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.

Manufacturer Vendex

Origin Nederlands/USA
Year of unit 1989
Year of introduction 1988
Class XT
CPU 8088
Speed 4.77MHz , 9.54MHz
RAM 620kB
Graphics CGA/Hercules
Sound PC Speaker
System expansion bus 8-bit ISA (6 slots)
Floppy/removable media drives built-in 5.25" 360kB drive.

Later upgraded with 3.5" 720kB disk drive.



Hard disk: 20MB Nec D3126 + controller

Peripherals in collection:
 - None

Other boards:


HDD controller
Non-standard expansions: None
Operating system(s): MS-DOS

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 connector.
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/

Contents: Starting, usage Configuration Pinouts Links


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.




Important Pinouts:

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




Links:  - In a blog post