Xerox 6085

Recently, I could lay my greedy hands on a Xerox workstation (thanks to Daniel who transported it for me from Berlin!), probably a 6085 (codename Daybreak). Probably means that the case and the components resemble very much to a 6085 or a 1186 (which was a 6085 with Lisp instead of ViewPoint). But, the serial number prefix (or model number) is 82D, and it has an up-to-240V PSU (it came from a (probably German) university).

Unfortunately, it has no hard disk, or should I say, hard disk module (there is an empty module slot below the PSU). If somebody owns such a thing, it would be nice to know :-).

Nevertheless, it is a rare beast, and I took it apart and had some photos of the PCBs (as I did not found anything like that on the Internet I guess the photos are an Internet premiere…):

As you can see the serial number is 82D 155  107809 – 0.

This is the label. 120-240V, obviously for the international market.

Here are the 7 module slots. 5 on the left for large PCBs, 2 on the right, the top most is the PSU, the one below is probably the one for the hard disk module (taking a 5.25 inch hard disk like a St251 and maybe the controller).

The 5 modules on the left. The DCM (Display), MEP (Memory Expansion Board?), MPB (Main Processor Board?), IOP (IO Board), and PCE (PC Expansion?). The blackened numbers below the board serial numbers are probably the sizes or options installed (e.g. numbers of MB RAM installed). The modules itself consist of a PCB mounted on a metal sheet that can be inserted into the cage. Each board has one or two connectors to a backplane installed in the cage. Let’s have a look on the boards.

This is the DCM board. Note the display connector at the bottom and one backplane connector at the top.

This is the MEP board. 90 256 Kbit nMOS Dynamic RAMs (between 2 and 3 MB).

The MPB, containing the CPU. It is not a single CPU chip or a standard design, but a proprietary Xerox design based on some AMD 2900 series bit slice chips:

At least the design is not completely TTL-based as in the first D*-machine from Xerox, the Dolphin.

And here we have the IO board giving us Ethernet, Floppy Disk, Keyboard (and Mouse that was connected through the Keyboard), and 2 serial interfaces. And we have another processor on this board:

Yes, its an Intel 80186. But it is not (only??) used for the interfaces, but in conjunction with the

PCE board for the PC emulation (note the tiny board which has a size of only a 1/3 of the others :-).

So my next task is to find a hard disk module. Let’s see whether this works out 🙂 Nevertheless, isn’t it cool to own a Xerox 6085?

29 Responses to “Xerox 6085”

  1. Michael Bevins Says:

    Greetings from Redondo Beach, California. I was a quality auditor/engineer on the 8010 and 6085 production lines at Xerox El Segundo from 1982 – 1989. Looking back it was an incredible system, way ahead of everything else. I remember seeing my first IBM PC Jr thinking this think has no chance against the Xerox workstations… Yep, your missing the hard drive bracket. Good luck finding one. I might know somebody with a copy of the OS.

  2. Gregory Casamento Says:

    I have been looking for one of these machines for many years.

    I’m wondering if you might have any idea where I can acquire one as well.

    By the way, there’s an emulator for the Daybreak called Dawn. It’s at It includes a disk image which contains the Xerox Development Environment.

    Later, Greg C.

  3. Geoff Thompson Says:

    The PCE board was for “PC Emulation”. It was an option and an add-on to the basic machine. The 80186 on the PCE board had nothing to do with the I/O. See US Patents 5088033 and 5062042

  4. Manfred Says:

    Hi everybody – I have 3x 6085 systems, including monitors, printers and scanners, PC emulation board and even a PC Companion, as well as lots of original manuals. One system came from the House of Commons Library (stamped documentation). Also floppy and tape drives and other spare boards. If anyone is interested, mail me. I am in the UK (East Anglia).

    • gregcasamentno Says:

      Hey Manfred,

      I am more than willing to buy it from you. Please let me know how much you would like for it. Obviously since you’re in the UK shipping may be expensive.

      I am only looking for one system and it doesn’t need to include a printer or a scanner.


    • Tom Moss Says:

      Hi Manfred.

      I’m also interested as I have a complete system, though lacking software.

      Do you have a floppy drive and a set of installation disks, or even a loaded HDD. I live in the Bristol, so collection/delivery shouldn’t be a problem.

    • dennis backus Says:

      I know this is probably a long shot but I just came across your posting from 2014 where you said that you had a number of Xerox 6085 systems. Do you still have them and are you still wanting to sell?

  5. gregcasamentno Says:


    I will fly to the UK if I have to in order to get this system. 🙂 Just let me know and I will come. Also, I know shipping on this will be horrible. I will cover shipping costs (of course) should you be able to send me one.

    Please let me know.

    Thanks, GC

  6. gregcasamentno Says:


    I will be in the UK from 7/3-7/6 this year (2014). Let me know if it’s possible for me to pick up one of the machines while I am in the country.


  7. Gregory John Casamento Says:


    I have a machine now. I just need a monitor. 🙂 If you have a monitor please let me know and I would love to buy it from you if possible. Also, if you DON’T have a monitor I am working on a way to build a framebuffer using a Raspberry Pi for this machine so that I don’t have to find a monitor!

    Either way, please contact me.

    Thanks, GC

    • Michael Wagner Says:

      Hi Gregory,
      it’s been a while, but did you have any luck with the framebuffer replacement for the monitor?
      I am thinking about something similar.
      Please contact me at
      mpw at mpwagner dot net
      Many Thanks

  8. Ed Lehming Photography Says:

    I used to service hundreds of these wonderful devices back in the mid 80’s. All those wires you see on the circuit boards were retrofits to repair problems as they arose. I build one from spare parts and finally sent the whole thing back when they end-of-life’d them. I wish I had kept it.

  9. Dana Says:

    If anyone wants to sell off a 6085 keyboard, please contact me! thanks.

  10. Daniel A Sharp Says:

    I have a complete 6085 set including tower, drive, keyboard, monitor and even the 4045 printer. All worked splendidly when I last used them. I’m in CT, USA. Anyone interested? Advice welcome even if not interested in buying. Thanks.Dan

  11. Daniel A Sharp Says:

    Bill, I wrote a reply but don’t think it went. Actually, the keyboard was not with the computer and I’m still looking among the 100+ boxes in my basement. Will let you know if/when I find it. Sorry for misinformation. Thanks for writing. Regards, Dan

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