PrintStar's Blog
Ramblings of a Fortran Nut
October 1, 2016 by Jeff

A Peek at My Hardware

I’ll be doing almost all my Retrochallenge programming on one of my Digital Rainbow 100 personal computers.  The one I currently have set up is particularly exciting because:

  • It’s mounted in an E.T. stand
  • It’s using an MFM Emulator for its hard disk

The E.T. stand mounting is pictured below:

An E.T. Stand

The E.T. stand had been featured on this blog before, I believe.  It’s a ridiculous piece of hardware that feautres a pedal-driving monitor arm.  Good times!

The disk emulator is currently set up to simulate a 40MB MFM hard disk; using a higher capacity disk on the Rainbow can be troublesome due to DEC’s terrible cable connecting the disk to the controller.  However, the machine is delightfully silent now that some ancient Seagate monstrosity doesn’t have to spin up.  Furthermore, the emulator is a bit faster than an actual hard disk (though not appreciably so).  I had previously taken some pictures of the emulator, so I’ll skip that for now.

Just two days ago, I decided to “modify” the LK201 keyboard attached to my ‘bow.  Some years ago I acquired a clear plastic cover to replace the tan plastic on the keyboard.  The alternate casing was apparently created by DEC as a way to show off the keyboard’s internals at promotional events.  It’s clearly built by them since a mold that fits perfectly would have been expensive to produce.

There’s a brief look at where I’ll be working!  I’ll have another post on the software I’m working with on the Rainbow itself next.

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