Monthly Archives: October 2014

More TRS-80

A little bit of progress with the TRS-80.

I went ahead and hooked a floppy disk drive (modified for use) on a modified cable to the Tandy.. wrote a disk with the Compaq.

trs-80 and compaq

The write was successful..

trsdos 1.3

Booted into TRS-DOS 1.3!


Got a few disks written but they don’t read properly. I need to get the manual for the operating system. I have a few other avenues to go, writing disks with an emulator. That’s for another day. I need to find a few more compatible drives and get some holders to go in the slot, rather than using an old SCSI tape drive frame. Tried writing a couple things with the 386, but no dice.

Radio and Tape

First off, from the clearance/28% off/further 28% off due to clerk error radio from Radio Shack.

It’s a little Grundig-badged AM/FM/SW thing, powered from a couple AAA batteries. The AM reception is a little marginal but the FM and SW are pretty good. Have an over-exposed image of it:


I was sat listening to Radio Havana on 6.00MHz the other evening, fairly clear. Weather’s been poor for it.

On the other hand, I brought my Walkman with me, a Sony WM-FX513. Hailed as Sony’s pinnacle model (or one of them) it was up for a new belt.


Ordered a replacement belt from Marrs Communications in Texas. Fairly expensive but top quality bits.


Started by taking the thing to bits. Fairly easy, 5 screws and the front comes off.

Walkman open

Carefully align the new belt so it’s not twisted.

belt on

Give it a push and…. whee! It spins up, engages the mechanism and begins playing Pink Floyd.


All back together again and playing just fine. This makes me happy.


Got the radio set to USA (AM mostly, we tune in 10kHz steps here, rather than 9kHz steps in the UK) and I can now listen to anything I choose to stick on tape. Fun times.


Whilst back at home, I pulled the lawnmowers out of the garden shed.


First up, an old Folbate push-along reel mower. I had cleaned up and oiled this nearly ten years ago, stuck it back in the shed.. took it out, dusted it down a little and gave it a shove. It span up beautifully and cut the grass. Surprising! Still good. It went back in the shed because manual labor sucks.

Instead, we have my old contraption of a lawnmower.

Suffolk 1

suffolk 2

It’s a Suffolk Punch. Motorized reel mower. Circa 1958, it’s a bit of a Frankenstein but still in perfect working order. 75cc side-valve upright horizontal crank engine (which had new rings and a basic rebuild before I left) and a heavy roller at the back, with a trigger-activated belt driven system to send it going.

My father had attempted to tune the carburetor after many hours of use had seen it badly out of adjustment. It was.. er, running, but not that well. Beautiful carburetors on these, Zenith updraught. 1/2″ carb, with idle speed, idle and main mix settings easily adjustable.

Cleaned the carb out, set it all back up again (by ear, that’s good with these) so the idle mix was correct, and it idled happily at about 400 rpm. Revs up without hesitation and needs a little choke to get going from cold. Just right. Fires on the first pull now.

Also, with a heavy roller, the tradition of a striped English lawn can be fulfilled:

striped grass

Doesn’t do a bad job when it’s all back in adjustment.

Back after vacation

Took a two week break back to the UK. That was pleasant, and gave me a chance to pick up some of the odds and ends I had wanted to bring back.

Brought with me my Taylor Windsor Model 65B RF generator.

Windsor 65B

It’s an AM frequency generator, will make anything from about 100kHz up to 26MHz, and modulate at either 400Hz 30% or if you feed it with a 5v p-p signal, will modulate what you feed it.

Technically could, with an amplifier and antenna, make a radio station from it, lol

It’s all tubes inside, had a bit of a rebuild (new electrolytics) a few years back. The tubes needed tying back in. Took some avionics looming cord and tied them in.

tied in tubes

Wrapped it up ad brought it back (much to the interest of the TSA, who had a note with pictures “THIS IS WHAT THIS IS” so they opened it (note not from the UK to Belgium, neither Belgium to the USA, but Newark to New Orleans). Arrived safe and sound. Powered it gently up on the Variac here at home.. came to life at about 60V and began outputting 400Hz at 1000kHz AM. Picked up with my Walkman, still accurate!

generator on variac

Still working good. Going to run it a while on low voltage to soak it in a bit and check things aren’t going to go pop. Should help reform the caps.