Real hard. I have been watching PCjrs move on ebay for a while and looking at craigslist to see if one ever popped up locally, but none ever did. Then, a couple weeks ago a complete system at a PC refurbisher was posted on Craigslist. The next day over my lunch break, I went just to look at it. As soon as I saw it, I knew I was buying it. The guy at the store must have thought I was crazy the way I was gushing on about it. My wife thought I was crazy when I brought it home. The kids were unimpressed.

So now I have a PCjr again. It is a much more simple machine than my old one. Monitor, 128K, parallel port sidecar, cartridge basic, and a joystick. I don't know what exactly I'm going to do with it, but I smile every time I see it sitting on the desk. Now I need to find that old box and see if any of my old disks still work.

You may see me around. Nice to meet you all.

Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:15 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Glad to Have a PCjr Again

Postby Brutman » Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:14 am


Welcome to our exclusive little club!

I paid good hard money for my machine back in early 1984; that was a lot of newspapers to deliver back then. Which just made it harder to watch as the trade press trashed the machine and the prices dropped.

On the other hand, hacking around the limitations of the machine probably contributed to my career. So it's not all bad.

One of my joys back when was trying to read the technical reference manual. At that age I had not been introduced to circuit diagrams, so the schematics were not of much use to me. But knowing the specifications of the subsystems and being able to read through the BIOS listing was quite fun and gave me a clue to how the machine worked "under the covers." DOS and BASIC are such nice environments to work in, hiding a much more primitive layer.

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Re: Glad to Have a PCjr Again

Postby Roscoe » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:05 pm

I Found the Box!

I had time to dig through storage, and I found the missing box of software and accessories as well as a bonus box of magazines.

Inside the box I found I still have an extra keyboard, 2 joysticks, 2 power bricks, a parallel port sidecar, and all the standard manuals, and some office software (in their nice boxes).


(146.01 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Also inside were my game disks and a box of floppys (filled with BASIC programs, I'm sure, and a DOS disk):


(170.52 KiB) Not downloaded yet

I also found a box I wasn't sure I still had. Inside were my BASIC Books and computer magazines. The box is full of COMPUTE!, Family Computing, Every issue of Enter Magazine (I think), and COMPUTE!'s PC Magazine issues from the mid to late 80's.


(195.23 KiB) Not downloaded yet

Now I just need to get my new PCjr to boot from disk....
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:15 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: Glad to Have a PCjr Again

Postby KenG » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:02 am

Is there a problem getting it to boot, or you haven't found a boot disk and tried. You said you purchased from a refurbisher, so I would expect it to work. If not, pop the top off the machine and watch the drive heads and spindle as it tries to boot. Most of the time, I find that the heads don't move freely. I use isopropanol on Q-tips to clean the rails and then lube using 3-in-1 or sewing machine oil on a Q-tip. I did recently have one where the spindle was frozen. A couple of drops of oil on it and manually turning it freed it up and it now works well.
Enhanced PCjr with a jr-IDE (1GB DOM) and a parallel port side car with a compact flash reader and backpack 1.44mb floppy attached. Tandy video mod.
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Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:36 pm
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

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