Oct 162016

A friend of mine just brought me this old rack-mount chassis containing two " half height floppy drives. It turned out to be much nicer than just a box with a couple of floppy drives inside: It also contains a 7-slot S-100 bus backplane! So, now this begins my quest to acquire a set of S-100 cards to turn this back into a working computer.

The floppy drives are Mitsubishi M2896-63-02U double-sided drives, which I am told are a very nice model. The haul also included another spare drive. Maybe I’ll turn it into my main 8″ imaging drive? The heads are much easier to access for cleaning than in my Tandon half height " drives.

The backplane power harness is missing, and some wiring is disconnected in the power supply. I will need to examine it carefully to determine the condition of the power supply before I try applying power.

I’m told that this chassis was originally part of a hard disk drive servo writing system. It would have been nice to see the intact system, but it was gutted for parts a long time ago. The chassis also came with a very nice set of rack slides.

I don’t know how I’ll eventually outfit this chassis, but while researching S-100 board options, another collector just happened to announce a few SOL-20 computer systems for sale. And to top it off, he was just about to leave on a trip down the west coast, driving very close to me on the way! In case you’re not familiar with the SOL-20, it’s another S-100 based computer system, but with a built in keyboard and a video card. So, the SOL-20 does not require a separate dumb terminal like most S-100 systems do.

After some haggling, we agreed on a price for a nice SOL-20 system with two external floppy drives and some software on cassette, which should arrive in my county in about a week. It’s not going to be a cheap purchase, but how often does a SOL-20 show up with free delivery? So now I still need to identify and procure a nice board set to turn my new S-100 chassis back into a computer, and I also would like to find a nice monitor to sit on top of the SOL-20. Wish me luck!

  2 Responses to “An S-100 Computer Chassis”

  1. If you don’t already know about them, there’s a group of folks designing and selling new S-100 boards. They used to be called N8VEM, but are now retrobrewcomputers. Compared to buying old ones, you get much more reliable results, much lower cost, and better performance.

    • I did consider getting one of the cool new S-100 card designs. But I ended up getting a pretty complete set of Compupro boards: CPU-Z, RAM 17, Disk 1, Interfacer 4, and System Support 1.