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Disk Drive

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  • Grant Stockly
    Its been a month of no list activity! What s wrong with you guys! : ) I was thinking about trying to make an Altair Disk Drive. It was either Steve or Tom
    Message 1 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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      Its been a month of no list activity!  What's wrong with you guys!  : )

      I was thinking about trying to make an Altair Disk Drive.

      It was either Steve or Tom Sanderson who said that they knew disk drives were available for $500 new/remanufactured from somewhere.  Not the whole MITS setup, but the drive assembly itself.

      Where can I find those?

      This is what I've found, but I don't think any of these are the Altair drive.

      http://www.cadigital.com/flopdriv.htm

      Grant
    • Steve
      Ten or 15 years ago, Bottom Line Industries sold Pertec drives and parts, but they may be out of business now. Even then, I think they were asking ~$500 for
      Message 2 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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        Ten or 15 years ago, Bottom Line Industries sold Pertec drives and
        parts, but they may be out of business now. Even then, I think they
        were asking ~$500 for an 8" drive. This info may still be correct:

        BOTTOM LINE INDUSTRIES INCORPORATED
        9556 COZYCROFT AVE
        CHATSWORTH, CA
        91311-5101
        Phone: 818-700-1922

        I think Tom had another source.

        Steve
        ================================

        --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, Grant Stockly <grant@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Its been a month of no list activity! What's wrong with you
        guys! : )
        >
        > I was thinking about trying to make an Altair Disk Drive.
        >
        > It was either Steve or Tom Sanderson who said that they knew disk
        > drives were available for $500 new/remanufactured from
        > somewhere. Not the whole MITS setup, but the drive assembly itself.
        >
        > Where can I find those?
        >
        > This is what I've found, but I don't think any of these are the
        Altair drive.
        >
        > http://www.cadigital.com/flopdriv.htm
        >
        > Grant
        >
      • Grant Stockly
        ... I ve found them so far for $199 to $595 to $1200. (1200 being new in box) What is a drive worth to you guys? Its going to be about $899 - $1299 if I
        Message 3 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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          At 01:28 PM 11/5/2007, you wrote:

          >Ten or 15 years ago, Bottom Line Industries sold Pertec drives and
          >parts, but they may be out of business now. Even then, I think they
          >were asking ~$500 for an 8" drive. This info may still be correct:

          I've found them so far for $199 to $595 to $1200. (1200 being new in box)

          What is a drive worth to you guys? Its going to be about $899 -
          $1299 if I try...and if I do it will be a very hands on project. :
          ) It may be too labourous to pack the kits, so I might just package
          the case, PCBs, and rare parts. Let people find their own
          drive... In case/PCBs/rare parts it will be in the $500-600 range.

          From my initial investigations it seems that the drives (the FD510)
          are not rare, just expensive.

          Grant
        • D. Hugh Redelmeier
          ... Funny that you mentioned this today. I was daydreaming about whether it would be easy to build a bit-banging MMC interface with my 3P+S card. I know: no
          Message 4 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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            | From: Grant Stockly <grant@...>

            | I was thinking about trying to make an Altair Disk Drive.

            Funny that you mentioned this today. I was daydreaming about whether
            it would be easy to build a bit-banging MMC interface with my 3P+S
            card.

            I know: no purist would accept this. But it might be funny to have a
            few gigs of "disk" (flash) on my so-far-diskless Altair.

            Bringing it back halfway to relevance: I recently read on a web site
            that an old 5.25" floppy cable connector makes a reasonable socket for SD
            and MMC.

            What led me to thinking about this is reading messages from various
            folks hacking MMC interfaces into wireless routers (for OpenWRT). The
            expertise might be transferable. Mind you, even routers have 200MHz
            RISC processors these days. I don't know the timing constraints on MMC
            (one spec says the clock can be 0 - 20MHz).

            This was all daydreaming. I don't expect that I'll get around to
            trying any of this. I'm hacking on my router first.


            I don't have an S100 disk controller. Where would you get one? I
            don't even remember all the practical issues of hard and soft sectoring.
          • Grant Stockly
            ... One of my projects that I m putting on hold is making a SD disk drive emulator card. It makes the SD card look like an Altair disk drive. Without
            Message 5 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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              >| I was thinking about trying to make an Altair Disk Drive.
              >
              >Funny that you mentioned this today. I was daydreaming about whether
              >it would be easy to build a bit-banging MMC interface with my 3P+S
              >card.
              >
              >I know: no purist would accept this. But it might be funny to have a
              >few gigs of "disk" (flash) on my so-far-diskless Altair.

              One of my projects that I'm putting on hold is making a SD disk drive
              emulator card. It makes the SD card look like an Altair disk drive.

              Without software, the interface is worthless. My main goal is to run
              Altair software, not CP/M. A 3PS card would be able to handle CP/M,
              but not Altair DOS or Basic.

              >I don't have an S100 disk controller. Where would you get one? I
              >don't even remember all the practical issues of hard and soft sectoring.

              A disk controller would be included in the price.

              Grant
            • Steve
              Another source of Pertec drives is old (1975~1985) ﷯Jacquard﷯ business systems. Their Pertec 8 drives could be used after changing a few
              Message 6 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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                Another source of Pertec drives is old (1975~1985) ﷯Jacquard﷯ business
                systems. Their Pertec 8" drives could be used after changing a few
                jumpers. They used PCC 14" hard drives too.

                Cincinnati Milacron (now just Milacron) used PCC drives too.

                Steve
                =============================

                --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, Grant Stockly <grant@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > At 01:28 PM 11/5/2007, you wrote:
                >
                > >Ten or 15 years ago, Bottom Line Industries sold Pertec drives and
                > >parts, but they may be out of business now. Even then, I think they
                > >were asking ~$500 for an 8" drive. This info may still be correct:
                >
                > I've found them so far for $199 to $595 to $1200. (1200 being new
                in box)
                >
                > What is a drive worth to you guys? Its going to be about $899 -
                > $1299 if I try...and if I do it will be a very hands on project. :
                > ) It may be too labourous to pack the kits, so I might just
                package
                > the case, PCBs, and rare parts. Let people find their own
                > drive... In case/PCBs/rare parts it will be in the $500-600 range.
                >
                > From my initial investigations it seems that the drives (the
                FD510)
                > are not rare, just expensive.
                >
                > Grant
                >
              • D. Hugh Redelmeier
                ... Makes sense. I assume that the issue is that Altair software did not separate the driver functionality the way CP/M did with its BIOS. Too bad. The only
                Message 7 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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                  | From: Grant Stockly <grant@...>

                  | Without software, the interface is worthless. My main goal is to run
                  | Altair software, not CP/M. A 3PS card would be able to handle CP/M,
                  | but not Altair DOS or Basic.

                  Makes sense. I assume that the issue is that Altair software did not
                  separate the driver functionality the way CP/M did with its BIOS. Too
                  bad.

                  The only software I've run on my Altair has been my own. It lives in
                  a Byte Saver EPROM board (7k). I daydream that I could just code
                  up a driver. (I don't even have an EPROM eraser, but that is probably
                  easy to solve.)
                • Grant Stockly
                  ... Would a SA800 drive be compatible with the Altair drive electronics? Does it have the same interface? Grant
                  Message 8 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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                    At 02:17 PM 11/5/2007, you wrote:

                    >Another source of Pertec drives is old (1975~1985)
                    >﷯Jacquard﷯ business
                    >systems. Their Pertec 8" drives could be used after changing a few
                    >jumpers. They used PCC 14" hard drives too.

                    Would a SA800 drive be compatible with the Altair drive
                    electronics? Does it have the same interface?

                    Grant
                  • Grant Stockly
                    ... How much RAM do you have? Grant
                    Message 9 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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                      >The only software I've run on my Altair has been my own. It lives in
                      >a Byte Saver EPROM board (7k). I daydream that I could just code
                      >up a driver. (I don't even have an EPROM eraser, but that is probably
                      >easy to solve.)

                      How much RAM do you have?

                      Grant
                    • D. Hugh Redelmeier
                      ... I have 64k of RAM but I have to turn off 16K off it to leave address space for the Byte Saver. Lots of RAM is useful because of the way that my software
                      Message 10 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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                        | From: Grant Stockly <grant@...>

                        | How much RAM do you have?

                        I have 64k of RAM but I have to turn off 16K off it to leave address
                        space for the Byte Saver.

                        Lots of RAM is useful because of the way that my software works. Among
                        other things, it is an editor and assembler and works on source code
                        that is resident in RAM.

                        There is an awkward capability for source programs that are too big
                        and reside in chunks on Tarbell-encoded audio tapes. This allows the
                        program to assemble itself.

                        The same program can be configured to run under CP/M on our Kaypro II.

                        I have not used this seriously in a very long time.
                      • Steve
                        Yes- I think the SA800 is pin compatable with the FD400/500. Steve
                        Message 11 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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                          Yes- I think the SA800 is pin compatable with the FD400/500.

                          Steve
                          =============================

                          --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, Grant Stockly <grant@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > At 02:17 PM 11/5/2007, you wrote:
                          >
                          > >Another source of Pertec drives is old (1975~1985)
                          > >﷯Jacquard﷯ business
                          > >systems. Their Pertec 8" drives could be used after changing a few
                          > >jumpers. They used PCC 14" hard drives too.
                          >
                          > Would a SA800 drive be compatible with the Altair drive
                          > electronics? Does it have the same interface?
                          >
                          > Grant
                          >
                        • Grant Stockly
                          ... I ve got a 15 byte program that will load basic into your Altair using the 2SIO. Easily modifiable for other addresses. Grant
                          Message 12 of 16 , Nov 5, 2007
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                            At 09:36 PM 11/5/2007, you wrote:

                            | From: Grant Stockly <grant@...>

                            | How much RAM do you have?

                            I have 64k of RAM but I have to turn off 16K off it to leave address
                            space for the Byte Saver.
                            I have not used this seriously in a very long time.

                            I've got a 15 byte program that will load basic into your Altair using the 2SIO.  Easily modifiable for other addresses.

                            Grant
                          • Steve
                            BIOS? What s BIOS? Altair BASIC didn t have a configurable BIOS like CPM had. Drivers couldn t be loaded either. All you could do was try to hack the BASIC
                            Message 13 of 16 , Nov 6, 2007
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                              BIOS? What's BIOS? Altair BASIC didn't have a configurable BIOS like
                              CPM had. Drivers couldn't be loaded either. All you could do was try
                              to hack the BASIC code. The disk I/O was built into Altair BASIC and
                              you were pretty much stuck with it, and it would only talk to the
                              Altair disk controller board set.

                              Similarly, the selection of printers was limited to a few types. On
                              most versions, you could select at bootup whether your printer had a
                              Qume, Centronics, or Okidata interface and control scheme. BASIC would
                              then talk to the appropriate Altair interface board.

                              Steve
                              ==========================

                              --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "D. Hugh Redelmeier"
                              <hugh@...> wrote:
                              >
                              ...
                              > Makes sense. I assume that the issue is that Altair software did not
                              > separate the driver functionality the way CP/M did with its BIOS. Too
                              > bad.
                              > ...
                            • billdeg@aol.com
                              In a message dated 11/5/2007 3:11:50 PM Eastern Standard Time, ... drive. ... Vintagemicros was selling one on Ebay, with the controller cards. I guess it
                              Message 14 of 16 , Nov 6, 2007
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                                In a message dated 11/5/2007 3:11:50 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
                                grant@... writes:
                                
                                
                                > Its been a month of no list activity! What's wrong with you guys! : ) > > I was thinking about trying to make an Altair Disk Drive. > > It was either Steve or Tom Sanderson who said that they knew disk > drives were available for $500 new/remanufactured from > somewhere. Not the whole MITS setup, but the drive assembly itself. > > Where can I find those? > > This is what I've found, but I don't think any of these are the Altair
                                drive.
                                > > > http://www.cadigital.com/flopdriv.htm > > Grant
                                "Vintagemicros" was selling one on Ebay, with the controller cards. I guess it finally sold, not cheap. Bill


                                **************************************
                                See what's new at http://www.aol.com
                              • ueoguy
                                Grant, et al I m a bit late in responding to your post, but I have a bit of info that might be of use. With regards to Pertec drives, the FD400 series was the
                                Message 15 of 16 , Dec 20, 2007
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                                  Grant, et al

                                  I'm a bit late in responding to your post, but I have a bit of info
                                  that might be of use. With regards to Pertec drives, the FD400 series
                                  was the DC direct drive motor version used in the single disk DCDD
                                  configuration, which was prone to a lot of heat related problems,
                                  bridge rectifiers on the PS board melting the traces off the board,
                                  and a stalled servo drive motor tended to fry the Tip 110/120
                                  transistors on the drive itself, and overheating the motor windings.

                                  The FD500 series was more like the Shugart drives, with a belt drive,
                                  and AC drive motor. They are most commonly found in the Dual disk
                                  enclosure, and supplied with systems like the MITS 300 Business
                                  System. That enclosure had an improved buffer board design, and even
                                  the System controller boards used IDC cable and connectors, a much
                                  cleaner design inside the Altair.

                                  I would really like to see a Shugart drive running on an Altair, but I
                                  believe the only version that might work, is the SA-800-1"R". The "R"
                                  suffix drives are the only ones that support "Hard Sectoring". The
                                  SA-800-1 is soft sectored only, and has no jumpers for selecting the
                                  number of sectors, 8, 16, 32.

                                  Another side comment, the Siemens 8" drives are supposed to be a
                                  Shugart clone, so they may work as well!

                                  Just Bob!


                                  --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, Grant Stockly <grant@...>
                                  wrote:
                                  >
                                  > At 01:28 PM 11/5/2007, you wrote:
                                  >
                                  > >Ten or 15 years ago, Bottom Line Industries sold Pertec drives and
                                  > >parts, but they may be out of business now. Even then, I think they
                                  > >were asking ~$500 for an 8" drive. This info may still be correct:
                                  >
                                  > I've found them so far for $199 to $595 to $1200. (1200 being new
                                  in box)
                                  >
                                  > What is a drive worth to you guys? Its going to be about $899 -
                                  > $1299 if I try...and if I do it will be a very hands on project. :
                                  > ) It may be too labourous to pack the kits, so I might just package
                                  > the case, PCBs, and rare parts. Let people find their own
                                  > drive... In case/PCBs/rare parts it will be in the $500-600 range.
                                  >
                                  > From my initial investigations it seems that the drives (the FD510)
                                  > are not rare, just expensive.
                                  >
                                  > Grant
                                  >
                                • ueoguy
                                  All, Here s some additional information I found on the site..... http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/d_altair.html The references to Tom is Tom
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Dec 21, 2007
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                                    All,

                                    Here's some additional information I found on the site.....
                                    http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/d_altair.html

                                    The references to 'Tom' is Tom Sanderson...

                                    "There are versions of drives with a 50-pin interface and others with a
                                    Pertec interface. To identify drives by model and revision, Tom
                                    offered me the following "key to understanding the Pertec drive
                                    numbering system".

                                    "The first digit identifies drive motor type. A FD4xx number indicates
                                    a DC motor and a 5xx number indicates an AC Motor.

                                    The second digit identifies density. A FDx0x drive is single density
                                    and a FDx1x drive is single or double density. MITS used both FD410
                                    and FD510 drives, even though the MITS controller was only single density.

                                    The third digit is interface type. A FDxx0 is the "Basic" PRE-STANDARD
                                    Pertec interface an it is not 50 pins. A FDxx1 indicates a Basic
                                    interface with "Internal Daisy Chain". A FDxx4 number indicates a
                                    standard Shugart Interface. These drives were not used by MITS. Pertec
                                    used them in the PCC2000. They may be in the iCOM 3812,I'm not sure.

                                    An extension to the FDxxx number specifies Model Revision, for example
                                    FD514-06."

                                    Tom describes what he knows about the production history of use of
                                    these drives. "The original Altair drive was an FD400. Later
                                    production used a FD-510. I've also seen a FD-511 drive used with a
                                    FD-510 FD board. There are six versions of the FD-514. Changing
                                    versions required few component changes in addition to jumper changes.
                                    The FD514-06 revision provides a standard Shugart configuration.
                                    Another revision supported hard sector operation."

                                    So maybe Shugart and Pertec aren't as interchangeable as we first thought?

                                    I'm not sure if this clears anything up, or just muddies the water?

                                    Just Bob!....I have a headache!


                                    --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "ueoguy" <ueoguy@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Grant, et al
                                    >
                                    > I'm a bit late in responding to your post, but I have a bit of info
                                    > that might be of use. With regards to Pertec drives, the FD400 series
                                    > was the DC direct drive motor version used in the single disk DCDD
                                    > configuration, which was prone to a lot of heat related problems,
                                    > bridge rectifiers on the PS board melting the traces off the board,
                                    > and a stalled servo drive motor tended to fry the Tip 110/120
                                    > transistors on the drive itself, and overheating the motor windings.
                                    >
                                    > The FD500 series was more like the Shugart drives, with a belt drive,
                                    > and AC drive motor. They are most commonly found in the Dual disk
                                    > enclosure, and supplied with systems like the MITS 300 Business
                                    > System. That enclosure had an improved buffer board design, and even
                                    > the System controller boards used IDC cable and connectors, a much
                                    > cleaner design inside the Altair.
                                    >
                                    > I would really like to see a Shugart drive running on an Altair, but I
                                    > believe the only version that might work, is the SA-800-1"R". The "R"
                                    > suffix drives are the only ones that support "Hard Sectoring". The
                                    > SA-800-1 is soft sectored only, and has no jumpers for selecting the
                                    > number of sectors, 8, 16, 32.
                                    >
                                    > Another side comment, the Siemens 8" drives are supposed to be a
                                    > Shugart clone, so they may work as well!
                                    >
                                    > Just Bob!
                                    >
                                    >
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