The story so far: I’ve bought two Osborne 1 portable computers (circa 1982) and am trying to get both working.
The first one (henceforth known as the “bad” one) had no boot disks, but would power on to a boot screen. I couldn’t get it to boot from a USB floppy emulator with an appropriate disk image, and when I subsequently obtained genuine boot disks it wouldn’t boot from them either.
The second one (henceforth known as the “good” one) was in much better condition, came with boot disks, and was generally working. I’ve restored it (re-capped the PSU, cleaned the drives, fixed a broken key) and will be trying to get more software running on it.
But I really want to get the “bad” one working again. I hate to see historic technology in that state, and if it’s restored to a working state I can pass it on to another collector. In a non-working state it would be destined for the parts bin :-(
The next step in my Osborne restoration is to look at the broken keyboard.
My second Osborne came with a broken off ‘up arrow’ key. At some point someone had attempted a repair with Blu-Tack, but when I received the computer it was just stuck down with tape to keep it from going missing.
Let’s see what I can do.
The one thing I hadn’t yet tested was the composite video output from the Screen-Pac add-on graphics board.
Time to dig out my JVC studio monitor for some testing.
Having got one of my Osbornes working correctly, the next challenge is to get software installed on it. I now have the originally-supplied set of disks containing business software, but as it is a CPM machine, there are countless other programs available (and archived online).
So let’s see what my options are for copying the software to my Osborne…
Today’s job was to service the PSU and disk drives of my second Osborne, prior to turning it on and attempting to boot it.
First off, let’s open her up, and see what condition she’s in…
So far I’ve been unable to boot up the first Osborne 1, so I bought a second one on eBay. This one comes with boot disks and lots of other extras.
I picked it up last week and have just got it home.
In the previous post I failed to get my Osborne 1 to boot from a USB floppy emulator.
Now to do some debugging!
I have no boot disks for this Osborne 1. The plan was to connect my USB floppy drive emulator to the motherboard, and boot from that.
My floppy emulator uses the HxC firmware on Gotek hardware.
The author of the HxC firmware managed to get dedicated HxC hardware to work with an Osborne 1.
As a follow-up to that thread, another user got the HxC/Gotek combination to work with his Osborne 1 (with additional pictures here).
So I looked to be on to a winner!
If only things were that easy…
My spare capacitors from eBay had arrived, so I was ready to service the Osborne 1.
First off, I decided to have a look inside my newly acquired Osborne to see what I had in store.
The front cover comes off easily after removing the monitor brightness/contrast knobs and a few screws.
Good news: that daughter board at the back (with the grey floppy cable coming out of it) means it’s had the Double Density controller fitted: