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The Radionic Mystery Machine #47849
02/02/09 06:18 PM
02/02/09 06:18 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 500
Bradford, UK
incog Offline OP
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incog  Offline OP
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This story all started with me trawling through eBay last week, looking for my next dumping victim. I saw this: Radionic Model R1001 Retro Personal Computer.

I had never heard of it before and ran the name through Google and came up with nothing, this puzzled me so I pasted the link into the the MESS IRC channel to see if anybody knew anything about it. After a bit of searching with the help of Cowering and crew we had a few ideas, one being a peice of new age alternative medicine quackery, that explained why it has ten 3.5mm jacks on it. An old security alarm console. Or even more perplexing, an assumed prototype of a microcomputer made by a calculator company that later renamed to Sinclair. Key to this assumption was the matching font on the Radionic logo:



Needless to say I put a bid on it and calculated when the auction would end so I could ward off any sniping attempt and noticed I would be in the middle of a shift when it ended, but I felt quite confident nobody else would bid on it. I was wrong. It rose to £90 which was my limit and a helpful emulation friendly soul stepped in and managed to secure it as the auction ended! (madprops to TC)

So fast forward to today, when a large cardboard box was dropped of by a very cold and wet looking DHL driver. The mystery would be solved.

I opened up the plain brown box, which the seller said was its original and stared down at the polystyrene. Christ, it's freezing this morning.

Here she is:


The first thing I noticed was the weight, this thing is HEAVY, the second was the rattling (never good) and the last thing was that the plug had been removed. eek

I turn this thing around to see these fabled 3.5mm jacks and notice this.

Atleast we know what it is now.

The rattling has turned into clunking. eek

Eager to see some huge guts I start unscrewing the case.


Before anybody quips about my camera being crap, thats actually just from me shivering, the delivery guy woke me up out of my cozy bed and we're in the middle of the worst snowstorm in 18 years over here. whistle

As im taking the case off I realize what was making most of the horrible noises.


Yeah.

The transformer doesn't even have any mount to be screwed or bolted down, it's just free to roam and crush the shit out of everything. Not the best idea in the world. Each bit of quick and dirty design and assembly confirming my own assumptions it's a prototype, I note the slight damage (the transformer pulled a few of it's own wires free) in the IRC channel and carry on.


Z80 based, that nicely narrows it down to everything made in 2 decades.


8255 PPI


Socketed and nicely labeled, I must have been good in a past life.


Strange, it has 2 RF outputs. TRS CHAR. GEN.? Wait, what?

I move the obnoxious thick black wire next to the 8255 as it's in the way and notice a board marking hidden away. KOMTEC. Never heard of it, probably just a PCB manufacturer. I note it in the channel anyway.

Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: incog] #47851
02/02/09 06:42 PM
02/02/09 06:42 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 500
Bradford, UK
incog Offline OP
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incog  Offline OP
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I move onto the fun bit, the dumping.

I remove the chip marked TRS CHAR. GEN. first as I want to know why it has TRS in the name. Fire up VMware and power on my programmer.

First read: All zeros frown
Second read: All zeros sick
Third read: All zeros mad

By this time I'm worrying, did they blank the roms? Sure my programmer doesn't support the exact chip name written on the eprom but im dumping it under the same family, just with a larger capacity, surely that should just overdump?

Still being cautious and staying within the chips family I go to read the other chips, everything... all zeros.

After wasting all this time I feel like I have to get a dump no matter what, so I turn off the Chip ID matching in my software and dump it as Am2732.

Waiting as the progress bar moves across the screen. Only 4kb... why is it taking so long.













HELL YEAH! A checksum at last, not just zeros. I re-read the chip hoping to get a reproducible checksum. A perfect match. I reseat it and dump another 5 times to make sure everything is in order.

TRS CHAR. GEN. consider yourself dumped, son.

I blast through the rest of the chips and everything is dumped in 10 minutes and report to IRC

Code:
<incog> we have something
<Robbbert> yay
<Robbbert> but what?
<incog> something that gives me a steady checksum every read
<Robbbert> all zeros
<incog> no
<Robbbert> lol
<Robbbert> i'm dying here... what do you have?


All this drama had made me forget the point of this mission, finding out that this monster is.

I open up EP1.bin in my hex editor and paste into the channel.

Code:
<incog> 00000100  A7 28 C3 4F 30 4B 4F 4D-54 45 4B 20 43 6F 6D 70  .(.O0KOMTEK Comp
<incog> 00000110  75 74 65 72 20 53 79 73-74 65 6D 0D 6D 65 6D 6F  uter System.memo
<incog> 00000120  72 79 20 73 69 7A 65 20-00 0D 0D 0D 00 1E 2C C3  ry size ......,.


Komtek, that was written on the board too...

Duke came up with the final peice of the puzzle and everything fell into place.

Code:
<Duke> aha
<Duke> "In Germany, S.C.S. GmbH in Mörfelden- Waldorf offered the Komtek-I Model I clone. 
Noteworthy was its four relay switching outputs."
<Duke> trs80 model 1
<Robbbert> maybe that's why it says TRS CHAR GEN



Look familiar?

So there we have it, mystery machine demystified and dumped.

Suprisingly, a TRS-80 clone which was most likely licensed to Radionic, before it was renamed to Sinclair.

Mad props to TerraCresta, Cowering, Duke, Robbert and everybody else. grin

Last edited by incog; 02/02/09 07:07 PM.
Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: incog] #47855
02/02/09 09:49 PM
02/02/09 09:49 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 161
J
Jonathan Wilson Offline
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Jonathan Wilson  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 161
Good to see its preserved (and can presumably be added to the MESS TRS-80 driver)

Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: Jonathan Wilson] #47856
02/03/09 02:10 AM
02/03/09 02:10 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 500
Bradford, UK
incog Offline OP
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incog  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 500
Bradford, UK
Originally Posted By Jonathan Wilson
Good to see its preserved (and can presumably be added to the MESS TRS-80 driver)


Robbert said it just slid into the current TRS-80 driver, with a little work on the char rom as the dots were reversed smile

Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: incog] #47861
02/03/09 07:42 AM
02/03/09 07:42 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,358
Robbbert Offline
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Robbbert  Offline
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It's a clone of TRS-80 Model I, with Level II basic.

What year was this released? Going by the date codes on the ICs, it looks like 1983,
by which time the Model I was already out-of-date.



Edit: It's now working fine in MESS, unfortunately I had trouble with Tortoise crashing on me,
then the SVN went off the air while I was in the middle of an update. Hopefully I'll have a
chance to upload the new driver in a day or so.

Last edited by robbbert; 02/03/09 11:56 AM.
Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: Robbbert] #47865
02/03/09 01:59 PM
02/03/09 01:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 500
Bradford, UK
incog Offline OP
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incog  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2005
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There's no date on the machine at all, so I started digging through the original polystrene it came in with a tiny bit of hope to find a date code to confirm the dates on the IC's.

And hidden under everything were these:



Three Komtek I manuals!

I started flipping through them to find a date and notices they have pages glued in, ammended and corrected with pen.

I would scan these but my scanner has been dead for a while and every replacement I buy, beg or borrow has been absolute trash. I would give my left leg for a flatbed scanner (none of this all-in-one fax machine/printer/card reader/fleshlight nonsense) that works with *cough*Vista*cough* and can scan PCB's without blurring everything out.

So I'm flicking through the first two manuals, no dates. but on the Third we have the line:

Originally Posted By Komtek I User's Guide
First Edition - 1st june, 1983.

EducAid Centre, Hong Kong for
Komtek Technologies Ltd.


Great!

But wait, Wikipedia says that Sinclair Radionics Ltd was renamed to Sinclair Electronics Ltd. in September 1979.

God, this thing has more secrets than the Aztec pyramids.

Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: incog] #47884
02/04/09 11:43 AM
02/04/09 11:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,358
Robbbert Offline
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Robbbert  Offline
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Posts: 1,358
You've probably worked out by now that the "2 RF outputs" are actually 1 RF output and 1 composite video
output. Under the sockets it says "MON" and "TV".

Anyway, it's now available in the SVN. For some reason, some descenders were missing. After investigation,
found them in another part of the CHAR GEN rom... the lower-case characters now display properly.

I loaded up the only TRS80 game I have, Android Nim, and it ran fine.

For the moment, the year is 1983, Manufacturer is Komtek, Model is Radionic.







Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: Robbbert] #47885
02/04/09 12:22 PM
02/04/09 12:22 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 500
Bradford, UK
incog Offline OP
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incog  Offline OP
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 500
Bradford, UK
Originally Posted By robbbert
You've probably worked out by now that the "2 RF outputs" are actually 1 RF output and 1 composite video
output. Under the sockets it says "MON" and "TV".


Yup, and the manual also explains the 3.5mm jacks down the side and back.



Originally Posted By robbbert
Anyway, it's now available in the SVN. For some reason, some descenders were missing. After investigation,
found them in another part of the CHAR GEN rom... the lower-case characters now display properly.


There's an glued in page in about this, added as an afterthought, the Komtek-I doesn't have a £ key (some other keys differ too).



Originally Posted By robbbert
I loaded up the only TRS80 game I have, Android Nim, and it ran fine.

For the moment, the year is 1983, Manufacturer is Komtek, Model is Radionic.



Awesome smile

Last edited by incog; 02/04/09 12:31 PM.
Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: incog] #47886
02/04/09 12:36 PM
02/04/09 12:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,358
Robbbert Offline
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Robbbert  Offline
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Posts: 1,358
I need to know: is the LOCK key just a switch across the shift key,
or is it a new key in a normally-unused part of the keyboard matrix?

Re: The Radionic Mystery Machine [Re: incog] #112849
03/12/18 11:28 AM
03/12/18 11:28 AM
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 4
T
turnkit Offline
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Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 4
Yesterday, a David Mutimer, who previously worked at an Australian distributor for the Komtek sent scans of the Komtek manuals to trs-80.com to host:

http://www.trs-80.com/wordpress/manuals/180311/

Quote
March 11, 2018 – Komtek I
By Ira in Manuals March 11, 2018

Schematics
David Mutimer, a site visitor, used to work for the Australian distributor of a Hong Kong made TRS-80 clone called the Komtek. He has provided 3 manuals and schematics so that they do not get lost in time. Thank you, Mike!

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