So today at InfoAge I decided to look at the Sol-20 systems and try to get one running.
Well one looks like it was kept outside in the woods it was filled with leaves and stuff (we will call this one the chip donor) it was also the one Lee F signed.
The other looked in good visual condition just dusty.
Both systems were mostly complete, but one was missing the personality module. I'm sure it fell out at some point. Also the special 10-24 thumb screws are missing on both, I remember seeing a set of them on the floor under the table before we lost power so in sure the missing parts are just shoved in a box somewhere in the H building or under the table.
Armed with some spare parts I brought from home and a troublshooting list for the Sol from 1977 I went to work.
I removed all the apparent hacks that are not specified by the Sol modification notices for the Rev-D board it contained. There were a lot.
Then I tested the power supply both under and not under load.
And No Video...
I followed the troublshooting list, first getting wavy lines, then the 9x crash error and the finally a solos prompt.
Then on to the keyboard. Now Sol-20 systems use a keytronic capacitance system where there is foam and an insulator that form a capacitor when you press on a key. The foam deteriorates or disconnects from the top insulator. This causes the key to not work. Amoung the three keyboards (two from the sol systems and one spare) I found the one that partially worked and plan to harvest foam pads from the others to make one good keyboard for now. This is work for the Saturday technical session.
Now I know you can make new ones, or take them from a sun type-4 keyboard. I actually bought my set on eBay for my Sol-20. For now I want to just get this system working for MARCH.
So Saturday will be spent fixing the keyboard, cleaning the machine up, calibrating the cassette interface. This working unit will also get the signed part from Lee F.
Now while I was there Jeff Jonas and Evan showed me some of the paper tape punches that MARCH has and we determined none have rs232 interfaces. So we decided maybe after the Sol I can try to figure out why the ASR-33 in the homebrew room keeps jamming.
See everyone this weekend.