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Re: [midatlanticretro] Altair 680 Basic - loading without papertape

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  • Bob Applegate
    Building a memory board for an older machine like that sounds like a good project! I sell a fair number of KIM-1 memory expansion boards each year. The older
    Message 1 of 21 , May 3, 2007
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      Building a memory board for an older machine like that sounds like a good
      project!  I sell a fair number of KIM-1 memory expansion boards each year.
      The older processors are just so easy to work with... no critical timing, no
      "transmission line" issues, etc.
       
      Bill, designing your own board and getting it produced is pretty easy.  It's
      a fun project with a big reward in the end. 
       
      Bob
       
       
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: B. Degnan
      Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 10:39 PM
      Subject: RE: [midatlanticretro] Altair 680 Basic - loading without papertape



      >Thanks. Maybe in the mean time I can try it on my SWTPc 6800. I will
      >try
      >to track down the BASIC or convert it using the info from Byte issue
      >#8. I think that there's more memory, I have to check.
      >bd

      >Or try it on MARCH's swtpc ... I'm just saying...
      >
      >Decent chance that Grant might attend VCF East this year.
      >
      ><snip>

      Good, maybe he'll have for sale the Altair 680 memory card he's working on.
      Bill

    • Dan
      I always wondered if there was any need for designing vintage hardware. I have everything here to design and test just about any hardware. I haven t heard from
      Message 2 of 21 , May 3, 2007
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        I always wondered if there was any need for designing vintage hardware.
        I have everything here to design and test just about any hardware.

        I haven't heard from Grant yet if he has finished the 680 memory card yet.

        =Dan

        [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]



        Bob Applegate wrote:
        >
        > Building a memory board for an older machine like that sounds like a good
        > project! I sell a fair number of KIM-1 memory expansion boards each year.
        > The older processors are just so easy to work with... no critical
        > timing, no
        > "transmission line" issues, etc.
        >
        > Bill, designing your own board and getting it produced is pretty
        > easy. It's
        > a fun project with a big reward in the end.
        >
        > Bob
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > *From:* B. Degnan <mailto:billdeg@...>
        > *To:* midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
        > <mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
        > *Sent:* Wednesday, May 02, 2007 10:39 PM
        > *Subject:* RE: [midatlanticretro] Altair 680 Basic - loading
        > without papertape
        >
        >
        >
        > >Thanks. Maybe in the mean time I can try it on my SWTPc 6800. I will
        > >try
        > >to track down the BASIC or convert it using the info from Byte issue
        > >#8. I think that there's more memory, I have to check.
        > >bd
        >
        > >Or try it on MARCH's swtpc ... I'm just saying...
        > >
        > >Decent chance that Grant might attend VCF East this year.
        > >
        > ><snip>
        >
        > Good, maybe he'll have for sale the Altair 680 memory card he's
        > working on.
        > Bill
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
        > No virus found in this incoming message.
        > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
        > Version: 7.5.467 / Virus Database: 269.6.2/785 - Release Date: 5/2/2007 2:16 PM
        >
      • David Comley
        ... I ve had several design needs for things over the years, the most recent being for MFM disk emulation running over IDE (subject of a recent thread here or
        Message 3 of 21 , May 4, 2007
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          --- Dan <ragooman@...> wrote:
          >
          > I always wondered if there was any need for
          > designing vintage hardware.

          I've had several design needs for things over the
          years, the most recent being for MFM disk emulation
          running over IDE (subject of a recent thread here or
          on cctalk).

          Dan, you'd mentioned a source for low-cost Atmel
          microcontroller boards last weekend. Could you provide
          the name of the supplier ? I really need to know if
          they have a low-cost development board. The stock
          development system runs over $1000 which is a little
          steep.

          -Dave
        • Bob Applegate
          Around Christmas each year there is a rush to buy boards for vintage machines. I guess people either bought themselves a new toy on eBay, maybe just have more
          Message 4 of 21 , May 4, 2007
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            Around Christmas each year there is a rush to buy boards for vintage machines.  I guess
            people either bought themselves a new toy on eBay, maybe just have more time around
            the holidays to play, or simply get nostalgic and want to break out things they played with
            20+ years ago.
             
            I won't retire off selling add-ons for old machines, but I get a lot of neat stories from
            people about their old machines.  I also get a fair amount of vintage equipment offered
            to me since clearly I care about that older stuff.  It's fun.
             
            My boards are for the KIM-1, which was produced in fairly large quantities compared to
            some other systems.  I keep toying with the idea of building new S-100 cards since used
            ones on eBay go for so much and always carry no guarantee.  While not truly vintage, it
            is "vintage-like" because old components are used.  From the software perspective, it IS
            vintage... old CPUs that you've got to write a bootstrap for, etc.
             
            Bob
             
             
             
             
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Dan
            Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2007 7:24 PM
            Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Altair 680 Basic - loading without papertape


            I always wondered if there was any need for designing vintage hardware.
            I have everything here to design and test just about any hardware.

            I haven't heard from Grant yet if he has finished the 680 memory card yet.

            =Dan

            [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman. home.comcast. net/ ]

            Bob Applegate wrote:
            >
            > Building a memory board for an older machine like that sounds like a good
            > project! I sell a fair number of KIM-1 memory expansion boards each year.
            > The older processors are just so easy to work with... no critical
            > timing, no
            > "transmission line" issues, etc.
            >
            > Bill, designing your own board and getting it produced is pretty
            > easy. It's
            > a fun project with a big reward in the end.
            >
            > Bob
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > *From:* B. Degnan <mailto:billdeg@degnanco. com>
            > *To:* midatlanticretro@ yahoogroups. com
            > <mailto:midatlanticretro@ yahoogroups. com>
            > *Sent:* Wednesday, May 02, 2007 10:39 PM
            > *Subject:* RE: [midatlanticretro] Altair 680 Basic - loading
            > without papertape
            >
            >
            >
            > >Thanks. Maybe in the mean time I can try it on my SWTPc 6800. I will
            > >try
            > >to track down the BASIC or convert it using the info from Byte issue
            > >#8. I think that there's more memory, I have to check.
            > >bd
            >
            > >Or try it on MARCH's swtpc ... I'm just saying...
            > >
            > >Decent chance that Grant might attend VCF East this year.
            > >
            > ><snip>
            >
            > Good, maybe he'll have for sale the Altair 680 memory card he's
            > working on.
            > Bill
            >
            >
            > ------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -
            >
            > No virus found in this incoming message.
            > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
            > Version: 7.5.467 / Virus Database: 269.6.2/785 - Release Date: 5/2/2007 2:16 PM
            >

          • David Gesswein
            ... I didn t see the beginning of this thread but had noticed this one recently which looked nice and was thinking of using to upgrade my 8 controller when I
            Message 5 of 21 , May 4, 2007
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              > Dan, you'd mentioned a source for low-cost Atmel
              > microcontroller boards last weekend. Could you provide
              > the name of the supplier ?
              >
              I didn't see the beginning of this thread but had noticed this one
              recently which looked nice and was thinking of using to upgrade my 8
              controller when I retire the old machine which controls it now.

              http://www.digikey.com/scripts/us/dksus.dll?KeywordSearch?mpart=ATNGW100
              http://www.atmel.com/dyn/products/tools_card.asp?tool_id=4102

              If you want HW debugging you do need the more expensive ICE but I think can
              do printf's type debugging. Would need to check if you reflash with a bad
              load it leave enough loader around to reflash.
              http://www.digikey.com/scripts/us/dksus.dll?Criteria?Ref=7383&Site=US&Cat=35455746

              I used ATMEGA at work several years ago which had cheap boards
              available. We used the STK300 until our custom board was in. It is
              available from http://www.kanda.com/index.php3?cs=1& We used a
              commercial compiler but a gcc port is available,
              I just used printf's for debugging and jtag programmer for reflashing, not
              sure what the ICE they are including now does.
            • Dan
              Dave, MFM Emulation ? That project sounds interesting, for which machine is it ? Here s the one place I mentioned (both links points to their Atmel products)
              Message 6 of 21 , May 4, 2007
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                Dave,

                MFM Emulation ?
                That project sounds interesting, for which machine is it ?

                Here's the one place I mentioned (both links points to their Atmel products)
                http://microcontrollershop.com/default.php?cPath=110_159
                http://microcontrollershop.com/product_info.php?cPath=110_58&products_id=812

                =Dan


                [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]



                David Comley wrote:
                >
                > --- Dan <ragooman@... <mailto:ragooman%40comcast.net>> wrote:
                > >
                > > I always wondered if there was any need for
                > > designing vintage hardware.
                >
                > I've had several design needs for things over the
                > years, the most recent being for MFM disk emulation
                > running over IDE (subject of a recent thread here or
                > on cctalk).
                >
                > Dan, you'd mentioned a source for low-cost Atmel
                > microcontroller boards last weekend. Could you provide
                > the name of the supplier ? I really need to know if
                > they have a low-cost development board. The stock
                > development system runs over $1000 which is a little
                > steep.
                >
                > -Dave
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                >
                > No virus found in this incoming message.
                > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
                > Version: 7.5.467 / Virus Database: 269.6.2/787 - Release Date: 5/3/2007 2:11 PM
                >
              • David Comley
                ... Well, pretty much any machine I think, although I m targetting DEC hardware (VAXen and Professional 350 systems) initially where an RD5X drive would be
                Message 7 of 21 , May 4, 2007
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                  --- Dan <ragooman@...> wrote:
                  > MFM Emulation ?
                  > That project sounds interesting, for which machine
                  > is it ?
                  >
                  Well, pretty much any machine I think, although I'm
                  targetting DEC hardware (VAXen and Professional 350
                  systems) initially where an RD5X drive would be
                  expected.

                  I'm hoping to be able to emulate a Micropolis 1325 at
                  a low enough level that it could support any
                  host/controller platform (that can use that particular
                  drive type/geometry etc). The drive emulation should
                  be transparent to the point where any low level format
                  can be overlaid on it by the controller or host.

                  Doing an emulation of an MFM drive would be useful for
                  a variety of reasons for hobbyists, not the least of
                  which is the cost of replacement drives. The MTTF of
                  the platters in these drives is 4 years so they are a
                  dying breed; plus, emulation would make it possible to
                  expose the low-level formatting used by the hardware
                  vendor, something that there's not a great deal of
                  documentation on so far as I can tell.

                  Of course talking about it is easier than actually
                  doing it...

                  -Dave
                • Dan
                  Mike, I like the stuff on your website. I m thinking more about this too. I just don t know if I can bring myself again to wiring 2102 s in a row just to make
                  Message 8 of 21 , May 4, 2007
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                    Mike,

                    I like the stuff on your website. I'm thinking more about this too. I
                    just don't know if I can bring myself again to wiring 2102's in a row
                    just to make 4KB of memory. It's real easy to add 64KB of memory on one
                    S-100 card. It's not exactly using vintage components, but being that
                    it's within the confines of a vintage form factor(S-100) and machines,
                    maybe that doesn't tarnish the retro factor. I see there's still some
                    activity on the vintage-computer.com forum about making S-100 boards.

                    =Dan.

                    [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]



                    Bob Applegate wrote:
                    >
                    > [snip]
                    > I keep toying with the idea of building new S-100 cards since used
                    > ones on eBay go for so much and always carry no guarantee. While not
                    > truly vintage, it
                    > is "vintage-like" because old components are used. From the software
                    > perspective, it IS
                    > vintage... old CPUs that you've got to write a bootstrap for, etc.
                    >
                    > Bob
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • B. Degnan
                    I can t remember if I replied to this message. No he has not finished.
                    Message 9 of 21 , May 5, 2007
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                      I can't remember if I replied to this message. No he has not finished.

                      At 07:24 PM 5/3/2007 -0400, you wrote:

                      >I always wondered if there was any need for designing vintage hardware.
                      >I have everything here to design and test just about any hardware.
                      >
                      >I haven't heard from Grant yet if he has finished the 680 memory card yet.
                      >
                      >=Dan
                    • B. Degnan
                      ... There is nothing wrong with putting non-vintage hardware in a vintage machine IMHO. From a testing perspective new parts can be the key to diagnosing
                      Message 10 of 21 , May 5, 2007
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                        <snip>
                         
                        I won't retire off selling add-ons for old machines, but I get a lot of neat stories from
                        people about their old machines.  I also get a fair amount of vintage equipment offered
                        to me since clearly I care about that older stuff.  It's fun.
                         
                        My boards are for the KIM-1, which was produced in fairly large quantities compared to
                        some other systems.  I keep toying with the idea of building new S-100 cards since used
                        ones on eBay go for so much and always carry no guarantee.  While not truly vintage, it
                        is "vintage-like" because old components are used.  From the software perspective, it IS
                        vintage... old CPUs that you've got to write a bootstrap for, etc.
                         
                        Bob
                         

                        There is nothing wrong with putting non-vintage hardware in a vintage machine IMHO.  From a testing perspective new parts can be the key to diagnosing vintage part problems.  You can compare and contrast the vintage part with the new part to troubleshoot.  When it's time for an exhibit, swap the vintage part back into the system.
                      • Evan Koblentz
                        Who s Mike? ... From: Dan [mailto:ragooman@comcast.net] Sent: Friday, May 04, 2007 11:59 PM To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re:
                        Message 11 of 21 , May 5, 2007
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                          Who's Mike?


                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: Dan [mailto:ragooman@...]
                          Sent: Friday, May 04, 2007 11:59 PM
                          To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Altair 680 Basic - loading without
                          papertape

                          Mike,

                          I like the stuff on your website. I'm thinking more about this too. I
                          just don't know if I can bring myself again to wiring 2102's in a row
                          just to make 4KB of memory. It's real easy to add 64KB of memory on one
                          S-100 card. It's not exactly using vintage components, but being that
                          it's within the confines of a vintage form factor(S-100) and machines,
                          maybe that doesn't tarnish the retro factor. I see there's still some
                          activity on the vintage-computer.com forum about making S-100 boards.

                          =Dan.

                          [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]



                          Bob Applegate wrote:
                          >
                          > [snip]
                          > I keep toying with the idea of building new S-100 cards since used
                          > ones on eBay go for so much and always carry no guarantee. While not
                          > truly vintage, it
                          > is "vintage-like" because old components are used. From the software
                          > perspective, it IS
                          > vintage... old CPUs that you've got to write a bootstrap for, etc.
                          >
                          > Bob
                          >
                          >
                          >



                          Yahoo! Groups Links
                        • Dan
                          oops, neural glitch that was supposed to be *Bob Applegate s *website [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]
                          Message 12 of 21 , May 5, 2007
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                            oops, neural glitch

                            that was supposed to be *Bob Applegate's *website

                            [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]



                            Evan Koblentz wrote:
                            >
                            > Who's Mike?
                            >
                            >
                          • Bob Applegate
                            ... No offense was taken, I assure you! Bob/Mike/whatever ___________________________________ NOCC, http://nocc.sourceforge.net
                            Message 13 of 21 , May 5, 2007
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                              Dan <ragooman@...> wrote :

                              > oops, neural glitch
                              >
                              > that was supposed to be *Bob Applegate's *website

                              No offense was taken, I assure you!

                              Bob/Mike/whatever


                              ___________________________________
                              NOCC, http://nocc.sourceforge.net
                            • Bob Applegate
                              I meant non-vintage as-in using more current parts, such as any of the 64Kx8 RAM chips out there. I d never resort to 2102s again! 2114s, maybe (1Kx4 bits).
                              Message 14 of 21 , May 5, 2007
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                                I meant non-vintage as-in using more current parts, such as
                                any of the 64Kx8 RAM chips out there. I'd never resort to
                                2102s again! 2114s, maybe (1Kx4 bits). Another example is
                                using a small CPLD instead of lots of discrete TTL. The
                                CPLD is cheaper, more flexible, easier to debug, but definitely
                                not a 1970s device.

                                I don't know that the 680's expansion pins are, but you can
                                probably add 64K of RAM with just a couple of parts now if
                                you're willing to veer away from pure vintage. The software
                                you run is still vintage, as is the base machine, and that's
                                the important part from my viewpoint. My KIM-1s are all
                                vintage, but I use newer parts to enhance them.

                                Bob

                                B. Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote :

                                > <snip>
                                >  
                                > I won't retire off selling add-ons for old machines, but I
                                > get a lot of neat stories from
                                > people about their old machines.  I also get a fair
                                > amount of vintage equipment offered
                                > to me since clearly I care about that older stuff. 
                                > It's fun.
                                >  
                                > My boards are for the KIM-1, which was produced in fairly
                                > large quantities compared to
                                > some other systems.  I keep toying with the idea of
                                > building new S-100 cards since used
                                > ones on eBay go for so much and always carry no
                                > guarantee.  While not truly vintage, it
                                > is "vintage-like" because old components are
                                > used.  From the software perspective, it IS
                                > vintage... old CPUs that you've got to write a bootstrap
                                > for, etc.
                                >  
                                > Bob
                                >  
                                > There is nothing wrong with putting non-vintage hardware in a vintage
                                > machine IMHO.  From a testing perspective new parts can be the key
                                > to diagnosing vintage part problems.  You can compare and contrast
                                > the vintage part with the new part to troubleshoot.  When it's time
                                > for an exhibit, swap the vintage part back into the system.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >

                                ___________________________________
                                NOCC, http://nocc.sourceforge.net
                              • Bryan Pope
                                ... Hey... I just used a few 2114 s to repair a couple of C= 4040 drives I have. :) ... There is quite a few people remaking vintage hardware using FPGA type
                                Message 15 of 21 , May 5, 2007
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                                  Bob Applegate wrote:
                                  > I meant non-vintage as-in using more current parts, such as
                                  > any of the 64Kx8 RAM chips out there. I'd never resort to
                                  > 2102s again! 2114s, maybe (1Kx4 bits). Another example is
                                  >
                                  Hey... I just used a few 2114's to repair a couple of C= 4040 drives I
                                  have. :)

                                  > using a small CPLD instead of lots of discrete TTL. The
                                  > CPLD is cheaper, more flexible, easier to debug, but definitely
                                  > not a 1970s device.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  There is quite a few people remaking vintage hardware using FPGA type
                                  devices like here: http://home.freeuk.com/fpgaarcade/

                                  Cheers,

                                  Bryan

                                  > I don't know that the 680's expansion pins are, but you can
                                  > probably add 64K of RAM with just a couple of parts now if
                                  > you're willing to veer away from pure vintage. The software
                                  > you run is still vintage, as is the base machine, and that's
                                  > the important part from my viewpoint. My KIM-1s are all
                                  > vintage, but I use newer parts to enhance them.
                                  >
                                  > Bob
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Dan
                                  I started designing a S-100 layout this past weekend to make some memory cards. I was going to try both, one with vintage components and one using new
                                  Message 16 of 21 , May 7, 2007
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                                    I started designing a S-100 layout this past weekend to make some memory
                                    cards. I was going to try both, one with vintage components and one
                                    using new components. Istill have to pick a reasonable PCB house to make
                                    the cards. I found a couple of places that still sell the S-100 edge
                                    connectors so I was going to look into making the extender card for the
                                    Altair680(it's the same connector--different pinout)

                                    =Dan

                                    [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]



                                    Bryan Pope wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Bob Applegate wrote:
                                    > > I meant non-vintage as-in using more current parts, such as
                                    > > any of the 64Kx8 RAM chips out there. I'd never resort to
                                    > > 2102s again! 2114s, maybe (1Kx4 bits). Another example is
                                    > >
                                    > Hey... I just used a few 2114's to repair a couple of C= 4040 drives I
                                    > have. :)
                                    >
                                    > > using a small CPLD instead of lots of discrete TTL. The
                                    > > CPLD is cheaper, more flexible, easier to debug, but definitely
                                    > > not a 1970s device.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > There is quite a few people remaking vintage hardware using FPGA type
                                    > devices like here: http://home.freeuk.com/fpgaarcade/
                                    > <http://home.freeuk.com/fpgaarcade/>
                                    >
                                    > Cheers,
                                    >
                                    > Bryan
                                    >
                                    > > I don't know that the 680's expansion pins are, but you can
                                    > > probably add 64K of RAM with just a couple of parts now if
                                    > > you're willing to veer away from pure vintage. The software
                                    > > you run is still vintage, as is the base machine, and that's
                                    > > the important part from my viewpoint. My KIM-1s are all
                                    > > vintage, but I use newer parts to enhance them.
                                    > >
                                    > > Bob
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    >
                                    > No virus found in this incoming message.
                                    > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
                                    > Version: 7.5.467 / Virus Database: 269.6.4/790 - Release Date: 5/5/2007 10:34 AM
                                    >
                                  • B Degnan
                                    Dan, Did you get your Altair 680 working? Bill ... -END-
                                    Message 17 of 21 , May 7, 2007
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                                      Dan,
                                      Did you get your Altair 680 working?
                                      Bill
                                      >
                                      > I started designing a S-100 layout this past weekend to make some memory
                                      > cards. I was going to try both, one with vintage components and one
                                      > using new components. Istill have to pick a reasonable PCB house to make
                                      > the cards. I found a couple of places that still sell the S-100 edge
                                      > connectors so I was going to look into making the extender card for the
                                      > Altair680(it's the same connector--different pinout)
                                      >
                                      > =Dan
                                      >
                                      > [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Bryan Pope wrote:
                                      >>
                                      >> Bob Applegate wrote:
                                      >> > I meant non-vintage as-in using more current parts, such as
                                      >> > any of the 64Kx8 RAM chips out there. I'd never resort to
                                      >> > 2102s again! 2114s, maybe (1Kx4 bits). Another example is
                                      >> >
                                      >> Hey... I just used a few 2114's to repair a couple of C= 4040 drives I
                                      >> have. :)
                                      >>
                                      >> > using a small CPLD instead of lots of discrete TTL. The
                                      >> > CPLD is cheaper, more flexible, easier to debug, but definitely
                                      >> > not a 1970s device.
                                      >> >
                                      >> >
                                      >> There is quite a few people remaking vintage hardware using FPGA type
                                      >> devices like here: http://home.freeuk.com/fpgaarcade/
                                      >> <http://home.freeuk.com/fpgaarcade/>
                                      >>
                                      >> Cheers,
                                      >>
                                      >> Bryan
                                      >>
                                      >> > I don't know that the 680's expansion pins are, but you can
                                      >> > probably add 64K of RAM with just a couple of parts now if
                                      >> > you're willing to veer away from pure vintage. The software
                                      >> > you run is still vintage, as is the base machine, and that's
                                      >> > the important part from my viewpoint. My KIM-1s are all
                                      >> > vintage, but I use newer parts to enhance them.
                                      >> >
                                      >> > Bob
                                      >> >
                                      >> >
                                      >>
                                      >>
                                      >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      >>
                                      >> No virus found in this incoming message.
                                      >> Checked by AVG Free Edition.
                                      >> Version: 7.5.467 / Virus Database: 269.6.4/790 - Release Date: 5/5/2007
                                      >> 10:34 AM
                                      >>
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >


                                      -END-
                                    • Dan
                                      oh, I still have about 20 sockets left to replace, it s such an arduous task. Something I do in between my other projects. I m hoping that I ll get it done
                                      Message 18 of 21 , May 7, 2007
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                                        oh, I still have about 20 sockets left to replace, it's such an arduous
                                        task. Something I do in between my other projects. I'm hoping that I'll
                                        get it done once the S-100 boards I'm designing are built.
                                        In the meantime, I'm going to fire-up my IMSAI, (figuratively speaking)
                                        so I can get my S-100 stuff running and be ready to test the new memory
                                        card designs.

                                        =Dan

                                        [ My Corner of Cyberspace http://ragooman.home.comcast.net/ ]



                                        B Degnan wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Dan,
                                        > Did you get your Altair 680 working?
                                        > Bill
                                        >
                                        >
                                      • Herb Johnson
                                        ... There was a recent discussion of MFM emulation in comp.os.cpm, where I participate. The discussion of vintage vs. modern design is also of interest
                                        Message 19 of 21 , May 8, 2007
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                                          David Comley <david_comley@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > I'm hoping to be able to emulate a Micropolis 1325 at
                                          > a low enough level that it could support any
                                          > host/controller platform (that can use that particular
                                          > drive type/geometry etc). The drive emulation should
                                          > be transparent to the point where any low level format
                                          > can be overlaid on it by the controller or host.
                                          >
                                          > Doing an emulation of an MFM drive would be useful for
                                          > a variety of reasons for hobbyists, not the least of
                                          > which is the cost of replacement drives. The MTTF of
                                          > the platters in these drives is 4 years so they are a
                                          > dying breed; plus, emulation would make it possible to
                                          > expose the low-level formatting used by the hardware
                                          > vendor, something that there's not a great deal of
                                          > documentation on so far as I can tell.
                                          >
                                          > Of course talking about it is easier than actually
                                          > doing it...
                                          >
                                          > -Dave

                                          There was a recent discussion of MFM "emulation" in comp.os.cpm, where
                                          I participate. The discussion of "vintage" vs. "modern" design is also
                                          of interest to me. Here's my comments.

                                          In comp.os.cpm, it was noted that there WAS a MFM to IDE product, but
                                          it waa a few thousand dollars. Seems to me that one reason it is that
                                          high, is that it takes some bit of effort to support the variety of
                                          potential uses for such a product. Those who really need an MFM
                                          replacement, to keep production equipment going, will pay accordingly.

                                          The drive issue as cast in comp.os.cpm was about replacing an MFM
                                          drive in a S-100 system. It was suggested the owner use an IDE card of
                                          some sort, and write a driver. In some number of cases, it's more
                                          reasonable to replace the controller and adjust the software.

                                          The point of S-100 systems with a standard bus, was that you COULD
                                          replace and upgrade as needed. At least the hardware did not stop you
                                          from doing so. That concept spawned a computer industry from 1976
                                          through the 1980's. The IBM PC, to compete, HAD to offer 1) a bus and
                                          2) clear means to add to that bus - because S-100 and other systems
                                          set that standard. (In the minicomputer world, DEC set a similar
                                          standard as did other manufacturers.)

                                          In that light, there's been discussion here about building "new" S-100
                                          cards with either "vintage" hardware or with "new" hardware. Clearly
                                          an MFM to IDE device would be "new". It would require somewhat fast
                                          logic: either a programmable logic device, or a "computer on a
                                          board".

                                          But an IDE interface for S-100 or any Z80? - dirt simple, the IDE
                                          drive does all the work, just a few simple chips will do it (Google
                                          "GIDE"). But most people get stuck at the point where they have to
                                          write software to support that new device. (I should know, I first
                                          offered the GIDE interface in the USA, and I've watched its use.)

                                          Note to "purists" that say a vintage system has to have "original",
                                          vintage cards. Few REAL S-100 systems were "original", or stayed
                                          original. People upgraded as hardware improved, as software changed.

                                          The point? As I see it, if you are "into" old computers to show them
                                          off in original condiiton, then all this talk about "emulators" is
                                          moot. Pay $$$ for the last unused (or rebuilt) MFM hard drive and run
                                          it only on exhibit day. If you are in it because you can "dig into"
                                          it, then adapt some new hardware to old and start writing some CODE.
                                          If you are in it for "use" only, then you depend on others to keep
                                          providing working hardware: that, and your budget.

                                          Herb Johnson

                                          Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
                                          <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/"> web site</a>
                                          <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/"> domain mirror</a>
                                          my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
                                          if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
                                          "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
                                          S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"
                                        • Jim Scheef
                                          Herb, Words of wisdom! As you note there is more than one way to enjoy vintage computing. Jim ... From: Herb Johnson To:
                                          Message 20 of 21 , May 8, 2007
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                                            Herb,

                                            Words of wisdom! As you note there is more than one way to enjoy 'vintage' computing.

                                            Jim

                                            ----- Original Message ----
                                            From: Herb Johnson <hjohnson@...>
                                            To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                                            Sent: Tuesday, May 8, 2007 2:36:33 PM
                                            Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: Designing Vintage Hardware (was Altair 680 Basic - loading without paperta

                                            David Comley <david_comley@ ...> wrote:

                                            >
                                            > I'm hoping to be able to emulate a Micropolis 1325 at
                                            > a low enough level that it could support any
                                            > host/controller platform (that can use that particular
                                            > drive type/geometry etc). The drive emulation should
                                            > be transparent to the point where any low level format
                                            > can be overlaid on it by the controller or host.
                                            >
                                            > Doing an emulation of an MFM drive would be useful for
                                            > a variety of reasons for hobbyists, not the least of
                                            > which is the cost of replacement drives. The MTTF of
                                            > the platters in these drives is 4 years so they are a
                                            > dying breed; plus, emulation would make it possible to
                                            > expose the low-level formatting used by the hardware
                                            > vendor, something that there's not a great deal of
                                            > documentation on so far as I can tell.
                                            >
                                            > Of course talking about it is easier than actually
                                            > doing it...
                                            >
                                            > -Dave

                                            There was a recent discussion of MFM "emulation" in comp.os.cpm, where
                                            I participate. The discussion of "vintage" vs. "modern" design is also
                                            of interest to me. Here's my comments.

                                            In comp.os.cpm, it was noted that there WAS a MFM to IDE product, but
                                            it waa a few thousand dollars. Seems to me that one reason it is that
                                            high, is that it takes some bit of effort to support the variety of
                                            potential uses for such a product. Those who really need an MFM
                                            replacement, to keep production equipment going, will pay accordingly.

                                            The drive issue as cast in comp.os.cpm was about replacing an MFM
                                            drive in a S-100 system. It was suggested the owner use an IDE card of
                                            some sort, and write a driver. In some number of cases, it's more
                                            reasonable to replace the controller and adjust the software.

                                            The point of S-100 systems with a standard bus, was that you COULD
                                            replace and upgrade as needed. At least the hardware did not stop you
                                            from doing so. That concept spawned a computer industry from 1976
                                            through the 1980's. The IBM PC, to compete, HAD to offer 1) a bus and
                                            2) clear means to add to that bus - because S-100 and other systems
                                            set that standard. (In the minicomputer world, DEC set a similar
                                            standard as did other manufacturers. )

                                            In that light, there's been discussion here about building "new" S-100
                                            cards with either "vintage" hardware or with "new" hardware. Clearly
                                            an MFM to IDE device would be "new". It would require somewhat fast
                                            logic: either a programmable logic device, or a "computer on a
                                            board".

                                            But an IDE interface for S-100 or any Z80? - dirt simple, the IDE
                                            drive does all the work, just a few simple chips will do it (Google
                                            "GIDE"). But most people get stuck at the point where they have to
                                            write software to support that new device. (I should know, I first
                                            offered the GIDE interface in the USA, and I've watched its use.)

                                            Note to "purists" that say a vintage system has to have "original",
                                            vintage cards. Few REAL S-100 systems were "original", or stayed
                                            original. People upgraded as hardware improved, as software changed.

                                            The point? As I see it, if you are "into" old computers to show them
                                            off in original condiiton, then all this talk about "emulators" is
                                            moot. Pay $$$ for the last unused (or rebuilt) MFM hard drive and run
                                            it only on exhibit day. If you are in it because you can "dig into"
                                            it, then adapt some new hardware to old and start writing some CODE.
                                            If you are in it for "use" only, then you depend on others to keep
                                            providing working hardware: that, and your budget.

                                            Herb Johnson

                                            Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
                                            <a href="http://www.retrotec hnology.com/ herbs_stuff/"> web site</a>
                                            <a href="http://www.retrotec hnology.net/ herbs_stuff/"> domain mirror</a>
                                            my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
                                            if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
                                            "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
                                            S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"


                                          • David Comley
                                            Well said, Herb. Having met so many MARCH folks at TCF, I started to think again about my own take on the hobby. I d profile my own collection and activities
                                            Message 21 of 21 , May 9, 2007
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                                              Well said, Herb.

                                              Having met so many MARCH folks at TCF, I started to
                                              think again about my own take on the hobby. I'd
                                              profile my own collection and activities as being
                                              discovery - or re-discovery - related, rather than
                                              restoration/refurbishment to original condition. Most
                                              of the things I've acquired are missing covers or have
                                              dings and dents, and nothing could be said to be 'New
                                              in Box' or even close. Instead, I spend a lot of time
                                              trying to understand how things were connected or
                                              configured together (and even what they were used
                                              for). That often results in repair work to return a
                                              system to a bootable state (or in a long wait while I
                                              scour hamfests and swap meets to find a missing board,
                                              cable or disk).

                                              It's a great hobby, isn't it: each of us derives
                                              satisfaction from it from pursuing a different aspect
                                              or perspective - and hopefully we contribute to a
                                              broader pool of knowledge by doing so. One can only
                                              hope that we capture that knowledge somehow for
                                              posterity and the next generation of enthusiasts.

                                              -Dave

                                              --- Herb Johnson <hjohnson@...> wrote:

                                              > Note to "purists" that say a vintage system has to
                                              > have "original",
                                              > vintage cards. Few REAL S-100 systems were
                                              > "original", or stayed
                                              > original. People upgraded as hardware improved, as
                                              > software changed.
                                              >
                                              > The point? As I see it, if you are "into" old
                                              > computers to show them
                                              > off in original condiiton, then all this talk about
                                              > "emulators" is
                                              > moot. Pay $$$ for the last unused (or rebuilt) MFM
                                              > hard drive and run
                                              > it only on exhibit day. If you are in it because you
                                              > can "dig into"
                                              > it, then adapt some new hardware to old and start
                                              > writing some CODE.
                                              > If you are in it for "use" only, then you depend on
                                              > others to keep
                                              > providing working hardware: that, and your budget.
                                              >
                                              > Herb Johnson
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