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