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Learn how to program a never before heard secret vintage CPU

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  • Dan Roganti
    How to Program the 280 by Rodnay Zaks ... -- http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ragooman/
    Message 1 of 15 , Feb 21, 2010
    • B Degnan
      Dan (anyone interested) After this evening, I feel I have been trying to program the 280 myself....I was finally able to get one of the two 2SIO cards to echo
      Message 2 of 15 , Feb 21, 2010
        Dan (anyone interested)

        After this evening, I feel I have been trying to program the 280 myself....I was finally able to get one of the two 2SIO cards to echo characters to a terminal, but when I attempted to download the BASIC 4K papertape it would bomb out (start printing M characters) before completing the process.  I tried slowing down the stream, but not dice.  I need to try faster RAM I bet. 

        I have a bootloader prom card and I tried to use that too, but that's worse.

        I will keep at it...This is a good exercise for getting a system ready for the CP/M session. 

        Bill

        Dan Roganti wrote:

        How to Program the 280 by Rodnay Zaks
        :)

        -- 
        http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ragooman/
        
          



      • Evan Koblentz
        Nice .... you d think he might * open * the book, see a normal font, and realize his mistake! Supposedly the Kaypro folks officially named the second version
        Message 3 of 15 , Feb 21, 2010
          Nice .... you'd think he might * open * the book, see a normal font, and realize his mistake!

          Supposedly the Kaypro folks officially named the second version of their computer "Kaypro 2" because people saw the original Kaypro II and were asking for the "Kaypro Eleven" ....

          How to Program the 280 by Rodnay Zaks
          :)

        • Dan Roganti
          Bill, uh oh, one of the 2SIO cards is still causing problems ? I m not sure how much info you have there for loading Basic But here s a nice tutorial on
          Message 4 of 15 , Feb 22, 2010
            Bill,

            uh oh, one of the 2SIO cards is still causing problems ?

            I'm not sure how much info you have there for loading Basic
            But here's a nice tutorial on bootloaders.
            http://www.solivant.com/altair_bootloaders/index.php?album=altair_bootloaders&pagen=0

            Here's the source listing for the MBL in case you don't have it.
            http://www.solivant.com/altair_bootloaders/misc/mbl.asm


            =Dan
            http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ragooman/
            


            B Degnan wrote:
            Dan (anyone interested)

            After this evening, I feel I have been trying to program the 280 myself....I was finally able to get one of the two 2SIO cards to echo characters to a terminal, but when I attempted to download the BASIC 4K papertape it would bomb out (start printing M characters) before completing the process.  I tried slowing down the stream, but not dice.  I need to try faster RAM I bet. 

            I have a bootloader prom card and I tried to use that too, but that's worse.

            I will keep at it...This is a good exercise for getting a system ready for the CP/M session. 

            Bill

            Dan Roganti wrote:

            How to Program the 280 by Rodnay Zaks
            :)

            -- 
            http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ragooman/
            
              




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          • B Degnan
            ... I re-jumpered the 2SIO card that was pointing to port 000 to 020 and it seems to be working. The echo program works just fine. I have toggled in the 1st
            Message 5 of 15 , Feb 23, 2010
              Dan Roganti wrote:
              Bill,

              uh oh, one of the 2SIO cards is still causing problems ?

              I'm not sure how much info you have there for loading Basic
              But here's a nice tutorial on bootloaders.
              http://www.solivant.com/altair_bootloaders/index.php?album=altair_bootloaders&pagen=0

              Here's the source listing for the MBL in case you don't have it.
              http://www.solivant.com/altair_bootloaders/misc/mbl.asm


              I re-jumpered the 2SIO card that was pointing to port 000 to 020 and it seems to be working.  The echo program works just fine.   I have toggled in the 1st stage loader and I get the expected lights/results. 

              I have been following the instructions from solivant.com for the past 4 days or so.  On page 4 or 5 in the bootloaders section it talks about the cause of "MMM's" being printed on the screen during download of a program.   This is what's happening to me, the program can't find the RAM location to dump the program.     

              Per solivant.com I attempted to download just the 2nd stage loader, and I determined that it's not being written into memory correctly, and it bombs around 1300 bytes into the import consistently.  It may be that the RAM I am using is not compatible with the tape download, or it's protecting the addresses I need to write to.

              I also have a MBL PROM which has different switch settings than the toggled-in version, which leads me to think that they're different code.    Using this I attempted to emulate the papertape load of just the BASIC 3.2 code, but I get no response from the computer.    I *think* I have the correct switches set before running this version of the loader.

              I am going to keep working on it.  I think next I am going to try a simpler download just to confirm that I can download code into memory using the laptop, teraterm, and the 2SIO.

              Bill
            • B Degnan
              ... I have been using the Altair 8800b. I have tried a number of RAM cards and the 2SIO seems OK, at least it handles the echo program without issue. I can
              Message 6 of 15 , Feb 25, 2010
                Dan Roganti wrote:
                Bill,

                uh oh, one of the 2SIO cards is still causing problems ?

                I'm not sure how much info you have there for loading Basic
                But here's a nice tutorial on bootloaders.
                http://www.solivant.com/altair_bootloaders/index.php?album=altair_bootloaders&pagen=0

                Here's the source listing for the MBL in case you don't have it.
                http://www.solivant.com/altair_bootloaders/misc/mbl.asm



                I have been using the Altair 8800b.  I have tried a number of RAM cards and the 2SIO seems OK, at least it handles the echo program without issue.  I can write to every page in RAM and I use only cards compatible with a front panel system.  I have 4 16K RAM cards installed. 

                When downloading the tape image containing the 2nd loader and BASIC, I get to about the 1300th byte , the computer bombs.  I am using sense switches 10 and 11.   I have tried reducing the speed at which the file is downloaded, the SIO is set to use 9600/8/1.  Etc.  I am following all of the solivant.com's page in detail.

                I am going to try another computer, the IMSAI 8080 may be better.

                Bill
              • Dan Roganti
                ... Just checking if your terminator card is plugged in ? If it is, it could still be acting up. Maybe if you run a memory tests on with all the Ram cards
                Message 7 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                  --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, B Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote:

                  > I have been using the Altair 8800b. I have tried a number of RAM
                  > cards and the 2SIO seems OK, at least it handles the echo program
                  > without
                  > issue. I can write to every page in RAM and I use only cards
                  >compatible with a front panel system. I have 4 16K RAM cards
                  >installed.
                  >
                  > When downloading the tape image containing the 2nd loader and
                  >BASIC, I get to about the 1300th byte , the computer bombs. I am
                  >using sense switches 10 and 11. I have tried reducing the speed at
                  >which the file is downloaded, the SIO is set to use 9600/8/1.
                  >Etc. I am following all of the solivant.com's page in detail.
                  >
                  > I am going to try another computer, the IMSAI 8080 may be better.
                  >


                  Just checking if your terminator card is plugged in ?
                  If it is, it could still be acting up.

                  Maybe if you run a memory tests on with all the Ram cards plugged in you might find some flaky memory chips.

                  Even some suspicious memory location could be corrupted by the terminator card during this test.

                  =Dan
                • Bob Applegate
                  ... Whoa! Run a real memory test! I m assuming the memory is static, but there are lots of different kinds of tests that look for refresh problems on dynamic
                  Message 8 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                    Bill Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote :


                    > I am not using a terminator.
                    > My memory tests so far have all been manual read/write/read tests at each
                    > page location 0000, 1000 - F000. I have swapped RAM cards into a number of
                    > configurations, and I usually get the same result. It's possible that my
                    > laptop serial port is not right? Not sure yet.
                    > cd

                    Whoa! Run a real memory test! I'm assuming the memory is static, but there are lots of different kinds of tests that look for refresh problems on dynamic memory, as well as shorted address/data bits, bad bits in chips, etc. You wouldn't believe how many memory problems slip through because of tests that don't run sufficiently complex algorithms.

                    I'd also test one board at a time, or at least pull boards you don't need. You've got four 16K boards, right? Pull all but one and check the portion not used by the test code. Once it seems to work, put in another board and test all 16K of it using a really good (extensive) memory test. Now you've got a "golden board" that is known, or at least presumed, to be good.

                    Bob


                    ___________________________________
                    NOCC, http://nocc.sourceforge.net
                  • Bill Degnan
                    ... might find some flaky memory chips. ... card during this test. ... I am not using a terminator. My memory tests so far have all been manual read/write/read
                    Message 9 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                      >
                      >
                      > Just checking if your terminator card is plugged in ?
                      > If it is, it could still be acting up.
                      >
                      > Maybe if you run a memory tests on with all the Ram cards plugged in you
                      might find some flaky memory chips.
                      >
                      > Even some suspicious memory location could be corrupted by the terminator
                      card during this test.
                      >


                      I am not using a terminator.
                      My memory tests so far have all been manual read/write/read tests at each
                      page location 0000, 1000 - F000. I have swapped RAM cards into a number of
                      configurations, and I usually get the same result. It's possible that my
                      laptop serial port is not right? Not sure yet.
                      cd
                    • Bill Degnan
                      ... each ... number of ... my ... there are lots of different kinds of tests that look for refresh problems on dynamic memory, as well as shorted address/data
                      Message 10 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                        >
                        >
                        > > I am not using a terminator.
                        > > My memory tests so far have all been manual read/write/read tests at
                        each
                        > > page location 0000, 1000 - F000. I have swapped RAM cards into a
                        number of
                        > > configurations, and I usually get the same result. It's possible that
                        my
                        > > laptop serial port is not right? Not sure yet.
                        > > cd
                        >
                        > Whoa! Run a real memory test! I'm assuming the memory is static, but
                        there are lots of different kinds of tests that look for refresh problems
                        on dynamic memory, as well as shorted address/data bits, bad bits in chips,
                        etc. You wouldn't believe how many memory problems slip through because of
                        tests that don't run sufficiently complex algorithms.
                        >
                        > I'd also test one board at a time, or at least pull boards you don't
                        need. You've got four 16K boards, right? Pull all but one and check the
                        portion not used by the test code. Once it seems to work, put in another
                        board and test all 16K of it using a really good (extensive) memory test.
                        Now you've got a "golden board" that is known, or at least presumed, to be
                        good.
                        >

                        Agreed, but I am trying to get programs into the system - chicken and egg
                        problem here. I will test the RAM using a system that can already load
                        programs.

                        Bill
                      • Bob Applegate
                        ... Maybe I missed something but the subject implies you re loading a BASIC interpreter. That s much larger than a memory test and it won t test memory. Use
                        Message 11 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                          Bill Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote :


                          > Agreed, but I am trying to get programs into the system - chicken and egg
                          > problem here. I will test the RAM using a system that can already load
                          > programs.

                          Maybe I missed something but the subject implies you're loading a BASIC interpreter. That's much larger than a memory test and it won't test memory. Use a smaller program that can test your hardware before trying to load something larger.

                          You're still using unknown RAM, but a memory test is a lot smaller and will use less unknown RAM to run.

                          The other thing is that I seem to remember your failure happened at a page boundary. How big are the RAM chips and what was the address again? Maybe it happened on a chip boundary.




                          ___________________________________
                          NOCC, http://nocc.sourceforge.net
                        • Bob Applegate
                          ... If the hex address ends in 00 then it s a page boundary. What was the address where it failed and what type of RAM chips are on the boards?
                          Message 12 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                            Bill Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote :


                            > I can't tell if it's a page boundary or not.

                            If the hex address ends in 00 then it's a page boundary. What was the address where it failed and what type of RAM chips are on the boards?


                            ___________________________________
                            NOCC, http://nocc.sourceforge.net
                          • Bill Degnan
                            ... interpreter. That s much larger than a memory test and it won t test memory. Use a smaller program that can test your hardware before trying to load
                            Message 13 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                              >
                              > Maybe I missed something but the subject implies you're loading a BASIC
                              interpreter. That's much larger than a memory test and it won't test
                              memory. Use a smaller program that can test your hardware before trying to
                              load something larger.
                              >
                              > You're still using unknown RAM, but a memory test is a lot smaller and
                              will use less unknown RAM to run.
                              >
                              > The other thing is that I seem to remember your failure happened at a
                              page boundary. How big are the RAM chips and what was the address again?
                              Maybe it happened on a chip boundary.
                              >

                              I can't tell if it's a page boundary or not.

                              I am working through this web site:
                              http://www.solivant.com/altair_bootloaders/index.php?album=altair_bootloader
                              s&pagen=1

                              I will keep at it. I have followed every page closely including the
                              troubleshooting section.

                              Bill
                            • Dan Roganti
                              ... Anytime you add more loads on that bus, by adding more cards, it s wise to use a terminator card. The signal quality begins to degrade by the consequence
                              Message 14 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                                Bill Degnan wrote:
                                > I am not using a terminator.
                                > My memory tests so far have all been manual read/write/read tests at each
                                > page location 0000, 1000 - F000. I have swapped RAM cards into a number of
                                > configurations, and I usually get the same result. It's possible that my
                                > laptop serial port is not right? Not sure yet.
                                >

                                Anytime you add more loads on that bus, by adding more cards, it's wise
                                to use a terminator card. The signal quality begins to degrade by the
                                consequence of electrical reflections between all the drivers from more
                                cards on the bus.

                                I uploaded some memory tests that I found online to here. One of them is
                                short that you can thumb-in. It's in assembly still, it's not a
                                comprehensive test but it's a start, under folder S-100 Test Code.

                                =Dan
                              • Bill Degnan
                                I will take a look. I may not have a terminator that works. I have to check bd ... Alair without a disk drive or cassette. ... each ... number of ... my
                                Message 15 of 15 , Feb 26, 2010
                                  I will take a look. I may not have a terminator that works. I have to
                                  check
                                  bd

                                  -------- Original Message --------
                                  > From: "Dan Roganti" <ragooman@...>
                                  > Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:24 PM
                                  > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                                  > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: Using 2SIO to download BASIC into an
                                  Alair without a disk drive or cassette.
                                  >
                                  > Bill Degnan wrote:
                                  > > I am not using a terminator.
                                  > > My memory tests so far have all been manual read/write/read tests at
                                  each
                                  > > page location 0000, 1000 - F000. I have swapped RAM cards into a
                                  number of
                                  > > configurations, and I usually get the same result. It's possible that
                                  my
                                  > > laptop serial port is not right? Not sure yet.
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  > Anytime you add more loads on that bus, by adding more cards, it's wise
                                  > to use a terminator card. The signal quality begins to degrade by the
                                  > consequence of electrical reflections between all the drivers from more
                                  > cards on the bus.
                                  >
                                  > I uploaded some memory tests that I found online to here. One of them is

                                  > short that you can thumb-in. It's in assembly still, it's not a
                                  > comprehensive test but it's a start, under folder S-100 Test Code.
                                  >
                                  > =Dan
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > ------------------------------------
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