hotrod Kaypro acquisition & problem

From: Don Maslin <>
Date: Tue May 6 23:20:00 2003

On Tue, 6 May 2003, Jim Battle wrote:

> This past weekend I went to the monthly swap meet in Livermore, CA. I
> had a late start, the weather wasn't promising, and I was tired, but I
> hadn't gone for a while so I went anyway. I'm glad I did.
> I picked up a Kaypro II for $20, although the seller asked for "Oh, $20,
> maybe $15" since he seemed like a nice guy.
> It didn't have any floppies or any manuals, but the rest is pretty nice.
> First, the case is in great shape. It was well taken care of. On power
> up, the character generation is pretty clean.
> More interestingly, it has had a lot of mods done to it. I haven't
> opened it up yet, but some of the changes are evident anyway.
> 1) addition of a fan. this is way too noisy and I must replace it.
> Also, it appears to be powered from the DC side of the power supply; I
> infer this from the fact that the fan keeps running for 5-10 seconds
> after power is removed!

Unless it is a late edition Kaypro II (check the nameplate to see
if it is a Non Linear Systems or Kaypro product) it is likely that
the power supply has been replaced as the early II PSUs were a bit
marginal in standard usage and would never hack an added hard

> 2) one of the full height 5.25" floppies is replaced with a hard drive.
> I haven't confirmed the size, but the seller recalled that it was 10
> MB. The hard drive has been partitioned into A, B, C, and D drives.
> The remaining floppy is E.
> 3) there is a RAM disk, which is F. I'm not sure of the size yet.

When you pull the cover, note whether there is a daughter board
that carries an 8088 and DRAM which indicates the presence of an
SWP add on with RAM disk not using the 64k standard memory.

> 4) On the rear there is a toggle switch: 2.5 MHz/5.0 MHz. Cool.
> 5) On boot up, I get a notice saying that it has the Advent TurboROM 3.0
> (1985) modification.

Does it state the size of the operating system? 60K? 58K? ??

> That is all to the good.
> Now the bad news. The seller tried to "erase the hard drive", but said
> he didn't remember enough how to do it. Well, he managed to erase the A
> partition, although B, C, and D are still there. As you might expect, A
> contained the most interesting stuff. I can't do PIP, nor STAT, nor ED,
> nor DDT. The built-in DIR and TYPE work, of course, as I imagine the
> other built-ins would.

None of these are mirrored in B-D I take it.

> On cold boot and warm boot, I have to hit carriage return a dozen times
> or so to get past the "Drive A: BDOS bad sector" (or somesuch) spew, but
> I do eventually get a prompt. So his attempt to erase the hard disk got
> rid of the directory apparently, but not the boot tracks.
> I am hopeful that the information is still there, and all I need to do
> is somehow boot off of the remaining floppy and use a sector editor to
> unerase the damage done to drive A. However, the fact that it is saying
> "bad sector" instead of just saying drive A has "no files" on a DIR
> would seem to indicate things aren't so simple. I may need to
> completely rebuild drive A.
> I've combed through the various CP/M archives and have found out a bit
> about the Advent TurboROM. I believe that if I have a bootable disk, I
> can put it into the "E" floppy drive and it will become the "A" drive on
> a reboot.
> So that leaves the question: how to get a kaypro II disk image?

I would suggest that your immediate need is not a disk image, but
the missing utility files - plus a few more - and a readable disk
that contains them. If you can resurrect the boot track from the
hard disk and place it on a floppy, you will have the correct
version and size needed.

> I have a PC (P-166) lying around that I added a 5.25" drive to for the
> purpose of reading some trs-80 disks. I'm not sure of the drive density
> at the moment; that was a while back. What density drive should I use
> in my PC? What software it recommended for making a bootable disk?
> Short of bothering the tireless Don Maslin, are there any disk images
> available online that could help me out? Should I scratch any plans to
> recover the CP/M 2.2 image on the A drive and instead just attempt to
> reformat and reinstall CP/M (Or ZCPR?)

Presuming - always a problem - that your floppy is a 48tpi drive
(390k in Kaypro speak) it would be desirable to have a 48tpi
(360k) drive on the PC, but not absolutely necessary. I am
sending under separate cover a TeleDisk image of a Kaypro II SSDD
disk which contains a number of utilities that you should find useful
in your salvage effort. Most are the standard CP/M utilities - pip,
etc. - but the one that is most likely to be helpful on the HD is
DU-V78.COM. It comes with a pretty good explanation of usage. Study
it well, as it is a powerful tool and can do both good and terrible
things for you. It is a pretty good sector editor.

The TeleDisk image can be reproduced on either 48 or 96tpi drives.
Desirably, the disk would be bulk erased - degaussed - prior to
use if possible.

                                                - don
Received on Tue May 06 2003 - 23:20:00 BST

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