8" floppy project

From: Scott Stevens <sastevens_at_earthlink.net>
Date: Sat Aug 21 09:20:03 2004

On Tue, 10 Aug 2004 22:41:57 +0100 (BST)
ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk (Tony Duell) wrote:

> > (PC hardware is notoriosuly badly docuemnted and therefore
> > >difficult to maintain
> >
> > Bah! The PC is probably THE best documented computer out there.
> > Name
> > another company that produced as thorough a Tech Ref as IBM. Name
> > another
> OK, trivial...
> If you want both hardware and software documentation (i.e. schematics
> _and ROM source code_) then the obvious ones are :
> Apple : Apple ][ and Apple //e (and maybe other machines in that
> family). I am told the IBM PC Techref was modelled on the Apple
> manuals.
> HP : HP71B. I am sure you've read the complete IDS (I certainly have,
> it's excellent). Incidentally, do you have the HP71 Forth IMS
> (Internal Maintenance Specification)? It's very interesting.
> Research Machines : RML380Z. It's a separate hardware 'Information
> File' giving schematics, etc and a COS (Cassette Operating System)
> Source listing. Admittedly I've never seen the latter (it was an
> optional purchase), but it existed.
> DEC : PDP11. The PDP11/45 CPU technical manual and printset
> (schematics) are much better than the IBM Techref. You could get a
> source license for the OS if you could afford it, too.
> DEC : PDP8. I am not sure about the OS sources, but the hardware
> manuals, at least for the 8/e are again excellent.
> HEath/Zentih : H89/Z90. The manuals I got with my Z90 had schematics
> and ROM source listings in them.
> If you just want hardware docs (i.e. full schematics) and the
> programming interface (i.e. not full ROM sources) then also :
> HP : Portable+ , HP150, etc (and I assume the HP110). There are
> excellent technical manuals for these machines
> Acorn : BBC Micro, Archimedes, etc. Again, schematics are easy to
> obtain either in 'Advanced User Guides' or service manuals
> Raido Shack : All TRS-80s had service manuals available to anyone who
> wanted to order them. And many had technical reference manuals
> available as well.
> Need I go on?
> > comany that has produced and PUBLICLY sold as many service and parts
> > manuals as IBM has for the PC AND ALL OF IT'S ACCESSORIES AND
> IBM service manuals (at least the Hardware Maintenance and Service
> manual i have for my PC/AT) are boardswapper guides. They're pretty
> useless now, they are totally useless when there are no more boards to
> swap.

The IBM PC/XT and PC/AT Technical Reference manuals include complete
schematics, and they include complete, commented source code listings
for the BIOS. Similar documents exist for some of the 'clone' machines,
i.e. the Compaq Deskpro and the AT&T 6300.

This is sadly not the case for most of the modern (modern meaning
anything newer than the XT/AT generations) 'PeeCee' hardware, but it is
the case with the earlier systems. It's definitely the case with the
machines from the era of most of the other hardware you listed, i.e. the
Apple II, HP71B.

Times have changed, but times have changed all over.
Received on Sat Aug 21 2004 - 09:20:03 BST

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