saying goodbye to my IBM PCjr
June 11, 2006 12:22 PM   Subscribe

I have an old IBM PCjr 4860 that once upon a time we added a jrCaptain Tecmar extension piece onto it so we could attach a printer. I have three questions. I want to get rid of this beast but I want to print everything off the disks (I was quite the prolific writer as a kid). Unfortunately we lost the jrCaptain power transformer and cable (power supply) for this extension piece so we think that's why every time we turn on the printer it stops the computer from doing anything (no keyboard, no running of whatever it was running) and then upon turning off the printer it suddenly is back to normal. Where can I get my hands on that power supply or what could I use in it's place that wouldn't kill the extension. (voltage?) Second question: what about a way to transfer the big floppies onto a modern storage device? What are the options out there? Anything I can do at home? Any places that do this for you? Third question: what do I do with an old IBM PCjr when I want to toss it?

IBM PCjr: How to save the old floppies to modern storage? And where do I dispose of the computer?
posted by toftk to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
The big floppies are just 5.25 inch disks. You might be able to find an old computer that could read those.

I'm sure if you put the PCjr up on eBay, you'd find plenty of people willing to bid and buy it.
posted by reverendX at 12:31 PM on June 11, 2006

Best answer: You can pick up a 5.25" floppy drive on ebay pretty cheap. These drives are compatible with some modern systems, because today's (non-USB) 3.5" drives use the same motherboard connector.

The connector at the drive looks different, like the one shown in this auction. It's a "card edge" connector instead of being a bunch of pins.

The 5.25" floppy drive will fit in what kids today call a "CD bay" on a desktop or tower computer.
posted by jepler at 1:03 PM on June 11, 2006

If you don't mind paying, the easiest thing to do would be to bring the disks to a computer repair place and asking them to back up all the data on to CD or something. They'll know how to hook everything up, and as other said the disks are compatable with modern PCs.
posted by delmoi at 2:18 PM on June 11, 2006

I seem to recall that the word processor that we used on the PCjr saved in a unique binary format, but with text saved as ASCII text, so you might want to take a look at your files in a hex editor to see how easily the text can be salvaged. I'd recommend backing up the disk with the word processor, too. You could probably boot an old version of DOS in a 8088 emulator and run things.

My brother sold our PCjr in the 90s for $100 to some computer illiterate fellow as a typewriter replacement. I've personally thought that I'd rather have seen it go to a computer museum. (For instance, Powell's Technical Bookstore has a makeshift computer museum) The PCjr is the Edsel of PCs: a famous flop. I remember having a word problem in a middle school math text wherein a computer store halved the price of the PCjr every hour during the day in order get rid of them ASAP.

I don't remember any of this jrCaptain stuff. If you hunted around, you could probably find a used parallel port printer that you could print directly to through the parallel port.
posted by Skwirl at 2:34 PM on June 11, 2006

Skwirl: PCjrs didn't have parallel ports; you had to get a sidecar that had a port to use a printer.

I cut my computing teeth on PCjrs. That's what my elementary school had in the computer lab.
posted by zsazsa at 5:28 PM on June 11, 2006

Ohhh, the memories! My family's first computer was a PCjr. I remember having to insert the Basic cartridge in order to get the fun games to run. And annoying my brother (who actually wanted to write functional programs) with something along the lines of:

20 GOTO 10

Sell it on eBay. I bet you could get $50 for it...
posted by salad spork at 9:03 PM on June 11, 2006

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