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23999Fun with the Altair 8800

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  • Mr Ian Primus
    Jan 7, 2012
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      As some of you may know, I recently acquired an Altair 8800. As received, it had no memory, and had a wiring problem with the front panel - it was missing the wiring that goes from the CPU board to the panel. After fixing the wiring and installing a RAM card, it actually worked... for about three hours. Then it would crash and glitch out - resetting to a random state. It would consistently do this about every couple minutes. After some troubleshooting, I traced the problem to a faulty diode in the secondary 8V power supply, which powers the front panel.

      In any event, I fixed it, and I'm currently borrowing a RAM board from Johnathan, so I can have a functional machine. We did some messing around tonight, and toggled in a program from Dr. Dobbs :


      I love creative applications of RF interference. What's even funnier, is that even though the radio picks up the signal very well on the AM band, it can be heard interfering with the FM band as well. It's faint on FM, but clearly there. Also, depending on the position along the dial, the pitch is different, and there are even places where you get weird oscillations. It's quite entertaining. Hmm, I wonder what it would do to a television set?

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