HP 9817 Usage

TangentDelta tangentdelta at protonmail.com
Tue May 26 10:30:45 CDT 2020


I have an HP 9817 and its accompanying 9133D disk drive unit.

The disk drive seems like a rather large can of worms, so I've been ignoring it. I re-capped the 9817's power supply. It powers up and it passes all of its diagnostics according to the LEDs on the motherboard. I can see that it is outputting a picture on the composite video connector, but I don't have any displays that will accept the weird sync frequency that it uses. I also do not have an HIL keyboard to use with the machine.

I traced out the RS-232 TX and RX on the 50-pin serial connector on the back, and verified that it matched up with the hand-drawn schematics on the HP Museum website. Using that information, I build a serial cable. Unfortunately the machine does not appear to use this serial port as a "console" at power-up. I tried messing around with the DIPS switches according to the manual but none of the settings I tried resulted in the machine using the serial port at boot.

I noticed that one of the DIP switches will enable/disable a "remote keyboard" feature. Enabling it causes the machine to fail the power-on test with a "device not found" error code. I didn't write down the exact error code.

Should I look at buying a monitor that can support the composite video sync and get an HIL keyboard (or build an adapter)? Does the machine not support using a terminal over the serial port as a console at boot?


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