ACNews #67
01 марта 2017

How it was in Leningrad - Year 1996

<b>How it was in Leningrad</b> - Year 1996
                          Year 1996

In the end of the year my schoolmate Denis offered a
Spectrum-128 for just 100000 roubles. That was cheap, so I
agreed to buy it after my birthday in June, because I expected
money presents. So it happened, I received a lot of money, and
went to Denis to see what a Spectrum it was. It was a local
model Bi-eM in metal case, with extended keyboard and external
power unit. Included were user manual, schematics on paper laid
between the PCB and the case to insulate, and a TV cable. Rather
long cable, three metres or so. Denis switched on the cmputer,
loaded some game, so the computer proved to be working, and I
gave my money, obtaining my second Speccy.

This model was made on Composit board with space-wired memory
chips, but without a sound chip. There were no circuits for a
sound chip, but there was a free place in the corner of the
board. So I planned to install the sound chip myself.

The computer had a first class tape reader. I could load
programs from chewed tape. My tape recorded didn't chew tape,
but my friends I gave games to had greedy tape players. So I
don't like to give cassettes away any more. The computer also
produced a lot more clean and colourful image than my 48K. So I
used the 128K as a main computer, and lated disassembled the 48K
for chips to repair the 128K and make add-ons. So my first
Speccy hasn't survived.

I tried to run all the games on the new computer to find any
graphics improvement. That appeared only in Spellbound Dizzy.
New animation appeared, and new underwater sprites.

Once I managed to burn the power unit, making a short circuit on
input. For some reason, I disassembled the power unit and
assembled it while it was on. Something locked, a winding of a
toroidal transformer burned up, so the computer stayed inactive
for a time. I couldn't change the transformer, and I had no
other power unit. When I bought a Scorpion with disk drive, I
presented that 128K to my friend and classmate Dima. Using it
for years, he never installed a sound chip, just sockets for
chips. After some 10 years, he computer returned to me together
with Speccy books. Dima decided to end with Spectrums. I didn't
use it any more, and in 2015 presented it to Oleg Sazonov. I
hope it never returns back.

                Year 1997. Scorpion purchase

I was uneasy after Scorpion ads in books, ZX Review article with
Zonov's interview, and and article about multi-tasking MAGOS for
Scorpion. I needed the Scorpion, so in June of 1997, saving
money from scholarship and my birthday, I went to Scorpion
company store at 12th Red Army street.

"Moustache man" met us (I don't know his name, that's not Ilya
Fomin). I ordered the most advanced model of the time - Scorpion
ZS 256 Turbo+. There were not ready ones, so I had to wait for a
couple of days. At the given day I invited an adult
acquaintance, and we went to the store to take the ordered
computer. We came 40 minutes earlier, and "Moustache man" met us
again. He was angry and shouted at us for coming before
everything was assembled and tested. Then he stopped because he
understood that we could leave without a purchase. He gave us
catalogues and told we could select two arbitrary disks as a
present. Time passed quick while I read catalogues, and my
Scorpion appeared before me soon.

The board had 512KB ProfROM and IBM PC keyboard controller.
Everything was neatly arranged in a standard AT case with a
proprietary Scorpion label. The disk drive was 5,25" from TEAC,
one of early models with electromagnetic head lowering. The
computer was worth 188 "conventional units" (equal to USD) that
meant 1 million 128 thousands roubles. I bought the keyboard and
mouse separately at Yunona.
As a present, I chose Enlight 96 disks. I also bought Digital
Studio (the main disk with a set of tunes). And at home I had
UFO 2 and ZX FORMAT #1 magazine presented by Dima to my
birthday.

The keyboard was buggy from the beginning. It often stalled, and
the 35000 roubles mouse didn't work at all. I returned to
Scorpion and demanded explanation. Of course, they shifted the
blame to cheap Chinese parts. They added though that all
keyboards are expeced to stall, that's a feature of the
controller. They also changed my mouse to a cheaper one (for
28000), having tested it on my computer. Now I could read the
magazine with pleasure and also play UFO 2.

Almost at once I opened the computer and disconnected the
internal speaker from the internal sound amplifier. There was no
volume control, and the amplified shouted very loud through an
indecent high frequency beeper. I moved the sound out through a
separate backplane socket, and heard it through a stereo vinyl
player Melodiya 103 Stereo. The sound was rich but with some
background buzzing. Sergey Zerov, who tuned the board and
assembled the computer, told me that it was because the sound
circuits pass near several counters dividing high frequency. He
advised to cut these wires and take the sound directly from
sound chip. I didn't do that, of course.

>What about stalling keys - why it was? How to work with such a 
controller? 

Keys were said to stall only at cheap keyboard models. It showed
so you could press a key once, and Scorpion received infinite
number of keypresses. I don't know what were the conditions for
that. Scorpion people popularized a method to fix that
installing a resistor and a capacitor at keyboard output. I
already had that add-on when I bought Scorpion, and it didn't
help. Although when I removed it, the keys stalled every time.
So it fixed a part of the problem somehow.

The second part of the problem was a weak Intel microcontroller,
from the early 80's, that couldn't "press" keys fast enough for
Spectrum polling. So the controller stopped Z80 with WAIT
signal. And if you had keyboard polling in a loop, i.e. without
pauses between reads, WAIT signal was generated so often that
Scorpion stalled or started to work very slow.
If you read ports directly after HALT, the computer didn't
stall, just was slower as it was apparent in demos.
So after some time I was forced to buy a regular Spectrum
keyboard.

                   Year 1997. Video monitor

I was tired of my old TV set with distorted beam convergence, so
in September of 1997 I went to Yunona to buy a video monitor.
I didn't shop around all the kiosks, and I bought the monitor at
the first one. I asked for a monitor like "32 ВТЦ 202" for
Spectrum, and the salesman said he had a better one, and palmed
me off a CGA Philips on rotating stand for 280000 roubles. The
monitor had nice appearance, it was clean and neat. It had a
colour switch - you could select between colour mode, or
monochrome green, or amber. He attached the monitor to some
Spectrum through a box with many switches. He could commute
signals from one socket to another with these switches. After
some switching, the salesman received a stable picture on the
monitor. He viewed a standard colour test, and I noticed some
outline doubling at some texts. I asked why. The salesman said I
just need to tune the monitor inside, and he gave me a paper
with phone number of a craftsman who would come and do that for
nothing. He also gave me his phone to call if I have troubles
with the craftsman. O.K.

I brought the monitor home and began to investigate how to
attach it. I soldered an adapter from DIN7 to DB9, but nothing
worked. It couldn't be helped, so I called the craftsman. He
responded and came to me the same day. I showed him Scorpion
schematics, he looked in it then attached an oscilloscope and
started to watch the TV signals. He said I had signals mixed up,
"Green" instead of "Video" and vice versa. He showed how it
looked at oscilloscope. Then he touched something in Scorpion
and said that I must have separate frame and line sync and
invert them. He couldn't do that at once because he hadn't
needed chips with him. He offered to take the computer and
monitor with him to make an add-on in a few days. I agreed and
also asked for monitor tuning to avoid the outlines. Before
quitting, the craftsman asked for payment at least for time and
delivery. I gave him 30000 roubles, and he went home.

In a couple of days I phoned him, and he said he attached the
thing so I could come and take it back. I invited two friends,
and we came to the given address. That was close, about 5
kilimetres. He let us into his flat. My Scorpion stood on a
table with open case together with the monitor. Everything was
on, and the test picture was shown. The picture was bright and
saturated, but the green colour was still outlined. The craftman
told that was because of faulty monitor, and he wouldn't open it
without schematics. Hmm, I thought, if he wouldn't do, I
wouldn't pay. Together with friends, we packed stuff and went to
the exit, smiling and waving hands. We opened the door and
quickly moved down the stairs. Today I think I was right not
paying him for the second time, because the craftsman did
nothing for the first time, and also because the monitor seller
told that should be done for nothing.

At home I saw what was done in Scorpion to attach the monitor.
There was a chip glued with legs up, with soldered wires. The
screen certainly missed bright gradations but had nice geometry.
The beam convergence was ideal. If only the green beam had no
doubled outlines, I'd keep that.

The next day I called the salesman and explained that the
craftsman connected it wrong and couldn't fix the issue. The
salesman knew that I cheated the craftsman, but the craftsman
hadn't told that I had paid him for the first time and he
couldn't repair the monitor. So I asked for a substitute. The
salesman said I can come to Yunona at the weekend, and he would
find something for me. I did so. The salesman accepted the
defective monitor without protest, and gave me what I wanted: a
"32 ВТЦ 201 м" in a beige case. He tested the monitor, and it
had no defects. I brought the monitor home and connected it to
Scorpion, removing the chip added by the craftsman. The monitor
had poor beam convergence and picture not bright. Hovewer, if I
didn't sit at the monitor under a sunlight, this didn't matter.
Later I found regulators in the monitor to add brightness. The
monitor frequently whistled, expeccially in the first minutes
on. Light kicking on the case calmed it so I could work further.

                 Year 1998. Buying a printer

In August of 1998 a "default" happened, that caused rouble to
suddenly decrease in value. I was thinking how to spend my
scholarship money fast. I thought about a dot-matrix printer.
That time I worked in text editor The Last Word 2 for long, and
that would be very nice to have a hard copy of written texts.
The printer could also be used for printing reports and term
papers. O.K. I went to Yunona again.

There were tons of dot-matrix printers - for any taste and
pocket size. I looked closely at Panasonic printers because they
were sold at Scorpion, and we have the same at school. But the
prices went up, so they were too expensive. Although I found a
printer for pre-crisis price. It even was written so on a paper
lying above. The printer was put out of the kiosk on a chair. It
was named Elektronika MC-6313, for 300 roubles (one 1998 rouble
was worth 1000 roubles of 1997 because of a money reform - Ed.),
all I had at the moment. I requested demonstration of work, and
the seller inserted a piece of paper and swithed the printer on,
holding some buttons. The printer started to print all its
alphabet. When the paper was out, I looked at it (Cyrillic
letters present, all pins work), and said, "I take it". Together
with printer, there was a power cable, a computer cable, and a
user manual book.

I brought the printer home, attached it to Scorpion and tried to
print from iS-DOS. Surprisingly everything worked at once.
Although the next day a disaster happened. I switched the
printer on after Scorpion (what is the difference?). Something
plopped, and Scorpion produced stinking smoke. Immediately I
switched everything off and opened the case. There was a piece
of some power supply component. The power supply worked no more.
I pulled it out and went to Scorpion for repair. Sergey Zerov
refused to repair it. He said that they bought these outside and
stopped to collaborate with that guy, because the power supply
appeared unreliable and he had a full box of them broken. He
advised to buy a standard PC power supply and connect it. So
that's how lifetime guarantee worked at Scorpion.

I had spent all my money for the printer, waiting for new money
in September. I didn't know if there would be scholarship money
in September and how much it would be after the crisis. I tried
to supply the computer from the power supply of my 48K. It
produced only 5 V and got very warm. I didn't want to take a
risk running it more than 10 minutes in that mode. At least, the
computer was intact, not taken away with the power supply. So I
stayed without a computer for some time.

After some time I borrowed from a friend a 12 V power supply for
some time. However, when I attached it to the computer, I mixed
up 12 V and 5 V wires, so the board ceased to work at all. I
asked money from mother and went to Scorpion again, with the
board. Zerov came and asked what happened. I told what I made.
He took the board and said me sit down for five minutes. Then he
came from his small room with my board. He said he changed one
chip (he pointed to 561TM2 in master clock frequency divider).
He said that chip protected my board from burning down because
it short-circuited the power unit. He took 35 roubles for
repair. Why? Such a chip costed 50 kopecks at Yunona. The
Scorpion ad promised lifetime free repair, you must pay only for
parts. Trickery again. I was upset.

I returned home, attached the board, switched the computer on,
and the keyboard appeared to fail. What the duck. The next day I
took the keyboard and its controller with me to the university,
planning to visit Scorpion after that. During a lecture, I put
the controller into circulation, and some jokers had time to
turn the ROM chip over. I was unaware until I came at Scorpion
in the evening and asked for testing the controller and the
keyboard. This time "Moustache man" came. He took the controller
and brought it to the small room. After one minute he ran from
there with foul language in my address. He poked me with the
controller and shouted spitting, "What an idiot rotated the
chip?" I looked at it and saw it was actually reversed. Then the
Moustache man calmed and said he would flash another chip and
test it. After some time he returned and reported that the
controller works, and the keyboard is broken. He took 10
roubles, and I went home.

I still had no power supply, and a keyboard. I received a
scholarship and went to Scorpion for a power supply. They sold
me a third hand 150 W unit with rusty corners for 260 roubles.
They drew a paper signing what wire had what voltage, and I
returned home. It seemed easy - just install the unit in the
case and relax. Nothing of the sort. When Scorpion is assembled,
a piece of drilled aluminium is installed in place of power
unit. External sockets are placed in its holes. And the power
unit is mounted on plastic supports in the bottom of the case.
So, to install the new power unit, I had to remove that
aluminium and move it elsewhere.

I moved the aluminium together with sockets in a place where PC
expansion boards are installed. For that, I drilled out the
rivets and removed the unit holding the socket planes. I
connected the power unit, checking the polarity and voltage, and
switched it on. It worked. Still without keyboard. I have no
money for a new keyboard. For any keyboard. I didn't want to
wait one more month for a new scholarship, and I ask my friend
Dima to buy me a keyboard on credit. Near his house there was a
commission shop "Polynom" where he bought a keyboard for 130
roubles and gave it to me. I checked it, and it didn't work.
Dima took the keyboard with him and brought another. That one
worked bad - some of the keys don't react. That time I went to
the shop myself. But there were no more spare keyboards, so I
had to return the keyboard and save money for a new one.

A month later I bought a keyboard and paid off all the debts.

                          Year 1999

I was tired of stalling keyboard controller, so I decided to do
something with it. In the instruction manual, there were notes
about add-ons removing the stalls and locks at cheap Chinese or
Taiwanese keyboards. To overcome that flaw you should install an
additional resistor at KBCLK signal and a capacitor at the same
place. But my controller was debugged this way from the
beginning. However, the instruction contained other nominals of
the resistor and the capacitor, so I wanted to play with them. I
unsoldered the installed unpackaged parts, but I did that so bad
that their contacts came off. I started to solder my resistors
and capacitors within given range, but it didn't become better.
It became worse. Pressed keys started to lock every time. I
couldn't return the original add-on because I couldn't measure
the original parameters, and none of my parts could match the
original ones. So I was forced to buy a regular Spectrum
keyboard. In February, I went to Yunona.

Walking by the market, I found a new extended keyboard in a
black case. There were no sockets installed, that meant that the
keyboard was never used. I paid 80 roubles for it.

After four days my computer broke again. This time just after
powering. There was image but the computer became very slow. I
saw how the boot menu was drawn. I took the board and went to
Scorpion. This time "Moustache man" met me. He was very friendly
that time, and that troubled me. He'd better shout and spit. I
explained all the symptoms, and he went into the small room.
After some time he returned with Zerov. Zerov said he couldn't
repair my board today because there was furniture movement. He
pointed to the same chip (561TM2) and said I can change it
myself or come another time. I said I would change it, and he
advised to add a socket for that chip. "Moustache man" escorted
me to the door, and at the same time apologized several times
that it happened. Then he winked a cunning wink and said that I
would see everything myself later.

I returned home and connected the board outside the case,
placing it on a newspaper. Surprisingly it worked well. Later I
changed the chip myself, adding a socket. But Scorpion after
that furniture movement was never engaged in Spectrums and
switched to selling PCs and their parts.

Near the end of February I fetched a needed keyboard socket at a
flea market. It required a Soviet brown two-row 16-pin socket
with a spring clap. I hardly found that, so I bought two sets at
once. In the keyboard case, I made a hole to install a DB25
socket and two buttons: Reset and Magic. I connected the inner
keyboard printed cables, using plugs from UK-NC keyboard. I
soldered DB25 wires to their backs. The keyboard worked
immediately, and I still use it. I disconnected the PC keyboard
controller and used it just once to play Black Raven with mouse
for the second time.

In the end of February I was asked to print several pages with
questionnaire for students, and do it fast. I typed the
questionnaire and sent the file to the printer, one sheet after
another. Suddenly I saw that one pin stopped to print. I
disassembled the printer and saw one wire to break off. While I
moved the head, two more wires broke off. The first wire broke
inside the head. With anger, I unsoldered all the wires from the
head. The next day I came to Yunona to find a spare printer
head. I asked where I bought the printer, but they hadn't spare
parts. I went to "Polynom" where I saw another printer like mine
when I returned the keyboard. But the printer was already sold.
I went to Logros and left an ad on the wall about buying a
printer head. Nobody responded to my ad, so in July I came to
Yunona again, to the same kiosk. There were no heads, but they
said they could appear in a week.

In the very end of July I met Eugene Yuryevich Buder from
Welcome corp. I came to him for disks, and returned with a
printer head. Buder gave it to me for nothing, and if it worked,
I could pay him for it. One pin didn't work in that one, too,
and its wire is broken near the coil, so I returned the head to
Buder. He said he would see what can be done, and advised to
call him.

In September, Buder told me a phone number of a man to whom he
gave such printer for nothing, and told me to ask the head from
him for nothing - Buder already had arranged that. I called that
man, and we set a date. The man appeared a drunkard and didn't
want to give me the head for hothing. I bought it for 50
roubles, and it was disassembled, without one if coils. I
installed one coil from my head. Then all pins got worked.

> A blockbuster! :) 
I had only a few murders: once a CPU and memory burned in a 48K 
from 12 V (all of them were in sockets, and dad changed them), a 
couple of broken disk drives for which I had replacement, and 
display burnouts, for which I had a spare monochrome TV. The 
most frustrating time was in 2003, when my PC was broken, and 
the display showed only red colour. Nevertheless I wrote ZXRar 
then :) 

When I started to work with text editors, I set red background
in TLW2 myself. As for the chip sockets, recently I had to
change them to collet connectors. Scorpion bugged terribly, it
could work for two hours, or could lock every five minutes. But
the most frustrating thing was that sometimes it did not even
start and you had to remove the monitor from it, then remove the
cover from the case, poke the ROM and press the processor. When
it stopped helping, I bought new cribs and changed. Since then,
no bugs. I broke disk drives only for Commodore 64.

                          Year 2000

In the beginning of year 2000 the printer broke again, when I
tried to change crooked pins in the head. I had spare pins and
thought I could change them. When I disassembled the head, I
broke off two wires from different coils. I tried to grow the
broken wires and broke two more. Then I decided to abandon that
rubbish and buy another (imported) printer. In the beginning of
April I went to Yunona and found a colour matrix printer for 651
roubles. Seems inexpensive. I asked the demonstration. They told
me the printer isn't there, and gave me the address of service
centre with a lot of different printers. Going back I noted a
brand new TEAC 5,25" disk drive in a stock cardboard package. It
costed just 50 roubles, so I bought it. I looked at it at home
and saw that it was never used. The lubricant was not even
smeared over the worm screw and lied in one place as a red
blimp. And at the end of the heads there are no traces of the
magnetic layer, which must certainly remain after working. I
connected the drive to Scorpion and saw that the drive was
completely intact.

Free access to old games from Welcome destroyed all my spare
disks. I had no more place for recording games. New disks were
hard to find or just impossible. If big disks were sold in
shops, they were HD, without the inner circle. When I bought
one, I made sure they didn't work on Spectrum. Both my drives
format only a half of them, then a disk check shows errors. I
could buy empty disks from Buder, but he gave them unwillingly,
because he couldn't find any more. I decided to buy SMUC - hard
disk controller for Scorpion, and in the middle of May I went to
Scorpion store.

There were no controllers. The last one was sold in the morning,
before me. I should wait a week while they were to make another.
I was surprised with the price - it was 400 roubles, not 600 as
I thought. That was because Scorpion's "conventional unit" was
not 30 roubles (as USD), just 20, and the controller was worth
20 "conventional units".

I still had no controller but I bought a hard disk cable for 40
roubles. After a week, I went to Scorpion once again. That time
I was lucky, and after 50 minutes (I came too early, and the
store was closed) I returned from there with the controller. As
it appeared, that was version 1.2 - rare but not last. I came
home, connected the controller to Scorpion, and began to examine
it. I noted that TURBO lamp on Scorpion case spontaneously went
out. And it was true - the speed became NORMAL in fact. I didn't
like that.

In early June, I obtained a 210 MB HDD via a friend, for
temporary use, to test the controller. I connected the HDD and
tried to work with it. I created partitions, copied disks, and
everything worked buggy. I wrote down a list of 20 failures, and
after three days presented it to Scorpion staff together with
the controller. Sergey Zerov took the whole set and came into
his small room for testnig. After a time he returned and agreed
with all the points. SMUC was possibly bad, and they had no
replacement. They gave me the only one they used to write
floppies from HDD, i.e. proven good one. I returned home and
tested it here.

First time everything worked, then bugs appeared again. I went
to Scorpion. That time I took the Scorpion board. They took the
boards for testing, so I had to wait for 2 hours. They couldn't
find a cause but changed my ProfROM from version 4.00 to 4.01,
just in case. Problems disappeared. So I started to search for a
cheap HDD. They are too expensive at Scorpion headquarters. They
offered a 150 MB disk for 17 USD (30 roubles each). I went to a
commission shop near Unreal computer club, and bought there a
425 MB HDD for 18 USD that seemed a good price. I read "Computer
price" magazine for a few days and called several firms
searching a suitable HDD. My new Conner Peripherals CFS-425A got
worked at once, and I started to fill it with games and
utilities. So Scorpions are hucksters.

In July, I decided to make a SounDrive 1.51+ for my Scorpion. I
went to Miktronika store and bought all the needed chips for 150
roubles. And the next day I went to Yunona and bought a bunch of
resistors of two denominations. The seller, when he found out
how much resistors I needed, showered them with handfuls,
counting conditionally "10, 20, 30", etc. It turned out that
there were a lot more, and after the assembly of the device I
still had about the same number of resistors. In three days I
finished assembling SounDrive, placing the scheme compactly in
an empty place in the corner of the board. At first the sound
was very hoarse and distorted, so I spend a few more hours
examining the assembly. Then I checked it again and everything
sounded as it should. Somewhere there was a small closure, which
stopped as I moved the wires.

In November, I decided to upgrade the RAM of my Scorpion to 1
MB, and I went to Yunona to buy a SIMM module. I bought it for
15 roubles, and soldered it the next day. But I saw only a black
screen after switching it on. When I checked my work against the
schematics, I found no difference, so I disassembled everything.
After two days I went to Scorpion to add the missing ISA slot in
SMUC controller, and also to make know why memory expansion
didn't work. Regarding the slot installation, I was told to come
again in a week, as the repair was going and the workshop did
not work. About the memory they said that they didn't deal with
PCB hacking, and they couldn't help me in any way. I came a
month later, when I really needed the slot - I bought the first
2400 modem for ISA bus. But that day Zerov was not there and I
left with nothing. Two days later I went back to Scorpion. Zerov
passed me several times and didn't notice me. Eventually I
grabbed him by the sleeve of a sweater and showed him the SMUC.
I reminded him that he promised to add the slot. He said that he
had no time and took out of his closet a new, unsoldered slot,
to solder it myself. They could do it right away, not driving me
around the city several times. That evening I soldered and
plugged in the modem. But it ceased to dial a number.

In the middle of December 2000, I went past a commission shop
and noticed through the glass, as a salesman inserted 5,25"
floppied in a box and hid them under the counter. Going back I
saw through the window that the floppies were still there. I
went home for money and returned there. I asked if they had
floppy disks. The salesman didn't believe I said FLOPPY disks.
After some time he responded yes. He dug somewhere in a corner
and took out from behind the desk a box of blue BASF floppies.
The floppies were new, but three of them had flown envelopes and
the seller put them aside. For the remaining seller asked 5
roubles each. But I saw a big mountain of floppies under the
counter. Why was the seller hiding them? I asked if there were
cheaper floppies. The seller responded, "What is cheaper?" I
said that I bought floppies for three roubles in another place
before. The seller agreed to sell them for three roubles, and I
took the whole pack together with the box and stickers.

For the New Year we are given out 1350 more roubles above the
scholarship, and I went to Yunona to spend money. I wanted to
buy another monitor, frequency adapter for phone, and GMX card.
Of all the above, I bought only an adapter. Guys at Scorpion
kiosk said me that there was no GMX units and would never be.
You needed to go to the office and order the assembly.

In early January 2001, the first session of modem communication
with Buder took place via a terminal program. This allowed me in
the future to avoid going across the city for game floppies to
crack, receiving them through a modem. I spent more than three
hours going by trams with one or two transfers.

In the second half of January, I read an article about HDD
programming on Spectrum. I began to experiment and sent various
command to the disk. And suddenly the disk stopped responding to
them. The indicator of disk access (device busy) was constantly
lit, and nothing else happened. A week later I went with the
disk to a friend who had a PC. I connected it to the PC, but I
couldn't check whether it worked. Windows does not allow you to
access the drive until it is assigned a letter. I created one
partition of minimum size with the help of FDISK. But I did not
have time to do anything else, since I already had to go home.
At least the disk didn't freeze. At home, I deleted the created
partition and created Spectrum partition again. All my disk
images were restored almost unchanged. Only their names were
lost.

In February, I bought another, faster modem. That modem
supported error correction and worked more stable at my phone
line with frequency coupling.

In spring, I went to Scorpion to order GMX. Although it appeared
I didn't need to, because they had one ready unit. I returned
home excited and looked forward to watching Pentagon demos at my
Scorpion. The next day I disassembled Scorpion and pulled the
board out of the case. I connected GMX according to the
instructions. I needed to make several cuts on the board and
solder a flat cable, which outputs video signals from GMX to the
main board. But after this upgrade the computer didn't work. I
carefully compared it with the instructions several times, and I
couldn't find any differences. Again I went to Scorpion. Sergey
Zotov was very busy, but he took my board for testing. He was
very surprised by my wire noodles, which I made adding
SounDrive. But I convinced Zerov that I had disabled the add-on
so it couldn't affect the function in any way. A week passed,
another one passed. I periodically called Scorpion store and
asked about my board. Every time Zerov found excuses why he had
not done anything yet. Time went by, I was sitting without a
computer and couldn't fix games for Buder. He was concerned
about this. I explained the reason, and he sent me to Alexander
Mayorov (MAS), the developer of the program MacroModem and
generally a very smart guy. I talked with MAS and he agreed to
help.

More than a month later, I went to Scorpion again. Zerov said
himself that he never switched the board on. I took the board
and went to MAS. I brought him the motherboard, the GMX and its
manual. After few days I called him, and he said he already made
everything so I could come and take it. I came, he powered the
board and showed everything working. I don't remember how much I
paid him but together with the repair, I received a point of
SPbZXNet at his node. Back home, I began to check the "birds"
left by MAS on schematics and GMX connecting instructions, and I
found one unique difference with what I did. MAS removed a diode
from Altera chip on the main board, eliminating the conflict of
frequencies between the main board and GMX. This was not in the
connection instructions. And now I had the most heaped up
Scorpion, and I was reading e-mail. It immediately became not
boring.

Some time later, when I connected to the Fido, I bought a
remarkable Philips CM8833-II RGB monitor, in exchange for a
bottle of beer (11 roubles). I found the monitor in an ad from
echo conference SPB.EXCHANGE. The seller worked in a firm
engaged in the repair of copying equipment and said that they
were freeing the warehouse and needed to get rid of several
monitors. I regret that I didn't take the rest of the monitors.

Later I bought General Sound cards. First time I bought the
first revision that was not for a slot, but used some adapter
and a flat cable. Then I bought a slot version, and presented
the first one to Konstantin Zaytsev (Budder) to make him write a
MOD loader from CD into the General Sound. Later I bought and
installed TurboSoundFM.

In this configuration, my Scorpion existed until the end of
November 2013, when I put my GMX on sale, disconnecting it from
the main board. Then there were unsuccessful attempts to restore
the main board, downgrading it back. But the board didn;t work.
I bought another card and it became my mainboard.
Then I sold all the sound cards and don't regret it.

In 2015, I changed the HDD to a CompactFlash card, and in spring
of 2016 I moved the board into a new horizontal case with ATX
power unit. To turn power on, I was forced to install a tiny
Atmel microcontroller on Scorpion board and write a program for
it. So I can switch power on and off, and do RESET, MAGIC and
turbo switching - all with one button, holding it for different
time. For the last function, I was missing one pin to output the
CPU speed LED, so I removed it.



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Как это было в Ленинграде - компьютерная история: 1988г. Первое знакомство

Как это было в Ленинграде - 1992-1993 год. Знакомство с Амига

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Как это было в Ленинграде - 2001 год. Commodore 64

How it was in Leningrad - Year 1988. First computers

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How it was in Leningrad - Year 1996


Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

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