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Re: Altair 88-DCDD floppy disk controller?

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  • mfeberhard
    You could instead design around the half-height Shugart 860 drive, like this one:
    Message 1 of 22 , Jul 5, 2013
      You could instead design around the half-height Shugart 860 drive, like this one:

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Shugart-Associates-Model-860-1-8-FLOPPY-DRIVE-/251296406993?pt=US_Vintage_Computers_Mainframes&hash=item3a826eddd1

      I don't have the OEM manual for the 860, but I bet it has similar jumper settings to the 850/851, the double-sided full height drive which can be set up for hard-sector disks.

      With a half-height drive, you could fit the whole thing in the correct enclosure height...

      -Martin E

      --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "deramp5113" <deramp5113@...> wrote:
      >
      > Presently, I'm thinking that designing a Shugart-compatible controller that duplicates the Altair controller's host interface would be the best way to go. Sounds like the Shugart drives are more readily available and in better condition than the typical Pertec drive that might be found. A simple jumper makes a soft sectored Shugart drive (800) a hard sectored drive (801). Finally, it does sound like some 8" hard sectored media is still available.
      >
      > The Shugart drive is full height, so if duplicating the look and feel of the original Altair floppy enclosure is a goal, the box will have to be taller - more like the height of the Altair 8800.
      >
      > Mike
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "deramp5113" <deramp5113@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Ok, this has gotten me thinking.
      > >
      > > First, a few questions for Martin, Tom Sanderson, etc.: Are the required Pertec drives still reasonably available and if so, are they typically still useable and maintainable drives? Second, are the 8" hard sector floppy disks still reasonably "available" for purchase anywhere?
      > >
      > > If the answer to the preceding questions are "yes," then I'd like to build an S100 controller board to provide a 100% compatible Altair floppy drive system.
      > >
      > > If the answer is "no," then what about the same questions in regard to one of the common Shugart model drives (e.g., 800 series). I'm thinking the new controller board could make these drives look exactly like an Altair floppy from the Altair computer's and Altair software's perspective. If the floppy itself could not be read between an original Altair floppy drive and the "new" floppy drive, that is not really a show-stopper anymore because disks can easily be exchanged via the Internet as .dsk files like we now have in the Files section. You can always archive/restore your own floppy disks on your own hardware into/from .dsk files. This means everyone's drives are "compatible."
      > >
      > > Finally, if none of the 8 inch drives are a good solution, then the new controller could interface to the ubiquitous 3.5 inch floppy drives and make them look identical in format (from the Altair's perspective) to the original Altair floppy drives and disk layout. Each 3.5 inch floppy would be equivalent to one 8 inch Altair floppy. Ignore the 1.44MB, IBM format thoughts in your head - the new controller would only use about 330K on each disk and make the format look identical to the original Altair floppy as far as any software running on the Altair could tell. Though media would obviously not be interchangeable with an original Altair drive, the content is identical and can be exchanged without conversion via a .dsk file as mentioned previously.
      > >
      > > Thoughts?
      > >
      > > Mike
      > >
      > > --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "toml_12953" <tlake@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Is there an equivalent (software/hardware compatible) to the Altair 88-DCDD floppy disk controller that's readily available? I see the drives on eBay from time to time but without a disk controller they're useless to me.
      > > >
      > >
      >
    • deramp5113
      There are three Altairs on eBay right now with what appears to be Altair floppy controller sets in each one. Also an Altair floppy drive and a floppy cabinet
      Message 2 of 22 , Aug 7, 2013
        There are three Altairs on eBay right now with what appears to be Altair floppy controller sets in each one. Also an Altair floppy drive and a floppy cabinet listed.

        Mike


        --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "toml_12953" <tlake@...> wrote:
        >
        > Is there an equivalent (software/hardware compatible) to the Altair 88-DCDD floppy disk controller that's readily available? I see the drives on eBay from time to time but without a disk controller they're useless to me.
        >
      • toml_12953
        I have a bid in on one of them and if I get outbid, the other two end later so I can bid on those, too. Thanks, Mike!
        Message 3 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
          I have a bid in on one of them and if I get outbid, the other two end later so I can bid on those, too.

          Thanks, Mike!

          --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "deramp5113" <deramp5113@...> wrote:
          >
          > There are three Altairs on eBay right now with what appears to be Altair floppy controller sets in each one. Also an Altair floppy drive and a floppy cabinet listed.
          >
          > Mike
          >
          >
          > --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "toml_12953" <tlake@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Is there an equivalent (software/hardware compatible) to the Altair 88-DCDD floppy disk controller that's readily available? I see the drives on eBay from time to time but without a disk controller they're useless to me.
          > >
          >
        • Bill Sudbrink
          ... If you happen to bid on and win the cat piss altair, and only want the controller boards, I would like to buy the front panel. I have a B with a badly
          Message 4 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
            toml_12953 wrote:
            > I have a bid in on one of them and if I get outbid, the other two end
            > later so I can bid on those, too.

            If you happen to bid on and win the "cat piss" altair, and only want the
            controller boards, I would like to buy the front panel. I have a 'B'
            with a badly mangled front panel that I would like to fix up.

            Bill S.
          • toml_12953
            Sure is an enticing description, isn t it? :-) I really only want the disk controller boards out of whichever one I win (IF I win) so I d be happy to sell the
            Message 5 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
              Sure is an enticing description, isn't it? :-) I really only want the disk controller boards out of whichever one I win (IF I win) so I'd be happy to sell the rest at a cheap price.

              Tom L

              --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Sudbrink" <wh.sudbrink@...> wrote:
              >
              > toml_12953 wrote:
              > > I have a bid in on one of them and if I get outbid, the other two end
              > > later so I can bid on those, too.
              >
              > If you happen to bid on and win the "cat piss" altair, and only want the
              > controller boards, I would like to buy the front panel. I have a 'B'
              > with a badly mangled front panel that I would like to fix up.
              >
              > Bill S.
              >
            • Bill Sudbrink
              ... That s part of the reason for the offer. I wouldn t normally tear up one machine to repair another, but in this case it sounds like a good donor
              Message 6 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
                toml_12953 wrote:
                > Sure is an enticing description, isn't it? :-) I really only want the
                > disk controller boards out of whichever one I win (IF I win) so I'd be
                > happy to sell the rest at a cheap price.

                That's part of the reason for the offer. I wouldn't normally "tear up"
                one machine to repair another, but in this case it sounds like a good
                donor candidate. I figure the price won't go too high and if you knew
                that you could recover part of your cost you might bid a little more.

                Bill S.
              • toml_12953
                Here s another thought....I see full size scans of both the 8800 and 8800B front panels on eBay right now. Maybe you could buy one of those and replace the
                Message 7 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
                  Here's another thought....I see full size scans of both the 8800 and 8800B front panels on eBay right now. Maybe you could buy one of those and replace the damaged faceplate graphics. Then you'd have to cover it with a clear sheet, of course but it should look pretty good once done.

                  --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Sudbrink" <wh.sudbrink@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > toml_12953 wrote:
                  > > I have a bid in on one of them and if I get outbid, the other two end
                  > > later so I can bid on those, too.
                  >
                  > If you happen to bid on and win the "cat piss" altair, and only want the
                  > controller boards, I would like to buy the front panel. I have a 'B'
                  > with a badly mangled front panel that I would like to fix up.
                  >
                  > Bill S.
                  >
                • Bill Sudbrink
                  ... No, no. You don t understand. Somebody went mad scientist on this unit. The front panel interface board and cables are gone. Traces are cut and holes
                  Message 8 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
                    toml_12953 wrote:
                    >
                    > Here's another thought....I see full size scans of both the 8800 and
                    > 8800B front panels on eBay right now. Maybe you could buy one of those
                    > and replace the damaged faceplate graphics. Then you'd have to cover it
                    > with a clear sheet, of course but it should look pretty good once done.

                    No, no. You don't understand. Somebody went "mad scientist" on this unit.
                    The front panel interface board and cables are gone. Traces are cut and
                    holes are drilled all over the front panel pcb. Many of the LEDs and
                    switches are gone. Looks like he/she tried to mount IMSAI sized switches
                    in multiple places, hacking holes in the dress panel and the metal panel
                    behind it. Oddly (fortunately), the rest of the chassis, mother board and
                    power supply are immaculate. Not even a significant scratch in the paint.

                    Bill S.
                  • Chris Elmquist
                    ... Geez. There s a special place in hell ... -- Chris Elmquist
                    Message 9 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
                      On Friday (08/09/2013 at 02:34PM -0400), Bill Sudbrink wrote:
                      > toml_12953 wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Here's another thought....I see full size scans of both the 8800 and
                      > > 8800B front panels on eBay right now. Maybe you could buy one of those
                      > > and replace the damaged faceplate graphics. Then you'd have to cover it
                      > > with a clear sheet, of course but it should look pretty good once done.
                      >
                      > No, no. You don't understand. Somebody went "mad scientist" on this unit.
                      > The front panel interface board and cables are gone. Traces are cut and
                      > holes are drilled all over the front panel pcb. Many of the LEDs and
                      > switches are gone. Looks like he/she tried to mount IMSAI sized switches
                      > in multiple places, hacking holes in the dress panel and the metal panel
                      > behind it. Oddly (fortunately), the rest of the chassis, mother board and
                      > power supply are immaculate. Not even a significant scratch in the paint.

                      Geez. There's a special place in hell ...

                      --
                      Chris Elmquist
                    • Bill Sudbrink
                      ... Well, I picked this up at a hamfest in??? 97 maybe? The older end of the classiccmp archives is gone, taking with it a good bit of my records :-( To be
                      Message 10 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
                        Chris Elmquist wrote:
                        > Geez. There's a special place in hell ...

                        Well, I picked this up at a hamfest in??? 97 maybe?
                        The older end of the classiccmp archives is gone,
                        taking with it a good bit of my records :-(

                        To be fair, almost no one valued vintage computers
                        back then. I don't know whether some old ham was trying
                        to do something or if it had just been given to some
                        kid to "experiment" on.

                        Bill S.
                      • Chris Elmquist
                        ... Fair enough. Hopefully someone had fun and learned something from the experience. I guess without these projects we d all have nothing to fix up :-) --
                        Message 11 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
                          On Friday (08/09/2013 at 03:10PM -0400), Bill Sudbrink wrote:
                          > Chris Elmquist wrote:
                          > > Geez. There's a special place in hell ...
                          >
                          > Well, I picked this up at a hamfest in??? 97 maybe?
                          > The older end of the classiccmp archives is gone,
                          > taking with it a good bit of my records :-(
                          >
                          > To be fair, almost no one valued vintage computers
                          > back then. I don't know whether some old ham was trying
                          > to do something or if it had just been given to some
                          > kid to "experiment" on.

                          Fair enough. Hopefully someone had fun and learned something from the
                          experience. I guess without these "projects" we'd all have nothing to
                          fix up :-)

                          --
                          Chris Elmquist
                        • toml_12953
                          Merde! I cringe at the thought of such destruction!
                          Message 12 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
                            Merde! I cringe at the thought of such destruction!

                            --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Sudbrink" <wh.sudbrink@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > toml_12953 wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Here's another thought....I see full size scans of both the 8800 and
                            > > 8800B front panels on eBay right now. Maybe you could buy one of those
                            > > and replace the damaged faceplate graphics. Then you'd have to cover it
                            > > with a clear sheet, of course but it should look pretty good once done.
                            >
                            > No, no. You don't understand. Somebody went "mad scientist" on this unit.
                            > The front panel interface board and cables are gone. Traces are cut and
                            > holes are drilled all over the front panel pcb. Many of the LEDs and
                            > switches are gone. Looks like he/she tried to mount IMSAI sized switches
                            > in multiple places, hacking holes in the dress panel and the metal panel
                            > behind it. Oddly (fortunately), the rest of the chassis, mother board and
                            > power supply are immaculate. Not even a significant scratch in the paint.
                            >
                            > Bill S.
                            >
                          • steve
                            You have probably noticed that many of the Altair items currently being sold on ebay by mybluemalibu have MITS asset number stickers on them. For what it s
                            Message 13 of 22 , Aug 9, 2013
                              You have probably noticed that many of the Altair items currently being sold on ebay by "mybluemalibu" have MITS asset number stickers on them. For what it's worth, this means that those machines were almost certainly factory assembled, which would probably make troubleshooting a little easier.

                              Watch out for the 'cat piss' computer, though. CP can really corrode copper contacts and wiring. Mouse urine is even worse.

                              steve
                              ================

                              --- In altaircomputerclub@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Sudbrink" <wh.sudbrink@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > toml_12953 wrote:
                              > > I have a bid in on one of them and if I get outbid, the other two end
                              > > later so I can bid on those, too.
                              >
                              > If you happen to bid on and win the "cat piss" altair, and only want the
                              > controller boards, I would like to buy the front panel. I have a 'B'
                              > with a badly mangled front panel that I would like to fix up.
                              >
                              > Bill S.
                              >
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