3 Replies Latest reply on Feb 19, 2018 10:46 AM by h3rb

    Anyone interested in an Osborne 1 Raspberry Pi project?


      Do you guys remember the original portable computers - suitcase-style, "luggable" computers?  Osborne Computers made the first of them.  Anyway, I've got the 163rd one made up on Ebay:



      The reason I am posting it here is because I always had hopes of doing integrate an Arduino or (more likely) a Raspberry Pi using the parallel port for a cool mix of old and new technology.  I thought it would be cool if whoever got it, had a similar point of view:

      • Cool text based home automation unit (using the parallel port with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi)
      • Use a Raspberry Pi, Google’s voice recognition API, and the Wolfram Alpha Python Interface to make a retro text version of Siri that looks like early artificial intelligence - kind of a steampunk home helper that you can ask questions to settle bar bets or check the weather
      • Freak people out at a presentation by hooking it up to projector and doing a minimalistic, text only "slideshow" (either using a "Screen Pac" and MBASIC or by hiding a Raspberry Pi inside)
      • Convert or swap the CRT to accept the composite out of a Raspberry Pi... monochrome goodness with unlimited possibility
      • Now that your Xbox 360 just got obsolete, time to hack it into a mobile version with room for controllers and the world's largest built-in chatpad
      • If you want to keep that monochrome feel, I played Atari 2600 games in monochrome and survived my childhood.  How about hacking an Atari into the case.  It would be a great little diversion to throw together and keep at a cabin, lodge, or man cave.  The Atari controller aesthetic would lend itself pretty well to the design of the case
      • Put it on display in the office of your startup - maybe have it rotate welcome messages to visitors.
      • Hack the 2 floppy drives to play dueling banjos...
      • screw a project, just have a piece of history


      Anyone have any other cool ideas?

        • Re: Anyone interested in an Osborne 1 Raspberry Pi project?

          I also have an Osborne one sitting in my basement... Later version, upgraded with the double density and video out. Never got a HD for it. I was seriously considering the Rasbi until I discovered the UDOO quad. An A9 processor (quad core) and Arduino all on one board. Can run Linaro (Linux) or Android OS. Consider the UDOO to be 4 Rasbi's and Arduino all on one board, with HDMI, SATA HD, camera input, audio i/o, usb serial, CAN.


          The dream I have is to turn the Ozzy into a radio science platform. My interests are in radio and astronomy. Put the Udoo on a slide out rail to work on it during prototyping.... A LCD (touch screen) swings down over the center during normal op... I have a ULF NASA Inspire radio for natural RF (lightning and aural choruses...

          Also acquired an SDR usb dongle tv radio that can tune HF to UHF and beyond (2 GHz), got the dongle working under Windows and Mac so far. Linux is next. Radio astronomy has lots ofr amateurs under2 GHz.


          For the astronomy side Ill use Arduino stuff to control a telescope mount, focus, GPS etc.. The UDOO can run astronomy software and camera acquisition.


          Battery power, AC..maybe even solar charging for batteries. I can add a small s/w radio for signals under 2 MHz down to LF range. The Arduino can of course can be used for a weather station, motor control (servos for directional antennas, Telescope control.


          A dream machine for natural science activity. Ive held the Ozzy in sacred status all these years. It faithfully served me in the late 80's as the first one in my office to carry a "portable" computer for work.... But now its a perfect space for all kinds of ideas.



          • Re: Anyone interested in an Osborne 1 Raspberry Pi project?



            about 6 months ago I picked up what I hoped was a working Zorba 2000 -- similar type of luggable -- and it was working except for the FDDs.  Basic non-invasive tinkering has created a situation where the keyboard isn't working as expected, so I've sort of given up on getting it to work after several attempts (bought a Lothratek HxC SD FDD Emulator, for example) ... trust me, I tried everything to get it working in its original way.


            So, since I'm out almost $500 so far, I've decided to further risk my investment by replacing the motherboard with a Raspi and possibly an Arduino for a video tinkering layer.  Maybe not the best way to run a business, but I'm trying to get a cool item out of this.


            What this unit does have is a working 9" CRT (amber!) and now that i've removed the drives and the motherboard, I'm left with a CRT, CRT-driver board and a power supply that does 12V and 5V among other things.  I've also got all of the schematics (though, sadly, not 100% of the required information about everything and no one to turn to.)


            This leaves me with several challenges.  Anyone who wants to write a reply and give me their 2 cents is fine.


            #1 retaining the original keyboard and writing a GPIO-based interface.


            #2 Decoupling the composite out of the Raspi into Horiz / Vert / "Video" (Possibly a monochrome Luma channel on the Zorba CRT)


            #3 Modding the back cover in some way to support HDMI, audio/video ...


            #4 Doing something awesome with the gaping hole in the front chassis where the floppy drives were.



            What should I do to this thing?


            Here's what I've thought so far:


            #1 I'm waiting on some LM1881 chips to split up the composite, in the hopes that, without too much hacking, the CRT will display output from the raspi.  Once that's done I have a display.  I've also thought about maybe investing in that Video Manipulator Shield for the Arduino, so I can do even more stuff.  ($10 total probably with other parts) --- I'm nervous that the LM1881 isn't going to be enough to undo what's on this, to the 220 ohm resistor is a hopeful sign we're dealing with an NTSC style deal:    see "P4 CRT BOARD" area and P6



            #2 Cut a custom metal plate for the back which will allow me to, by way of extensions, offer HDMI out, USB, etc and some advanced audio/video.  Should I invest in those 60W digital amp shields for HiFi?  $100


            #3 Getting 9V out of a 12V signal to drive arduino board.  Buck Converter ? Voltage regulator?  LM7809?   $10-20


            #4 I've got a RS232 UART-GPIO shield coming for the Rpi.  I'm hoping to somehow get the signal off the keyboard, which puts out TXD and RXD only.  (It's RJ11, Telephone Jack, so I have a breakout of that coming too)  $20 .. probably a lot of software testing and writing some sort of custom driver




            #5 Get the Rpi HDD / SDD breakout and put in a 250GB - 500GB SSD ($150-200)


            Things I could do to the front panel:

            Add a second, touch screen

            Add just a nice HD screen

            Add a touch pad or sensor input or pseudo theremin "put your hand in the box" sort of thing.

            Add output jacks and USB hubs

            Make an LED display or something kooky like those LED grids that could offer mood lighting

            <-- something else?  what should I do


            Should I trust the 5V and 12V outputs for running things like LEDs and the Raspi powersource?


            Other challenges:

            The Zorba 2000 has a pot that adjust contrast / video output signal level.  It would be good to retain use of this but I'm not sure if I can.


            It's actually https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zorba_(computer)  the one pictured here.