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HeadStart Explorer

Donors: Stefan Jones & Chris Chan
Location: Williamsburg, VA

The HeadStart Explorer was an XT clone with some special features. First, it came in the nice package you see above. The included monitor had a nice stand that straddled the main unit. The main unit could slide in and out of the monitor stand. Even when slid fully under the monitor stand, cut-outs on the sides of the stand let you insert disks and power the system on and off. The keyboard was attached to the main unit and could be folded up to make a compact package. The system had built-in CGA graphics, a 3" floppy drive, and a small hard drive. HeadStart included a nice graphical shell to let you easily run programs. (My wife had one of these years back. The first thing she did was turn off the shell. How can you not love a woman who prefers a command line?) The system unit did have room for one 8-bit card. The card would actually sit horizontally, just under the cover on the main unit. The slot on the motherboard was vertical, as usual. So there was an included 90 adapter that would plug into the motherboard, thus providing a horizontally oriented slot for the card. Overall, it's a really nice system, except:

There was a small problem with the hard drive. The bay in which it sits does not have adequate ventilation. If you left the drive running for a long while, it would really heat up. Eventually, it could heat up to the point of softening the plastic around it. If you weren't using the monitor stand, and had just set the monitor on the main unit, that side could start to smush down. Another, less serious, problem with the drive was that it was LOUD. Not so much when it was just spinning, but you could really hear each and every disk access. It wasn't a bad sound, like a grinding. It was just alot louder than most drives.

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