California Access 286

California Access is a company from north of Poland who since late 1980s was importing hardware mostly from Taiwan. Some computers, like CA-286 in keyboard casing, was built to order. They offered computers, computer parts, accessories and even (since 1994) notebook computers. They still operate assembling ans selling hardware. Since 1998 they launched notebooks assembly plant in Poland with Karen Notebook and Idea Nord companies. Then they started to appear in national registers as Idea Nord company. Not much more information can be found about this company although they contributed a lot to spreading PCs in Poland.
This 286 desktop computer is assembled mostly of Taiwanese parts, but mainboard contains a 286 CPU from Austrian Siemens division. It has a typical Hercules-compatible graphics board with Polish character ROM (Mazovia standard), an AI-5 generic serial/parallel port controller and WD1006V MFM/ST412 hard disk controller with 20MB ST225 attached. In the mainboard, there is 1MB of RAM and 12MHz 286 CPU.  It is a typical Polish office PC from early 1990s.
In my unit, there is also ANET/12 Arcnet network card configured as ID 1. I don't know does it work at all as I don't have software for it nor network infrastructure for Arcnet. Most network operators from 1990s remember ARCNet that it was strange when it was operating without any problems.

Manufacturer California Access

Origin Taiwan / Poland (assembly)
Year of unit 1991
Year of introduction 1990?
Class AT
CPU 286 (Siemens)
Speed 12MHz / 10MHz
(640kB + 386kB EMS)
Expandable by DIP or SIPP modules
System diagnostics built-in.
Graphics Hercules-compatible
Sound PC Speaker
System expansion bus ISA 16-bit (5 slots)
ISA 8-bit (1 slot)
Floppy/removable media drives 1x 360kB 5.25" drive
1x 1.44MB 3.5" drive

Hard disk: 20MB Seagate ST225 (CHS: 615/4/17)

Peripherals in collection:
 - Hyundai HMM-1401 monitor - monochrome, amber, HGC-compatible.

Other boards:


ANET/12 ARCnet network card
Non-standard expansions: Network card
Operating system(s): MS-DOS 6.22

My unit has been used in office with the most popular text editor in Poland: TAG. I don't know about network usage. When I got it, hard disk was low-level formatted using BIOS utility and, after season in storage, with lazy stepper motor. After fixing the motor and installing DOS it is still running well, yes without the network.

The mainboard has rechargeable battery which tends to leak. It should be replaced with e.g. CR2032 through diode.

Contents: Starting, usage Configuration Links


The machine boots to a conventional AMI BIOS, then tries floppy drives and in the end hard disk. To enter Setup, press Del at boot. It should display menu for diagnostics, setup or restart.

In diagnostics, most hard disk-related functions are destructive





Installed boards and their configuration in TH99:
 - Mainboard - Unknown HT101A
 - Viedo card -  see below
 - Hard disk controller WD1006V-MM2
 - Multi-IO board: AI-5
 - Network card: Compex ANET-12

Video board:

JP2 (1,2, C - closed O - open):
C,C - Parallel port disable
O,C - LPT1
C,O - LPT0?
O,O - LPT2

JP3 - close to disable parallel port

JP4: 1-2 to use IRQ5, 2-3 IRQ7 for parallel port.




Links: - About Company from 2004. - First company's site. -some information about ARCnet.