Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

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Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-11 @ 18:42

Good eveining everyone,
I'm tinkering with an older GEOS machine right now.
It's is running a GEOS 2.x compatible thing, apparently.

I build a new PSU and added new batteries to the battery holder in that "trap-door",
but the machine still complains about invalid time/data due to a battery failure..

Does anyone know how to configure time on such an old beast ?
The Welcome screen isn't really accessible. I also don't own any diskettes for this flavour of GEOS that it has in ROM.
Booting diskettes with PC-DOS (x86) also isn't working.

Pressing a random key brings me to the word processor. Sometimes, at least.
The other applications are accessible via CTRL+ESC. "Welcome" never works, though. This causes a restart.
I uploaded a quick video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4L9Qg5Gph0

Links:

http://geos-infobase.de/WBB_317/index.p ... postID=567
http://www.mgroeber.de/nathan/devices/swp5000.html
http://www.pencomputing.com/developer/g ... ction.html
http://web.archive.org/web/199612121356 ... r5000.html

Any ideas ? :)

Maybe of those of you who had used GEOS, GeoWorks or Breadbox Ensemble before ?


Any help welcome! ^^
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starwriter_5k_pro_01.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_02.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_03.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_04.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_05.jpg
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby weldum » 2019-6-11 @ 22:02

i've use geos and breadbox ensemble but they were installed on a standard hdd on top of dos 6.22
yours is on rom it seems
do you have some kind of autoexec.bat on root C: ? because you can change the extension and see if you can boot to standard DOS
Ohh, the humanity :depressed:
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-12 @ 00:08

Hi! Thank you very much for your reply! :)

No, I'm sorry, I can't access the internal drive yet. I read there's a key combo to make a RAM disk visivible, though.
This typewriter seems to contain the whole GEOS in its ROM.

I also was unsuccessful in executing programs from my custom made MS-DOS boot floppy..
For some reasons it seems to reject these program that I found online. What did I wrong ?

Any ideas what program I can "borrow" from another PC GEOS ?

Or do you know a place where I can find free GEOS 1.x programs that need no installation.
I mean, GEOS applications that are "portable" and have no dependencies to GEOS system files or runtimes.
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starwriter_5k_pro_06.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_07.jpg
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-12 @ 00:16

I made another video that shows what happens if I select "Welcome".
That's the place where I'm supposed to do the configurations, such as setting time/date and so on.
https://youtu.be/7bLsQ5mJqrU
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby weldum » 2019-6-12 @ 01:39

hmmm maybe that thing is not "PC compatible" and is not using a standard bios
maybe someone mlre technical can help you
Ohh, the humanity :depressed:
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-12 @ 01:55

My god, this is no crappy 8088, but a real 80286 computer! :shocked:

Just checked the internal parts of the machine..:

    HN62428PE17
    -> 42pin (https://www.datasheetarchive.com/?q=HN62418%2F428)
    HN624116PCT8

    Cirrius CL-GD5401-42QC-8
    2x 81C4256A-70 (256KB :cry:)

    AMD N80L286-12/5
    H416XAVR
    intel 1982

    CHIPS F82C235
    T3C79

    BJC NH8-41614
    4L05F8264

    T NH8-4188
    90CM040F-2607

    SMC FDC37C65CLJ P

    2x DRAM HM514800AJ8 :cry:

I've also taken some more photos iof the "mainboard"..
And a video, too. https://youtu.be/CyJfjqORA-E

Edit: Minor edits.
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starwriter_5k_pro_08.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_09.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_10.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_11.jpg
starwriter_5k_pro_12.jpg
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby weldum » 2019-6-12 @ 02:08

it seems to have a standard 286 bios, but it may be a modified one, one solution may be to make a dump of that bios and use it in pcem or something similar to see how it works and how "compatible" it is
maybe is a standard bios, but the os loads the same way as the xt ide bios or the nic card bios
Ohh, the humanity :depressed:
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-12 @ 02:29

Yeah that's a good idea, imho!

Unfortunately, these 42pin monsters aren't in the database of my USB programmers (G540 and TL866)..
The other BIOS might be the VGA BIOS for the Cirrus chip..

Btw, I also noticed the keyboard has no Function keys (F).
Maybe this machine is booting diectly to a custom GEOS with a minimal DOS (no command.com) ?
Instead of a having a BIOS at all ?

The battery pack for the clock seems to be fine, at least. :)

Edit: The Cirrus VGA chip might be a relabled Acumos AVGA1 (256KiB max mem.).
We even have a thread here viewtopic.php?f=63&t=55520
Some guys video https://youtu.be/tWRSofInqe4
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starwriter_5k_pro_13.jpg
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby weldum » 2019-6-12 @ 02:35

you may be right, it may be bypassing everything and booting directly to geos, which makes it harder for us to use other software/OS
have you identified the rom that contains geos?
if you take It out, it should be able to do something different, maybe asking for a boot disk
Ohh, the humanity :depressed:
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-6-12 @ 03:31

I'd imagine there'd be a keystroke to access the dos prompt I think brother had something similar with a small lcd screen. On normal desktop Geos the program that is use to set up the system is called Preferances. You may be able to copy it and the the associated files needed to support it from a GeoWorks 2.* desktop system.

Geos1.* used different code than Geos2.*. Geos2.* was a tad slower. The Geos-InfoBase site has quite a few programs there. Just go to the home page and follow your nose. Some Geos 3 will most likely work. I think Bread Box ensemble .made a version change was made which made a program incompatible. But worth trying though. I've got 2,* and New Deal Office 3.2a running on one of my 486s. I use to run GeoWorks Ensemble Pro 1.2 on my old 286/16.

I've flicked a link to you that might be useful.
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-12 @ 12:23

Thank you both of you for the help and ideas! :)
I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, I reassembled the typewriter again.

PS: Seems there used to be a separate "Demonstration" disk that I don't have,
The older StarWriter 30 had one like this, judging by a picture that I found on the net.
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Predator99 » 2019-6-12 @ 18:31

Interesting machine!

Didnt watch the whole Video, but did you try in the "Disk Manager" the menu "Folder" "Open File/Folder"? Maybe you can enter "\" to access the ROM file system and access some system programs?
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-13 @ 04:49

Thanks! ^^ Yes, I tried that. It refuses to display anything without a floppy inserted (just a gray background).
I also can't enter a path manually. :(

There's more..
Strangely, though, the 7000 model is said to support *.geo files for GEOS 2.0.
Some guy even claimt to have run his own GEOS games that way.

My 5000 doesn't behave like that. It won't even run Command.com from floppy.
Well, it *tried*, but instantly went back to that defunct Welcome program.

However, I have noticed that the machine accesses the floppy drive during start-up.
It also has a GEOS.INI file placed on the disk. - Iv'e attached that ini along with my sample test (*.000).

Maybe this helps us to find out how to "fix" the machine or figure out what we're at ? :)
The text file perhaps has a "created with" data in its header. Maybe this helps to find out what GEOS it is running ?

PS: Some links that I found..
https://www.geos-infobase.de/WBB_317/in ... er#post285
https://www.geos-infobase.de/WBB_317/in ... r#post7716
https://www.geos-infobase.de/WBB_317/in ... r#post2155
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testfiles.zip
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-13 @ 04:52

Also interesting.

How PC/GEOS found a 5th life as an open source DOS shell
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-pcgeos-found-a-5th-life-as-an-open-source-dos-shell/

Have a nice read! :)
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-6-13 @ 05:08

Cool. The PC Geos SDK had been available as free for quite some time. It was at the original TVG Katter site. Minimum requirement was an NT box. . Geos is a standard mode GUI and does not open Dos windowed. Standard operation for Geos2 is if you select command.com it will shell you out to the Dos prompt. To exit press esc or type exit and it will give you a selection to go back to Geos or exit to Dos. Just tested it :)

That geo.ini file really means nothing. It should be able to access standard formatted floppies as a matter of course. Unlike OS/2 which puts an extended attribute file on any disk/drive you access.

I ran Bread Box Ensemble 4.*, New Deal Office 3.* and GeoWorks 2.* Your test file shows as test.000 in all Geos file managers and when I select it I get a DC-11 error on all 3 PC Geos versions. Renamed the file from test_txt.000 to test.000 and same result. I've attached three files from each version using templates from GeoWriter of each version of PCGeos in 7zip format. They open in all 3 versions. See if you can open them.

PCGEOS.7z
Breadbox Ensemble
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-13 @ 06:09

Thanks for your reply! For some reason, I can't run Command.com (see YT video: https://youtu.be/xjFqEzZ8aPU).
If that worked, it would be easy as pie to correct the date/time issue.

About that (hidden) GEOS.INI file that magically appeard my floppy.. Can it be "tweaked" perhaps ? :)
So that I can boot into DOS or launch GEOS applications ? Or can I use it to launch Command.com or a batch file, at least ?

Btw, here's another photo. It shows my custom made "power supply" for the Pro 5000! :lol:
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Caluser2000 » 2019-6-13 @ 07:28

See my ammended post above. The ini file on the floppy disk does absolutely nothing. All my Geos versions just ignored it. If the files posted open it will confirm your setup is Geos 2.* compliant and any docs you create will be compatable with PCGeos 2-4

In you video you show a area there were autoexec.bat and config sys reside, that will be your root directory ie the equivalent to C:\ If you open those files it'll give you an idea how the system is setup. Also in the same place is a *.ini file. That may well be the main config file for your variant of PCGeos or one in the geos or similar directory. You can make copies of them I you like and I'll have look. Just post them in this thread so everyone can have a gander.

Just a wee tidbit. Out of curiosity I wanted to see what would happen in GeoWorks Pro 1.2. The system is running MS Dos 6.2. The damn thing installs alright but needs Dos up to version 5. I tried setver but still no go. Runs on the XT fine using MS Dos 5 and worked on my original 286/16 system running DR Dos 6.0 but of course that reports version 3.31 to programs iirc. Later versions run without issue though.
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-13 @ 11:10

Thanks for the information. :)

As I wrote earlier, though, I was using my own boot DOS 6.2x boot floppy for file transfer.

Jo22 wrote:I also was unsuccessful in executing programs from my custom made MS-DOS boot floppy..
For some reasons it seems to reject these program that I found online. What did I wrong ?


I guess I should have been more clear about this.
- Thing is, I almost have got no free floppies anymore.. :blush:

I got this GEOS typewriter without any accesories. Not even a manual and paper for testing.
- That's when I started making a simple AC PSU out of an old transformer (250v to ~13v).
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby King_Corduroy » 2019-6-13 @ 12:20

Wow that's cool as hell, if you ever got it to run DOS properly it would be like a Tandy 1000HX or EX. Love the form factor (even though it looks a bit clunky with that weird slot in the top.)
Check me out at Transcendental Airwaves on Youtube! Also wtf, why are whoppers so good?!
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Re: Battery failure on GEOS "PC" (StarWriter Pro 5000)

Postby Jo22 » 2019-6-15 @ 04:11

Thanks! The machine is basically a little 286 computer with 512KiB RAM, VGA, floppy drive and printer..
Memory consist of two sourface mounted chips; they could be replaced by some of bigger capacity.
If it only had F-keys, though. In theory, if it has a PC compatible BIOS, it could run games like Monkey Island, Keen or Jill of Jungle.
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