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30972Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Ferguson BigBoard disk help needed

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  • Dave McGuire
    May 24, 2013
      On 05/24/2013 10:34 PM, Cory Smelosky wrote:
      >>>> Hi Enrico! I think I didn't know you were on this list as well.
      >>>> It's good to see you here. I'm aware of your experience with the
      >>>> BigBoard boards.
      >>>>
      >>>> I myself have known about them for many years, as I wanted one very
      >>>> badly when I was in my teen years, in the mid-1980s. I had an S-100
      >>>> CP/M system, which was my main computer until I moved to a PDP-11, and I
      >>>> wanted one of those BigBoards so I could run a BBS on it. I subscribed
      >>>> to BYTE magazine and always drooled over those full-page BigBoard ads!
      >>>>
      >>>> I never got one, but I did put together a second S-100 system, and I
      >>>> did eventually bring up my BBS.
      >>>>
      >>>> In the past several years, I started looking for a BigBoard again,
      >>>> and learned that they were nowhere near as common as I thought they
      >>>> were. It took me some effort (and money) to get one, but it's finally
      >>>> here, and I'm very excited to get it running.
      >>>>
      >>>> It looks like it has seen some modifications; there's a chip glued to
      >>>> the bottom of the board (!) and a bit of wire snaking around. I will
      >>>> try to power it up soon and see if it runs. I dug out some 8" floppy
      >>>> drives (SA-801s) last night to connect to it.
      >>>
      >>> Wait...glued?!
      >>
      >> Yes, glued to the bottom of the board dead-bug-style, with 30AWG wire
      >> running around to various parts of the board.
      >
      > That's...interesting to say the least...

      Yes. Closer (but still not "close") inspection suggests that it might be a
      clock speed mod. Further supporting this guess is that all the Z80-family
      components on the board are the Z80B variants, 6MHz. That'd be a pretty
      expensive pointless upgrade for a board clocked at 2.5MHz! I suspect (from
      the clock crystal still being 20MHz) that it's a 5MHz modification.

      I'd power it up, but someone (AHEM DAN ;)) stole the power supply that'd be
      perfect for it. Heck, I might power it up tonight on a bench supply.

      -Dave

      --
      Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
      New Kensington, PA
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