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DigiBarn Mystery Systems:
A a fun two diskette kit system

Well, we think this was a kit advertised or described in a magazine. Know more about this Mystery System? Contact us!


Know more about this Mystery System? Contact us!

DigiBarn virtual visitors write:

From Dwayne Sturge (March 2005)

I am not sure, but this could be a form of the Commodore 64/128 dual disk drive system, consisting of 2 1571's for disk copying and operations like a BBS or whatever. This is my theory - only I sorta recall the Commodore Drives to be IEEE-488 (or similar to HP-IB) Maybe same idea in this kit, because it doesn't look all that different to the 1571's Dual. Take that and run with it and see what happens.

I've enjoyed experiencing the history of Commodore 64/128/rare portables, the "IBM" compatables as I started servicing them way back in 1981, The Compaq "portables", just too many to recall at this time. I've had brief experiences around DEC's PDP-11's, Micro PDP-11, The VAX (missing working with VMS, the bullet proof OS that met its' demise by those determined to kill the VAX, IMHO. I've seen and used a Data General Supernova, along with those Diablo Hard Packs that took about 45 seconds to lock up to speed, ASR 33's/KSR 33's by Teletype Corp, Lear Sigler Terms, Altair 8800B Turnkeys, Single Board Computers as small as 1 to 4K of RAM and HEX keypad pgmg., The Old Monroe Hollerinth Programmable Calcs, Monster Keypunchs, 360's, 370 4341's... HP's desktop computer, and so much more (if I could only remember), I'm 44yrs old and I believe I've seen a rich history of Computing. Oh lets not forget the Apple's, the II, III (and C) Mac 128, 512, Still own an SE and a Quadra 650 in fine working order. I admit I'm sending this on my AMD Sempron 2200+ based MSI/VIA powerhouse, and wired/wireless 802.11b/g (Linksys WRT54GS), but I will not forget my diversified roots. in the machines that brought us to today's technology, Hey I can't even for get TRS-80's I/II/III/IV's... MAI Basic IV Corp's, S10's..., even one with ext. HD and the old S80 display terminals, As I said, I've forgotten more than I can remember, but the pictures and names jog my memory as I stroll through memory lane of all the rich history thats touched my computing life. Thank you for a fine site, just wish some of the photos weren't blurred. Have a fine day.

From Ed Almos (March 2005)

Regarding your mystery system with the two 5 1/4 inch floppy drives, I have an idea.

Way back when I first started I remember seeing in BYTE a system that Steve Ciarcia built using a single board computer that had a couple of floppy drives. I know that it required a terminal for operation but I don't remember much else.

Get in touch with Steve at circuitcellar.com and see if it's his baby.


Ed Almos
Budapest, Hungary

From Kevin O'Shaughnessy (May 2005)

In looking at the 2 Drive Mystery Disk System (DSC02154.jpg) - I think it is a disk duplication system. I used one that looked just like it around 1988-ish when working for a software developer. We were a small outfit and duplicated our own disks. (one master - one dupe)

I think that the company that produced it also had a 4 drive unit (one for the master and 3 for the dupes)

Tom Bowden writes in July 2005:

This looks very much like a dual eight inch floppy system built by DMC a divsion of Cetec Corp in the mid 70's. It was built for Computerland and also for some numeric control applications.

Charles Collins II writes in August 2005:

...that picture looks like a system that either Byte magazine, or PC Micro had a dual disk single baord computer project. I will try to look for the exact article and will e-mail you with the full details later.

From Paul Kooros (November 2005)

More on your mystery system:  I think this is the BCC180 system based on the SB180 project board described Steve Ciarcia's "Circuit Cellar" column in the October 1985 issue of Byte magazine. The SB180 was based on the Hitachi HD64180 "Super Z80", later licensed to Zilog and sold by them as the Z180.  The SB180 had 256kB DRAM, floppy controller, could run CP/M, and had many follow-on expansion projects.  Its still useful for embedded applications, and the (updated) board itself is still available for sale by MicroMint:
https://www.micromint.com/products/bcc180.htm !

My friend at Univ. of Colorado, Boulder built one, and my 18-years-ago recollection was the same as your photo.  On the other hand, here
is another SBC180 system with a different style case-back; so maybe I'm wrong?   :-)

Perhaps a removal of the cover would solve the mystery.

      best regards, and complements on your wonderful digibarn!

From Darren Hearn (November 2005)

The photos of your "fun two diskette kit [mystery] system" are similar to those of Steve Ciarcia's "SB180 Single-Board Computer" in the September 1985 issue of Byte (reprinted in _The Best of Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar_). The board and software were available from Circuit Cellar Inc. The company still exists - see https://www.circuitcellar.com/

The SB180 was based on the Hitachi HD64180 with a BIOS made by Echelon Inc. What's the mystery system use?

From Tom Griner (January 2006)

Regarding the dual disk drive thing here:

Does it have a 6502 CPU?  If so, it could be a prototype Commodore floppy disk drive.
I saw similar looking items back at "Human Engineered Software" in Brisbane around 1985.

They could hook to a CBM Pet, Vic20 or C64

More thoughts on the Mystery Dual disk box

Check to see if it is like the MSD Superdrive as described here:


Curator: So who is right? My vote on Steve Ciarcia's kit board?

Know more about this Mystery System? Contact us!

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