When taking new screenshots for my old PC-FXarticles, I noticed that my PC-FX mouse (FX-MOU) didn’t work properly anymore. It still detected the movement fine, but if failed to register one of the mouse buttons. My spare mouse turned out to suffer from this too.
It’s time for a quick repair. Two screws underneath the label hold the mouse together (marked with yellow circles).
This is a follow-up to the Serial Terminal on Atari Portfolio article. The Portfolio with the Serial Interface add-on turned out to be too limited and bulky for being a mobile VT100 terminal, and I actually never used it. For years, I was looking for an even smaller alternative and have finally found it: The Psion Serie 5mx Pro. It is basically a Psion Series 5mx (or Ericsson MC218) for the German market. The operating system (EPOC32 Release 5) of this model is not stored in ROM, but instead it is loaded from the CF card into RAM on the first start. An English version of the operating system file (sys$rom.bin) can be found here.
The PC Engine flash cart by Neo Team was first released in 2006, ten years before the Turbo EverDrive was born. In 2009, they added a save feature and released it as the new version V1.1 or ‘128+SAVE’. There is no unique name of this cart because there were usually expressions like ‘power’, ‘super’ or ‘ultra’ added to the name. I bought this cart in 2011 but didn’t use it very often. It just wasn’t as compatible as it claimed to be. With the advent of 64-bit Windows 8, driver troubles limited the usability even further. And I never got the save feature to work. The whole package was sitting on my shelf until last year when I took it out again to compare it with the Super SD System 3.
Changing settings in the BIOS of a japanese computer can be dangerous if you don’t have any knowledge of the japanese language or don’t what you’re doing. I don’t have that much knowledge of the language either and tried to translate the BIOS.
This is how I did it: I connected my PC-9821Xe/U7W with a sync combiner to the Framemeister and grabbed a video of the selection of each and every BIOS menu item. Then I converted the frames of the video to image files. The images were then cropped and converted into grayscale negatives to be processed by an OCR engine. Most of the output was gibberish and every single line of text needed manual processing. The japanese text was then fed into the Bing and Google translators and some common sense added to the output. Continue reading NEC PC-9821 BIOS Translation→
The NEC PC-9821 computers output a very unusual resolution that most western monitors struggle with: 640 x 400 @ 24 kHz. I tried at least half a dozen monitors of all types and ages and none of them was able to display a picture at all (except an “out of range” message). Video scalers like the DVDO iScan VP50 Pro don’t recognize the signal either. Some sources claim that the cheap GBS-8220 converter is able to convert the signal – that is only partially true. You can see a stuttering picture that eventually becomes clear when you start the Windows 98 Desktop, but that doesn’t work in DOS.
I’ve been struggling with a weak PC-FX laser for quite some time. What kept me from changing the laser or pickup unit was that having to take the PC-FX apart and put it back together later is something you wouldn’t wish your worst enemy. A complete disassembly can be found here. However, getting close to the drive unit is surprisingly easy if you just follow this guide.