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Re: [midatlanticretro] To change or not to change? Re: NorthStar Horizon Woes

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  • B. Degnan
    ... Horizon Woes ... of ... between ... Silly me, right. I got it backwards
    Message 1 of 24 , Oct 17, 2012
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      -------- Original Message --------
      > From: "Kyle Owen" <kylevowen@...>
      > Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:45 PM
      > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] To change or not to change? Re: NorthStar
      Horizon Woes
      >
      > Well, the MDS floppy controller (which is what I have) uses an address
      of
      > $E800, so I'm going to use $E000 as the ROM address. I may bring out a
      > switch to the rear of the computer to set the power-on jump address
      between
      > those two, if it's not too difficult. Their space-saving address method
      > would make for selecting addresses with switches on the back a bit more
      > difficult. I think it can still be done, though.
      >
      > Kyle
      >
      Silly me, right. I got it backwards
    • Systems Glitch
      ... Do it in software. You ll have plenty of room in that 2708, doubly so in a 16kbit device. I ve done a similar thing using the front panel sense switch
      Message 2 of 24 , Oct 17, 2012
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        > Well, the MDS floppy controller (which is what I have) uses an address of
        > $E800, so I'm going to use $E000 as the ROM address. I may bring out a
        > switch to the rear of the computer to set the power-on jump address between
        > those two, if it's not too difficult. Their space-saving address method
        > would make for selecting addresses with switches on the back a bit more
        > difficult. I think it can still be done, though.

        Do it in software. You'll have plenty of room in that 2708, doubly so in a 16kbit device. I've done a similar thing using the front panel sense switch register on my IMSAI.

        Thanks,
        Jonathan
      • Jim Scheef
        Yea Herb!
        Message 3 of 24 , Oct 17, 2012
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          Yea Herb!


          On 10/16/2012 7:28 PM, s100doctor wrote:
           



          It's funny to read these days, about concerns of "modifying the system from original", when talking about S-100 systems. It's funny to me, because quite simply, I was there at the time they were so-called "original".

          People - like me - bought these old S-100 systems to USE, not to protect with plastic covers and never scratch them up. Most of these systems NEEDED upgrades, and required several different brands of cards, to eventually do something "standard". There really were NO STANDARDS, for many years.

          And cards were bought as kits, bare boards. They were chopped up. That's why these systems had busses, dudes - for more cards! And often, old hardware was TERRIBLE - it had to be replaced. Some of it didn't even work when designed.

          And then, there's today. Do you own one of these puppies to show off on a shelf? to sell on eBay? or to USE?

          I say - put this old technology to USE!

          Specific to this thread: "should I upgrade the Northstar CPU board with a ROM?" - SURE! Why NOT? You may have to modify the board a bit, to use a 5-volt only PROM, which will be easier to program. So WHAT? Build a little daughter card to plug in, if you don't want to hack the CPU board to death. That's why there are schematics, and manuals - to LEARN HOW TO MODIFY AND USE these boards!

          Do it! Do it! Make it WORK! If it doesn't work, try something ELSE! If it breaks, FIX it!

          USE, and mods, and different boards - that was the point of these S-100 systems. That's what was done in the era. That's what all those assemblers and compilers and editors were about. Protoboards, and boards with blank areas on them. All those ROMS! Those jumpers! Over 140 companies made S-100 cards. Why fuss so much, if your particular S-100 system isn't "standard"? ALMOST NONE OF THEM WERE. Especially the oldest S-100 systems, that most people talk about here.

          If putting a ROM on a CPU board "breaks" NorthStar DOS, then figure out WHY! Read the manuals, the sources. Disassemble the binaries. Tear it all apart, and put it together again! WHY NOT?

          That's what WE did, in the era! Before MS-DOS. Before "the Empire" of IBM and Microsoft. Before the "clone wars" of Taiwan PC's in the 1990's. Before Dell and HP and other megacorps, made PC's so powerful, they could finally run the crappiest, bloated, mind-numbingest OS's ever written.

          Free your minds! of visions of eBay auctions of "mint" Altairs! You have nothing to lose but your chain-store computers! Go write some 8080 binary code! Burn some solder! Burn the EPROMS! Burn some electrolytics! Burn them all! Be like your predecessors. Make the world safe for personal computing again!

          Happy Halloween,
          Herb Johnson


        • joshbensadon
          ... I don t know if it s so important to be able to reverse the change as much as it s to document it. When I applied all the latest ECO s to my IMSAI, I
          Message 4 of 24 , Oct 17, 2012
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            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Mike Willegal <mike@...> wrote:
            >
            > I'm all for using these computers, but if you have a pristine or very rare unit, any changes you make should be reversible. Collectors will always value these factory fresh units more than those that have been altered. Too much change, could significantly reduce value.


            I don't know if it's so important to be able to reverse the change as much as it's to document it. When I applied all the latest ECO's to my IMSAI, I didn't mind cutting traces and installing jumpers. When I built my Mark-8 Replica kit, I put away the original (dimm) LED's and replaced them with bright LED's because my enjoyment means more than an original (replica) system. I guess to each their own, but I believe toys are to be played with. I only hope I'll break even when I sell them one day.

            :) Josh
          • joshbensadon
            ... I too get lots of satisfaction mastering and seeing these old beasts run. Part of it comes from trying to do the job while keeping it as original as
            Message 5 of 24 , Oct 17, 2012
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              --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
              > Anyway, I personally got into vintage computing to learn more about
              > electronics, and getting the systems to work is where I get the
              > satisfaction, not so much whether I trashed the case or replaced a part to
              > do it.

              I too get lots of satisfaction mastering and seeing these old beasts run. Part of it comes from trying to do the job while keeping it as original as possible. When I had to fix some broken keys on my OSI Superboard, I wouldn't know where to get replacement switches, so I had to open them up to the point where I could fix it. I made a nice write up on that with lots of pictures and posted on one of the OSI web sites for the next guy.

              Long live the Eureka Moment! When everything just starts to work again.

              :) Josh
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