Questions tagged [hardware]

For questions about the components of retro devices (computers, etc.)

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12
votes
1answer
147 views

Videoprocessor with custom horizontal sampling

I have a variety of videoprocessors (Micomsoft Framemeister, Micomsoft SC-512N1-L/DVI, Sync Strike) to help me get the best possible RGB picture out of my retro computers/consoles. However one issue ...
13
votes
2answers
816 views

Heating issues in Apple II?

My Apple II has been getting really hot in use, I've cleaned it, so I don't think dust is an issue. Is there something wrong with the hardware that could be affecting it? I've had Apple IIs overheat ...
23
votes
16answers
3k views

What computers had redefinable character sets?

My first computer was an Exidy Sorcerer, bought in the late '70s. It featured a full keyboard including lower case, on screen text of 64 B&W characters by 30 rows, 2 MHz z-80 processor, up to 48 ...
7
votes
1answer
253 views

6 Player X-Men Arcade Cabinet Compatibility

I've got a 6-player X-Men Arcade cabinet and I was wondering what other boards might be compatible with it. Can I use any Jamma compatible board? Will the dual monitors just mirror? Here's a link to ...
11
votes
1answer
498 views

What API did the POKEY module provide?

The POKEY module was used in many, many Atari arcade games, including most that contained the Atari Math Box. It could be used to sample potentiometers, scan matrices of switches and, more famously, ...
13
votes
1answer
512 views

What is the prototype of the Eastern Bloc videoterminal Videoton 340?

Several decades ago, the Hungarian company "Videoton" manufactured a videoterminal for which I couldn't find a Western prototype. It likely existed, as the device had been assigned a "ES" number, ...
16
votes
1answer
269 views

Did any Mockingboard game use the VIA timers or interrupts?

There were only a small number of games that supported any of the Apple II sound cards such as the Mockingboard. From those games that used the Mockingboard, did any of them utilize the on-board VIA'...
9
votes
1answer
362 views

Why does my Macintosh SE FDHD only see 2 of the 4 megabytes of RAM?

I have a whole bag of 30pin SIMMS so I thought I would see about upgrading the 1 MB of RAM in my Mac SE FDHD to 4 MB. The original RAM had four sticks of OKI M41256A. These SIMMs have 8 chips each. ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Can the Gotek floppy emulator be made to work with classic Macs?

The Gotek floppy emulators are really popular in the retro scene. I have one modified (firmware update) to work with my Amiga 500. Can one be made to work with any of the classic line of Macintosh ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

PAL NES in USA, 50Hz vs 60Hz

I was wondering if there existed a way to fix the difference in the running speeds of a PAL NES to run on TV's in the United States? Be it some converter or messing with the NES itself.
16
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6answers
3k views

Can removing a cartridge from an NES (or any other cartridge-based game system) damage the hardware or software?

On some cartridge-based video game systems (NES, Game Boy Color, etc.) it is possible to remove the cartridge while the game system is still powered on. What kind of damage can this behavior do to ...
14
votes
1answer
583 views

Did the Macintosh Classic series use DMA to display video?

I'm learning more and more on how the original Macintosh series worked. I can't, however, find information in my research on how the Mac's video generator accessed the video RAM. My assumption is ...
13
votes
5answers
607 views

What computer first facilitated multi-precision arithmetic

While early microcomputers were often 4- or 8-bit designs, with larger word sizes coming later, that pattern did not hold for their predecessors. None of the earliest computers used a word size that ...
14
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4answers
1k views

How can a computer use the drive's momentum for emergency power?

I remember reading an answer about a computer that, in the event of a power failure, would write the important parts of the memory to disk - using the momentum of the still-spinning drive to do so. ...
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Power cycling old hardware

For those of us that use an old computer daily, is it safer for the hardware if the machines are turned off every night, or should they be left on? I assume that powering up is more stressful for the ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

What register size did early computers use?

Prompted by this question querying the prevalence of byte-addressable memory on machines with 32 bit registers: Why is every address in a micro-controller only 8 bits in size? I'm familiar with the ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

Main board of the original Game & Watch (Ball)

The Game and Watch was a series of single-title games consoles created by Nintendo from 1980 until 1991. Each machine contained a custom LCD screen (containing images related to the software), some ...
5
votes
1answer
255 views

Checking if RAM is functional

I'm trying to revive an old travelMate 518tx and I'm currently in the process of searching for bottlenecks. I want to check if the RAM sticks are still functional or not, but they're both very old, ...
13
votes
1answer
679 views

What is the Kelly chip?

The Amiga 3000+ DevCon 1991 notes says: On the A3000+, these resources include the Amiga "Pandora" chip set (Alice, Lisa, Kelly, and Paula), However, a Kelly chip is not part of the official ...
10
votes
2answers
832 views

What was the A1200 Flash ROM support meant for?

Question inspired by this answer's last paragraph: https://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/a/1307/2155 The Revision 1 A1200 schematics show that the system originally had support for a two internal ...
3
votes
2answers
275 views

External power supply for 16.5V portable computer (Zenith SupersPort 286e)

I have acquired a Zenith SupersPort 286e portable computer without its battery and the external power supply unit seems dead (corrosion and/or leaking capacitors). The problem is that the power suppy ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

Zenith SupersPort 286e doesn't boot at all

I have acquired a Zenith SupersPort 286e without its battery but with its (seemingly working) power supply. Sadly, the computer doesn't boot at all, nothing happens when I flick the On/Off switch. ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Can I run Windows 98 and games from the same era on an AMD Duron CPU?

I have acquired an old motherboard with a socket 462 and a AMD Duron (I think its a "Spitfire" model 3). The copyright on the CPU is from 1999 and it apparently doesn't require a dedicated CPU fan as ...
13
votes
1answer
990 views

Upgrades for the TRS-80 Model 100 portable

The TRS-80 Model 100 portable officially allowed for RAM expansion to 32k and an external acoustic coupler for the model. What other upgrades and peripherals exist for the Model 100? I had one of ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Computer graphics before the modern GPU [closed]

Modern computers use a graphics processing unit in order to provide hardware-accelerated graphical operations. Conceptually, I am used to thinking about graphics as a bidimensional array of ...
7
votes
1answer
456 views

Is there a KiCad library with parts used in retrocomputers?

I ran into this question a few times and couldn't find any acceptable answer: Once I was trying to reverse engineer a card that had chips like Intel's 8255 PPI, 8226 bus drivers and some other ICs. I ...
3
votes
2answers
463 views

Clonezilla SCSI HDD cloning problem

I'm trying to clone or take images of old SCSI hard disks. I use Clonezilla and at the last phase, it's written "no input". This is for 68 pin SCSI HDD. In another case, I can't see the hard disk at ...
13
votes
1answer
347 views

Which FPU for my Mac?

I have an LC III that has been overclocked to 33.3 MHz. I'm not sure what speed FPU I should buy - do I match the clock speed, or the bus speed? What kind of FPU should I put in this one?
4
votes
2answers
501 views

Why do mac LC network cards take an FPU?

I have several LC PDS network cards for my older LC's and they all have a socket which I assume is for an FPU... Given that I might be able to obtain said FPU for a few bucks, does anyone know what ...
28
votes
2answers
3k views

How does the NES Light Gun work?

Modern motion detection video game systems (Wii/Wii U, Xbox Kinect, PS Move, etc.) need sensors to read for motion and user input. However, when you play Duck Hunt (and some other games) on the NES, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why have computers used so many different video connectors? [closed]

Over the years and with the large variety of hardware I've dealt with I've used quite a few of different video inputs and outputs. While I usually have no issue just plugging cables into devices, I ...
4
votes
2answers
135 views

Macintosh LC III Internal Speaker not working

I have an LC III that I had recapped, both the power supply and logic board were recapped and cleaned, on receiving it back everything worked with flying colors, but now (only a week later) the ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the benefit of increasing Amiga chip memory?

For example, an Amiga 500+ has 1MiB of chip memory, but it can be expanded to 2MiB. What would be the advantage?
12
votes
2answers
988 views

How did Mode 3 on the Amstrad CPC work?

The Amstrad CPC had three official screen modes: Mode 0: 160x200, 16 colours, 4 bits per colour, 2 wide pixels per byte, bit-interleaved Mode 1: 320x200, 4 colours, 2 bits per colour, 4 square pixels ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did connecting the IBM PC 3.5" FDD backwards cause the problems it did?

When the 3.5" FDD was introduced for the IBM PC and compatibles (or possibly earlier), someone made a decision to make the data cable between the controller and drive unkeyed. This, of course, meant ...
7
votes
3answers
485 views

Advantages to installing a parallel port in a C1541-family drive other than speed

Are there any advantages to installing a parallel port in a C1541-family drive and using a parallel cable to a PC to image disks, other than increased speed (i.e. since the standard IEC protocol is ...
6
votes
1answer
339 views

What is this (seemingly optional) box around my Sun's idprom chip?

I just replaced the idprom (AKA NVRAM + battery; I used an ST M48T08-100PC1) in my Sun SPARCstation 20. The original one was inside a rectangular holder with a tab on each short end; it had ...
4
votes
2answers
279 views

iMac G3 - AirPort Card Port

What kind of port did the iMac G3 use for its wireless AirPort card? What kind of speeds were supported? My G3 has an 802.11b 2.4GHz band card and I am wondering if I can upgrade to a faster card (...
12
votes
1answer
546 views

Why was the audio output of the SID6581 so variable between chips?

Each of the SID6581s I have tested sound different, particularly when it comes to filter cutoffs and distortion. What are the causes of these variances?
8
votes
1answer
846 views

Testing/using a joystick in AppleSoft?

How does one use joysticks in a program on the Apple //? I have three different joysticks here and I would like to visualize their state (pot and button values), maybe similar to the SDL joystick ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

The smell of a computer while unboxing it

Don't know if this is on-topic, but I will give it a chance to go. If you feel this is off-topic, act accordingly. Recently, a discussion has started about the feelings associated to the unboxing of ...
26
votes
1answer
3k views

How can I take an image of a 50-pin SCSI hard-drive

I have two 50-pin SCSI hard-drives that I need to image. However, after spending quite a while searching across the Internet, I cannot find any adapters to convert the 50-pin connector to something ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the Amiga 1200 timing fixes?

I have read that the Amiga 1200 may need certain "timing fixes" to be applied to the motherboard in order to use CPU accelerators. What are these timing fixes and why are they needed? Is there one ...
8
votes
1answer
327 views

What software supported the Mockingboard on the Apple II?

Is there a list somewhere? Might be nice to compile a list here. I'm assuming mostly games but also music and educational software made use of it.
28
votes
1answer
2k views

How do Amiga 600 CPU accelerators work?

The Amiga 1200 has a trapdoor expansion for CPU accelerators. The Amiga 500 has a side expansion port and its CPU is socketed. But Amiga 600's expansion port is only useful for memory expansion ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

How did the Amiga 500 left-side expansion port work?

On the Amiga 500 there is an expansion port How did the expansion port work?
12
votes
3answers
349 views

Pair Am386 with i387

I've got a motherboard with a Am386/DX processor. I've also got an Intel 387 coprocessor. Is it possible to use the Intel 387 that I've got together with the Am386 or do I need a coprocessor from AMD?...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

How did the Epyx Fast Load cart work with a Commdore 64?

Why would adding a cart in your system suddenly speed up the C64 or the 1541 for loading games?
14
votes
1answer
600 views

Any difference between a VIC-1541 and a C64-1541?

I have both a beige VIC-20 styled VIC-1541 disk drive and the later brown C64 1541 drive. Is there a difference between them (besides how they look)?
14
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I connect a modern display, keyboard, and mouse to a Power Macintosh 6100?

I recently got a Apple Power Macintosh 6100 for free. It powers up and seems to work, so I want to try it out and see what it's like. Unfortunately, the important ports and connectors are "non-...