In 1985 or 1986, PC clones became more and more
popular. In Poland too. Although it was difficult to import computer
systems, it was possible to do it by special Polish-foreign companies
who imported parts and sold assembled computers. These times Elwro
engineers started to design PC-AT clone. With a large effort it was
possible to get one AT clone and documentation. Engineers analysed it
and decided to replace some VLSI circuits, unreachable in Eastern block
countries, with their functional applications made specially for PC AT
requirements. More, main PCB had to be 2-layer only because this was the
only reliable process in the factory, giving ca. 50% good boards (in
Taiwan it was possible to get 95%). Elwro 801AT was produced and...
mostly exported to Soviet Union, as not many Eastern Block countries
could make a PC without the need to import 90% of circuits form the
First units had 6 / 8MHz CPU and usually, as professional machines, were equipped with 287 coprocessor. The graphics card was Hercules clone, with Polish diacritized characters in ROM. The software was a licensed version of DOS, specially modified (with support of CSK?) to support Polish messages. There was also original GWBASIC present, as well as, not popular, PC WORKS office package.
After 1989 it started to be very easy to buy computers from China or Taiwan, so Elwro just assembled Taiwanese mainboards and components in 801AT casings. About 1990 a refreshed case design was made, with Turbo switch and Reset easily accessible.
It is not commonly known that in early 1990s Elwro prepared to launch totally own computers production, with a very small (if any) usage of foreign chips. It was stopped by selling Elwro to Siemens, and Siemens took even not unpacked production lines right to Germany.
|Year of unit||1988|
|Year of introduction||1987|
|Speed||6/8MHz or 10/12MHz|
|ROM||Simple memory-counting BIOS or AMI BIOS|
|System expansion bus||16-bit ISA|
|Floppy/removable media drives||Two 5.25" floppy
(in combinations including two 1.2MB or 360kB and 1.2MB)
Later upgraded to 1.2MB 5.25" and 1.44MB 3.5".
20MB ST225 (MFM)
LAter 40MB Seagate IDE
Peripherals in collection:
|Serial/parallel port controller|
|Operating system(s):||DOS 3.3|
My unit is in fact not a complete unit. It is only casing, probably with keyboard and monitor. I got them from military surplus, and casing contained no power supply when I got it. Inside, I found some 486 mainboard, so someone upgraded it. Unfortunately it was probably one of the earliest designs, maybe even with Polish mainboard, as it has specific mainboard holders on its edges instead of plastic pin-like clips popular in later mainboards. It must have been an early unit as it has no paintings on the rear, "RST" for Reset and power-related information is sticked to the read in form of paper ("RST") and metal stickers. In later units it was painted in casing painting process.
|There were at least 3 versions of this computer:
1. "Version 1" (?1988?) had Polish mainboard [Photo] and 6/8MHz 80286 CPU. Chips were Soviet, Polish and western. Mainboard was a bit larger than later "Baby AT" standard, and had 8 ISA slots, 6 were 16-bit. Connectors were white with black frame, probably Eltra or some development of connectors licensed by Eltra from Canon. Sockets from GDR, RAM from Intel. These units have been exported to Soviet Union.
2. "Version 2" (?1989?) had the same casing as "Version 1", yet mainboard was probably totally Chinese or Taiwanese with 10 MHz CPU. This version has been photographed in the manual, page 34. We can see there that 5 slots are 16-bit and 3 are 8-bit, in configuration 2*8+4*16+1*8+1*16. In 1989 and onwards it was just easier than before to import computer components from China.
3. "Version 3" (?1991?) had a different casing: The front part was removed with a cover, exposing a control panel in chassis. The main difference in this panel is a tubular lock instead of a Polish one (the same as used in Fiat 126P cars for door lock :) ) and Reset button in front panel (earlier units had Reset on the rear). There were different Chinese mainboards installed in these units, usually with 286/10MHz or sometimes Harris one (Harris 286 CPUs had different clocking, sometimes even 20MHz). The Harris-based one had Headland chipset and AMI BIOS while some other had Award BIOS.
Harris version had a 44MB 3.5" IDE hard disk connected via Goldstar 16-bit ISA card, which also contains serial/parallel ports. These units were manufactured ca. 1991.
It looks like they put inside anything they could import.
There are (see
original units with VGA based on Realtek chipset!
Source: ZEG advertisement
At Infosystem'88 (Source: IKS., 1988)
Source: Bajtek, 1988
The computer is a PC, yet the first mainboards have very simple BIOS, probably programmable with jumpers (the most important things). However in the manual there is some information about setup program in the floppy disk, so probably for things not critical to boot the system, programming was done using tool. Strangely, I don't see any battery (or its traces) to keep the data in v.1 mainboard photo.
The only software I have for it is Elwro's PolKa Polish Keyboard driver. Get from fileland if you need.
http://www.aic-crimea.narod.ru/E-learn/PC/1/3-8.htm - [RUS] Polish
801AT among other Eastern PCs.
- http://www.elwrowcy.republika.pl/strona65.html - [POL] memories of 801AT first mainboard designer.
- http://allearchiwum.pl/stary_sprawny_komputer_elwro_801_at_1990_rok-2504872605.html - [POL] Version with Award BIOS 3.11, Testing ROM. Probably copied from some AT being already a copy. Internet auction archive.
- http://www.elektroda.pl/rtvforum/topic2872314.html - [POL] someone was trying to sell similar version.
- http://delibra.bg.polsl.pl/Content/24608 - [POL] Version 1 in Elwro flyer.
Version 1 or 2:
http://www.phantom.sannata.ru/forum/index.php?t=10511&a=do_print - [RUS] Photo of first mainboard in "for sale" forum post.
http://www.muzeumkomputerow.edu.pl/muzeum/galeria/idg:70.html - [POL] Unit in collection
http://web.archive.org/web/20120820150826/http://www.elwro.zafriko.pl/kat/mikrokomputery/elwro_801at - [POL] The photo there shows my unit.
http://web.archive.org/web/20071021222852/http://www.elwro.zafriko.pl/kat/_____artykuLy/elwro_801at - [POL] Article about PC
http://www.kskomp.za.pl/doku.php?id=elwro_801at - Photo of another V1 or V2 unit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLaWfx4n3kU - ZEG advertisement, it is shown as "Japanese" CR system...