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stevenaleach
May 26th, 2003, 01:48 PM
Well, I'm finally reunited with my collection, such as it is. I have begun gathering my collection from my parents barn and attic where it has been stored since 1996.

Much has been thrown out (old terminals, disfunctional disk drives, etc.), but two machines I brought up to my new house. One is a PET (makes a good paperweight) the other is an Altair 8800B that ran CP/M off of a 4 meg hard disk as of 1996 when I left for college. The altair, terminal, floppy drive enclosure, and hard disk enclosure basically flattened the springs on the little pickup I used for the move :-)

I lugged the Altair up to the third floor bedroom that I've hijacked for a computer room, checked for loose connectors and wasp nests, blew away dust, and finally powered it up.

For a couple seconds there were flickering lights on the front panel (already a bad sign, but it's always had a bad connector between the front panel card and the cpu card and it gets confused sometimes.. Or maybe the PROM for the panel has gone bad?). Then came the smoke... lots of it coming from the front panel.

The poor old beast has now been taken apart, a capacitor was fried on the front panel, no other visible damage. The folks on the cctalk mailing list were a great help in finding out the correct ratings for the piece of charcoal on the board, and I now have the replacement caps on order

It will live again!

In the mean time, I'm trying to find other S-100 cards and parts as I would like to build a seperate S-100 system. I am also constructing a 20 Mhz Z80 single board computer just for educational purposes.

I have considered building the 20 Mhz Z80 as an S-100 system, but I don't know how many existing S-100 cards could work in a system with this high of a clock rate.

Steve
stevenaleach@mac.com

Erik
May 26th, 2003, 02:01 PM
Hello Steve!

Welcome to the VC Forum!

I'm sure you'll get that 8800b running again. I've resurrected two 8800s (with lots of help from ccTalk members and one man in particular who is a wiz with a soldering iron and schematics) and from that experience I know it's possible.

I'm not sure what kind of other S-100 system you are looking to build, but I often see systems and parts on eBay and various mail lists and newsgroups. I'm sure you'll be able to cook up something.

I don't think you'll be able to run an S-100 system at 20MHz, though. The cards built for most S-100 systems were made for 4MHz Z80s, at best. It seems to me that a 20MHz CPU would just be too fast for the rest of the system. Especially the RAM.

Best of luck with that 8800b and your other projects! Please stop back and keep us up to date with your progress!

Erik