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military laptop LXI & radio set up


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Iain

 

the spare keyboard had no success , still says keyboard error ? do you think this may actually be a keyboard error or something else ? I will try the working keyboard when I get time to undo all the cable clamps .

 

The other LXI seems better , it has done what you said , I pressed Cnt / alt / Delete and its gone into the set up menus , so im guessing this one should be a goer ?

 

I will try and pop it into my PC shop tomorrow for the HDD if you think its a good idea

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Rich

 

Sounds like the 1st one has either a bad keyboard connector or a fault in the main unit if two keyboards are reported failed by the power on self test.

 

The second one should be more promising if you can get into setup :) The computer shop guy should be able to help you boot it from CD or floppy even if he hasn't got a hard disk available immediately so you can fully test it. I expect the setup menus may also help him identify the options for the hard disk if it does have to be ordered on line.

 

Regards

 

Iain

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Rich

 

Sounds like the 1st one has either a bad keyboard connector or a fault in the main unit if two keyboards are reported failed by the power on self test.

 

The second one should be more promising if you can get into setup :) The computer shop guy should be able to help you boot it from CD or floppy even if he hasn't got a hard disk available immediately so you can fully test it. I expect the setup menus may also help him identify the options for the hard disk if it does have to be ordered on line.

 

Regards

 

Iain

 

Cheers Iain

 

your a whizz , appreciate your help :kiss:

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Rich

 

If I click on the image it comes up about an inch square on my screen :( I assume the connector is at the end we cant see and the handle on the front would be for extracting it from the slot. The only new info on the ISO group site was the part number "A2N20452723" which however only finds the ISO group listing when tried in Google :(

 

Before parting with £300 it may be worth trying the floppy boot method - if you want me to post you something PM me the address I should send it to. If you have a screenshot of the original BATES software I can probably try to make it look like that.

 

Regards

 

Iain

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Rich

 

If I click on the image it comes up about an inch square on my screen :( I assume the connector is at the end we cant see and the handle on the front would be for extracting it from the slot. The only new info on the ISO group site was the part number "A2N20452723" which however only finds the ISO group listing when tried in Google :(

 

Before parting with £300 it may be worth trying the floppy boot method - if you want me to post you something PM me the address I should send it to. If you have a screenshot of the original BATES software I can probably try to make it look like that.

 

Regards

 

Iain

 

Hi Iain

 

yes sorry about size of pic , that's the one I was sent .

The guy said basically its encased in the white plastic case , and the knob bit on front is for slotting it in and out .

I have given the laptop to my local PC shop , he says its shouldn't be too difficult to get a HDD for it but its the interface that will need a bit of work . so fingers crossed, he has tons of old pc parts to play with so hopefully something can me fabricated to work.

I have PM you my address for the boot disk you mentioned , I have no idea what a BATES screen shot would look like ? in my head I imagine it like some old 80,s Atari asteroids game ? but cant imagine it be quite that cool . lol

 

Really appreciate your assistance , one thing the guy mentioned and I don't know how hes got them is that the pair of HDD hes has couldn't be wiped ? so still contain I guess some interesting software , or maybe just solitaire ???

cheers

 

Rich;)

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Rich

 

I imagine he cant wipe them because he doesn't have a compatible machine ... I expect it will have Windows NT (probably NT4 which is contemporary with Windows 95) and some application software if it is still intact.

 

I assume the BATES application replaced the numeric display and buttons of FACES with something similar on a CRT with a keyboard (the terminal being sold by Melchior 762) but I havent found any screen shots via Google. There is a good article on FACES and BATES at: http://nigelef.tripod.com/fc_computer.htm#FACE (scroll down for BATES, sadly no screen shots). BATES was contemporary with MS-DOS rather than Windows - what you have probably came from LACS the later more portable version.

 

I'll try and post a basic Win95/DOS7 boot floppy on Monday (assuming I find my box of blank ones today!) which should get you a A:\ > prompt. If that works then we can try to reconstruct a BATES screen if anyone has a photo or manual they can share.

 

Regards

 

Iain

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Sorry, not the best pics, but I think its the same drive...

 

Ptarmigan%20console%20004.JPG

 

The part No etc...

 

Ptarmigan%20console%20002.JPG

 

Showing the terminals...

 

Ptarmigan%20console%20003.JPG

 

But it came in one of these...

 

Ptarmigan%20console%20016.JPG

 

And it works!

 

Ptarmigan%20console%20009.JPG

 

Well works for a bit then the screen goes "fuzzy"! Have got a printer that came with it, but unfortunately no pics to hand!

 

Dougy

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Andy

 

Thanks for this. Counting the pins I think it is indeed a 60 pin connector (so not SCA SCSI) - can you confirm ? As such it probably has an internal adapter to the 4 pin power and 40 pin data connectors of the IDE disc.

 

Regards

 

Iain

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Be aware that there were 2.5" laptop SCSI drives but they were rare. In some cases they were native SCSI and in some cases they were an IDE drive with a SCSI to IDE converter on a small board inside the HD caddy. They were used with things like Tadpole laptops (Sun Sparc, PA-RISC, Alpha etc.) where the workstation OS relied on SCSI.

 

The 60 pin connector could be 50 pins of narrow SCSI-2, 6 pins of SCSI ID and 4 pins of power. If so you should still be able to boot with an external hard disk, but the internal ones may be more trouble that they're worth. There's some info on Question 22 here http://www.unixhub.com/SB-FAQ.html

 

Have you looked to see if it can boot from PCMCIA? You should be able to get a Type 3 hard disk card that would slot in, and one of the Ebay pics showed similar.

 

There's a 5Gb Type 2 here - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Portable-Hard-Drive-/301080338418'>http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Portable-Hard-Drive-/301080338418'>http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Portable-Hard-Drive-/301080338418 but it's a gamble whether the BIOS can read it as its a large size.

There's a 105Mb Type 3 here which could be cheap enough to have a gamble with http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Portable-Hard-Drive-/301080338418

Edited by Lauren Child
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More on the BATES topic than LXI I recently acquired a GEC Marconi Rugged Laptop from e-Bay seller "Advent60" with a corrupt PCMCIA hard disk. I was eventually able to recover some of the contents which turned out to be variants of BATES and BMETS. The e-Bay item was 261385263446 for those who want photos - I'll publish a link to some of my own once I get a chance to do a set in good daylight. The machine has a row of Clansman style sockets along the back (1 power, 6 x 7 pin male, 1 x 7 pin female) which are internally connected to an ISA card carrying a dedicated 80186 CPU and serial I/O chips. The PC motherboard was a 80386LE one with an embedded Datalight ROM-DOS operating system and 8M RAM. Examining comments in the PC code I think most of the dedicated software to interface to BATES peripherals runs on the 80186 ISA card. The machine had no permanent disk drives but there was a PCMCIA 130MB disk occupying both PCMCIA slots on a cover under the left side of the case. I found that the disk was readable by Windows XP and was able to recover it with the Windows XP disk check utility. Hopefully this will give some insight for anyone trying to revive one of these machines.

 

I have had some difficulties photographing the rather dim EL display (if I use lights I get reflection and if I dont I need a 1/3 s exposure so get camera shake). What I have therefore begun to do is to produce a program that will simulate the BATES user interface on a generic DOS PC (actually using the 4DOS environment on FreeDOS to get easy line graphics and cursor positioning, and to make it possible to distribute without licensing issues). So far I have done the main menu and one submenu screen to prove the concept and will make it available as a bootable floppy if there is sufficient interest from reconstructors/re-enactors. Anyone interested please PM me so I can gauge demand.

 

I have pasted below a reconstructed menu screen - it's not perfect because BATES used a different screen mode with more than the 25 rows of a standard DOS screen but I will keep tweeking until it looks better.

 

Regards

 

Iain

IMG_1676.jpg

bates-reconstructed-01.jpg

Edited by g0ozs
Fix number of 7 pin male sockets
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All

 

Here are my GEC-Marconi laptop photos for comparison with the LXI - this is I guess from LACS rather than the FC432 based BATES.

 

Note the custom card above the motherboard in the internal photo. I'd guess that this simulated the custom aspects of the original heavyweight BATES.

 

Does anyone know the pinout of the 7-pin connectors ? They seem to go back to MAXIM MAX211 RS232 level shifter ICs on the custom ISA card which are in turn driven by AMD 85C30 serial communications controllers. The use of the 8530 suggests the ports arent simple RS232 for which the 85C30 is a bit over specified !

 

The full photo set is at: http://www.g0ozs.org/misc/LACS/

 

Regards

 

Iain

 

DSCN9169.jpg

 

PS in case anyone buys one of these and thinks it is DOA, the power switch is on the right hand side near the SCRL and MENU keys and needs to be fully clockwise, after which you press POWER and GUARD together for at least 2 or 3 seconds to switch it on, when the NUM, CAPS and SCRL will light if all is well. There is no battery but it runs from a normal Clansman style 2 pin power lead.

DSCN0183.jpg

DSCN9152.jpg

DSCN9158.jpg

Edited by g0ozs
Add URL for full photo set
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Rich

 

I will keep working on salvaging the menus. I have had a bit of advice from the webmaster of the page at http://nigelef.tripod.com/fc_computer.htm which has helped me understand it, and eventually (possibly not for a few weeks) I should be able to produce a non-functional simulation of most of it now. What it seems to be is a single board computer emulating the original BATES hosted in a more modern PC which provides access to disk drives and acts as a VDU. I'm not that much further forward with understanding how to use the machine for non-BATES purposes which I actually bought it for however ;)

 

Regards

 

Iain

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear All

 

I have now found a Pentax digital camera with shutter priority so I can make shake-free 1/30s exposures of my GEC LACS computer screens. Updated pictures are at http://www.g0ozs.org/misc/LACS/index.html and a summary of my technical findings to date are at http://www.g0ozs.org/misc/LACS/background.html

 

Enjoy !

 

Iain

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Andy

 

Yes, probably one per gun display, one for Clansman or Ptarmigan interface and one or two I don't understand yet (I think RA batteries are usually four guns? - I am a radio person not an artillery expert!)

 

Regards

 

Iain

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Whithams have a nice BMETS rb44 for sale on auction if your quick , the sister truck to the BATES .

 

Iain ive sent you a PM , ive got a bit stuck again . ;)

 

My truck was used in KOSOVO and on a exercise TARTAN BLIZZARD in 2005 , one of the biggest artillery live firing exercises in the UK ever apparently , theres snippets of info on the royal artillery website

 

 

Rich

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Rich

 

Will reply to PM shortly

 

Unfortunately my funds won't stretch to an RB44 at present - maybe later this year if it's still there (or has resurfaced with a MoT and registration elsewhere ...)

 

Regards

 

Iain

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  • 2 weeks later...

Iain

 

I have had my LXI returned from the comp shop , they managed ok to fit a small HDD and windows 98 operating system .

I was disappointed to see the CD rom drive wasn't opening so I thought id remove the thousand tiny screws and whip it apart to see what they done ?

 

amazingly it looks like the ribbon that went to the original HDD clipped onto the back of a circuit board with a differing pin interface , all they had to do was pull the ribbon and its block connector off the back of the original interface and connect it directly to the new HDD , no mods at all ??

 

I also noted that the same ribbon extended onwards to the cd rom drive , this was unconnected ?? so I reconnected it .

 

It caused a few boot up problems and I rebooted with your Floppy disc (cheers) and it boots up great , only thing is the computer is not playing the CD,s I think it needs some media software or something to recognise Drive D: or something ??

any ideas ?? do you think it should be able to play Music and video CD,s or is it a bit much ??

 

Also repair shop said ignore the CMOS error , apparently the motherboard has a battery somewhere for the BIOS ? (same as CMOS ??) but they couldn't find it as its nothing like a ordinary PC , he said it could look something like a resistor but wasn't sure , it still boots up ok but has this CMOS error , I have the cover off still if you fancy a PIC , theres not much to see as its quite a mess .

 

any luck with the BATES software as yet ?

 

cheers

 

Rich

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Well, that is good news with the HDD!

 

As for music from win98, do you have a program like CDPlayer? It should be part of win98, later replaced by Windows Media Player, if I remember rightly. Fairly basic thing, never used it much.

 

trevor

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