Meetup #23 – 2021-12-18

We closed out 2021 with out final meetup for the year. Sean arrived first but didn’t bring a computer, just a kanji ROM card and an FM sound card. He was waiting for Curt to bring the FM-7 that he’d purchased on Sean’s behalf. After the failure of bringing a non-working FM sound card last time, it was great to have a working one on hand this time. However, it seems no photos were taken of the FM-7, just the floppy disks that came with it, including this Sesame Street disk!

Tom brought along a nice selection of MSX games, a mix of classics and homebrews. The Sanyo SPC PHC-30 stored in the locker got quite a bit of use this time, as did his own Panasonic FS-A1FX. Curt also got to try his MSX2 game, The Cockpit, as he doesn’t have an MSX2 at home, just a dozen MSX1s.

Sven brought in his Commodore 64 Reloaded, but forgot to bring the correct power adapter, and his WonderSwan, hoping to come up with a way to make the screen brighter, but that didn’t pan out, either.

Michelle brought in her NES to have the RF adapter desoldered, and a Famicom Jr. for game play. The games were all NES but she brought an adapter for Famicom use.

Besides Sean’s FM-7, Curt also brought in his cute little PC-8201, which is awesome because it’s red, and it also has an excellent keyboard for such a compact device.

Thanks to all for the good times and see you next year!

Meetup #22 – 2021-11-20

This was one of our busiest meetups for sure. We numbered 9, including new (distant) member Vicky. 9 is not a record in terms of attendance, but the sense of busyness was magnified because nearly everyone had their own distinct project going on.

Sean arrived first with his FM-7 and various expansion cards in tow. Although it had worked the night before, the sound board was not cooperating and he spent a substantial amount of time poking around with different options, trying to make it work. In the end, he was not successful and gave up, playing games instead with the internal speaker. He looks pretty frustrated toward the end there!

Sven spent some time working on his RAM chip tester. Something like this is a great contribution for the group as it assists in troubleshooting should anyone have RAM troubles in the future.

Edoardo brought in a spare Amiga A600 for Victoria to borrow while she stays in Japan. As expected, Edoardo did a masterful job at bringing the machine back into working order. For her part, Victoria impressed us all with her pixel-art skills.

Not so much a project as “lunch”, but Edoardo supplied the group with authentic Italian cooking again, this time in the form of pizza. Yum! Thanks for the delicious and plentiful food

Justin tried his hand at repairing Curt’s micro tape recorder, which previously was able to play but not rewind or fast forward. While he was able to successfully diagnose the problem, some additional repair is necessary to find a long-term fix for it.

Tom brought in his MSX2 to perform a belt replacement, a venture that was ultimately successful. The MSX2 was then used to display some impressive gaming capabilities.

Curt brought in his NEC PC-8801SR, which took an unexpected tumble down a half-flight of stairs on the way to the meetup, but it still worked like a champ. He and Michelle set it up and used it to establish communications between the PC-8801SR and Curt’s laptop for remote file transfers. They also tested various modes of the system and loaded the PC-8801FR demonstration disk, followed by questionable disk copy activities.

Michelle brought her Apple II again, this time with both floppy drives and no sweet monochrome monitor.

Things that didn’t quite work out as expected: Saburo brought an Oric Atmos 48K, but forgot the proprietary display cable, so he just settled for playing FM-7 games. Curt brought Lode Runner for the FM-7, but it didn’t ultimately get played. Michelle brought some NES games, but we only ended up watching the lackluster (on that system) Last Armageddon intro. But we all had a good time!

Meetup #21 – 2021-10-23

Our 21st meetup was hardware-heavy as Sean brought in a couple of computers for repair and Michelle brought in an entire Apple II setup, including floppy drive and full-size monitor, plus a couple of more compact setups courtesy of Curt and Saburo.

Sean’s hardware included something familiar, the MZ-2500, though most of the time was spent in MZ-2000 mode (for Logo) or MZ-80B mode (for Pac-Man).

His other computer was a newcomer, the SMC-777, which unfortunately has a memory error so most software doesn’t work. It could load a couple of the included games, but heavier-hitting apps and games would crash. It was put away after a quick inspection by Edoardo. But it will visit again someday soon when it’s feeling better.

Michelle takes the cake for hardware-lugging, though. Look at this crazy setup, this is not a portable workstation, it’s a full-sized Apple IIe (with Platinum motherboard) setup, just as if someone had swiped it from the junior high school computer lab. She brought an external floppy drive and a couple of add-on cards for serious computing and a game of Karateka.

The Apple II was not alone, as Curt also brought his much more compact setup – the Apple IIc and a tiny little black and white CRT monitor. They were able to successfully establish connections between the Apple IIs and Curt’s laptop PC.

Saburo brought along his Einstein 256, a UK-market computer that, like the X1 D, uses those funny 3″ floppy disks. The computer is in tip-top shape and curiously (for us Japan-based and North American-based folks) can get its power directly from the monitor (if you have a monitor that supports it, which is probably only available in the UK).

Sven and Edoardo spent substantial time trying to troubleshoot an EEPROM burning setup. In the end, one highly troublesome EEPROM was successfully fed a kernal ROM created to restore the Japanese Commodore 64 halfway to its intended state!