Installing the IBM SCSI / A ‘tribble’ card in an IBM PS/2 model 60, using BlueSCSI, and a tale of painful lessons.

As a follow up to Installing a Gotek floppy emulator, this time I’m adding something desperately needed, mass storage using a SCSI card.

IBM SCSI / A adapter
IBM SCSI / A adapter

The machine is the 40Mb MFM based model, the cheapest option of getting a PS/2 model 60 back in the day. MFM hard disks are incredibly old, and sadly the eventual end point for these old disks is death. While I had investigated a MFM disk emulator they are very costly, with prices starting at $299 USD. Ouch. However, from my Dec Alpha experiments I do have the BlueSCSI was available for a more reasonable £52. So all I would need was a SCSI adapter, and I’d be good to go, right? Mostly.

Looking at the card, you can see that it doesn’t use a standard 50 pin connector. I guess it being the 1980s and IBM trying to re-capture the PC market by going all in with proprietary connectors, they used a 50 pin IDC connector to attach the 50pin SCSI ribbon cable. This would prove to be disastrous for me later on. I initially had no luck finding an original cable, while the SCSI cards themselves seem to be plentiful on eBay. I guess me buying 2 of them has triggered a lot of movement in the market. Another source of concern is that the 286 is 16bit, and the card is advertised as being 32bit, but rest assured the notched middle part seems to indicate that the card is 32bit/16bit compatible. I can attest it works in my PS/2 just fine.

My terrible idea + terrible soldering
My terrible idea + terrible soldering

I had decided that since I do have a bunch of jumper cables, I could just solder them directly to the card fingers. I only have one device, so I don’t really need a ribbon cable, the BlueSCSI can emulate multiple devices, so I figured it’d be fine. Of the 50 pins in a SCSI ribbon more than half are ground, so I figured I only needed to solder up about 25 connections, just like how Apple got away with 25 pin connections. I did tone out the pins looking for the +5v power signal, along with checking the common ground, where the flip side of the SCSI card is all ground.

I had connected it up, and the machine saw the blue SCSI, but for some reason it was always reading 25Mb.

I was unable to figure out what was going on, so when I went to inspect my setup, I had seen one of the cables had disconnected. Uh-Oh.

Card edge fingers torn off
Card edge fingers torn off

As I pulled the card out of the computer, 3 more cables had popped off, revealing that the fingers were nowhere near as strong as I had thought, and the fingers had been torn off the card. Very sad. The card still ‘works’ but it’d need someone with a good eye and soldering skills to re-attach the pads, or just solder bodge wires from the test points on the card to the IDC connector.

Obviously if I’d known the fingers were so fragile, I’d have not done this. But I was impatient for the IDC connector to arrive (it took about a month), and I really thought I could get away with it. So I don’t know if it matters for anyone else, but yeah it turns out these fingers are nowhere near as strong to side to side forcers as I had thought. Also I was told “on the internet, so you know it’s true”‘ that various super glues are conductive, so test before you think about trying to do it live.

IBM SCSI Adapter FRU 15F6561 IBM MICROCHANNEL SCSI 32 bit MCA Card + Cable

And that is when this pair showed up, another SCSI card, but this time with the illusive cable. There is something weird how the universe times things.

So got this card & cable set (If it was available 3 weeks ago, obviously I would have ordered this one as it has the ribbon!).

Where the magic happens, BlueSCSI!

Not knowing much about the IBM PS/2 SCSI/A adapter, I went ahead in BlueSCSI, and setup a 380MB disk on SCSI ID 0, a 1GB disk on ID1, and a 2GB disk on ID2. That’s when I found out that the adapter initialises the bus backwards.

I had thought it was a weird thing in the setup utility, so I booted up MS-DOS and ran FDISK to reveal that it really does read the ID’s backwards.

Obviously with the BlueSCSI they are just files on a SD card, so it’s trivial to just rename them.

I had also thought it was weird that the reference disk reads the disks being 2GB just fine, so I double up with both data disks being 2GB.

And sure enough, MS-DOS only sees 1GB per bigger disk. After search for a bit, it turns out that the 1GB limitation is a known thing and newer ROMs can work around the issue. Eagle eye’d might have noticed the first adapter had ROMs from 1990, while the second card has ROMs from 1991. But the better ROMs come from a totally different card. Normally I might have been annoyed, but since my disks are virtual I can just give myself 5x1GB data disks, along with that 360MB OS disk.


This is the best part of virtual peripherals, is that you can load out what would have been super expensive, and impractical for being era correct. Instead, now it’s super easy, barely an inconvenience. I can’t imagine trying to use physical disks in 2023.

One of the reasons I kept the smaller ‘C’ drive was to make for installing OSs a bit easier, as many older things hate ‘large’ disks. But being able to connect so many gives so much flexibility.

It’s a shame the MFM hard disk emulators are a bit expensive, even with my screwup it was still cheaper to go with SCSI, and the BlueSCSI basically just works, the only weird behaviour is all on the ‘tribble’ SCSI / A adapter.

Installing a Gotek floppy emulator in an IBM PS/2 model 60

Well like everything else, once you know what to do, its pretty self explanatory and easy. But until that point it’s a lot of trail and error.

The PS/2 model of computers went away from the PC/XT/AT design for something that would be more toolless and allow for more automation in the building & assembling of these machines. That means they removed loose wiring where possible to give not only great airflow, but an overall clean aesthetic to the PS/2 build. What this also means is that the old 34pin floppy ribbon will not do.

The PS/2 version uses and edge connection and integrates the 5v/12v power rails into the interface. You can try to add an old floppy to the mix, but there is 5 pins that need to be held high through a resistor pack to get an old floppy drive working. I didn’t want to fight it that much so instead I ordered an adapter from eBay, being sold by markgm.

Yes I don’t know what is up with the shipping either.

After much trial and error I found

After a lot of trial and error I found jumpering it for S0 was what worked. While I had read that JC was also needed, it just didn’t work when I tried. S0 puts the gotek into the first floppy position, in the older PC/XT/AT’s they jumper every drive as S1, but have a twist in the cable to negate it on the primary position.

The other catch is that it absolutely required a FF.cfg file

interface = ibmpc-hdout

Even though so many other systems didn’t need it, mine sure did. And Obviously I flashed my drive to the latest version of flashfloppy (3.41 as of now.). That also meant checking the processor type, which, is simple enough to check by opening it up, and setting your camera to maximum zoom.

Gotek AT32F415 processor

Or checking the gallery of microcontrollers in the various Gotek’s. The prices have shot up dramatically over the last few years for unknown reasons, so they switched to from the ST to the AT line or similar processors.

Can’t say I blame them.

So with the drive updated, and config file loaded, along with a disk image, it finally booted up!

First boot!

And with that in place I was able to boot the reference disk, and setup the system. The inside is a bit ugly but, I wanted to get this thing fully loaded, so I picked up an 80287-10.

One interesting thing about the PS/2 line of machines is that the 286’s could run their math coprocessors in synch. The IBM-5170/AT ran it asynchronously at 2/3rds the clock value. I would have imagined they convinced someone somewhere how at big step up from a 6Mhz 80286 & 4mhz 80287 to get into a PS/2 model 50/60 with a blistering 10Mhz 80286/287.

Happily the 80287-10 I had gotten from fractal2015, worked just fine.

Wow. awesome.

I’m waiting still for some cables to hook up the bluepill to the SCSI card, and the memory card, so I can run meaningful applications like SimCity for Windows, and OS/2.

PS/2 60 playing battletech, from a gotek emulated floppy

In the meantime I can do simple stuff from floppy. I’m still trying to keep an eye out for either an ethernet card, or a Token Ring card & MAU, along with cisco cards to at least let me use NetBEUI.

But for anyone else needing a solid answer on how to get the Gotek working with an IBM PS/2 model 60, here you go!

Today is Starfield day!

And there is a map of all the locales and when the launch. I was busy working and didn’t notice that Hong Kong had already launched.

many geo zones!

Thankfully I did get a payment voucher which fully covered the super fancy edition. Sadly there was no option for GPU’s so I’m going to try this with an OG 6GB GTX Titan.

It was a bit weird to figure out if I could run the game or not but I did get a pop up that today was the day so I guess so.

0% verified

I’ll have no choice but to update as it goes, so nothing yet to report.

I’m just hoping it’s not the hollow world experience of Fallout 76.

After all that downloading, turns out it doesn’t like my video card at all.

So yeah GTX 1070ti minimum. wow.

So I abused a work machine that ironically has a decent mobile GPU. swapped some storage and booted into the game, played a few hours.. And yeah

Old tyme Bethesda quality

When |I could, I took a detour to Earth’s moon, and went out for a walk. Naturally there was a base less then half a click away, and naturally it had 30 insurgents automatically hostile. What a vast but populated world. And then the NPC following me around suddenly took off her space suit, and broke the whole thing. I wanted to maybe get an ARC but apparente it doesn’t run at all on ARC. Seems kinda fishy to me tho. NVIDIA released a new driver like today for the special launch. I don’t know if there will be any fallout.

Surprise Firmware update & BitLocker

So, I rebooted my Windows laptop after some update, and was greeted by this surprise!

well that was a surprise

I guess lucky for me I had the machine tied to a Microsoft account which in turn had the key backed up. After some tedious typing later and I was back in business.

I guess this was the culprit?

BitLocker was so transparently well working I didn’t even know it was even running. Got to give it that much credit. And if anything, probably should just give up and run it everywhere.

Windows NT on IBM RS/6000

(This is a guest post by Antoni Sawicki aka Tenox)

Preparing for my Windows NT RISC Exhibition for VCFW 2023, I wanted to have NT running on an IBM RS/6000. This was previously covered in this excellent article by Shoutmon as well in this excellent video by NCommander. However both are missing some crucial information that I had to go through and learn myself the hard way. I hope it will help someone in the future.

Windows NT PowerPC was designed to run on PReP machines, however that by itself is not very useful. Which of the RS/6000 models are REeP and which are not? This is coincidentally answered by NetBSD/prep supported system models.

Firstly there are IBM PC Power Series. Yes IBM PC but with PowerPC CPU, and not to be confused with RS/6000 which is a different IBM product. However the IBM Power Series have equivalent RS/6000 “counterpart” models. WTF IBM.

IBM PC Power Series 440 6015 == IBM RS/6000 Model 7020 40P
IBM PC Power Series 830 6050 == IBM RS/6000 Model 7248 43P
IBM PC Power Series 850 6070 == IBM RS/6000 Model 7248 43P

There are also other models mentioned by Windows NT 4.0 HCL, namely E20, E30 and F30, and PowerPC ThinkPads. To summarize here is a more definitive list of IBM RS/6000 models supported by Windows NT 4.0:

Model 7020 40P
Model 7248 43P, 100 and 133 MHz
Model 7248 43P-140 (with a big asterisk)
Model 7024 E20 and E30
Model 7025 F30
ThinkPad 820, 850
ThinkPad 860 (with a big asterisk

If you could pick any RS/6000 machine, the 40P would probably be the most recommended. 40P can also run OS/2 PowerPC if you are in to this thing.

Unfortunately all I had on hand was 43P-140, which is PReP, but it’s not Power Series based and not supported by NT out of the box. WTF IBM. Chances are that you will run in to this as well. 43P-140 are way more popular and easier to acquire than any other hardware listed above.

The main trouble with 43P-140 is that the onboard GPU and NIC will not work with ARC and NT. Yes, you can hack in some generic S3 card. It will work in ARC/NT but not PROM and AIX. I wasn’t happy. Upon some collaboration with Shoutmon and NCcommander and my own research, I was able to find the one and only graphics card that will work in both the RS/6000 PROM as well as ARC BIOS, AIX and Windows NT. The lucky winner is:

IBM FRU 40H5838 aka GTX110P

It’s entirely possible that other adapters will work as well, however from all different cards that I tried this was the only one that worked in all combination.

As for NIC, there are way more options as it’s not used by PROM, ARC or AIX, just NT. In my case I opted for a standard Etherlink III card.

Once you have the correct hardware bits, NT installation is pretty straightforward. This is well covered elsewhere. In a nutshell you boot the ARC 1.51 floppy disk, setup partitions and install the OS. Note that the ARC BIOS will be installed in to a partition on your HDD and the floppy disk is not required beyond installation.

Installation on PowerPC ThinkPads, specifically the 860 is covered here.

Slacktivisim + IA

Can You Chip In?

I guess not surprising, Internet Archive is under fire yet again, and needs help. Again.

For more than two and a half decades, we have collected, preserved, and shared our digital cultural artifacts. Thanks to the generosity of our patrons, the Internet Archive has grown from a small preservation project into a vast library that serves millions of people each year. Our work has impacted the lives of so many of our users who value free and open access to information.

From the beginning, it was important for the Internet Archive to be a nonprofit, because it was working for the people. Its motives had to be transparent; it had to last a long time. That’s why we don’t charge for access, sell user data, or run ads, even while we offer free resources to citizens everywhere. We rely on the generosity of individuals like you to pay for servers, staff, and preservation projects.

If you can’t imagine a future without the Internet Archive, please consider supporting our work. We promise to put your donation to good use as we continue to store over 99 petabytes of data, including 625 billion webpages, 38 million books and texts, and 14 million audio recordings.

If you find our site useful, please chip in! Your support will help us build the web we deserve.

Thank you for joining me.

Brewster Kahle
Founder & Digital Librarian

And how can I support them by doing not much? BING!

Turns out that BING / Edge(ium) has this point thing for using it, and a tip jar to get Microsoft to fund IA. Every 1,000 points you tip will be $1 in real life?

Maybe it helps, I don’t know, I’d like to think it does. I figure 10,000 points let’s me feel like I’ve done something.

Yay slacktivisim.

Oh, and follow me on as neozeede! I try to upload strange and interesting things as I find them. Or remember to find them.

Peter’s Sun3 Zoo (restored)

Sometimes there is a great seemingly timeless resource on the internet, and you pull from it from time to time, make giant compilations, but never really reach out to the creator, or just archive the entire thing.

Then the unspeakable happens and it just up’s and disappears.

I never reached out to Peter Koch, to even thank him for preserving so much, or to apologise for not preserving his site, for some reason it felt like someone else would have done a better job. But then sometimes you find out you were that one person, and you didn’t do it, so you didn’t do it.

I don’t know the story, but it seems Peter did know that it was coming to and end.

May 01 2010 – Ending

Dear friends!

I have to give up my collection.

So if you’re interested in some pieces or know someone who might, please send me an e-mail.

Peter – Sun3 Zoo

So I’ll put in a call for help for the world at wide? Did anyone save anything more comprehensive than what was in, or what was in the ‘Titor Special‘?

In the meantime, the site has a new owner, and it’s been restored.

Peter’s Sun3 Zoo –

If anyone has any stories or anything preserved it’d be appreciated. There was at least a few parties, and party3, with party2 missing.


Building MS-DOS 2.11

I thought I’d slap together some github thing with MS-DOS 2.11 that’s been made buildable thanks to a whole host of other smart people. The default stuff out there expects you to build it under MS-DOS using the long obsoleted ‘append’ utility which can add directories to a search path. Instead I created a bunch of makefiles that take advantage of MS-DOS Player, and let you build from Windows.

dos211: just the MS-DOS 2.11 sources, I re-aranged stuff and made it (slightly) easier to rebuild on Windows. (

building should be somewhat straightforward, assuming you have the ms-dos player in your path. JUST MAKE SURE YOU UNZIP as TEXT mode. If you are getting a million errors you probably have them in github’s favourite unix mode.

msdos ..\tools\masm ibmbio.asm ibmbio.obj NUL NUL
The Microsoft MACRO Assembler , Version 1.25
 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1981,82,83

Warning Severe
Errors  Errors
0       0
msdos ..\tools\masm sysimes.asm sysimes.obj NUL NUL
The Microsoft MACRO Assembler , Version 1.25
 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1981,82,83

Warning Severe
Errors  Errors
0       0
msdos ..\tools\masm sysinit.asm sysinit.obj NUL NUL
The Microsoft MACRO Assembler , Version 1.25
 Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp 1981,82,83

DOSSYM in Pass 2

Warning Severe
Errors  Errors
0       0

   Microsoft Object Linker V2.00
(C) Copyright 1982 by Microsoft Inc.

Warning: No STACK segment

There was 1 error detected.
msdos ..\tools\exe2bin.exe IBMBIO IBMBIO.COM < 70.TXT
Fix-ups needed - base segment (hex): 70
del -f ibmbio.obj    sysimes.obj   sysinit.obj ibmbio.exe


As an example building the bios by running make. For the impatiend you can download, which includes a bootable 360kb disk image, and a 32Mb vmdk!

Come meet Tenox & check out the NT RISC collection over at VCF

Billed as “NT RISC: Windows NT on RISC machines. Alpha, MIPS, PowerPC, Itanium.”, the exhibit demonstrates a lot of work in sourcing & repairing the machines along with some great rare example like

  • DEC AXPpc 150 Jensen NT 3.1
  • DEC PWS 500 Miata W2K axp64
  • DEC Multia NT 4.0
  • Motorola PowerStack NT 4.0
  • NetPower Fast MP NT 4.0
  • MVME 1600 NT 4.0
  • DeskStation Tyne NT 3.1
  • DeskStation Raptor Reflex

And yes, we’ve even had a few celebs pass by!

Dave Plummer and Chris Walker

Tenox will be there all day Saturday at the The Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA, 1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043.

exhibit #16

H’es located at tables 37-38, exhibit 16.