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Visual Technology Inc Model 1050


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  Visual Technology Inc Model 1050 by Bill Degnan - 03/31/2010 17:10
The Visual Technology Inc Model 1050

I have a perfectly working Visual Technology 1050 system with Winchester hard drive option. There is however one problem. I have three keyboards and they're all bad. The problem is similar to that of the Processor Technologies SOL Terminal Computer and other keyboards made with a foam contact pad in each key. About 25% of the pads have turned to dust. To format the Winchester drive I was forced to swap keyboards just to get certain keys to print on the screen. I needed all three keyboards to initiate the hard drive format! There has to be an easier way.

The Visual Technology Inc Model 1050 keyboard.

  Visual 1050 Keyboard repair suggestions by Bill Degnan - 04/11/2010 19:31
These are notes for my reference.

[1] From Mike
".. The foam brand is Woodland Scenics (they're about the only brand you
see in the hobby shops). It was 5mm foam (3/16"). The space blanket was
from WalMart in the camping section, I think (called an Emergency
Blanket). One side of the mylar is conductive and the other isn't. Check
it with a meter and put the conductive side AWAY from the semi-circular
contacts on the PCB. .."

[2] from Bill S
".. If you can't find a space blanket and track foam, I have found
that regular old "double sticky" mounting foam tape, used in
double thickness, works well. Also, instead of the space blanket,
you can reuse the existing "foil" (rub the old foam off the back
of it) or you can use a "Mylar" (it isn't really Mylar) party

The mounting foam gives a different keyboard feel but has the
advantage that you don't have to mess with rubber cement.

  Keyboard Repair Visual 1050 by Bill Degnan - 07/19/2010 21:03
The foam padding in the keyboard has almost completely disintegrated. Very few keys work properly as a result.

The foam used by Keytronic for the VisualTechnologies 1050 was used to push the metallic pad in contact with the keyboard circuit board. The foam has lost it's shape and no longer is tall enough to reach the circuit board.

Image of the disassembled keyboard.

I found that a Stanley Grommet Kit of 1/2" (12mm) punch was perfect for making holes in foam, but the foam I had on had was too soft and did not hold its shape enough for me to be confident that I was not just re-creating the same problem for myself down the road.

NEXT: Get the foam suggested by Mike L in the post above.

  Replacing foam keyboard pads for 1050 by Bill Degnan - 07/24/2010 20:51
Finally finished. Now the keyboard has new pads in all keyboard key holes.

  Photos Visual 1050 by Bill Degnan - 08/19/2010 17:14
This Visual 1050 ROM allows for the system to boot directly to the Winchester hard drive.

The Visual Technology model V1050-Winchester external hard drive.

The Visual Technology model V1050-Winchester external hard drive (rear view)

More pics

  v1050 hard drive setup by Rich Bramante - 12/20/2011 16:47
Hi Bill, I am trying to help support v1050 Winchester emulation for the m.e.s.s. project. Do you have any additional documentation or pointers regarding Winchester setup? We have v1050 system disk images with 1.4 BIOS which seem to indicate Winchester support but we are not sure how to proceed to "install" the virtual drive. Also, would it be possible to get ImageDisk images of your 2.0 BIOS system disks? 1.4 is the most recent system disks we have been able to obtain. Thanks very much.

  ROM for 1050 to boot to hard drive by Bill Degnan - 12/20/2011 19:17

I was wrong in my post to cctalk...I forgot there is a ROM that allows a person to boot to the HD directly. I will let you know when I have this system set up so I can help you.

  1050 hard drive support by Rich Bramante - 12/21/2011 11:18
Thank you Bill.

Here's what I have been able to cull together so far:

(1) The Z80 BOOT PROM code (version 1.2 at least, which is the source listing I have) appears to probe the Winchester, for boot e.g.
- try to read Winchster
- check result
- if error, try floppy
- if ok, check Winchester label
- if bad label, try floppy
- if good label load system and boot??? (this part is unclear to me)

(2) Not all of the v1050 CP/M BIOS versions appear to support the Winchester. Versions up to 1.1 do not appear to contain the WINCH.ASM module which I am assuming is required for support. I do not have access to version 1.2, but I see this module showing up starting in version 1.3.

I would assume that with the 1.2 BOOT PROM and the 1.4 CP/M BIOS I could support the Winchester (barring any bugginess - you appear to have v2.0 of the CP/M BIOS and not sure on the BOOT PROM).

What isn't clear to me at this point is how to install CP/M onto the Winchester and get the label setup so that the PROM would boot directly from the hard drive.

I'd appreciate any more details you can provide when you get a chance. Thanks again!

  keyboard chip/rom by Rich Bramante - 03/27/2012 09:12
Hi Bill, I can't tell from the picture on the web -- what MCU is in your keyboard and is there an external ROM? Are they socketed or soldered? Mine has an 8039 with 2716 external ROM soldered but I've heard some use an 8049 which its own ROM. I have been trying to get a dump of the keyboard ROM for an emulation project.

  Visual 1050 Winchester Support by Bill Degnan - 09/04/2012 14:29
Hello.msg display when the Visual 1050 Winchester Hard Drive Option disk is activated. Click image for larger view.

In order to boot Visual 1050 directly from the Winchester drive one needs ROM 1.2 or higher. I have 1.2.

A listing of the files present on the Winchester set up disk for the 1050. FMTWINCH is the command that formats the drive, and walks a person through the installation process, which includes copying the boot files to the hard drive.

The FMTWINCH will first ask the operator to select a 5 MB or 10MB Winchester drive, and warn the user that all data will be lost. Once activated, the format program formats and then verifies 1223 tracks of the Computer Memories, Inc. Model CM 5412 hard drive.

Once the drive is formatted and the OS files are transferred to the hard drive, a system with ROM version 1.2 or greater can boot the system directly from the hard drive - the "C" drive.

  Visual 1050 Quad Density Drives by Bill Degnan - 09/04/2012 14:54
The hard-to-find Teac FD 55E-02 is a quad-density single sided disk drive, and the disk drive model that came with the Visual 1050. My Visual 1050 was upgraded with the quad-density double sided drive, the Teac FD 55-FV-35-U. You can read single-sided disks on a double sided drive.

In order to complete the restoration of this computer, I had to replace the "A" drive Teac FD 55-FV-35-U (had a spare!) and the 1793 drive controller chip. I was not thrilled to see there was a soldered-in battery. on the motherboard nearby as well. I will get to that later. It was not leaking.

  WInchester Drive Controller Error by Bill Degnan - 09/04/2012 15:23
A screen shot from WINCHBAK, performing the restore function, moving compressed files from backup diskette to the hard drive. Click on image for larger view.

Here's a directory listing, note Z3 Plus Z-System for CP/M Plus, is installed.

Original CP/M Plus disk for Visual 1050.

The fun was short-lived. The next day I was unable to connect to the hard drive, the computer reported "Winchester ..? " After a lot of swappting and testing I concluded one of the drive controllers went bad.

This is the Ontel controller that sits between the hard drive and the XEBEC drive controller, kind of like a Commodore 9060 external drive. Note sure what the encoding is, more investigation is needed. There is a capacitor on the board that might have gone bad. Click on image for larger view.

XEBEC drive controller installed in the external drive, and receives power to operate. Click on image for larger view.

I suspect that the CMI CM 5412 hard drive itself is OK, but I plan to try a Seagate ST-251, which I believe is compatible with the CM 5412. I need to verify that, stay tuned.

I may have a spare XEBEC controller, but the next move is to check the cap on the Ontel controller, it may have blown.

  Visual 1050 - BIOS v2.0 by Wayne Warthen - 09/05/2012 19:39
Hi Bill,

I am a new owner of a Visual 1050. It is in good working order, but I'm still working on the keyboard.

It appears that your CP/M system disks have BIOS v2.0. My system came with v1.3. Any chance you could create an image of your system disks for me?



  ImageDisk Image for Visual 1050 by Bill Degnan - 09/06/2012 21:22
I will attempt to post an image of the Visual 1050 boot disk(s) that would be useful. They will be here when I am done. If they're not, use the contact link on this site to request a copy.

  XEBEC Drive Controller Overheating? by Bill Degnan - 12/16/2016 11:21
If I run a fan directly on the controller while formatting the hard drive I found I can make it through the process. I pull it away for a second and it fails. I need to figure out why.

I learned this while in the middle of re-formatting the drive. During the hard drive format track verification processing, at about 1100 of 1200, a tant filter cap blew on the computer. Smoke everywhere so I pulled the fan from the hard drive controller (I have the cover off) to deal with the computer smoking. Soon afterwards the controller failed and I was not able to access the drive.

Tried it again with the fan on the whole time and it works. I can now boot again directly to the C drive on the external enclosure.

Next locate the cap or diode or whatever that's out of spec and replace it. Probably replace all caps just to be efficient. (Or I can be lazy just run a fan on the controller while in use)



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