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Hi guys,

 

Found a non-working Outbound 125 for 100$ online today. By non-working, they mean they keyboard battery was dead :P. Yeah it boots up no issues, got the 40MB hdd pre-installed with all the Outbound software and what not. How much is this thing even worth? Its in decent shape and its got the external floppy and manual and keyboard cable and the bag. 

 

162546432_483490146166569_5689949322763590017_n.thumb.jpg.e86ae6bf322a7df3ee4ab1cebaefbc59.jpg

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Yup, $300-$400 sounds right.  My floppy-only machine was cheaper than that but it was floppy-only.  Nice machine.  I would be in the queue for the whole lot if you did want to sell :p.

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LocalTalk was what I had since I didn't have the floppy at the time.

 

To get a "clean" system installed, I used the "Silicon disk" and put a small System on that with the disk images of the System 6 installer, then booted from the RAM disk and erased and installed on the hard drive. Took a little work to make everything fit, but it worked OK. Now I have the SCSI cable and box, so I can boot off an external drive if I need to, but I didn't have that right away. My floppy, however, doesn't currently work :-(

 

If you haven't put in the SIMMs in the other four slots to get the RAM disk, I'd highly recommend it. As long as the machine has some power - either battery or plugged in - it will hold it's contents, and can be made the startup device.

 

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Note that with a 16MB "Silicon disk" installed, the Outbound's main battery only lasts about a day, IIRC.    It's a surprisingly short period.    If you're using the Silicon disk you really need to leave the thing plugged in when it's not in use.

 

If you actually install a fresh "backup" battery (hidden behind metal plate in battery compartment) it gets pretty expensive to replace the thing every time the silicon disk drains the main battery flat and then eats the backup battery.

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There are two GAL PLDs in the external floppy drive.    If we could maybe ask @Bolle to decode them we might be able to clone the thing.

 

My main uncertainty is whether they modified the standard PC floppy drive that they used.  It's a not-uncommon (back in its day) Citizen brand drive intended for laptops.   If we have to use that exact model we're done, but if any similar PC floppy will work, then it's doable.

 

The Hirose DX connectors were still available several years ago for the cable...

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On 3/23/2021 at 7:33 AM, trag said:

My main uncertainty is whether they modified the standard PC floppy drive that they used.  It's a not-uncommon (back in its day) Citizen brand drive intended for laptops.   If we have to use that exact model we're done, but if any similar PC floppy will work, then it's doable.

 

Small data point here, for the internal FDD for the 125, I managed to get a PC floppy drive largely working with only a passive adapter, before life got too busy/manic to concentrate on longer projects.  I think it wasn't working because of the boot disc I was using rather than anything else, but I'm not sure.  The 26-pin interface is very, very close to the semi-standard 26-pin one that's documented in a number of places, IIRC just one or two pins transposed.

 

I need to learn some kind of modern PCB tool so I can try to build some actual adapters...

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On 3/23/2021 at 2:30 AM, trag said:

Note that with a 16MB "Silicon disk" installed, the Outbound's main battery only lasts about a day, IIRC.    It's a surprisingly short period.    If you're using the Silicon disk you really need to leave the thing plugged in when it's not in use.

 

If you actually install a fresh "backup" battery (hidden behind metal plate in battery compartment) it gets pretty expensive to replace the thing every time the silicon disk drains the main battery flat and then eats the backup battery.

 

All true! The Silicon disk does give you some options on setting up installers for the physical drive, etc. It's nice to have the option, and the SIMMs aren't that hard to find or install.

 

Will keep my ears perked up for more info on the floppy adapters! :-)

 

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On 3/23/2021 at 8:56 AM, cheesestraws said:

 

Small data point here, for the internal FDD for the 125, I managed to get a PC floppy drive largely working with only a passive adapter, before life got too busy/manic to concentrate on longer projects.  I think it wasn't working because of the boot disc I was using rather than anything else, but I'm not sure.  The 26-pin interface is very, very close to the semi-standard 26-pin one that's documented in a number of places, IIRC just one or two pins transposed.

 

I need to learn some kind of modern PCB tool so I can try to build some actual adapters...

 

That is encouraging.   Doesn't the internal floppy drive also come with a somewhat complex circuit board between the main 125 board and the floppy?   Were you using a passive adapter between that floppy board and your test floppy?

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19 hours ago, trag said:

Were you using a passive adapter between that floppy board and your test floppy?

 

Yes, I was.  That floppy board (which contains Outbound's magic to read GCR floppies etc) remained in place, it was just the floppy mechanism I bodged.

 

It got about halfway through booting and then crashed with an undefined instruction, which is extremely encouraging and makes me think it's a software issue, but I then ran out of time :-(.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, cheesestraws said:

 

Yes, I was.  That floppy board (which contains Outbound's magic to read GCR floppies etc) remained in place, it was just the floppy mechanism I bodged.

 

It got about halfway through booting and then crashed with an undefined instruction, which is extremely encouraging and makes me think it's a software issue, but I then ran out of time :-(.

 

I understand that.  I don't actually have time for projects at the moment, other than discussing them here occasionally.   Other folks will have done all the projects I was thinking about, by the time I start making time for them again.    Maybe I'll get to retire some day.   There are worse problems to have than being busy with work.

 

Anyway, that's great.  That's very encouraging.   I laid in a supply of Citizen WD1 (IIRC) floppy drives for this project.  So I have plenty of laptop profile drives.   I just wasn't sure they were going to work.  I also have the WD37C65 controller and the WD92C32 data separator, which is the hard one to find -- or was.  Kai seems to be able to find anything.  :-)  And the little X9103  digital potentiometer.  I stalled out, like 15 years ago with the GALs.   I knew there were ways to decode them, but then I got busy raising my Son and coaching baseball and stuff and projects fell by the wayside.

Edited by trag
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At least a pc floppy drive modified to be used with an Amiga can be used as internal disk drive. The one I used is a TEAC FD-235HF 7373. Modified was DS to DS0 and Pins 2 and 34 needed some modification. Boots perfectly into system 6.0.8 but is too big to be placed inside the housing. Will have to find a slim line drive.

IMG_20210328_144334.jpg

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Can boot using a GOTEK drive with flashfloppy firmware.
Drawback is that this only seems to be working inside an outbound shipped with internal floppy. I swapped all over into a HDD system and was not able to boot.

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20 hours ago, wymtb said:

Can boot using a GOTEK drive with flashfloppy firmware.

 

Interesting!  1.4meg only, I take it?

 

20 hours ago, wymtb said:

I swapped all over into a HDD system and was not able to boot.

 

Yeah, code for either the FDD or the HDD is in a flash chip.  I believe you can change between them but you have to have it "docked" to do so, and since the docking kit is made of purest rarity, yeah...

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Posted (edited)

Are you sure it must be docked to switch between the internal floppy drive and internal hard drive?

 

When switching between internal hard drive sizes, all that is necessary is to swap in the new hard drive, and then run the software configuration thingy from Outbound.  The one that adds components to the Mac System Folder.   One of the first things you always see when you run that installer is a "Flashing EEPROMs" message.  Presumably, teh installer detects the current configuration and flashes the on-board Flash appropriately.  There are a pair of PLCC EEPROMs on the Outbound logic board.   I can't remember the capacity off hand.   64Kbit each?

 

Oh, or was your comment in reference to the Amiga that wymtb mentioned.

 

The Outbound floppy supports 800K disks as well as 1.4.  Can't remember if 400K can be used.   Which is why I worry that there might be a floppy mechanism modification.   I suspect they do something unnatural to the power supply that spins the floppy platter to support 800K.  That's probably where that X9103 comes in.

Edited by trag
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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, trag said:

Are you sure it must be docked to switch between the internal floppy drive and internal hard drive?

 

Not sure at all, that was my understanding of things, but there is a reasonable probability that I am wrong.  I thought that the EEPROM flashing required being docked, but I may have got the wrong end of the stick there.

 

Sounds like I am just wrong :-)

 

edit: my understanding was based on the user manual

Edited by cheesestraws
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My, admittedly old, experience was you can run the Outbound installer from the Outbound floppy with either an internal or external floppy drive.  You can also put an image of the Floppy on your Silicon disk, or boot from a simple System install on the Silicon disk, connect via LocalTalk to another Mac and mount the installer disk on that other Mac.

 

The docking mode was not necessary.  Perhaps it was at one time, but towards the end of the run of fhte 125, they got away from docking mode, and the requirement that the purchaser have a Macintosh from which to salvage the ROM.   I guess htere were enough old Macs on the market to provide ROMs for the  125s by that time.

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Probably have killed my harddisk while trying to get an image of it outside my Outbound I tried to to use as replacement a conner cp2064.  So far with now luck, even if there are reports it should be working inside the laptop.
Furthermore I have read the content of the atmel rom chips and verified my dumps can be rewritten. At the moment it seems I have Version 1.1 of the outbound installer which probably will only be able to update the roms, no system files. I have seen inside the rom dump from my hdd Outbound it was using ROM version 1.2.1. So I am wondering if someone might could send me a more recent version of the outbound installer?
Version 1.3.1 that can be found inside the garden is for the notebook and not the laptop.

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