Re: Got a Lisa! Now I need to get it running.

From: NateSpin <nspinler_at_email.domain.hidden>
Date: Sun, 19 Aug 2007 11:57:35 -0700

On Aug 19, 7:08 am, Ray Arachelian <r..._at_email.domain.hidden> wrote:
> NateSpin wrote:
> > Hey, I just picked up a Apple Lisa 2 off a local craigslisting for
> > $100. I am not sure if that is a good deal or not, but I have never
> > used or seen a Lisa before and thought it would be neat. I do have a
> > few vintage macs (Macintosh Classic, LCIII, Powerbook 1400cs). It was
> > listed as turning on but not booting. I have done an inventory and
> > here is what I have.
> Oh, that is a very good deal. Congratulations!
> The Lisa is a very historically important machine, take good care of it
> as it can be valuable if in good shape. You easily have over $1000 of
> stuff there if you were to buy it on eBay, even if it's not all in great
> shape.
> You mentioned "Some really large disks." If they're about 5.25" and
> have two openings on them, those are twiggy media, and are extremely
> rare items. Are they original installation media for the Lisa? If so,
> even more valuable. see:
Well, I don't think these disks are for the Lisa at all, since they actually measure 8x8.5" and are labeled WANG disks. There was a printout in the case with the disks that reads, Software Release Notice for @PROC@ Version 5.00.95 February 2, 1989. PROC appears to be the VS Procedure Interpreter that executes procedures written in VS Procedure Language.
> The Lisa ran several operating systems. I suggest you try Lisa Office
> System if you have the disks for it. MacWorks is sort of like an
> emulator, but not quite. Well, in modern terms, more like WINE. It
> allowed a Lisa to run early Mac System software and become the
> equivalent of a slightly slower Mac Plus with a larger monitor and no sound.

I don't see any Lisa Office System disks. I do have Apple labeled MacWorks XL 3.0 disks and some Sun Remarketing Inc. MacWorks Plus Version 1.1 disks. But I will need to get the floppy drive working before any of these are of any use to me. I also have the MacWorks Plus manual and compatibility list.
> You also seem to have the development environment, Lisa Pascal Workshop,
> or at least manuals for those, these are useful if you want to program.

I have 3 Pascal Workshop 3.0 manuals and 9 Lisa Pascal Workshop 3.0 disks and 2 Lisa Workshop 3.9 update disks.
> I've never seen the Lisa Fact Book, is that a real book or is that a
> printout? It might have value if it's a real book, not some
> later/recent print out.

The Lisa Fact Book is a product of Sun Remarketing and has "Even Sweeter Still..." written across the front.
> Is any of the other software for the Lisa Office System, or are they for
> the Mac?

It appears everything is for the Mac. So is this a Mac XL?
> There's a list of frequently asked questions about the Lisa here: http://lisafaq.sunder.netwhich will tell you lots of things about the
> Lisa. I suggest that you switch to the single page version the first
> time around and save/print a copy of it (I'm going to be working on the
> server today, so it'll be offline at some point in the afternoon.)
> If you're interested in the history of the Lisa and the Mac, try here:http://folklore.orgwhich is Andy Hertzfeld's site.
> If you just want to play/mess around with a Lisa, you can try the
> emulator instead so you don't harm your Lisa. You can find that here: note that it will not run
> MacWorks at this time.
> Before you do anything to erase the operating system already on the Lisa
> (I suspect it may be Lisa Workshop or Office System since you mentioned
> the date), see if there's anything interesting on the hard drive and
> back it up. You'll need a bunch of 3.5" double sided double density
> floppies - which can be hard to find at times. To backup an entire 10M
> hard drive, you'll need something like 25 of these, so see if you can
> back up just the interesting applications/documents instead.
> Please be as careful as possible when working with your Lisa, it's a
> very old and possibly fragile machine. Try not to leave it plugged in,
> and the less often you power it on, the better off you are. Please get
> your hands on a good quality UPS and only plug your Lisa into the UPS.
> This is because spikes/brown outs can cause harm to the Lisa's power
> supply and spare power supplies are difficult to get.
> Once you get over the "Wow" factor, and have made backups of everything,
> please keep your Lisa unplugged. Store it away from humidity and light,
> and away from fluorescent lighting (as that causes the case to yellow.)
> Don't let the Lisa get too hot, make sure that you have either a fan
> aimed at it, or an air conditioner running, but here's the thing, when
> air conditioners start their compressors, they cause a brief brown out
> which can hurt hard drives, so that's another reason why you'd want to
> plug it into a UPS.
> Don't power the Lisa on and off many times. You're better off turning
> it on for a long stretch of time and shutting it off when you're done
> instead of power it on for a few minutes, then shutting it off and
> repeating that several times.
> It's very good that you have other classic Mac's as they'll be useful in
> copying/creating disk images. Find yourself a copy of DiskCopy 4.2 and
> DART as well as copies of classic StuffIt Expander's and CompactPro as
> you're likely to run into Lisa software compressed/encoded by these.
> Note that Disk Copy 4.2 images are preferred over DART, since DiskCopy
> does a better job of producing disks usable on a Lisa. The process of
> getting disk images off the internet and onto a real Lisa is sometimes a
> bit of a pain however. You can find copies of this software at: well as other
> places.
> You'll also need a bunch of 3.5" double sided double density floppies.
> In a pinch you might be able to use high density 3.5" floppies with a
> bit of tape covering the sense hole on the opposite side of the
> read/write "switch", but you're better off with the real thing.

I do have a bunch of 3.5" double sided double density and double sided high density disks, so that shouldn't be a problem.
> You'll want to use a Mac that has an ethernet network card in it so that
> you can transfer the disk images back and forth from your more modern
> machines/various internet archives, see if you can get an ethernet card
> for one of your classic Mac's if at all possible.

Well, my PowerBook 1400cs isn't connected to the internet, but it has a flash card reader that I use to transfer files between it and my G4 PowerBook.
> > Now, the problems.
> > 1) The screen is really shaky, like an analog TV tuned into the wrong
> > channel. It occasionally stabilizes, but is on the verge of shaking
> > again. Is there any way to adjust it?
> Do you mean that the screen is jumping up and down? If so, try twisting
> the vertical hold knob back and forth on the back of the Lisa. It might
> just mean that the potentiometer that controls vertical hold is dirty.

It is the jumping up and down, so I will take a look at the knob on the back. I know I had to adjust the potentiometer on my Commodore Vic 20 after storing it away for a number of years.
> If you mean side to side wiggling, it could be a power supply issue.
> Can you look over on the back and see if you have a 1.8A power supply?
> You might need to remove the cover, which you can do after unplugging
> the power cord, by twisting the two knobs at the top and pulling it down.
> If it is a 1.8A power supply, that's a good thing if you have an
> internal hard drive. According to the list, you said you did (Widget),
> and you'll need it as the 1.2A doesn't have quite enough power to run
> the Widget drive and the Lisa.

I checked and I have the 1.8A power supply.
> While it may be a problem in the video circuitry instead, this kind of
> waving is most likely caused by a weak power supply. Usually, changing
> the capacitors helps. Note that doing so requires soldering skills,
> don't try on the Lisa if you've never done this before as you're likely
> to hurt yourself and the Lisa.

Well, I have some limited soldering skills, but I have no plans on soldering on this system. Though I like to tinker, I will keep my tinkering to things of less significance (ie, my aging G3 ibook)
> Capacitors tend to dry out/leak and if your Lisa has not had those
> replaced, they're likely about to go as they're over 20 years old.
> Don't panic if this happens, it's a fairly easy repair, but again, you
> should be skilled with electronics repair before you attempt it.
> There was a recent post here on Lisa Power supply repairs by Bill Vogel
> just a few days ago. It's worth a look:
> > 2) The keyboard appears to be a bit flaky. Not sure if the connector
> > is just dirty?
> The keyboard connector is a normal 1/4" headphone jack. If you hit
> your local Radio Shack, you may find something like DeOxit or other
> electronics and contact cleaner, which you can use to wipe the connector
> with. However, you might have luck with a paper towel and alcohol.
> It could also be that the keyboard jack (on the Lisa side) is dirty or
> loose. In that case you'd have to take the Lisa apart to fix it, not
> too easy. :-) I wouldn't spray anything into the Lisa however. You
> might have luck with a cotton swap dipped into contact cleaner, but be
> careful to not use too much as you don't want it dripping inside the
> Lisa, and you most certainly don't want the cotton swab to break off and
> be stuck inside the jack or the Lisa.

For now, I will just deal with the keyboard as is. I did open the keyboard up and it was almost dust/dirt free in the interior. In-fact the entire system is almost dust and dirt free and looks practically new.
> > 3) After it boots, it ends up on a screen saying that the Current date/
> > time is: Invalid and wants a new date. How do you put in 2007, it
> > only takes a 2 digit year and won't take a 0 as the first number.
> I'm afraid there's no way to fix that. The Lisa's clock cannot go past
> 1995. Set it to something like 1987.

I did manage to get a year into it and ended up in a workshop environment.
> Also look closely as the Lisa powers on. On the right hand upper
> corner, you'll see something flash, like H/88 or H/A8. This is the ROM
> version and it's useful to know what it is.
After checking, this system has a H/88 ROM version.
> One very important thing to do. I'm fairly sure that you have a 2/10,
> which doesn't have a battery pack, but please check this: after
> shutting of your Lisa, unplug the power cord, then open the back panel.
> Twist the two latches at the top and pull the panel down. Look to see
> if there's something like a 4 pack of batteries at the bottom right of
> the circuit board you see when you immediately open the Lisa. If there
> is, has it leaked? If so, you're in a bit of trouble. If it hasn't
> leaked, carefully clip the connection to that pack using diagonal
> cutters to remove it.

I have checked, and there is no battery pack in there.
> The battery packs were in Lisa 2's, Lisa 2/5's and Lisa 1's, and meant
> to keep the date and time correct, however, due to their age, they leak,
> and when they do, they corrode the I/O board, destroying random things.
> I've had one Lisa whose COPS chip (the controller that runs the
> keyboard, mouse, clock and power switch) was ruined because of such a
> leak. COPS chips are impossible to find replacements for, except from
> other Lisa I/O boards.
> I see that you've said "listed as not booting" but you were able to boot
> it. I'd be even more careful as to backing the machine up as quickly as
> possible, as that may mean that the Widget drive is marginal. Note that
> these are very hard to find, (even the external profile drives which are
> very common are hard to find on sale) although there are modern, but
> pricey, replacements for them.

I believe the issue with booting was really just the screen being really fuzzy. The first few times I powered her up, you couldn't see anything, so it looked like it wasn't booting. Since then the screen, though intermittently shaky, is very clear.
> Another common problem is that the floppy drive will sometimes get dirty
> and need cleaning. Do
> ...
>

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