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Re: Powering a dormant Altair 8800

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  • Richard A. Cini
    When I got both the Altair and the IMSAI I have, I inspected and cleaned the inside, getting rid of any dust and checking for loose or shorted connections,
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 25, 2006

      When I got both the Altair and the IMSAI I have, I inspected and cleaned the inside, getting rid of any dust and checking for loose or shorted connections, looking for things that looked “wrong”. Then, I powered it up with a variac and a 60-watt bulb in series. The bulb will illuminate in proportion to the load, so as I turn up the variac, I can watch for a short by the bulb brightness.

       

      I made this nifty AC load using a plastic gem box, a ceramic lamp holder and a 3-prong cord set. For most things I use either a 60w or 100w bulb depending on the load.

       

      Anyway, I set the variac at increasing voltages for 5 minutes every 10 volts until I reach full line voltage. Even if the seller tells you he powered it up last week, I like to do this so I can establish a level of comfort with the system. It might be overkill, but I’d rather be safe.

       

      Having said that, I’ve never had a blown cap. You also have to watch for tantalum caps on the cards blowing, too, but even those I’ve never blown.

       

      Rich

       

      Rich Cini

      Collector of classic computers

      Lead engineer, Altair32 Emulator

      Web site: http://highgate.comm.sfu.ca/~rcini/classiccmp/

      Web site: http://www.altair32.com/ 

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