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Old 11th December 2016, 3:47 PM   #1
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Default IBM 5160 XT Restoration Project

Here's something I thought the community would appreciate.

Back in March I accepted an offer to acquire an old worn out machine from TAFE. This IBM PC-XT model 5160 was manufactured in 1986 in Wangaratta, Victoria, back when IBM was manufacturing computers in Australia.

It had seen better days, covered in Limestone dust from its time used in an Adelaide Hills quarry and with all the various tool marks and abuse that comes with being disassembled and reassembled throughout its life. It worked, but the overall condition was close to scrap.














The machine chassis was sand blasted to clean and prepare the surface for repainting in the factory colour.

Because of the complexity of the chassis and my less than adequate painting skills, I chose to have the painting done by a professional paint shop and powder coater here in Adelaide. They had painted computer cases before, but nothing of this vintage. Even so, they did an incredible job.






The inside of the power supply, which also serves as the main exhaust vent for the machine, was covered and choked with 30 years of dust.








The power supply was dismantled back to the bare enclosure. All boards, switches and power connectors were removed and blasted with compressed air, with a stiff brush to remove any dust that had baked on the surface of boards and components. Every corner of the board and under every component was cleaned, nothing overlooked. The supply was then reassembled, bench tested and closed up. But it looked too good to not take at least one picture while it was still open.




The motherboard, component cards and cables were all cleaned using the same compressed air and brushing process as the power supply. The components were then reinstalled in the freshly painted chassis and checked for alignment and card position to match the factory configuration. The machine powered up, so we were off to a promising start.








There was still a lot of work to be completed. Some of the cabling on the hard drive needed to be repaired, many of the screws and the cork feet on the underside of the case needed to be replaced, the outer shell needs to be cleaned and I still needed to find a replacement 5.25" full-height floppy disk drive for it.

After several months I was finally able to source a replacement IBM/Tandon 5.25" drive locally for a reasonable price. At the same time I managed to source an original Seagate ST-412 removed from an IBM XT, and so that went into the machine as well. (The MiniScribe drive has also been repaired and has since become a spare I swap in as needed.)




I was encountering some inconsistent read and write issues with the Hard Disk, which ended up being a simple fix. This machine uses a later revision drive controller manufactured by IBM and Xebec called the IBM 20MB Fixed Disk Drive Adapter, which is configurable through a series of switches on the card.

The card was configured for 615 cylinders, 4 heads and 17 sectors per track which is common to drives such as the 20MB MiniScribe 8425 and Seagate ST-225, but the Seagate ST-412 in the machine has 306 cylinders.

With the drive controller correctly configured, the ST-412 successfully low-level formatted with the IBM Advanced Diagnostics disk. Then it was simply a matter of partitioning the drive, formatting and installing MS-DOS. I settled on MS-DOS 5 because it was one of the few working disks I had available.

Performing a surface scan with SpinRite shows that despite the age of this drive, it's in remarkably good running condition. No bad sectors and the motor and stepper seek sounds are whisper quiet. Not bad for a 30 year old drive.




In addition to the drives, I also sourced a Paradise 8-Bit VGA card to allow the XT to drive newer displays. (The IBM CGA card is still installed and can still be selected as the main video output by moving some switches on the system board.)




After a frantic scramble to reassemble the machine in time, the still incomplete IBM went on display at the Adelaide Retro Computing Group December event. No software to demonstrate at this time, but that will come later.











Some improvements still to be made:
  • Replace case screws with original replacements or replicas
  • Reattach factory case badges and labels
  • Replace cork disc case feet
  • Replace internal MFM and FDD ribbon cables with IBM factory originals (current ones are a bit chewed up, but will be good as spares)
  • Add Microbee CGA-VGA adapter for IBM Color Graphics card video output
  • Add AdLib or Creative (CMS/Sound Blaster) 8-Bit Audio Card (if I can find one, or compatible Yamaha YM3812 OPL2 card)
  • Restore XT Keyboard (it's currently a lot yellower than it should be)

A member of the retro computing group donated two packs of 5.25" floppies to the cause, which has made data transfer between machines much easier and allowed me to confirm the Tandon 5.25" drive is reading and writing correctly (we tested between some other IBM machines present on the night).

Still working out what to do with the machine when it's finished and what software to run on it, but I think it would be interesting to generate some 8-bit music with it at some point. I know there are better machines for this but I've come to like this IBM.


Cheers,

Michael (iMic).

Last edited by iMic; 11th December 2016 at 3:54 PM.
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Old 11th December 2016, 3:53 PM   #2
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What a great computer - I had no idea IBM manufactured PCs in Australia. Kind of sad in our globalised world today that we no longer make such things.

Thanks for sharing and for restoring this beauty to its original glory.
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Old 11th December 2016, 4:57 PM   #3
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Cleaned up well and seeing the bare chassis the paint looks great. Seeing it all assembled though it just doesn't look right to me without the bare metal and the beige faceplate that we've all known and loved.
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Old 11th December 2016, 6:01 PM   #4
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I'm curious now. Bare metal and beige faceplate? Wondering if there's something I've overlooked.

The outside of the machine (including the faceplate) is the stock colour - it hasn't been repainted, only the black inner chassis has.
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Old 11th December 2016, 6:49 PM   #5
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No you are right its all perfect, I have one of these cases sitting out on my deck and it looks just like that. No bare metal or beige on the faceplate.

I'll probably do this to mine as well, the main problem is mine is missing the internals haha.
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Old 11th December 2016, 7:17 PM   #6
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Might be the angle and reflection but where the psu sits isn't black in the few i've seen (minor niggle I know but it just looked off all black to me). As for the beige faceplate I had just assumed you'd painted the beige 5 1/4" floppy which wasn't the original and once again my personal preference would have just been to leave it but looking at the pics full screen I see you found the proper full height model
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Old 11th December 2016, 7:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krumm View Post
Might be the angle and reflection but where the psu sits isn't black in the few i've seen (minor niggle I know but it just looked off all black to me).
Ahh, I can explain that.

Originally the underside of the PSU was exposed bare metal. When the case was repainted, I queried as to whether it was possible to leave those metal areas exposed. It was possible, but it required a different process and would have affected the overall finish.

So instead of compromising the overall result, I chose to have the entire chassis sprayed evenly.

Whatever process IBM used during manufacturing was clearly more flexible in terms of masking certain areas, but without the same equipment used in mass production or details of the specific process used, this was the best option available.


Quote:
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As for the beige faceplate I had just assumed you'd painted the beige 5 1/4" floppy which wasn't the original and once again my personal preference would have just been to leave it but looking at the pics full screen I see you found the proper full height model
That Mitsubishi 1.2MB drive was a later addition to the machine, and not a good one at that. Whoever installed it managed to make it fit, but only just. The face was cracked and the sides of the bay were scored and scratched from shoving the drive in with not enough clearance on each side.

It worked though, and I still have that drive but with the shattered faceplate removed.

The drive in there now is the original IBM 5.25" drive manufactured by Tandon. Wasn't the easiest thing in the world to find, but the machine wouldn't have been complete without it.

Last edited by iMic; 11th December 2016 at 7:48 PM.
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Old 11th December 2016, 8:40 PM   #8
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Fantastic work! Such an iconic machine.

Out of interest, how much did it cost to have the chassis powdered coated?

Also I'm sure you probably know the site the already but just incase, this is a fantastic resource for the IBM PC/XT/AT computers: http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/ It's run by a guy on the Vintage Computer Forums who resides in Melbourne. Great to see so many retro enthusiasts in Australia.
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Old 11th December 2016, 9:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flamin Joe View Post
Out of interest, how much did it cost to have the chassis powdered coated?
About $110.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flamin Joe View Post
Also I'm sure you probably know the site the already but just incase, this is a fantastic resource for the IBM PC/XT/AT computers: http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/ It's run by a guy on the Vintage Computer Forums who resides in Melbourne. Great to see so many retro enthusiasts in Australia.
The information on there is invaluable and honestly, I wouldn't have been able to rebuild this machine without it. Particularly the documentation on drive controller card variations and configurations.

I was amazed at how much information was available in Australia about these machines. Brilliant to see for sure.

I do wish there was more information available though, possibly even some photos, of the old IBM Wangaratta plant as that seems to be almost impossible to find.
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Old 11th December 2016, 10:11 PM   #10
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I've been thinking about the sound card situation and it's becoming apparent that finding a genuine Creative Music System, Sound Blaster or AdLib card isn't likely.

I'm thinking about making my own with the instructions and CAD files from TubeTime:

http://tubetime.us/index.php/2016/07...ib-sound-card/

If I could find someone to manufacture the PCB, then I'm confident I could handle the rest.

Or the generic OPL2 ISA equivalent it was based on:

http://www.malinov.com/Home/sergeys-.../isa-opl2-card

A genuine card would still be preferable (boxed, non-boxed, needing repair, whatever) but if that doesn't work out, then it's an option.

Last edited by iMic; 11th December 2016 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 11th December 2016, 10:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMic View Post
I do wish there was more information available though, possibly even some photos, of the old IBM Wangaratta plant as that seems to be almost impossible to find.
For now I think you'll have to settle for some cheesy adverts.



Quote:
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I've been thinking about the sound card situation and it's becoming apparent that finding a genuine Creative Music System, Sound Blaster or AdLib card isn't likely.
Which Sound Blaster are you after? I haven't found them that hard to get hold of, I managed to pick up a SB 2.0 and SB Pro fairly cheaply off eBay and grabbed another SB 2.0 off these forums in a give away thread. If you ask around I'm sure someone here may be able to help you out.
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Old 12th December 2016, 11:41 PM   #12
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Ideally something that can be adapted to use CMS (SAA1099) chips, which I believe the Sound Blaster 2.0 can be, but with another third custom chip required. So it's possible and can be done, but it isn't as easy as a Sound Blaster 1.0 or 1.5.

That said, if it means the IBM can produce sound, at a reasonable price, I certainly wouldn't complain no matter what card it is.

Last edited by iMic; 13th December 2016 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 13th December 2016, 1:18 AM   #13
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Very nice job done on the restoration! What is the CPU in this machine? It will be an 8088, but what manufacturer and what type?
I think I have one of those 5.25 full height floppy drives in my shed, but the plastic catch on the front is broken. I also have an 8 inch floppy drive that weighs about 15kg!
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Old 13th December 2016, 7:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMic View Post
Ideally something that can be adapted to use CMS (SAA1099) chips, which I believe the Sound Blaster 2.0 can be, but with another third custom chip required. So it's possible and can be done, but it isn't as easy as a Sound Blaster 1.0 or 1.5.

That said, if it means the IBM can produce sound, at a reasonable price, I certainly wouldn't complain no matter what card it is.
I just happen to have the chips in question. Brought them off Amibay a while back from a guy who was programming and selling them but I never had much luck getting it to work on one of my SB 2.0's but I haven't tried the other yet. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong as it's the correct revision card etc but I wasn't overly fussed in getting it to work so it got put back on the LONG list of things to do.

If you think you might make better use of them you can have them.

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Old 13th December 2016, 7:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohayes View Post
What a great computer - I had no idea IBM manufactured PCs in Australia. Kind of sad in our globalised world today that we no longer make such things.

Thanks for sharing and for restoring this beauty to its original glory.
well after it was IBM it was Brucks textiles for a long time, now its a sherridan factory outlet.

I made a point of driving past it when i was in Wang a few weeks back

https://www.google.com.au/maps/@-36....7i13312!8i6656
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