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

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  • B. Degnan
    I can t remember if I replied to this message. No he has not finished.
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 of 21 , May 8, 2007
                        • 0 Attachment
                          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 12 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 13 of 21 , May 9, 2007
                            • 0 Attachment
                              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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