CBM BX256-80 found - w/ 8088 processor card!

From: B Degnan (billdeg_at_degnanco.com)
Date: 2008-11-11 04:24:07

Just a quick note...Today I opened a pair of run-of-the-mill CBM 256-80 
computers and to my surprise they both had 8088 co-processors 
installed!  Neither system works, which is why I was opening them to 
inspect them, but I have the parts to repair at least one of them.   The 
famed BX systems were capable of running MS DOS 1.25 and CP/M 86.

What a find, eh?

In the US the CBM 256 "BX" model with the 8088 co-processor was not 
officially sold by Commodore. The few 8088 cards that were produced in 
test runs only were given to the Chicago B Series User Group for free.  
I have a copy of the release letter to prove it.  Bruce Faierson, the 
2nd president of CBUG and owner of Northwest Music near Chicago, 
installed a few CBM 256-80's with these prototype 8088 cards and sold 
them in the mid 80's.  I have some of his old mailers with the BX ads.

I believe that the two computers I opened today are two of his modified 
systems.  They're all stock CBM parts with the prototype 8088 cards 
installed.  Anyway, according to most sources only two or three of the 
8088 co-processor cards were known to exist.  There is also a special 
HI-BOY PLA that is required to run the 8088.  I suspect now that there 
are still a few BX's hiding in the bushes.  Add two more to the list!  
If you have a CBM 256-80, open it!


Unfortunately Bruce passed away earlier this year.  I spoke him a few 
times over the past few years and we traded a lot of emails.  He helped 
me to build a working hi-profile B system with an 8088 card, and because 
of him I was able to learn a heck of a lot about the B Series and IEEE 

If anyone has any additional info that's not covered on the few web 
sites that discuss the B Series and the 8088 co-processor, I'd love to 
hear about it.

Bill Degnan

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