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Author Topic: Q&A with Werner Lindner (technical director of the ENTERPRISE Computers GmbH) (Read 40868 times)

Offline Zozosoft

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Article from Mein Homecomputer 12/1985:
12447-012449-1

And from Computer Aktuell 01/1986:
12451-212453-3
12455-412457-5

Offline Zozosoft

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Prices from METRO catalogue at 1986. For the comparison IBM PC pages included:
12459-012461-1
12463-212465-3

Offline Zozosoft

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CIAEGI monitor technical manuals. Now we know who produced these Enterprise monitors.

Offline Tuby128

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Quote from article of Mein Homecomputer 12/1985:
"Umschalten zwischen BASIC und Textsystem, ist jederzeit über die Funktionstaste 8 (mit Shift zum Textsystem, ohne Shift zum BASIC) ohne Verlust der eingegebenen Texte bzw. Programme möglich."

Translation:
Switching betwenn BASIC and WP, is always by using Function 8 (with Shift to WP, without Shift to BASIC) without loss of program or edited text.

I don't think that this statement is true. With switch to WP I always lost my programs. What if the first version of EP could do that?
« Last Edit: 2015.April.28. 18:01:49 by Tuby128 »

Offline SlashNet

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And we met Alexander Perewostschikov (sorry for any misspelling) from Technika Molodeschi

I think that this person is still working in editorial office of magazine "Техника Молодёжи": http://technicamolodezhi.ru/o_nas/ (Александр Перевозчиков: editor-in-chief)

Offline Zozosoft

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I don't think that this statement is true. With switch to WP I always lost my programs.
Yes. The magazine wrote false information.

Quote
What if the first version of EP could do that?
In the 1.x system no WP, just BASIC included in the mainboard ROM.

Anyway: in my Spectrum Emulator ROM the IS-BASIC program kept! Entering to the Spectrum mode, and switch back = hot reset from the IS-BASIC view point.

Offline Zozosoft

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About the METRO prices I asked: is other 8 bit system in the catalogue, for example Commodores?
Quote from: WernerLindner
METRO is a reseller, that has only companies and dealers as customers - no endusers. Therefore they didin't offer any other "home computer" at that time. The first ENTERPRISE management tried to place the machine in the professional corner and that is the reason, why they offered it to METRO.
 
Unfortunately this was not a big success at all: The METRO-outlets got the machines and the peripherals on a commission base, i.e. they payed for everything but had the right to give back any unsold components within a specific period. All-in-all METRO sold only a few hundred machines and all the unsold stuff came back by the beginning of 1987.

Offline Tuby128

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Can he estimate how much units were sold to Metro how much came back?

Offline Zozosoft

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Quote from: WernerLindner
Appr. 50 METRO outlets took part in that deal and every outlet had 12 machines (2 cartons) , some monitors, printers and 4 disk drives (1 karton). Appr. 300 computers, some monitors, printers and half of the disk drives came back. One big problem was, that they had thrown away the boxes for the demonstration machines in the outlets (which they gave back too), so we had about 50 computers, disk drives, printers and some monitors without boxes, without cables, without manuals after that deal. Counting the time and money we had to spend for unpacking/packing, replacing missing items, ... and the loss of money, when selling these obviously used items, the deal was a flop for us.

Offline Zozosoft

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Another legendary item that we never saw previously:
12476-012478-112480-2
12482-312484-412486-5
12488-612490-712492-8
12494-912496-1012498-11
12500-1212502-1312504-14
12506-1512508-1612510-17
12512-1812514-19
« Last Edit: 2015.April.30. 15:02:25 by szipucsu »

Offline Zozosoft

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Offline Zozosoft

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Quote from: WernerLindner
OK, here comes the long promised harddisk.
 
As I already told you the original design goes back to 1988/1989. The software was done by Michael Leopoldseder and Martin Schillinger, who both worked for EC GmbH on a freelance basis. The hardware design was my job and I made an extension card for the Minibus/Motherboard Extension Bus system and a smaller adaptor board for the OMTI/SEAGATE Controller. Both boards were connected via a 40pin flat ribbon cable and we successfully tested it up to a length of 1m. I have only the circuit diagrams and the top/bottom layer design as printouts anymore, there are no surviving prototypes.
 
The pcb design was done in a way, that both boards fit to an euro-card (160x100mm) for cheaper production. The board on the bus-side has the 64pin VG-connector, that you already know from my other cards. We produced three or four samples and sold appr. 10 kits (PAL, EPROM, description). Users, who had no MINIBUS/Motherboard Extension Bus had to interface the circuit to the existing EXDOS-controller. Users with MINIBUS/Motherboard Extension used my EXDOS controller card design. The harddisk software is made in a way, that you can connect up to two hdd drives with a max. of 32 MByte each to the system. The drives are mapped to drive letters F: and G:. The software supports German or English machines.
 
The principle design of this first version was taken for the harddisk system, that was used for the school networks in Kyrgysthan in 1992. We created the "Interface 4" card, that carried the complete harddisk interface electronics and two additional 128k static rams for a memory expansion. The existing EXDOS-controller was piggy-backed to the interface card. We used 64k machines for the teacher computer and therefore the memory expansion was decoded to segment FBh. The eprom with the harddisk was decoded to segment 30h. My working prototype is one of these later models. We have produced appr. 50 units that all went to Kyrgysthan. (Bishkek).

Quote from: WernerLindner
We have made one card with the complete controller electronics on-board with a connector, where the earlier used OMTI controller could be plugged in directly. And than I have a wire-wrapped version of the Bus-Interface of the controller (that one where the 40pin ribbon-cable is coming out to go to the adaptor card). Both cards are using a 74LS154 for decoding the eprom. Using the PAL/GAL was my idea, because I really like this kind of programmable logic.
 
At around 1990 OMTI controllers became were rare. Before we used them together with MFM-drives. My first harddisk on the ENTERPRISE was a combination of OMTI 5520 and SEAGATE ST225 with 20 Mbytes. Later we were using the ST11R with any kind of small RLL-drives. The ST157R was the smallest available drive in 1992, when we created the last version for the school networks.
 
The existing HDOS software cannot address more than 65535 sectors. As sector size is 512 Bytes, this will result in a total capacity of appr. 32 Mbytes. You cannot use more on a single drive. The remaining space on the ST157R is unused therefore. However you can connect a second drive to the controller and this will give you another 32 Mbytes.

Quote from: WernerLindner
The Pin-Layout on the IF4 is not compatible to my extension system, but to the original EXDOS controller. We had to use them, because they were in stock. There was no way of making a special EXDOS controller for only 50 units.
 
The memory is decoded from FBh to ECh and the machine should be fully compatible to the 128k. We had a second version of the GAL which started from F7h, to be able to use it with 128k machines as well. But for the school networks we used 64k machines as teacher machines only. This is the really big advantage of programmable logic: You can move memory or I/O-Ports around the system with only reprogramming the decoder chip.
 
The wires on the SRAM do have a stupid story: At that time there was no internet or other electronic media to get some information about new chips. There only were printed data books and data sheets. When designing the board we used the information we had about the 128kByte static rams and we supposed that all manufacturers would have the same pin-layout, to be compatible to each-other. At the time, when boards where ready the only supplier being able to deliver the static rams was SAMSUNG. And SAMSUNG had an incompatible pin-layout: They had changed /WE and /RD as far as I remember and we had to do the two small wires on each board.

Thenk I asked: In that interview (where talking about the new Enterprise model) Vilmos also told: "With the Enterprise 128K can use hard disk up to 160MB.
Finished interface which can handle the most of PC cards, than can be used VGA monitor for the system."
It is clear now, this system which use the Seagate card are the origin of the legend. But is any truth with the others: 160MB hard disk, or using other cards, for example VGA?


Quote from: WernerLindner
All the other things out of the interview with Vilmos are just fiction. There never was a plan for having bigger hdd drives on the Enterprise and there was no way of connecting a VGA-card or something similar to the machine. Of course the interface we made for the hdd-controllers can be used for other i/o based cards as well, but a VGA-card or a SCSI-controller is not only I/O based and there is no way for DMA-access to a PC-card with an ENTERPRISE. 

As far as Vilmos is concerned: The ideas about the big hdd's, the vga-cards, ... and so on were really his ideas only. I think he mentioned them in this interview to push his own business and to keep the ENTERPRISE in the papers and the media. He still had spectrum emulators in stock that he wanted to sell and he tried to keep up public interest high.

Offline Zozosoft

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Documents for the first version:
http://enterprise.iko.hu/technical/HDOS_1.1A.pdf

Offline Zozosoft

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GALs for the Interface 4

Offline BruceTanner

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Quote
Both boards were connected via a 40pin flat ribbon cable and we successfully tested it up to a length of 1m

A very extended Enterprise! :mrgreen:

Fascinating stories. I was completely unaware! :)