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

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  • Cory Smelosky
    ... Ahhh. That does seem like a fairly pointless upgrade... How much memory? ... I can t imagine it d require too unusual of voltages. ... -- Cory Smelosky
    Message 1 of 18 , May 24, 2013
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      On Fri, 25 May 2013, Dave McGuire wrote:

      >
      > 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.
      >

      Ahhh. That does seem like a fairly pointless upgrade...

      How much memory?

      > 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.

      I can't imagine it'd require too unusual of voltages.

      >
      > -Dave
      >
      > --
      > Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
      > New Kensington, PA
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >

      --
      Cory Smelosky
      http://gewt.net/ Personal stuff
      http://gimme-sympathy.org Experiments
    • Dave McGuire
      ... 64KB, four rows of 4116s. Full-up and pretty swank for a Z80. I ve been drinking a bit, and it s getting a bit late, but I think I m going to go fire it
      Message 2 of 18 , May 24, 2013
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        On 05/24/2013 11:08 PM, Cory Smelosky wrote:
        >> 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.
        >
        > Ahhh. That does seem like a fairly pointless upgrade...
        >
        > How much memory?

        64KB, four rows of 4116s. Full-up and pretty swank for a Z80.

        I've been drinking a bit, and it's getting a bit late, but I think I'm
        going to go fire it up in the lab on a bench supply and see if it generates
        some video.

        -Dave

        --
        Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
        New Kensington, PA
      • Cory Smelosky
        ... Nice! ... Good luck!
        Message 3 of 18 , May 24, 2013
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          On 25 May 2013, at 00:00, "Dave McGuire" <Mcguire@...> wrote:

          >
          > On 05/24/2013 11:08 PM, Cory Smelosky wrote:
          >>> 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.
          >>
          >> Ahhh. That does seem like a fairly pointless upgrade...
          >>
          >> How much memory?
          >
          > 64KB, four rows of 4116s. Full-up and pretty swank for a Z80.

          Nice!

          >
          > I've been drinking a bit, and it's getting a bit late, but I think I'm
          > going to go fire it up in the lab on a bench supply and see if it generates
          > some video.

          Good luck!

          >
          > -Dave
          >
          > --
          > Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
          > New Kensington, PA
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Dave McGuire
          ... Yep! ... Thanks! If I actually maintain motivation (it s been a long week) and make some progress on this tonight, I will report back, maybe with some
          Message 4 of 18 , May 24, 2013
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            On 05/25/2013 12:01 AM, Cory Smelosky wrote:
            >>>> 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.
            >>>
            >>> Ahhh. That does seem like a fairly pointless upgrade...
            >>>
            >>> How much memory?
            >>
            >> 64KB, four rows of 4116s. Full-up and pretty swank for a Z80.
            >
            > Nice!

            Yep!

            >> I've been drinking a bit, and it's getting a bit late, but I think I'm
            >> going to go fire it up in the lab on a bench supply and see if it generates
            >> some video.
            >
            > Good luck!

            Thanks! If I actually maintain motivation (it's been a long week) and make
            some progress on this tonight, I will report back, maybe with some pictures.

            -Dave

            --
            Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
            New Kensington, PA
          • Kyle Owen
            ... Here, hold my beer; watch this!
            Message 5 of 18 , May 24, 2013
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              On Fri, May 24, 2013 at 11:00 PM, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:

              I've been drinking a bit, and it's getting a bit late, but I think I'm
              going to go fire it up in the lab on a bench supply and see if it generates
              some video.


              "Here, hold my beer; watch this!"

              :) 

            • Dave McGuire
              ... EgggZACTLY. -- Dave McGuire, AK4HZ New Kensington, PA
              Message 6 of 18 , May 24, 2013
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                On 05/25/2013 12:26 AM, Kyle Owen wrote:
                > I've been drinking a bit, and it's getting a bit late, but I think I'm
                > going to go fire it up in the lab on a bench supply and see if it
                > generates
                > some video.
                >
                >
                > "Here, hold my beer; watch this!"
                >
                > :)

                EgggZACTLY.

                --
                Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                New Kensington, PA
              • Cory Smelosky
                ... That would be much appreciated if you maintain motivation. ... -- Cory Smelosky http://gewt.net/ Personal stuff http://gimme-sympathy.org Experiments
                Message 7 of 18 , May 24, 2013
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                  On Sat, 25 May 2013, Dave McGuire wrote:

                  >
                  > On 05/25/2013 12:01 AM, Cory Smelosky wrote:
                  >>>>> 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.
                  >>>>
                  >>>> Ahhh. That does seem like a fairly pointless upgrade...
                  >>>>
                  >>>> How much memory?
                  >>>
                  >>> 64KB, four rows of 4116s. Full-up and pretty swank for a Z80.
                  >>
                  >> Nice!
                  >
                  > Yep!
                  >
                  >>> I've been drinking a bit, and it's getting a bit late, but I think I'm
                  >>> going to go fire it up in the lab on a bench supply and see if it generates
                  >>> some video.
                  >>
                  >> Good luck!
                  >
                  > Thanks! If I actually maintain motivation (it's been a long week) and make
                  > some progress on this tonight, I will report back, maybe with some pictures.
                  >

                  That would be much appreciated if you maintain motivation.

                  > -Dave
                  >
                  > --
                  > Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                  > New Kensington, PA
                  >
                  >
                  > ------------------------------------
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >

                  --
                  Cory Smelosky
                  http://gewt.net/ Personal stuff
                  http://gimme-sympathy.org Experiments
                • Dave McGuire
                  ... Well I ve made some progress. No pics, because there s nothing much to take pictures of, because I can t get very far without a keyboard. The board comes
                  Message 8 of 18 , May 24, 2013
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                    On 05/25/2013 01:02 AM, Cory Smelosky wrote:
                    >>>> I've been drinking a bit, and it's getting a bit late, but I think I'm
                    >>>> going to go fire it up in the lab on a bench supply and see if it
                    >>>> generates
                    >>>> some video.
                    >>>
                    >>> Good luck!
                    >>
                    >> Thanks! If I actually maintain motivation (it's been a long week)
                    >> and make
                    >> some progress on this tonight, I will report back, maybe with some
                    >> pictures.
                    >
                    > That would be much appreciated if you maintain motivation.

                    Well I've made some progress. No pics, because there's nothing much to
                    take pictures of, because I can't get very far without a keyboard. The board
                    comes up and does exactly what it's supposed to do with no keyboard...which
                    is to generate blank video.

                    But, no smoke! First, I verified that the CPU is actually executing code
                    by looking at a few lines on the address and data buses with an oscilloscope,
                    and they looked good. Then I looked at the composite video output, and that
                    looked good too.

                    Perhaps tomorrow I will rig up a parallel keyboard and get to the next
                    step. You have to press <cr> to tell the ROM-based monitor to come up.

                    I seem to recall something about the BigBoard being able to be jumpered to
                    tell it to use one of the serial ports as the console, at least for the
                    monitor, but I'll have to hit the manual for that. Perhaps tomorrow.

                    -Dave

                    --
                    Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                    New Kensington, PA
                  • enrlaz
                    Ciao Dave, you re taking the proper way to turn the card. Even with the the clock modification you mentioned it seems that the cleaning of the screen is the
                    Message 9 of 18 , May 25, 2013
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                      Ciao Dave,
                      you're taking the proper way to turn the card. Even with the the clock modification you mentioned it seems that the cleaning of the screen is the correct event. To me it happened that I had to press the CR on the keyboard. If I remember correctly the eighth bit of the keyboard connector must be connected to ground because the system knows forever to use the keyboard parallel. I'm not having keyboards parallel I built a PS2 adapter to parallel for to use any ps2 keyboard. If you are familiar with the RS232 signals with the help of rs232 interface analyzer you can check the correct jumpers to do and connect to the card using sw like teratem via RS232. I have created a special selfbuilt cable to use a 3.5 "drive that I use normally. On Bitsavers you can find magazine Microcornucopia whose good part of the first issues was scanned by me wanting to delve into the context of those old times of the board. At that time an Italian compait first turn on http://www.vintagesbc.it/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Foto2858.jpg . Here and below , however, you can see other cards that have made ​​further changes as i said http://www.vintagesbc.it/?page_id=305 All pages have a flag in the upper right to get the not perfect, but (right for me ;) ) automatic translation by google service.
                      Regards
                      Enrico
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