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Altair 680b - running!

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  • billdeg
    I have been studying the use of my Altair 680b. The memory seems to be OK, I have just installed the ACIA Monitor PROM. I have made progress learning about
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 23, 2007
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      I have been studying the use of my Altair 680b. The memory seems to be
      OK, I have just installed the ACIA Monitor PROM. I have made progress
      learning about programming the dip switches, and how to use Assembler
      for the 6800 processor.

      Here are some pics:
      http://www.vintagecomputer.net/MITS/680/pictures.html
    • Bob Applegate
      Very cool!!! I remember drooling over these back in the day but never had the funds for one. It used to be a lot of fun
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 23, 2007
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        Very cool!!!
         
        I remember drooling over these "back in the day" but never had the funds for one.
         
        <<Bob wanders down memory lane...>>
         
        It used to be a lot of fun to have a personal computer.  First, almost nobody else
        had one, so not everyone on your block was telling you about installing the latest
        version of some software, how their machine was better, etc.  Anyone who owned
        any computer was automatically a friend to compare notes and ideas with.
         
        Every little bit of new hardware created hours of pure fun... it was amazing to get
        a whole 2K on my KIM working!  Controlling a relay was a big deal.  Writing a more
        extensive monitor program was a thrill.  Getting a crude DAC working was reason
        for celebration.  Keying in a program from The First Book of KIM without errors was
        a blast!
         
        Computers now are just plain dull.  Gee, my desktop system has two 19"
        monitors on a 3 GHz multi-core CPU with 2 GB RAM.  Big whoop.  It's no more
        exciting than when the system only had 1 GB RAM.  There's little we do now that
        really adds any new capabilities other than just "more" and "faster."  Almost any
        idiot can build a computer now (although I'm sure some idiot someplace would
        have a problem).
         
        Don't get me wrong, computers can still be fun, but this just can't compare to the
        excitement of making a computer do more just by adding a few parts, some wire,
        and some crude software.  I've made my living for over 25 years by programming
        microprocessors, but the most fun is still playing with my KIM-1, AIM, the old
        Franklins, or other super low-end machines at home.  Going through those old
        magazines and watching the excitement of the industry was a blast.  That feeling
        really seems to be gone now.
         
        Gee, I don't *feel* old, but I must be getting there!
         
        Anyway, that's what's fun about MARCH and other collections of old machines.
        People had FUN with them and knew what they did.  It wasn't meant to be a way
        to out-spend the next guy or have bragging rights.  It was the joy of making
        something work!
         
        Bill, and everyone else on this list, keep playing with the old machines and
        get them working again!  I'm looking forward to seeing more old systems operational
        all the time!
         
        Bob
         
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: billdeg
        Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 12:20 PM
        Subject: [midatlanticretro] Altair 680b - running!

        I have been studying the use of my Altair 680b. The memory seems to be
        OK, I have just installed the ACIA Monitor PROM. I have made progress
        learning about programming the dip switches, and how to use Assembler
        for the 6800 processor.

        Here are some pics:
        http://www.vintagec omputer.net/ MITS/680/ pictures. html

      • B Degnan
        Bob, You are so on the money. I was too young to have used these machines when they were new, but the excitement is still there now. I try to do a little
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 23, 2007
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          Bob,

          You are so on the money. I was too young to have used these machines when
          they were new, but the excitement is still there now. I try to do a
          little every day.

          Bill D

          <snip>
          > Anyway, that's what's fun about MARCH and other collections of old
          > machines.
          > People had FUN with them and knew what they did. It wasn't meant to be a
          > way
          > to out-spend the next guy or have bragging rights. It was the joy of
          > making
          > something work!
          >
          > Bill, and everyone else on this list, keep playing with the old machines
          > and
          > get them working again! I'm looking forward to seeing more old systems
          > operational
          > all the time!
          >
          > Bob
          >
        • buseyl
          Nice post Bob. The early hobbyist machines do seem to have a certain magic that s no longer present in today s wonderboxen. Liam ... funds for one. ... almost
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 24, 2007
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            Nice post Bob. The early hobbyist machines do seem to have a certain
            magic that's no longer present in today's wonderboxen.

            Liam


            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Bob Applegate" <bob@...> wrote:
            >
            > Very cool!!!
            >
            > I remember drooling over these "back in the day" but never had the
            funds for one.
            >
            > <<Bob wanders down memory lane...>>
            >
            > It used to be a lot of fun to have a personal computer. First,
            almost nobody else
            > had one, so not everyone on your block was telling you about
            installing the latest
            > version of some software, how their machine was better, etc. Anyone
            who owned
            > any computer was automatically a friend to compare notes and ideas with.
            >
            > Every little bit of new hardware created hours of pure fun... it was
            amazing to get
            > a whole 2K on my KIM working! Controlling a relay was a big deal.
            Writing a more
            > extensive monitor program was a thrill. Getting a crude DAC working
            was reason
            > for celebration. Keying in a program from The First Book of KIM
            without errors was
            > a blast!
            >
            > Computers now are just plain dull. Gee, my desktop system has two 19"
            > monitors on a 3 GHz multi-core CPU with 2 GB RAM. Big whoop. It's
            no more
            > exciting than when the system only had 1 GB RAM. There's little we
            do now that
            > really adds any new capabilities other than just "more" and
            "faster." Almost any
            > idiot can build a computer now (although I'm sure some idiot
            someplace would
            > have a problem).
            >
            > Don't get me wrong, computers can still be fun, but this just can't
            compare to the
            > excitement of making a computer do more just by adding a few parts,
            some wire,
            > and some crude software. I've made my living for over 25 years by
            programming
            > microprocessors, but the most fun is still playing with my KIM-1,
            AIM, the old
            > Franklins, or other super low-end machines at home. Going through
            those old
            > magazines and watching the excitement of the industry was a blast.
            That feeling
            > really seems to be gone now.
            >
            > Gee, I don't *feel* old, but I must be getting there!
            >
            > Anyway, that's what's fun about MARCH and other collections of old
            machines.
            > People had FUN with them and knew what they did. It wasn't meant to
            be a way
            > to out-spend the next guy or have bragging rights. It was the joy
            of making
            > something work!
            >
            > Bill, and everyone else on this list, keep playing with the old
            machines and
            > get them working again! I'm looking forward to seeing more old
            systems operational
            > all the time!
            >
            > Bob
            >
            >
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: billdeg
            > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 12:20 PM
            > Subject: [midatlanticretro] Altair 680b - running!
            >
            >
            > I have been studying the use of my Altair 680b. The memory seems
            to be
            > OK, I have just installed the ACIA Monitor PROM. I have made progress
            > learning about programming the dip switches, and how to use Assembler
            > for the 6800 processor.
            >
            > Here are some pics:
            > http://www.vintagecomputer.net/MITS/680/pictures.html
            >
          • B. Degnan
            and the headaches :-) My system: The baud rate of the motherboard is 1200 (jumpered in) The terminal bit is high (indicates that it expects a terminal). RAM
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 24, 2007
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              and the headaches :-)

              My system:
              The baud rate of the motherboard is 1200 (jumpered in)
              The terminal bit is high (indicates that it expects a terminal).
              RAM Memory is jumpered to 0000 location (1K)
              Stop bits = 2
              According to the Monitor guide F002 are the toggle settings for the
              switches (first 4 up, second-to-last up, the rest off/down)
              I took two known working terminals, set to 1200 baud each and followed the
              start up directions.

              I am not getting the expected dot prompt. There is nothing on the screen.

              I guess I will poke at the ports with the oscilloscope to see if a signal
              is coming out.

              Bill D
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