rackandboneman
  • Member for 5 years, 8 months
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Was there ever any reason to wait 30 seconds to restart a c.1995 PC?
54 votes

The reset button does not affect the power supply at all. It sends a reset signal to the CPU (and probably the bus). Some power supply designs indeed will wear quicker if quickly switched on and off, ...

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Why were floppy drives not any faster?
Accepted answer
43 votes

As you mentioned, speed was considered sufficient for the typical applications at the time they were introduced. Also, any significant rotational speed increase would have meant: More complex data ...

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Why didn't early color TV sets accept RGB input?
20 votes

Many TV designs up into the 1970s were so called live chassis designs, which used one leg of the mains input as a reference ground. This saved materials and weight - given some early color TVs used ...

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Was photographic film ever used for digital data storage?
19 votes

It IS used in at least two places even today: QR codes. There is the possibility of the print media carrying it having been prepared involving photographic methods. Digital sound in movie theaters, ...

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What PC "Clone" technology standards were introduced by clone manufacturers?
17 votes

The first PC compatible 80386 machine was introduced by Compaq. The VESA Local Bus, and similar short-lived/proprietary local bus standards, were also not introduced by IBM. Most graphics cards that ...

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Why did Commodore sell CPUs to its competitors?
16 votes

The 6502 has been used in huge volumes in markets that commodore never cared about competing in much - terminals for large-scale professional computing, printers and plotters (which they mostly bought ...

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What were practical uses of SCSI floppy drives?
13 votes

For non-PC/home computer systems (UNIX workstations, small implementations of mainframe architectures) it could have been cumbersome to use some of the existing floppy controller chips, since they ...

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How to obtain CPU and other hardware specs for emulator development
Accepted answer
12 votes

Not in all cases the schematics, parts lists, board views or even ROM assembly listings are "leaked" - it was quite common until into the 1980s to ship (or offer as an addon product) full ...

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Is there any advantage of a ceramic microprocessor over a plastic one?
11 votes

A Ceramic/glass/metal IC housing can offer hermeticity (gas, water and sh*t proofness) satisfying aerospace/military/industrial standards, while plastics cannot do so completely - gases and liquids ...

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Why did CPU designers in the 70s prioritize reducing pin count?
10 votes

Lead lengths inside a 64 pin package slowly get problematic, even at 1970s speeds. Even a digital system working at a few MHz requires you to pay attention to things like routing signal lines close ...

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DIY Project using 1970s 8-bit CPU, is it possible?
10 votes

Custom PCBs wouldn't even be necessary, and if you want to design iteratively, could even be a hindrance. Since you will be dealing with slow rise times and a slow clock, even point or strip matrix ...

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Why did some early CPUs use external math chips?
9 votes

Many small CPUs available and used today for embedded designs do not have an onboard floating point unit - most of the AVR and PIC series, MCS51, some ARM ... 8 bit single-chip microprocessors were ...

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Checklist for powering up an Apple IIgs?
8 votes

Generic answer, applies to any machine of a similar design in that condition: If you can, check the power supplies (not just for the machine preferably, on anything you are attempting to connect to ...

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S-100 bus and device drivers
8 votes

An important thing is that old-style expansion buses - that includes S100, als well as the PC ISA bus and various proprietary buses, had no enumeration capability - a computer system was not aware of ...

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How can a ST-412 MFM hard drive be integrated with a modern PC?
8 votes

Unless going the SCSI bridge route described in another post, you will very likely need a PC with an ISA slot - such mainboards were only common up to the Pentium 3 era, unless you are using a PC ...

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How to SSH from Amiga to remote Linux host
Accepted answer
7 votes

One thing you will certainly need: Patience, a lot of it. Establishing SSH connections with either the client or server side having a very low performance CPU (as in, an 68xxx. I once tried with the ...

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Was there ever a kilowatt workstation?
Accepted answer
7 votes

The SGI Onyx and related machines were made in a "deskside" version. Let us look at the specifications from this manual ... https://techpubs.jurassic.nl/library/manuals/1000/007-1733-070/pdf/007-...

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How to get Windows XP to detect a DB-15 gameport joystick?
7 votes

The DA-15 Joystick port (BTW, not to be confused with the AUI ethernet connector, which is also a DA-15 with additional locking hardware!) has no standardized provision to detect what is connected to ...

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Serial Receipt Printer Garbage
Accepted answer
7 votes

If the printer is offering an actual RS232 port, this should be identifiable by there being an RS232 level converter IC near the connector on its logic board: Usually, there will be a DS232/MAX232 or ...

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Should 486s have a heatsink?
7 votes

Practice with actual 486-era PCs was: The non-clock doubled, sub-40MHz types (the original 486DX 20/25/33MHz) usually were neither heatsinked nor equipped with a fan. When the 50MHz (non clock ...

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Where to find thermal paper for Aquarius or Commodore printer?
7 votes

Fax machines used to use thermal paper by the pallet, and it is still commonly available wherever office supplies are sold (including amazon). While this will be wider (not, as the problem is with the ...

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LCD Displays with the Intel 8080
6 votes

A passive, non multiplexed 7 segment LCD display doesn't need a real "protocol" - but neither can you just apply voltage to segments from some I/O pin. LCD displays at their core need an AC drive ...

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How did the IBM PC handle multiple physical devices serving memory at the same physical address?
6 votes

This can, in edge cases, even cause hardware damage: If you have something addressing these devices constantly (which is a plausible result from an OS/driver crash due to these ISA devices completely ...

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Do retro-microcontrollers exist?
6 votes

A version of the 8052 with a built in interactive BASIC (via serial port) was actually sold as an Intel product in the 1980s. Some ROM images of that interpreter can be found on the web and uploaded ...

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What is the oldest computer capable of running a modern version of GNU/Linux?
6 votes

The Sun sun3 architecture hails from 1985, and there are 2.6.x ports to it (which are not that different from "modern" kernels, especially when it comes to features that are useful on old hardware. It ...

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How can I read a 5¼″ drive on 1996–2007 equipment?
5 votes

Generally, most 1996 mainboards WILL deal with a 5 1/4" floppy just fine IF you use the appropriate cable (which will often NOT have been supplied with a computer or mainboard in 1996). The important ...

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How was microcode implemented in retro processors?
5 votes

There is at least one documented example of one hardware design being used as two different processors via customer specific microcode: Some very small, late implementations of IBMs S/370 (eg those ...

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What are best techniques for repairing a chemically damaged PCB?
Accepted answer
5 votes

Restoring to an as-new look is likely not possible with the damage described. Most western PCBs used for computers use solder mask (the green stuff) over the traces - if corrosion happened UNDER the ...

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Graphics chips in 1980
5 votes

It likely was not the graphics chips (or for that matter complexity of a solution built from non application specific chips) that limited practical high resolutions at a price point - you still need a ...

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How do you recognize an early production model Commodore 64?
5 votes

If one wants to get an insight into when a piece of - almost any - complex electronic equipment was built, it is helpful to look for the so called datecodes on components. You will commonly find 4-...

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