Vendex HeadStart Plus
Vendex was a company based in Nederlands who sold many
different products, later focusing on Audio/video equipment and DIY
electronics. In 1980s they started to offer PC-compatible computers. One
of them was Turbo PC-888-XT with 8MHz CPU, interestingly similar to
Packard-Bell PB88. After releasing some unusual models like HeadStart
Explorer for beginners, they released a full-featured PC-compatible
computer with many peripherals on board.
Released in 1988 or 89, Vendex HeadStart Plus was an XT-compatible computer with 8088 processor which could run at 4.77MHz or 8MHz. It had 640kB of RAM on board and was built around proprietary logic arrays. In the mainboard, there was also serial port, parallel port, floppy disk controller and battery-powered real time clock. There was also graphics chip supporting CGA or Hercules/Monochrome-compatible modes.
The only expansion board present by default in its ISA slots was hard disk drive controller, present in some units which had hard disk. The computer was sold in USA and Europe, but manufactured by Samsung and in the rear there are usually Samsung stickers.
|Year of unit||1989|
|Year of introduction||1988|
|Speed||4.77MHz , 9.54MHz|
|System expansion bus||8-bit ISA (6 slots)|
|Floppy/removable media drives||built-in 5.25" 360kB
Later upgraded with 3.5" 720kB disk drive.
|Hard disk:||20MB Nec D3126 + controller|
Peripherals in collection:
My unit comes from office in Lodz, Poland where it was
used with non-original keyboard and ADI DM-14 monitor (it has still
burned text editor's window on screen), older than the computer. However
the computer has been abandoned when there were problems with keyboard
The computer originally had a single 5.25" floppy disk drive with a free bay for upgrade. My unit has 3.5" drive installed there, working in 720kB mode. My computer also has a Nec D3126 hard disk installed in hard drive internal bay, with its controller board in ISA slot (simple jumper-less HX-100 controller). The disk has been installed after importing computer, which was frequent in Poland/
The computer has an ordinary Award BIOS with extension to ask for floppy drive format for built-in controller. Lower drive there means drive 1. Then it boots from first or second drive and coninues like a typical PC XT.
In my fileland there are disks for Vendex Turbo-XT 888,
an earlier unit but diagnostic tool, spreadsheet and probably some
utilities in DOS directory may work. The HOT shell, editor and filer
will not work.
Most configuration jumpers are well described in mainboard. There is a jumper block to switch RTC/PIO/SIO/FDC on and off, or 40x25 mode.
It is only important to remove rechargeable battery as
it tends to leak.
Keyboard connector is in mainboard:
|____12345____6789_a,b__ <- Mainboard
1 - Keyboard clock
2 - Keyboard data
4 - GND
I don't know in which pin Vcc goes as I don't have +5V at all there, probably fuse is blown. I got my 5V from the anti-interference coil nearby (right behind the connector).
6,7 Power LED +,-
8,9 - Reset switch
a,b - Speaker
https://thozoonaploja.blogspot.com/2006/07/retr.html - In a