Resurrecting my BeBox

When you really need a computer with four RS232 serial ports.

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One retro computer project begets another. Not many computers offered as many ports as the original BeBox. Not many projects required that many... until now. A valid use-case has finally beckoned this 25-year-old piece of computer history from a two-decade-long slumber.

Purchased back in September 1996 as a barebones dual-66MHz along with some other components, including an S3 Trio 64 graphics card, 500MB SCSI HDD, and 16MB of RAM.

The floppy drive and CDROM were recycled to other machines a long time ago. The HDD is still there with a copy of BeOS R3.1 installed in a bootable state.

Replacements and upgrades are planned with the following items from Ebay:

  • 128MB of RAM (4x 8x32MB EDO NON-PARITY 60NS SIMM 72-PIN 5V)
  • The original Novell NE2000 ethernet card (plus 10Base-T MAU)
  • IDE-to-CF adapter with a 64GB compact flash card
  • Toshiba XM-3601B 4x SCSI CDROM
  • NEW! Sony MPF920 floppy drive

  • VCF East

    Alastair Hewitt10/14/2021 at 14:48 0 comments

    The BeBox was finally brought back to life after some cycles to figure out a workable partition size on the 64G Compact Flash. It then went to VCF East as a supporting serial terminal for the Novasaur project. Lots of interest and a first for many seeing this legendary machine in the flesh!

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  • Networked

    Alastair Hewitt08/28/2021 at 20:52 0 comments

    The original Novell NE2000 card (circa 1991) arrived. Most ISA cards of the BeBox era would have been plug-and-play. Not too much of an issue if you have a Windows 95 machine handy to update the settings. If your only ISA slots are in the BeBox then you need a board with jumpers. That means stepping back a few years to the late 80's.

    This card comes from the time where most LANs would be hooked up via coax cables (10Base-2) and predates the wider use of the now ubiquitous twisted-pair cabling. The card does have an AUI, so an MAU can be fitted to provide the 10Base-T interface.

    Once hooked up it was a simple case of configuring the IRQ and port for the card, setting the network to DHCP and the machine was online!

    Some Unix networking commands are available via the BeOS shell. The BeOS also has a suitably named Poor Man web server that was able to serve up a basic web page from the file system.

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