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Re: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions??

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  • Craig Landrum
    ... Tom - I started with a bare front panel board that came with a dozen S-100 boards that I bought 20 years ago for $75. At the time, I was restoring an
    Message 1 of 36 , Apr 12, 2010
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      On 4/12/10 at 12:12 PM, yahoo@... (W Tom) wrote:

      > The record is around $10,000 for an 8800 Mainframe. I assume you
      > covered your costs, but were generous with your time. I believe you have
      > much better than average skills and part of your compensation was the
      > enjoyment of the technical challenge. I'm guessing you may have sold
      > the Altair to make space for your other projects and not to make a
      > profit.
      >
      > Given the time and skill required to build your system, was $6,500 a
      > low price? Can you speak to the difficulty of finding parts and the time
      > required to restore a system? I'm thinking the price was a bargain and
      > you saved someone a lot of time and trouble. How much do you think
      > supplying software added to the system value?
      >
      > Thanks for providing the world with a working system.
      >
      > Tom

      Tom - I started with a bare front panel board that came with a dozen
      S-100 boards that I bought 20 years ago for $75. At the time, I was
      restoring an IMSAI to bootable condition which I later sold for $3500.
      Eventually after doing a few IMSAI's, I decided to try an Altair and
      found I already had the front panel, so I built the system up board by
      board, and part by part from there.

      You are correct - the attraction for me is the challenge of obtaining the
      parts, putting them together properly, and debugging and fixing the boards
      back to working condition. Along the way to that goal, I had the advice
      and assistance of several on this list who sold me boards and parts or
      provided doc and copies of software. Once I had put the system together
      and got it to a reliably bootable condition, the job was done and I began
      to look for my next project.

      As a former Z-80 assembly language coder from the late 70's who worked
      on projects with hardware designers for multibus systems, restoring older
      S-100 systems brings back some of the great feelings of accomplishment that
      I received during those early years of microcomputing - a sense of wonder
      and what we were creating and pushing the boundaries of what was possible.

      Today, I'm still a programmer and the times I get to work at a low level
      or whip out my logic analyzer skills are few and far between. Frankly,
      it's all very boring now and all about creating pretty pictures on a
      screen instead of hacking a new algorithm to drive DMA data transfers or
      reduce interrupt handling times or save a few bytes of memory. When you
      work on a 2.5 Ghz multicore processor with a terabyte drive and 6GB of
      RAM, you already know it's possible - it's just busywork to get it done.

      I considered $6500 to be a fair price for the system. It probably covered
      my h/w outlay easily, but certainly didn't pay for the many hours of
      debugging the hardware, replacing dead chips, cleaning boards and disk
      drive heads, etc - but of course I never counted the time I spent doing it
      as work that needed to be compensated - I spent the time as recreational
      computing. If someone were to hand me a bunch of boards, cabinets, cables,
      drives, etc and ask that I get it working, I'd probably do it for free for
      the entertainment value :-)

      And I'm sure many of you on this list feel exactly the same.


      --
      Craig Landrum
      Chief Technical Officer
      mindwrap, inc.
      Phone: (540) 675-3015 x 229
      Fax: (540) 675-3130
      email: craigl@...
    • W Tom
      Bill, I could add a short to this board if it would help with enjoyment :) http://tom12.tech.officelive.com/CompuProSystemSupport1A02799A.aspx I love boards
      Message 36 of 36 , Apr 13, 2010
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        Bill,

        I could add a short to this board if it would help with enjoyment :)

        http://tom12.tech.officelive.com/CompuProSystemSupport1A02799A.aspx

        I love boards where everything is labeled and all chips have sockets.


        Jack,

        I'm embarrassed to have toasted a 680, but glad Grant cloned it first. At least I learned one cause of 680 board failure. The length of the spacer for add-on boards is important.

        I hope Grant has made progress on another production run of the add-on board. I don't trust my original boards. All but one are Rev 0 and I have no clue what MITS fixed for REV 1. Grant found many of the sockets and chips were bad because something had damaged to metal on the pins and sockets. Replacement RAM chips remain expensive. I think 680 memory is a case where newer may be better than original.

        Regards,

        Tom

        --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, billdeg@... wrote:
        >
        >
        > Just to relate...My System Support 1 is toast. After chopping up traces that lead to the 7912 in position U2, the tant caps nearby, etc. I still could not find the source of the problem. The manual says that these tant caps are supposed to be 6.8uf 35v tant caps, but when I check the actual caps on the board they're all marked +1.5 25V. I was told that either will work.
        >
        > Bill
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Jack Rubin <jack.rubin@...>
        > To: altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 12:43 pm
        > Subject: Re: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions??
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ...and I'm still hoping Godbout will continue production of the System Support 1! :>)
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > From: "billdeg@..." <billdeg@...>
        > To: altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Tue, April 13, 2010 11:25:03 AM
        > Subject: Re: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions??
        >
        >
        >
        > Jack,
        > I am still hoping Shockley Electronics or someone will produce a kit.
        > Bill
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Jack Rubin <jack.rubin@ameritec h.net>
        > To: altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com
        > Sent: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 12:13 pm
        > Subject: Re: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions? ?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Tom,
        >
        > I'm still looking for a RAM card for my 680 - I'm interested if the board itself isn't toasted.
        >
        > Jack
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > From: W Tom <yahoo@loslunasnm. net>
        > To: altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com
        > Sent: Tue, April 13, 2010 11:05:29 AM
        > Subject: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions? ?
        >
        >
        >
        > I have a 680 with too short board spacers. The memory board was shorted by the crystal below. I also plugged in the power connector one pin off. This Altair should provide great fun for someone. The question is not what chips are bad, but maybe what chips survived.
        >
        > Tom
        >
        > --- In altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com, billdeg@ wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > You could always short something out before you mail it, tell the person they have guess what it is, ha ha.
        > > Bill
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: W Tom <yahoo@>
        > > To: altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com
        > > Sent: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 10:58 am
        > > Subject: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions? ?
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > > but $10,000 is too steep unless there's really something
        > > extraordinary about it.
        > > Some people think being the first makes the Altair 8800 extraordinary. I think
        > > 10,000 is too much for a mainframe, but the person that took my advice and
        > > sked for "a lot" appreciated the $10,035 bid. Maybe the #2 bidder got a better
        > > rice on a later sale. I think the $10K auction had the effect of increasing the
        > > ltair supply.
        > > >The extra stuff does add to the price
        > > I hope so. As a stuff writer, I hope software adds some value :)
        > > >Many people buy Altairs for the pleasure of working on them, a
        > > complete working system is no fun!
        > > Some people bought Altairs run programs and don't find working on them fun. I'm
        > > tarting to feel like I may be cheating people out of the joy of repair by
        > > rying to fix my hardware.
        > >
        > > om
        > >
        > > -- In altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com, billdeg@ wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > The typical sales price for an Altair on Ebay is less than $3000, many claim
        > > hat they work/close to working. The extra stuff does add to the price, but
        > > 10,000 is too steep unless there's really something extraordinary about it.
        > > any people buy Altairs for the pleasure of working on them, a complete working
        > > ystem is no fun!
        > >
        > > In my opinion.
        > >
        > >
        > > Bill
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: W Tom <yahoo@>
        > > To: altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com
        > > Sent: Mon, Apr 12, 2010 12:12 pm
        > > Subject: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it.
        > > ny suggestions? ?
        > >
        > >
        > > The record is around $10,000 for an 8800 Mainframe. I assume you
        > > overed your costs, but were generous with your time. I believe you have
        > > uch better than average skills and part of your compensation was the
        > > njoyment of the technical challenge. I'm guessing you may have sold
        > > he Altair to make space for your other projects and not to make a
        > > rofit.
        > > Given the time and skill required to build your system, was $6,500 a
        > > ow price? Can you speak to the difficulty of finding parts and the time
        > > equired to restore a system? I'm thinking the price was a bargain and
        > > ou saved someone a lot of time and trouble. How much do you think
        > > upplying software added to the system value?
        > > Thanks for providing the world with a working system.
        > > Tom
        > >
        > > -- In altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com, Craig Landrum <craigl@>
        > > rote:
        > >
        > > > What value does the group estimate for a working 64K Altair floppy
        > > isk
        > > > system with BASIC, DOS, Fortran, CP/M, Original Peachtree
        > > ccounting,
        > > > memory test, fast copy, and a box of blank diskettes? Terminal
        > > anuals
        > > > and a printer might complete the set. What is the importance of
        > > > preserving a system that can not only run MITS software, but can
        > > opy
        > > > software and make new diskettes?
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > > The complete system I sold a few years ago went for $6500 and was an
        > > original 8800 with floppy disk controllers, 64K (4 static boards), an
        > > SIOC and SIO2 (installed and working), a printer board (working),
        > > ASIC,
        > > CP/M, Altair DOS (all bootable), all original doc. Also came with a
        > > Wyse dumb terminal for everyday use and a working ASR-33. Could use
        > > he
        > > front panel switches to boot from the SIOC (ASR) or the Wyse (SIO2).
        > > System included dual 8-inch MITs floppy drives (working). I included a
        > > centronics printer (non-MITs but working).
        > >
        > > Several spare boards were included along with complete doc and backup
        > > isks.
        > > Also included PROM board with disk head exerciser.
        > >
        > > --
        > > Craig Landrum
        > > Chief Technical Officer
        > > mindwrap, inc.
        > > Phone: (540) 675-3015 x 229
        > > Fax: (540) 675-3130
        > > email: craigl@
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > ------------ --------- --------- -----
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > Individual Email | Traditional
        > > http://docs. yahoo.com/ info/terms/
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > ------------ --------- --------- -----
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > Individual Email | Traditional
        > > http://docs. yahoo.com/ info/terms/
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Jack,
        > I am still hoping Shockley Electronics or someone will produce a kit.
        > Bill
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Jack Rubin <jack.rubin@ameritec h.net>
        > To: altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com
        > Sent: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 12:13 pm
        > Subject: Re: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions? ?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Tom,
        >
        > I'm still looking for a RAM card for my 680 - I'm interested if the board itself isn't toasted.
        >
        > Jack
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > From: W Tom <yahoo@loslunasnm. net>
        > To: altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com
        > Sent: Tue, April 13, 2010 11:05:29 AM
        > Subject: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions? ?
        >
        >
        >
        > I have a 680 with too short board spacers. The memory board was shorted by the crystal below. I also plugged in the power connector one pin off. This Altair should provide great fun for someone. The question is not what chips are bad, but maybe what chips survived.
        >
        > Tom
        >
        > --- In altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com, billdeg@ wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > You could always short something out before you mail it, tell the person they have guess what it is, ha ha.
        > > Bill
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: W Tom <yahoo@>
        > > To: altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com
        > > Sent: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 10:58 am
        > > Subject: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it. Any suggestions? ?
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > > but $10,000 is too steep unless there's really something
        > > extraordinary about it.
        > > Some people think being the first makes the Altair 8800 extraordinary. I think
        > > 10,000 is too much for a mainframe, but the person that took my advice and
        > > sked for "a lot" appreciated the $10,035 bid. Maybe the #2 bidder got a better
        > > rice on a later sale. I think the $10K auction had the effect of increasing the
        > > ltair supply.
        > > >The extra stuff does add to the price
        > > I hope so. As a stuff writer, I hope software adds some value :)
        > > >Many people buy Altairs for the pleasure of working on them, a
        > > complete working system is no fun!
        > > Some people bought Altairs run programs and don't find working on them fun. I'm
        > > tarting to feel like I may be cheating people out of the joy of repair by
        > > rying to fix my hardware.
        > >
        > > om
        > >
        > > -- In altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com, billdeg@ wrote:
        > >
        > >
        > > The typical sales price for an Altair on Ebay is less than $3000, many claim
        > > hat they work/close to working. The extra stuff does add to the price, but
        > > 10,000 is too steep unless there's really something extraordinary about it.
        > > any people buy Altairs for the pleasure of working on them, a complete working
        > > ystem is no fun!
        > >
        > > In my opinion.
        > >
        > >
        > > Bill
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: W Tom <yahoo@>
        > > To: altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com
        > > Sent: Mon, Apr 12, 2010 12:12 pm
        > > Subject: [Altair Computer Club] Re:Just put up this site, still working on it.
        > > ny suggestions? ?
        > >
        > >
        > > The record is around $10,000 for an 8800 Mainframe. I assume you
        > > overed your costs, but were generous with your time. I believe you have
        > > uch better than average skills and part of your compensation was the
        > > njoyment of the technical challenge. I'm guessing you may have sold
        > > he Altair to make space for your other projects and not to make a
        > > rofit.
        > > Given the time and skill required to build your system, was $6,500 a
        > > ow price? Can you speak to the difficulty of finding parts and the time
        > > equired to restore a system? I'm thinking the price was a bargain and
        > > ou saved someone a lot of time and trouble. How much do you think
        > > upplying software added to the system value?
        > > Thanks for providing the world with a working system.
        > > Tom
        > >
        > > -- In altaircomputerclub@ yahoogroups. com, Craig Landrum <craigl@>
        > > rote:
        > >
        > > > What value does the group estimate for a working 64K Altair floppy
        > > isk
        > > > system with BASIC, DOS, Fortran, CP/M, Original Peachtree
        > > ccounting,
        > > > memory test, fast copy, and a box of blank diskettes? Terminal
        > > anuals
        > > > and a printer might complete the set. What is the importance of
        > > > preserving a system that can not only run MITS software, but can
        > > opy
        > > > software and make new diskettes?
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > > The complete system I sold a few years ago went for $6500 and was an
        > > original 8800 with floppy disk controllers, 64K (4 static boards), an
        > > SIOC and SIO2 (installed and working), a printer board (working),
        > > ASIC,
        > > CP/M, Altair DOS (all bootable), all original doc. Also came with a
        > > Wyse dumb terminal for everyday use and a working ASR-33. Could use
        > > he
        > > front panel switches to boot from the SIOC (ASR) or the Wyse (SIO2).
        > > System included dual 8-inch MITs floppy drives (working). I included a
        > > centronics printer (non-MITs but working).
        > >
        > > Several spare boards were included along with complete doc and backup
        > > isks.
        > > Also included PROM board with disk head exerciser.
        > >
        > > --
        > > Craig Landrum
        > > Chief Technical Officer
        > > mindwrap, inc.
        > > Phone: (540) 675-3015 x 229
        > > Fax: (540) 675-3130
        > > email: craigl@
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > ------------ --------- --------- -----
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > Individual Email | Traditional
        > > http://docs. yahoo.com/ info/terms/
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > ------------ --------- --------- -----
        > > Yahoo! Groups Links
        > > Individual Email | Traditional
        > > http://docs. yahoo.com/ info/terms/
        > >
        >
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