Unfortunate Situation with the Heath/Zenith Z-100

Bill Loguidice's picture

Well, I FINALLY got around to setting up my Z-100 and going through all of the stuff, primarily in the interest of getting used to the general operation and then playing the games.

Opened up:
Heath/Zenith Z-100 opened up
Closed:
Heath/Zenith Z-100 closed up

Unfortunately, after plugging it in, it briefly made a noise as if powering up, and then nothing after that. I attempted to open it up and either remove or bypass the power supply (since I have spares of various vintage), but it's really a tight case and screwed in in a configuration that is not particularly easy to tamper with. I gave up. When I mentioned this a little while ago on the SEBHC mailing list group, it was suggested that I check the power supply voltages. If they checked out, that would not be the cause of the issue(s). Naturally, I don't really know how I'd do that. I think one of the things I have to move on my to do list somehow is learning basic electronics if I'm to maintain the type of overall collection I have at present...

I guess I'll either look for an opportunity in the future to re-open it again, preferably with someone more experienced at my side, or just wait for another unit to eventually pop up for a reasonable price on eBay, then sell this one. Of course, I seem to have the worst luck with anything Heathkit (save for the Hero Jr. robot of all things, which works well for me), so I may give up on my whole Heathkit collection at some point down the line. With that said, I have some items that I really like in the Z-100 portion of my collection (particularly since my focus is primarily on games), so I'd really love to make use of them. Here's a very casual inventory I just did, which should be pretty much everything:

  • Heath/Zenith Z-100 with floppy disk controller and two disk drives (powered up briefly, then never powered up again)
  • Z-DOS Volume I binder with two Z-DOS disks
  • Z-DOS Volume II binder
  • Herb Johnson replacement disk set (with manual excerpts): MS-DOS 3.1R 1 and 2, CP/M 85 2.2.102 1 and 2, CP/M 86 R1.14 1 and 2 and 3, Winchester v2.12, Z-100 Diagnostics Z-DOS 1.01
  • FBE SmartWatch Package with chip, posts and instructions print-out
  • Zenith (Heath) Microsoft Windows (MS-5063-30) boxed with sealed disk envelope
  • Space Pirates - The Software Toolworks (HDOS and CP/M) in original baggie with manual (10 sector 5.25" disk) [need to verify if this is compatible or goes with another Heath system]
  • Sports Illustrated Computer Football Strategy (Avalon Hill) in sealed bookshelf box, Z-90/H/Z-100 soft sector diskette
  • Computer Stocks & Bonds (Avalon Hill) in sealed bookshelf box, Z-90/H/Z-100 soft sector diskette
  • Telengard (Avalon Hill) in sealed bookshelf box, Z-90/H/Z-100 soft sector diskette
  • Sextant September-October 1987, Issue No. 30
  • Sextant, Novemver-December 1987, Issue No. 31
  • Sextant, January-February 1988, Issue No. 32
  • Sextant, Early Spring 1988, Issue No. 33

Anyway, hopefully some answer will present itself sooner rather than later. I'm going to try some of the troubleshooting steps to the best of my limited abilities. This is certainly one of the great disadvantages (among many advantages) of working with and trying to maintain original equipment in a collection...

Comments

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I'm very sorry, Bill. I hope

I'm very sorry, Bill. I hope you do find a solution!

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
There may be hope...

It looks like I may be able to get a new power supply from a helpful gentleman on SEBHC. Also, in looking up the Space Pirates thing, it looks like 10 sector diskettes are hard sector, so I'll have to try that on one of my Heath systems with a hard sector disk drive...

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Good news!

The replacement power supply should be on its way soon, and I'll send him back the bad power supply in return. Hopefully that will resolve the issue!

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Nathaniel Tolbert
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Joined: 11/06/2010
That machine looks very interesting...

That machine looks very interesting. Does it use an S100 bus for expansion cards? I tried to look up information on this machine, but I wasn't able to find anything. Are these Heath computers rare? I found info on an Heathkit H8, but that's it.

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Good questions...
Nathaniel Tolbert wrote:

That machine looks very interesting. Does it use an S100 bus for expansion cards? I tried to look up information on this machine, but I wasn't able to find anything. Are these Heath computers rare? I found info on an Heathkit H8, but that's it.

I'll try to go into more detail once I get the power supply, but essentially this one had two processors, 8-bit and 16-bit, the former running the classic CP/M stuff and the latter running PC-DOS stuff (re-branded as Z-DOS). There are indeed five S-100 slots in there, but I seem to recall it not conforming to the standard for whatever reason (I'll have to look into that to be sure). While not exactly an H8, I believe the 8-bit side was essentially the evolutionary step up, the H89, just with a soft sectored disk controller (which were the H90/Z90 systems), which is why some of the software I have is marked as working with CP/M on both the Z-90 and this.

As for rarity, these are not quite as rare or valuable of some of the classic Heathkit/Zenith stuff, but it's also not particularly plentiful either, and no longer available for what I would consider reasonable prices generally speaking (northwards of $200+, easy). Software is also rather difficult to come by. If not for a Venezuelan seller, I wouldn't have gotten the three Avalon Hill games I got.

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Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
I received the power supply,

I received the power supply, swapped everything out, and... still nothing. However, once I unplugged the disk controller card, the power supply worked fine, including with everything else but the disk controller card plugged in. I'm determining next steps, which is to see if there's a way to determine if there's an issue with the S-100 bus, or it will simply be a matter of getting a replacement disk controller card...

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