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RE: [midatlanticretro] Altair serial port problems

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  • Evan
    Rich, you should also post to http:/www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum ... the owner of the site, Erik Klein, has been restoring his Altair so he probably knows
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 6, 2005
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      Altair serial port problems
      Rich, you should also post to http:/www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum ... the owner of the site, Erik Klein, has been restoring his Altair so he probably knows something about them.


      From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Richard A. Cini
      Sent: Saturday, August 06, 2005 10:44 PM
      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [midatlanticretro] Altair serial port problems

      All:

              I've tried posting this query both on the ClassicCmp list and on comp.os.cpm and no one has offered a solution so I'm going to try here.

              I have an Altair 8800b that I'm trying to get Microsoft 8k tape BASIC running on. I have two serial card options: a Vector Graphics Bitstreamer (8251-based) and a Solid State Music 2p/2s (AY3-1015 based). I have images of the paper tapes from my emulator and I have a copy of the toggle loader configured for 8k BASIC. This is the same setup I use on my Altair emulator to load the paper tapes and it works beautifully.

              The VG card works beautifully with a modified Turnkey Monitor but is not configurable to match what Microsoft BASIC expects for a terminal (the data register comes before the status register and the parallel port comes before serial in the I/O block). The SSM card is very configurable and can be made to match almost any serial card (it has an "Altair SIO Revision 1" section in the manual) but I can't get it to work for beans.

              Interestingly though, a short loopback program I wrote to use with the SSM works fine, echoing the characters back. I modified the monitor program from the VG configuration to use the SSM and it doesn't work.

              So, here's the question: does anyone in this group have a known-working SSM configuration and known-working program that I can compare to what I have? I'm looking to compare jumper settings, cable wiring and software -- everything. A solution is here but I'm not seeing it yet. I'm also going to write a short Windows-based "paper tape" emulator instead of trying to use the upload command of Procomm. I think that something is getting messed up with that.

              Thoughts? Thanks.

      Rich

      Rich Cini
      Collector of classic computers
      Build Master for the Altair32 Emulation Project
      Web site: http://highgate.comm.sfu.ca/~rcini/classiccmp/
      /************************************************************/


    • Richard A. Cini
      All: I ve tried posting this query both on the ClassicCmp list and on comp.os.cpm and no one has offered a solution so I m going to try here. I have an Altair
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 6, 2005
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        Altair serial port problems

        All:

                I've tried posting this query both on the ClassicCmp list and on comp.os.cpm and no one has offered a solution so I'm going to try here.

                I have an Altair 8800b that I'm trying to get Microsoft 8k tape BASIC running on. I have two serial card options: a Vector Graphics Bitstreamer (8251-based) and a Solid State Music 2p/2s (AY3-1015 based). I have images of the paper tapes from my emulator and I have a copy of the toggle loader configured for 8k BASIC. This is the same setup I use on my Altair emulator to load the paper tapes and it works beautifully.

                The VG card works beautifully with a modified Turnkey Monitor but is not configurable to match what Microsoft BASIC expects for a terminal (the data register comes before the status register and the parallel port comes before serial in the I/O block). The SSM card is very configurable and can be made to match almost any serial card (it has an "Altair SIO Revision 1" section in the manual) but I can't get it to work for beans.

                Interestingly though, a short loopback program I wrote to use with the SSM works fine, echoing the characters back. I modified the monitor program from the VG configuration to use the SSM and it doesn't work.

                So, here's the question: does anyone in this group have a known-working SSM configuration and known-working program that I can compare to what I have? I'm looking to compare jumper settings, cable wiring and software -- everything. A solution is here but I'm not seeing it yet. I'm also going to write a short Windows-based "paper tape" emulator instead of trying to use the upload command of Procomm. I think that something is getting messed up with that.

                Thoughts? Thanks.

        Rich

        Rich Cini
        Collector of classic computers
        Build Master for the Altair32 Emulation Project
        Web site: http://highgate.comm.sfu.ca/~rcini/classiccmp/
        /************************************************************/


      • billdeg@aol.com
        I do have a 8800b with 48 K memory. Sounds like you have been working hard on this project and I may not be able to offer much help, but here are my thoughts.
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 7, 2005
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          I do have a 8800b with 48 K memory.
          Sounds like you have been working hard on this project and I may not be able
          to offer much help, but here are my thoughts. Do you have a Fluke data
          analyzer using an 8080 pod to review the serial port traffic? I am not really sure
          how to use a Fluke data analyzer with an 8080 pod myself, but I know that this
          is a good way to test an 8080 machine using the serial port. You can compare
          the two serial cards this way, see if there are differences. You can also
          confirm the byte structure is what your emulator wants. It's very possible you
          have done something like this already.

          I seem to remember that there are ways to change settings on my serial cards
          for data transfer structure and baud rate. It might be worth cycling through
          the options.

          Have you tried a "real" terminal? I have found that the older terminals work
          better than Windows terminal emulators. When working on an SWTPC 6800 I
          could not get it to work properly until I tried a Zenith z-cn-19, set at 300 baud.


          I may be way off - I am not an engineer. I am more of a persistent tester.

          If you're really stuck and want to cart your 8800b over to my house (corner
          of Delaware/MD/PA) you can use my 8800b to compare with yours. I could learn a
          lot from your experiences with the Altair as well. I also have an IMSAI 8080
          and a 8800b-T

          Bill

          In a message dated 8/6/2005 10:39:04 PM Eastern Standard Time,
          rcini@... writes:

          > So, here's the question: does anyone in this group have a
          > known-working SSM configuration and known-working program that I can
          > compare to what I have? I'm looking to compare jumper settings, cable
          > wiring and software -- everything. A solution is here but I'm not seeing
          > it yet. I'm also going to write a short Windows-based "paper tape"
          > emulator instead of trying to use the upload command of Procomm. I think
          > that something is getting messed up with that.
          > Thoughts? Thanks.
        • Richard A. Cini
          Bill: I appreciate the offer. Like you, I m a persistent tester. Herb Johnson has given me some ideas to try. Unfortunately I don t have a real terminal but my
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 7, 2005
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            Bill:

            I appreciate the offer. Like you, I'm a persistent tester. Herb
            Johnson has given me some ideas to try. Unfortunately I don't have a
            real terminal but my fear, based on the circuit design, is that current
            serial ports don't usually put out +/-12v and that fact might be
            dropping the input voltage at the SIO board below the detection level. I
            don't have a "real" terminal but as you indicate, I might have to use
            that.

            Rich

            -----Original Message-----
            From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of billdeg@...
            Sent: Sunday, August 07, 2005 10:56 AM
            To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Altair serial port problems


            I do have a 8800b with 48 K memory.
            Sounds like you have been working hard on this project and I may not be
            able
            to offer much help, but here are my thoughts. Do you have a Fluke data
            analyzer using an 8080 pod to review the serial port traffic? I am not
            really sure
            how to use a Fluke data analyzer with an 8080 pod myself, but I know
            that this
            is a good way to test an 8080 machine using the serial port. You can
            compare
            the two serial cards this way, see if there are differences. You can
            also
            confirm the byte structure is what your emulator wants. It's very
            possible you
            have done something like this already.

            I seem to remember that there are ways to change settings on my serial
            cards
            for data transfer structure and baud rate. It might be worth cycling
            through
            the options.

            Have you tried a "real" terminal? I have found that the older terminals
            work
            better than Windows terminal emulators. When working on an SWTPC 6800 I

            could not get it to work properly until I tried a Zenith z-cn-19, set at
            300 baud.


            I may be way off - I am not an engineer. I am more of a persistent
            tester.

            If you're really stuck and want to cart your 8800b over to my house
            (corner
            of Delaware/MD/PA) you can use my 8800b to compare with yours. I could
            learn a
            lot from your experiences with the Altair as well. I also have an IMSAI
            8080
            and a 8800b-T

            Bill

            In a message dated 8/6/2005 10:39:04 PM Eastern Standard Time,
            rcini@... writes:

            > So, here's the question: does anyone in this group have a
            > known-working SSM configuration and known-working program that I can
            > compare to what I have? I'm looking to compare jumper settings, cable

            > wiring and software -- everything. A solution is here but I'm not
            > seeing it yet. I'm also going to write a short Windows-based "paper
            > tape" emulator instead of trying to use the upload command of
            > Procomm. I think that something is getting messed up with that.
            > Thoughts? Thanks.



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