Re: Wanting a Lisa

From: Ray Arachelian <ray_at_email.domain.hidden>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 10:24:42 -0400 (edt)

On Tue, 14 Oct 2003, Chris "Zap" wrote:

> Greetings,
> I just joined this list a few days ago, and have been lurking for a
> while. I figured the Lisa crowd wouldn't be too huge, in comparison to some
> of the other lists I recently joined (Compact Macs, LEM Swap). I'm curious
> to know what my chances of finding a Lisa would be.

Very high probability of finding one on ebay. :) But conditions vary, and you're right to be weary of Lisa2 VS XL's.

At power-on, the Lisa's BIOS does some hardware tests, during which in the white bar (upper right hand side of the screen) the ROM version will print. First the 68000's ROM version, then a forward slash and the floppy controller ROM version will also show.

ROM versions of the Lisa that are one letter wide are what you want. "H" is the latest. On bootup, the Lisa will display something like H/88 or H/A8. The left side (pre-slash) is the CPU board ROM. The post slash is the version of the floppy controller ROM which lives on the I/O board.

The super rare hard to find Twiggy based Lisa's should use a floppy ROM of 40 or 44 or something like that. Anything above 80 is 3.5" single sided double density.

If it's something like A8/88, it's an XL and won't run LisaOS without replacing the ROM's. These are also likely to be screen modified to have non square pixels. They'll run MacWorks just fine, but not LisaOS.

Some newer XL's may have a PLL card sitting on top of a chip. These were changed for MacWORKS (Pro? or later versions) and that card will need to be removed. Some may have a SCSI card installed, that too will need to go.

Mine's ROM is F/A8 and it runs LisaOS, Xenix and MacWorks just fine.

If your Lisa isn't a Lisa2/5 or Lisa2/10 (that is if it doesn't have a built in widget 5mb or 10mb hard drive) you'll also need an external 5 or 10mb profile hard drive... ebay again... Can't run LisaOS except on a hard drive. Sorry. :(

MacWorks will work fine without a hard drive, but all you'll have is almost a MacPlus without a 2nd floppy disk. Not much fun... (The 1st MacWorks disk shows a white screen after loading then ejects the floppy, then you insert the MacOS disk for MacWorks, and you're running MacWorks.)

In terms of operating systems and software for the Lisa, you can certainly download these off the web. Do a search for them. :) These are usually in DART or DiskCopy 4.2 format.

The next hard part: You'll need to find a source for Double Density 3.5" disks (aka 720K/800K) The Lisa is single sided (unless the floppy has been upgraded to 800k - in which case it won't run LisaOS) but it will format these disks single sided, so don't worry about the double sided aspect. Sorry, regular 1.44M floppies won't work.

You will need a fairly old Mac in order to restore the disk images. I'd recommended you spend $20-$40 on some old mac off ebay if you don't have one - or as a friend if they have one in their attic or basement :) Hopefully one with an ethernet connection and in good working order. Something like a IIsi with an ethernet card will work just fine. Even a PowerPC 7100 will work. Some of the newer models with floppies don't have "superdrive" floppies that can do GCR, so they won't work. Of course new Macs don't even come with floppies, and forget about attaching a USB floppy to something running OS X. It's likely not going to do 400/800K GCR. The newer stuff is PC MFM based.

You'll also need a copy of DART 1.5.x, and Apple Disk Copy 4.2. DO NOT USE DiskCopy 6 - it won't work! DC6 will even convert DART disk images to DiskCopy images, but it strips off the extra 12 bytes of tag data on each sector that's necessary for the Lisa to use the disks.

Tom Stepleton's Lisa SAQ (a bit dated in terms of links and phone numbers) but it may come in handly, however, it's gone off the face of the earth, but you're in luck. Our friend, the internet archive comes to our rescue once more:

Some of the links don't quite work because the archive doesn't have them all in the same date range, so here are some more to try:

and to search for them all:*/*

> One thing I am less clear about is the Lisa/Mac XL situation. Can a Mac
> XL be made to run the Lisa Office System again? If I am able to get a Lisa,
> I can't see much for having one that acts like a large Compact Mac... have
> enough of those already! So if you have any advice on this, or anything in
> general for a "well-read but otherwise Lisa beginner" please let me know

You'd need the H Rom. F will also work, perhaps D as well. If the floppy drive has been upgraded to 800k, you might need to change it, or at least change the I/O ROM, or the I/O board. If the screen modification kit has been installed, that's another headache to get rid of.

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Received on 2004-01-06 14:14:08

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