ordering this extra drive at the same time as the system, it too would be in
beige, like the 1.2M drive. Well, I was wrong, it was a black drive! When I
queried this with Elonex their sales-style reply (i.e. making s “feature” out of
a “bug”) was that “many people prefer it as they then know the drives are
different”. Well, I’m not one of those people!
There are two recesses in the front panel. One contains a reset button. This is
a very useful facility; many clones have no reset, and if you somehow manage to
totally hang the system you have to resort to powering it off and back on again.
The second recess, immediately above the first, contains a power-on indicator,
Winchester access indicator, CPU speed indicator, and key-switch. The CPU speed
indicator is off for 6MHz, green for 8MHz, and red for 10MHz. The keyswitch,
when locked, disables the keyboard and physically locks the case lid to the
system. The logic to the keyboard disabling is that (a) you can go away from
your system in the middle of some work and no-one can disrupt it, or (b) no-one
can access your private files. Presumably locking the lid on is to prevent
people from stealing boards from inside your system – but they could still take
the whole thing!
The only other items on the front are an “Elonex” label, and some designer
Towards the rear on the right hand side is the power-on switch. On the rear of
the system itself is the mains-in socket, as well as a mains-out socket. This
latter socket is intended for the connection of mains to the display monitor,
and is controlled by the main system’s on/off switch so that you have to throw
just the one switch to power the whole thing on and off. Just above the mains
sockets is the cooling fan vent. The only other thing on the rear, other than
accees to the rear of the expansion boards, is the keyboard socket.
There is a rear panel for each of the eight expansion slots. On one (the colour
board) is a 9-pin D-type, for connecting to the display monitor, and a DB-25(F)
for the parallel port. There are two other panels “occupied”, each with a DB-25(M)
for the serial ports.
I had no intention to go inside the unit until two things happened:
1) I decided to try out the key-switch. It turned part way round, and then met
some resistance. I assumed that it wasn’t mating up too precisely with the
catch to lock the lid on, and turned it a little harder. The resistance
disappeared. I later discovered that the Reset button no longer functioned, put
2+2 together, and realised these things may well be associated with one another!
2) The Norton Utility programs include one called SYSINFO, that gives you
various information about your system, like how much memory it has, plus the
results of a timing test. The timing test is supposed to indicate the number of
times faster the system is than a standard IBM PC. I know various people
dispute the actual figures given, but I also know that s 10MHz, 0 wait state
system should give a result of approx. 11.5. My system said 10.3, regardless of
whether I software switched the wait states on or off. Referring to the manual
I discovered that there is a link block inside the system that can be set to
select either (i) always one wait state, or (ii) software selectable zero or one
I therefore decided to dive into the system. To open it just requires the
removal of five screws on the rear panel (four on mine, one was missing). Then
the whole lid and front panel slides off to the front, with the drives and
recessed items described earlier left behind with the main chassis.
I must say that the whole thing seems to be very well built, with excellent
access to everything. To remove any of the expansion boards requires the
release of just one screw per board. To remove a disk drive requires the
release of two screws per drive at the front, disconnecting the power and data
cables, and then the drive just slides out to the front on runners.