Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex - CP/M

This is a discussion on Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex - CP/M ; Hello, I have an old computer branded Pharmex. After investigations, its real name appears to be Compucorp 600 "the simplifier". The arch is based on a Z80 with S100. Chances are it was running CP/M. I got it 15-20y ago, ...

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Thread: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

  1. Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    Hello,

    I have an old computer branded Pharmex. After investigations, its real name
    appears to be Compucorp 600 "the simplifier". The arch is based on a Z80
    with S100. Chances are it was running CP/M.

    I got it 15-20y ago, working, running a pharmacy management application. But
    there was a password for all interesting things and one day I formatted the
    hard drive. ERROR.

    Now I'm trying to be less stupid and make it work again. I don't have any
    floppy or any software for it.

    I have not worked with CP/M for ages, and even then I was just a simple
    user.

    I've googled a bit, but still don't know what I'm looking for. Can someone
    help here ?

    Oh, I've put a few pictures here : http://keyoke.free.fr/pharmex/

    Don't hesitate to ask for more information...

    Cheers,
    --
    Alex
    [JDR] Visitez Extremia, un monde gratuit et en francais pour D&D et
    autres jeux de role.
    www.extremia.org



  2. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    First, it's not an S-100 system.

    Second, you need the BIOS file for CP/M to do anything, and you MAY have
    erased your only copies of that when you reformatted the hard drive.

    You may also need hard drive utilities that may have been on the hard drive.

    The unfortunate fact is that when you reformatted the system without
    first saving the files to external media (floppy diskettes), you may
    have destroyed multiple files without which the system will never work
    again.


    Alex wrote:
    > Hello,
    >
    > I have an old computer branded Pharmex. After investigations, its real name
    > appears to be Compucorp 600 "the simplifier". The arch is based on a Z80
    > with S100. Chances are it was running CP/M.
    >
    > I got it 15-20y ago, working, running a pharmacy management application. But
    > there was a password for all interesting things and one day I formatted the
    > hard drive. ERROR.
    >
    > Now I'm trying to be less stupid and make it work again. I don't have any
    > floppy or any software for it.
    >
    > I have not worked with CP/M for ages, and even then I was just a simple
    > user.
    >
    > I've googled a bit, but still don't know what I'm looking for. Can someone
    > help here ?
    >
    > Oh, I've put a few pictures here : http://keyoke.free.fr/pharmex/
    >
    > Don't hesitate to ask for more information...
    >
    > Cheers,


  3. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    "Barry Watzman" wrote in message
    news:470108b0$0$20604$4c368faf@roadrunner.com...
    > First, it's not an S-100 system.


    Actually, I don't know very well. That's what I deduced from searching the
    net, but it may be false.

    But how do you know it isn't an S-100 system then ?

    > Second, you need the BIOS file for CP/M to do anything, and you MAY have
    > erased your only copies of that when you reformatted the hard drive.


    That is more than likely (*). I used to have a floppy or two from that
    machine but I can't find them again and I'm pretty sure they were only user
    data.

    Googling on reminded me about the BIOS. I think it is the first thing I have
    to find.

    > You may also need hard drive utilities that may have been on the hard
    > drive.
    >
    > The unfortunate fact is that when you reformatted the system without first
    > saving the files to external media (floppy diskettes), you may have
    > destroyed multiple files without which the system will never work again.


    That is my point. Now, I'm looking for any media (well, that could be a
    floppy or an MFM harddrive) that could enable me to reinstall or at least
    start something from a floppy.

    Otherwise, I'm in for some reverse engineering, but won't have the time to
    do that before long. At least a few years.

    Another question : If I happen to find files and I want to try them. How do
    I write a floppy ? The floppy drive is a standard 360K (I've successfully
    used it on a PC), but is the CP/M floppy format writable by a PC ? Is there
    even ONE CP/M floppy format ?


    (*) At least I learnt from that experience. Now for any machine I salvage, I
    do a dump of the harddrive to be able to come back in case of emergency.

    --
    Alex
    [JDR] Visitez Extremia, un monde gratuit et en francais pour D&D et
    autres jeux de role.
    www.extremia.org



  4. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    Alex wrote:

    (snip)

    > Another question : If I happen to find files and I want to try them. How do
    > I write a floppy ? The floppy drive is a standard 360K (I've successfully
    > used it on a PC), but is the CP/M floppy format writable by a PC ? Is there
    > even ONE CP/M floppy format ?


    For the most part, floppy formatting doesn't depend on the drive,
    but only on the controller. The drive delivers pulses on magnetic
    transitions for the controller to figure out what they mean.

    There are different formats that have been used by CP/M along the way.

    -- glen


  5. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    Alex wrote:

    > I have an old computer branded Pharmex. After investigations, its real name
    > appears to be Compucorp 600 "the simplifier". The arch is based on a Z80
    > with S100. Chances are it was running CP/M.


    I made a quick search, but did not find anything interesting, and am
    so busy right now that I cannot continue.

    So, let us approach the problem from another viewpoint.

    >From its name, I strongly suspect that this particular system was sold

    only to pharmacologists in France. So, the company who sold it to you
    (or your Pharmacy) got your address from some professional database or
    journal. Try to find as much details on the company who sold the
    system to your Pharmacy (your accountant should be able to find the
    bill), then publish a message in a professional journal for
    Pharmacologists.

    (Me, I got a CP/M 2.2 system which was sold only to "veterinaires".
    There was just a submit file starting an accounting program written in
    BASIC. They were paying the price of a car for a program that they
    could have wrote themselves -- since they got their diplomas after
    several years of studies. When the Amstrad PCW8256 appeared in France,
    half its owners were doctors! It is funny how some professions are
    fond of only one particular computer system.)

    Yours Sincerely,
    Mr Emmanuel Roche, France


  6. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex



    "glen herrmannsfeldt" wrote in message
    news:TJGdncPgGL8enp_anZ2dnUVZ_vjinZ2d@comcast.com. ..
    >
    > For the most part, floppy formatting doesn't depend on the drive,
    > but only on the controller. The drive delivers pulses on magnetic
    > transitions for the controller to figure out what they mean.
    >
    > There are different formats that have been used by CP/M along the way.


    ok.....

    It means I will only be able to format a floppy for that machine using its
    controller. So to start with either I find a way of putting the controller
    in another architecture, or I pray to find a compatible - without knowing
    with what.

    How did the controllers work in those times ? were there some kind of
    standard, or do I assume that no other company used the same format ?

    --
    Alex
    [JDR] Visitez Extremia, un monde gratuit et en francais pour D&D et
    autres jeux de role.
    www.extremia.org



  7. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    On Mon, 1 Oct 2007 09:59:55 +0200, "Alex"
    wrote:

    >Hello,
    >
    >I have an old computer branded Pharmex. After investigations, its real name
    >appears to be Compucorp 600 "the simplifier". The arch is based on a Z80
    >with S100. Chances are it was running CP/M.
    >
    >I got it 15-20y ago, working, running a pharmacy management application. But
    >there was a password for all interesting things and one day I formatted the
    >hard drive. ERROR.


    Ouch, that was a bad thing to do. Likely all the OS stuff you have to
    have was there.

    >Now I'm trying to be less stupid and make it work again. I don't have any
    >floppy or any software for it.
    >
    >I have not worked with CP/M for ages, and even then I was just a simple
    >user.
    >
    >I've googled a bit, but still don't know what I'm looking for. Can someone
    >help here ?
    >
    >Oh, I've put a few pictures here : http://keyoke.free.fr/pharmex/
    >
    >Don't hesitate to ask for more information...
    >
    >Cheers,


    Bottom line:

    It's z80 based. Not a guarneteed thing that it ran CP/M but it
    could.

    It's NOT S100. It's a pizza box system with expansion connectors that
    are not 100pin.

    Compucorp did do S100 and near the end did bounded systems that most
    often were sold to various applications integrators what didn't want
    to do hardware but needed a platform to do software on. Pharmex was
    selling the application and likely only a few inside knew much of the
    hardware other than supplying replacement parts.

    Interesting system, however good luck of getting useable data for it.
    I have a bunch of S100 bus "system on a board" that were made in
    Austrailia and same case no data and no details on how to apply
    them even though I can describe what they are, how they were used
    as little items like the FDC address or what IO port the SIO is are
    not known. I hold them for now but likely at some time in the future
    I'll strip the socketed parts and ditch the rest.

    Allison


  8. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    wrote in message
    news:1191328498.613866.45080@o80g2000hse.googlegro ups.com...
    >
    > I made a quick search, but did not find anything interesting, and am
    > so busy right now that I cannot continue.


    I've been searchiong google for days to no avail.

    > So, let us approach the problem from another viewpoint.
    >
    >>From its name, I strongly suspect that this particular system was sold

    > only to pharmacologists in France. So, the company who sold it to you


    Chances are that it was the case.

    > (or your Pharmacy) got your address from some professional database or
    > journal. Try to find as much details on the company who sold the
    > system to your Pharmacy (your accountant should be able to find the
    > bill), then publish a message in a professional journal for
    > Pharmacologists.


    I'm also currently tracing back its origins. At the moment I have someone
    trying to remember who the hell was the company. I have a phone number for
    the maintenance service, but it dates back to the eighties -> it is missing
    numbers by today's standards. And I haven't got the company name. Would be
    too easy.

    > (Me, I got a CP/M 2.2 system which was sold only to "veterinaires".
    > There was just a submit file starting an accounting program written in
    > BASIC. They were paying the price of a car for a program that they
    > could have wrote themselves -- since they got their diplomas after
    > several years of studies. When the Amstrad PCW8256 appeared in France,
    > half its owners were doctors! It is funny how some professions are
    > fond of only one particular computer system.)


    It was a bit evolved. Each customer had a magnetic card holding its
    references and informations. The reader is in the keyboard. The program was
    keeping a bit of history, etc.... nothing quite like BusinessObjects,
    however, obviously.

    --
    Alex
    [JDR] Visitez Extremia, un monde gratuit et en francais pour D&D et
    autres jeux de role.
    www.extremia.org



  9. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    wrote in message
    news:k0l4g3l0560bvevbk063t21ag2rsgng9n0@4ax.com...
    > Ouch, that was a bad thing to do. Likely all the OS stuff you have to
    > have was there.


    yes..... I can't blame myself too much for that.

    > Bottom line:
    >
    > It's z80 based. Not a guarneteed thing that it ran CP/M but it
    > could.
    >
    > It's NOT S100. It's a pizza box system with expansion connectors that
    > are not 100pin.


    OK. Now, I have to find out what bus it is.

    > Compucorp did do S100 and near the end did bounded systems that most
    > often were sold to various applications integrators what didn't want
    > to do hardware but needed a platform to do software on. Pharmex was
    > selling the application and likely only a few inside knew much of the
    > hardware other than supplying replacement parts.


    Makes sense. But Pharmex looks like much has changed in the company. But my
    next track is to find a veteran there.

    > Interesting system, however good luck of getting useable data for it.
    > I have a bunch of S100 bus "system on a board" that were made in
    > Austrailia and same case no data and no details on how to apply
    > them even though I can describe what they are, how they were used
    > as little items like the FDC address or what IO port the SIO is are
    > not known. I hold them for now but likely at some time in the future
    > I'll strip the socketed parts and ditch the rest.


    I think I can keep it. Maybe someday I'll come across another one like that
    (actually, I think it's my best option for now).

    --
    Alex
    [JDR] Visitez Extremia, un monde gratuit et en francais pour D&D et
    autres jeux de role.
    www.extremia.org



  10. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    On Tue, 2 Oct 2007 17:29:47 +0200, "Alex"
    wrote:

    > wrote in message
    >news:k0l4g3l0560bvevbk063t21ag2rsgng9n0@4ax.com...
    >> Ouch, that was a bad thing to do. Likely all the OS stuff you have to
    >> have was there.

    >
    >yes..... I can't blame myself too much for that.
    >
    >> Bottom line:
    >>
    >> It's z80 based. Not a guarneteed thing that it ran CP/M but it
    >> could.
    >>
    >> It's NOT S100. It's a pizza box system with expansion connectors that
    >> are not 100pin.

    >
    >OK. Now, I have to find out what bus it is.


    Lilely that bus is that vendor only, unique at least for the board
    size and form factor. The signals may be something like STD or
    other known busses.

    >> Compucorp did do S100 and near the end did bounded systems that most
    >> often were sold to various applications integrators what didn't want
    >> to do hardware but needed a platform to do software on. Pharmex was
    >> selling the application and likely only a few inside knew much of the
    >> hardware other than supplying replacement parts.

    >
    >Makes sense. But Pharmex looks like much has changed in the company. But my
    >next track is to find a veteran there.


    Good luck. You'd be surprized how much corperate memory depends on
    the little guys that get laid off and move on.

    >> Interesting system, however good luck of getting useable data for it.
    >> I have a bunch of S100 bus "system on a board" that were made in
    >> Austrailia and same case no data and no details on how to apply
    >> them even though I can describe what they are, how they were used
    >> as little items like the FDC address or what IO port the SIO is are
    >> not known. I hold them for now but likely at some time in the future
    >> I'll strip the socketed parts and ditch the rest.

    >
    >I think I can keep it. Maybe someday I'll come across another one like that
    >(actually, I think it's my best option for now).


    The hope that someone has heard of Commercial Dynamics SCPU keeps
    them intact.

    Allison


  11. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    wrote in message
    news:7hr4g3l32c0ed6vk7f8hulmc4s45vpgu7q@4ax.com...
    > Lilely that bus is that vendor only, unique at least for the board
    > size and form factor. The signals may be something like STD or
    > other known busses.


    OK, so everything is possible then. If I can't get anything else, I'm
    considering dumping the ROMs and peer into the code to see if I can get any
    hint.

    > Good luck. You'd be surprized how much corperate memory depends on
    > the little guys that get laid off and move on.


    I've found somebody who has worked in Compucorp in the 80s. He (obviously)
    has no floppies but I'm trying to get every single memory out of him

    > The hope that someone has heard of Commercial Dynamics SCPU keeps
    > them intact.


    hmmmm. well... :-D

    --
    Alex
    [JDR] Visitez Extremia, un monde gratuit et en francais pour D&D et
    autres jeux de role.
    www.extremia.org



  12. Re: Compucorp 600 "simplifier" Pharmex

    On Wed, 3 Oct 2007 08:28:41 +0200, "Alex"
    wrote:

    > wrote in message
    >news:7hr4g3l32c0ed6vk7f8hulmc4s45vpgu7q@4ax.com...
    >> Lilely that bus is that vendor only, unique at least for the board
    >> size and form factor. The signals may be something like STD or
    >> other known busses.

    >
    >OK, so everything is possible then. If I can't get anything else, I'm
    >considering dumping the ROMs and peer into the code to see if I can get any
    >hint.


    That may be the only option.

    >> Good luck. You'd be surprized how much corperate memory depends on
    >> the little guys that get laid off and move on.

    >
    >I've found somebody who has worked in Compucorp in the 80s. He (obviously)
    >has no floppies but I'm trying to get every single memory out of him


    You are indeed lucky.

    >> The hope that someone has heard of Commercial Dynamics SCPU keeps
    >> them intact.

    >
    >hmmmm. well... :-D


    I have a few items like that.

    Allison

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