Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Great rescue today!

Expand Messages
  • Evan Koblentz
    Alise (honorary MARCHin!) and I went on a rescue today, using her Jeep ...We visited Larry Stein at his home. For those who forgot (or never knew), Larry had
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 3, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      Alise (honorary MARCHin!) and I went on a rescue today, using her Jeep ...

      We visited Larry Stein at his home. For those who forgot (or never knew), Larry had what I think was the first* retail computer store in New Jersey -- "Computer Mart of Iselin" in Woodbridge Township. He later owned a few other locations, and he much later participated in VCF East 7.0 and 8.0. :)

      After last month's VCF, Larry said he'd give us his personal IMSAI "and other stuff" .....

      I know you're all drooling on your front panels to hear what the "other" stuff was!!!

      He brought us upstairs to his office. I was glad to see that he kept computers in a clean HVAC'd room vs. a garage or attic or basement.

      The first box had the IMSAI and a Sol-20. Both have custom "CMNJ" logos on them -- not stickers, but professional logos behind plastic.

      The next box was smaller and labeled "Apple". My brain did some quick math ... Larry opened his store around '76 ...COULD IT BE ????????????

      Alas, it was a II+. :) (He joked, "If it was, I'd sell it for $300,000 at Sotheby's!")

      But it was the last box that most excited me: a nice clean Xitan. MARCH doesn't have one. As most of you know, the Xitan was made by Princeton's Technical Design Labs. TDL was run by friend-of-MARCH Roger Amidon. (Roger was also who suggested the idea of a computer faire to Sol Libes, who ran with the idea to form the Trenton show in '76 -- most people agree that was the first personal computer show for the public.)

      All of these systems are super clean inside.

      Back at the museum, I checked them out in more detail.

      With the IMSAI, I removed everything except for the CPU card and one memory card, and it turned on without any trouble. It seems to work but I'll need someone with more expertise to confirm that. I swapped this system for the one we already had on display because of its special CMNJ logo.

      We already had one spare IMSAI (a parts machine.) Maybe we'll offer the parts machine for sale now that we have two nice ones...

      The Xitan also had several cards in it. Several were originals (ZPU, Z16, etc.) and some were Processor Tech cards. It is missing the fan. I didn't test anything on it. But I removed the unassembled Morrow kit from our exhibit and put this in its place.

      As for the Sol, it lacked cards in it, but Larry said several of the cards that were in his IMSAI (and I perhaps some of the cards we found in the Xitan) are the proper ones. Idea: Next time I'm at the museum, I'll see what cards are in our current Sol, in order to figure out which of these new ones belong there. So for now it resides under the exhibit room table. Dilemma: Should we swap in the panel signed by Lee from yesterday, or display this one with the store logo instead?

      Larry also gave us a nice Processor Tech t-shirt. I brought it home to wash it. It's my size; tempting! But instead we'll hang it on the wall.

      In addition he gave us a large folder full of store pictures, and even an original plastic bag from the store. (That might take our mission a bit too far, but it's nice and will add to the decor.)

      Also, he gave us an Altair front board -- the one with the actual switches and LEDs, not the veneer panel. I'm not sure what to call that -- just "I/O" board? He included a few other Altair boards; I forget which ones.

      We put the Apple II+ with all the others. Yes, Jeff J., I know which one it is and will label it. :)

      Larry also gave us a big folder with store pictures and stuff.

      If the day wasn't good enough, when we got back to the museum, we found an Intel 8086 development SBC in one of the file cabinets ... we've had this for a while but I forgot about it! I brought it home to clean and test in anticipation of our SBC exhibit at HOPE in two weeks. (I also brought home a connector for the Synertek SYM-1, to which I'll solder some power wires. Jeff J. showed me where they're needed.)

      So it was a helluva day!

      This all gave me an idea for how we can display more things in the homebrew room. Will explain it next week...

      - Evan

      * We don't know exactly when his rival, Hoboken Computer Works, opened ... Nobody seems to know what ever became of Bob Radcliffe who owned that store ... But everyone says it was an alcove inside of an electronics shop, not a full store on its own. I hope to find out more about that one of these days.
    • Evan Koblentz
      ... Why do I always forget one thing??? Larry also had a spare Sol keyboard for us.
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 3, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        >> We visited Larry Stein at his home.
        Why do I always forget one thing??? Larry also had a spare Sol keyboard for us.
      • joshbensadon
        ... work but I ll need someone with more expertise to confirm that. -Turn on, WAIT light should be on Enter C3 00 00 program (Jump 0000) -Turn 16 Address
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 3, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...> wrote:
          > With the IMSAI, I removed everything except for the CPU card and one memory card, and it turned on without any trouble. It seems to
          work but I'll need someone with more expertise to confirm that.


          -Turn on, WAIT light should be on
          Enter C3 00 00 program (Jump 0000)
          -Turn 16 Address switches off
          -Flip Examine switch UP
          -Set Data switches to C3
          -Flip Deposit switch UP
          -Set Data all off (00)
          -Flip Deposit switch down twice
          Verify program entered
          -Turn 16 Address switches off (should be from last step)
          -Flip Examine switch UP (Data should display C3)
          -Flip Examine switch Down twice (Data should display 00 twice)
          -Flip Reset Up
          -Flip RUN up, address and data lights blinking fast and faintly

          I made some new schematics for the IMSAI, redrawn to focus on operation and in colour.

          Congrats on your great find!

          Josh
        • s100doctor
          ... No, it s a MITS Altair 8800 front panel control logic board. Altair front panel board for short. But it could be some other MITS card, I d have to see
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 4, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...> wrote:
            >
            > Also, he gave us an Altair front board -- the one with the actual switches and LEDs, not the veneer panel. I'm not sure what to call that -- just "I/O" board?

            No, it's a MITS Altair 8800 front panel control logic board. "Altair front panel board" for short. But it could be some other MITS card, I'd have to see it.

            Herb
          • Evan Koblentz
            ... Good answer. ... It s definitely the front panel board.
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 4, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              >> Altair front panel board" for short.

              Good answer.

              >> But it could be some other MITS card, I'd have to see it.

              It's definitely the front panel board.
            Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.