Feeds

Binary dinosaur drive found alive and breathing fire

28-year-old Seagate spinner, but you'll need safety specs

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Comment A binary dinosaur, with another 28-year-old Seagate drive inside, is still working - in an original IBM 5150 PC's expansion unit.

The 5150 PC accelerated the PC revolution kickstarted by the Commodore Pet, Apple II, TRS-80 (Trash 80), and other wonderful early boxes. The 5150 was a proper system, coming with a keyboard, built-in monitor and data storage. You could even have a 5156 expansion unit and the example in the UK's Binary Dinosaur's museum has one of these.

IBM 5150 PC with 5156 expansion box

IBM 5150 PC with 5156 expansion unit underneath twin floppy drive box (BInary Dinosaur)

It contains a Seagate ST-412 drive. The cable, a massive umbilical, between the expansion box and the PC is thicker than most people's thumb. Adrian Graham, the museum's creator and curator, said of the drive: "The platter housing has a date code of 8326 and the serial number is 132101, so it's … 28 years old."

He hooked up the 5156 and 5150 to power sockets and fired them up: "I had to replace the PSU (Power Supply Unit) in the main unit and dismantle the drive to loosen it up a bit, but it fired up and ran Zork1"

Zork1 running on IBM 5150

IBM 5150 PC running Zork1 off Seagate drive (BInary Dinosaur)

While he was doing this: "One of the tantalum caps on a floppy drive exploded and nearly set fire to the carpet. Next time I'm wearing safety specs."

Exploded Tantalum cap on IBM 5150 PC

Exploded tantalum cap on IBM 5150 PC (BInary Dinosaur)

Has any El Reg reader got a working PC that's older than 28? ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
VVOL update: Are any vendors NOT leaping into bed with VMware?
It's not yet been released but everyone thinks it's the dog's danglies
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.