h89

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Lee Hart was more than happy to show me his Zenith Z19 terminal.  Without even a second thought, he opened up the case to show me the goodies inside.  What I didn’t expect was it to be equipped with a Northwest Digital Systems Graphics-Plus board, greatly improving its capabilities. 

It has built-in menus, a screen saver (that just stops sending graphical data after a period of inactivity), and several  different graphical modes including 80x24, 80x49, 132x24, 132x49, and even a Tektronics mode!  You can change the baud rate within the menu, reverse the video on the screen, pick your word wrap settings, and much more – all from within a software menu.  Normally to change many of those settings, you open the case and change a few DIP switches. 

And to get all this capability, you just drop this board into a standard Z19 or H-19 terminal, and hook them together.  It should be noted that the Z19/H-19 terminal is its own Zilog Z80 based computer, but with a criminally low amount of RAM. Either way, I need to get my hands on a Graphics-Plus board

Lee and I discussed Heathkit/Zenith terminals for awhile, including my H-19 project.  He was very encouraging about it, and gave me a myriad of suggestions and pointers.  He told me that it would be easy to implement PS/2 keyboard functionality on an H-19 if I just rewrote the ROM, since many people have already given Z80 based computers the ability to read PS/2 keyboards.  I’m guessing that burning custom ROMs is a trivial task for him, since he treated it like an everyday thing to do.  I seem to recall him saying “If you can find a way to add more RAM…” then the implications would mean a stand-alone computer, or at least a more powerful terminal. 

The whole time, Lee’s attitude towards me implied that I could do anything, even though he only had known me for about an hour.  Maybe describing my composite video mod impressed him.  He also clued me in to some secrets about the H-89 when it comes to floppy disk drives…  seems that my hunt for a Siemens FDD-100-5 isn’t necessary to restoring my H-89 to functional status.  We barely even talked about COSMAC ELF 1802 membership cards, despite that being his specialty.  I did let him know I had purchased one at VCFEX though.

Thus ends my Vintage Computer Festival Midwest 10 photos.  I hope you liked what you saw, and learned something too.

I have successfully logged into my Raspberry Pi via the H89!  I feel so accomplished right now.

However, it seems that my ’T’ key is not functional, so I can’t use many important commands, like “history”.  I ran pipes.sh, but it looks really weird.  And lynx doesn’t even look right, which makes things… awkward.  I had better install links while I’m at it to see if there are any differences.  I should also install that image->ASCII converter for maximum lulz. 

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I have crossed the threshold into 1000+ followers territory, and it’s all thanks to you!  Thank you for taking time out of your day to follow me, Commodore Z.

Therefore, from now until Halloween, feel free to ask me anything!  Got a question for me?

youtube

(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv-2sc4d4Yg)

I have successfully interfaced a rotary dial with an arduino.  It now sends RS232 macros at 9600 baud onto a serial connection between my H89 and my Raspberry Pi A+ for easier computing!