Back in February 2018, I finally had a chance to buy an Osborne 1, the world’s first portable computer, from 1983.
I’d been after one for years, but they are quite rare in the UK, and most eBay sellers are unwilling to ship such a heavy and delicate computer.
This one was somewhere that I could pick it up while visiting relatives, and just within my budget.
The Retro Challenge is a one-month long excuse to do cool stuff with old computers and blog about it (vaguely wrapped up as a competition).
Last year I created the RetroMatic 2000 as my entry.
This year I have more modest aims. I have acquired a number of additional vintage computers over the last year, and have been nursing them back into life. The one that has eluded me so far though, is the Osborne 1.
Back in March 2017, I bought a TRS-80 Model 3 on eBay.
When I received it, I did some cursory testing. It would boot to the BASIC ROM (by holding down the Break key as you reset it).
But it wouldn’t boot from disk, either from the supplied TRS-80 boot disks, nor my Video Genie boot disks. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the fault was in the disks or the drive.
There was also some curious information about its identity.
A few months have passed, and my project has been discovered by users of the HxC firmware on the Gotek hardware.
That was the nudge I needed to get round to publishing my code on GitHub, in the hope it may be useful to other people.
Yesterday I mounted all the components in the lower half of the case.
Today’s job is to do the top half :-)
Up until now all the components of my RetroMatic 2000 have just been loosely placed inside the case.
Well now all the bits I need to fix things down have started to arrive in the post, so time to start making things permanent!
After drawing a (dotted) line under my entry for the Retro Challenge, I took a week off from the project to have a rest.
For the Challenge I was able to demonstrate pretty much everything, but it wasn’t very reliable, and bits were breaking and being repaired in between shots of my wrap-up video!
So time to revisit it, and get it up to scratch to be a usable product.
It’s the last day of April, so it’s the end of the Retro Challenge.
I’ve achieved pretty much everything I wanted to with the Challenge :-)
I’ve made a quick video to explain my entire project (without you having to wade back through 18 long blog posts).
It’s the last day of the Retro Challenge, so I’m going to try to solder up the main circuit board, so I get a finished product, rather than just a collection of breadboards.
All set for a day of soldering. Including a cup of tea in my favourite Dr Who mug :-)
It’s time to build all the user-interface components for my RetroMatic 2000 into the wonderfully retro case I acquired.