Our little monthly gathering plods along, despite our meetup date coinciding with another spike in coronavirus. This time, we had a little bit of a theme going – portable units. Sean arrived first (surprise!) and set up his machines for the month: Toshiba J3100-101SGT, Toshiba HX-31 PasopiaIQ (MSX platform), and NEC PC-8201. Edoardo, who arrived shortly after, had a previous commitment so traveled light – bringing a few lightweight project boards instead of his usual heavy-duty soldering equipment.
The Toshiba MSX is not portable, but brought along as sort of a crutch so some typical gaming could also be done. Pitfall II was a source of consternation for Sven, Justin, and Sean, in turn. Those scorpions are hard to jump over, and those bats hard to run under!
Curt brought his own PC-8201 to compare voltage measurements to Sean’s seemingly more complying machine, but no significant differences were found. He also explained carefully and in good detail how to transfer files back and forth between a modern PC and the PC-8201, but Sean is likely to need reminders. Jim also made his much-anticipated return due to having another commitment in the neighborhood.
The J3100 got some love, at first with the classic Shanghai, and then with Heaven and Earth, a multi-faceted collection of games and activities, one of Sean’s favorites from DOSteryear. It was also the subject of poking and prodding to try to understand its video output, and the contents of the gigantic mess of a hard drive were mulled over a bit.
Our ninth meeting was another good time. We met new member Greg and welcomed back original member Christian after a prolonged busy schedule. We had the big meeting room to ourselves again, which was fantastic because there was equipment galore.
Sean arrived first with his Fujitsu FM-16π and Sega SC-3000, which had been recently upgraded to red. Greg arrived not too long after with his The C64 and a decked-out Spectrum ZX-80.
The FM-16π is a fairly heavy but portable machine that came with a dedicated carrying case and a printer. People took turns entering small amounts of text into the text editor and testing the printer.
With tremendous effort Sven brought in his bulky Commodore 128D for diagnosis. Edoardo went to work with testing components and changing capacitors, and although it didn’t end in success, perhaps some progress was made and hopefully Sven can get it working again from home!
Curt brought in his Sony HitBit MSX machine for testing and potential repair, as well as his heavily modified (by the previous owner) and wonky TRS-80.
Christian was in charge of the PVM this time, but he also brought his Japanese Commodores – the Japanese Commodore 64 and MAX Machine. It was his first time to test the Japanese Commodore 64 and despite the bulging PSU, it worked nicely!
The PVM was quickly put to use with Michelle’s PC-8801MR. It was the first time one of the big-three Japanese 8-bit computers was properly represented at the meet-up.
People took breaks from the test and repair cycles to talk or play games.
We had our eighth meetup, a meetup filled with repairs and drama. Sean and Edoardo arrived at about the same time. Sean brought with him his Sega SC-3000 for play, his PC-6001mkII for a possible sale, and *two* PC-8201s, one for repair and the other for comparison. Edoardo brought his extensive repair equipment like some sort of traveling workshop.
Shortly after Michelle and Sven arrived, Michelle with her PC Engine for repair and MSX Sanyo Wavy, and Sven with his 21st-century keyboard that had developed a problem. Edoardo spent minutes expertly and promptly diagnosing and rectifying Sven’s keyboard. Michelle’s PC Engine and Sean’s PC-8201 received a good fixing, as well.
But suddenly Sean’s PC-6001mkII decided to act out. It refused to load tape images from anyone’s smartphone using any cable. A couple of hours were spent poking around at it to no end. As an aside, Sean took it back home, where it loaded tape images without issue, but then promptly died. Michelle set up her OSSC for use with the SC-3000, etc. Very impressive piece of machinery.
Justin and Curt showed up a bit later, and intense diagnostics began on the Wavy. Intense video gaming took place, as well. SC-3000 provided access to Zaxxon, Sinbad Mystery, and Sokoban, while the MSX machines played Lode Runner and Ilevan.