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Altair 88-HDSK and Datakeeper

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  • mfeberhard
    Is anyone else interested in the Altair 88-HDSK hard disk system? After quite a long rebuild project, I just got mine working. It now boots and runs Altair
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 6, 2014
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      Is anyone else interested in the Altair 88-HDSK hard disk system?
      After quite a long rebuild project, I just got mine working. It now boots and runs Altair Hard Disk Basic perfectly. I've uploaded a set of photos in the photo section of this site,  if you want to have a look.
      I wrote some software that you will find useful, should you ever decide to try and revive one of these beasts. "Adexer" (Altair Disk Exerciser) is a fairly comprehensive exerciser for both the Datakeeper controller and the hard drive itself. For the controller, it can (with the help of a simple loop-back cable) test out most of the controller's functionality, and give you fine control to help debug problems. For the disk drive, Adexer can perform all of the functions of the (impossible to find) Pertec hard disk exerciser, which is necessary to tune the positioner servo and to align the heads. Adexer can also format the hard disks, and perform disk copy functions, and a handful of other useful functions. You can find Adexer, as well as the (somewhat incomplete) manual in the Files section of this site.
      I also wrote a boot PROM for the 88-HDSK, since I couldn't find an intact image for the MITS hard disk boot PROM. Mine works great. IT is also in the Files section, as well as a few other goodies.
      I would be very interested in communicating with anyone else who has one of these hard disk subsystems...
    • deramp5113
      I don t presently have, nor do I foresee, an Altair hard drive in my vintage computer lab, but after following all the work you went through to get that hard
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 8, 2014
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        I don't presently have, nor do I foresee, an Altair hard drive in my vintage computer lab, but after following all the work you went through to get that hard drive up and working, congrats on a great accomplishment!

        Mike

      • corey986
        Martin, I am amazed at what you can get running back to factory specs. You are part archaeologist, part engineer, part fabricator and part technician to
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 9, 2014
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          Martin,

          I am amazed at what you can get running back to factory specs.    You are part archaeologist, part engineer, part fabricator and part technician to name a few roles needed for a task like this.    I have seen your drive in the process of restoration and am still amazed anyone was able to make one of these beasts work.

          I'll echo Mike... Great accomplishment...

          Cheers,
          Corey
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