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View Full Version : New Acquisition from VCF Midwest - Ferguson Big Board!



vbriel
April 27th, 2008, 06:25 PM
Well, I've finally found a Ferguson Big Board. Not the II, but the original one. I just downloaded the original documents and plan to get this fully up and running with an ASCII keyboard, and a Shugart SA-800 drive (if I can find one).

Anybody have a drive or the CP/M for the Ferguson?

I'll try and document the revival of this board. I want to mount it in a custom wood case too.

Vince

Terry Yager
April 27th, 2008, 06:43 PM
Don't hold out on us, Vince...where's the pix?

--T

Sharkonwheels
April 27th, 2008, 07:06 PM
Dave Dunfield's got a few disk images in IMD format on his site.

I KNOW you've been there already, but...

Go to:
http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm

Scroll down to System / Install disks
then search for Furguson <sic?>


T

vbriel
April 28th, 2008, 03:21 AM
Shark,

Thanks! It's been home less than 1 day and already I've got the disk images now and the manuals and schematics from here:

http://www.dtweed.com/docs/

Now, I need to find either an 8" drive or if the ferguson can handle a 5 1/4" with some easy mod. I guess first I should connect it to a power supply, monitor and keyboard to make sure it works!

Vince

vbriel
April 28th, 2008, 05:19 PM
Ok, here's some pictures of the board, not good but I was in a hurry.

Vince

vbriel
April 28th, 2008, 09:49 PM
IT WORKS! Yeah. Took some work, reseating chips, reading the manuals but I got the monitor to come up. Next I'll wire a ASCII keyboard up and play around in the monitor.

Vince

NobodyIsHere
April 29th, 2008, 02:54 AM
IT WORKS! Yeah. Took some work, reseating chips, reading the manuals but I got the monitor to come up. Next I'll wire a ASCII keyboard up and play around in the monitor.

Vince

Hi Vince,

I have a Kaypro II motherboard which I think is a fairly close copy of the FBB. One thing I have been wondering is if the video output of the Kaypro II board can be attached to a regular VGA monitor. The video connector has HSYNC, VSYNC, and VIDEO signals which appear to be standard TTL levels.

Any ideas? Thanks!

Andrew Lynch

vbriel
April 29th, 2008, 03:25 AM
Well, maybe, it has separate signals for monitors that may require it. From what I have read, Kaypro copied most of the Ferguson board. I wish the drive and disks were compatible! I have much more work to do to get this fully operational with CP/M but I want to document the process of taking it from a cardboard box to a full system!

Here's what the PFM 3.3 monitor looks like when it comes up. Sorry for the bad picture quality.

Vince

vbriel
May 1st, 2008, 02:40 AM
Well, after doing some work and sending out emails I've found that the 5.25" HD drives work identical to 8" drives except the 5.25" drives have 3 more tracks available. Therefore according to Dave Dunfield I should be able to wire up a 5.25" drive in the 8" connector and be able to load bigboard CP/M images from his site right onto the 5.25" drive!

I'm going to try this this weekend. I can't believe a have 20 cases of SD/DD disks but NO HD disks. All my vintage machines use DD disks and high density won't work in them.

Getting the OS to boot will probably be the biggest hurdle. Once it boots, I will begin constructing a case for the Ferguson.

Vince

Sharkonwheels
May 1st, 2008, 06:05 PM
Vince,

5.25" DS/HD 1.2MB media is pretty cheap on fleaBay, simply because noone really needs/wants it. If it's for an AT+, they'd rather use 1.44, and older than that, was pretty much DS/DD. You can find tons of those cheap!

I MIGHT have a box i can send ya, because I really have no need for it at present, but I can;t send it until probably Tuesday.

T

carlsson
May 1st, 2008, 11:42 PM
I'm sure Vince has a local source for 5.25" HD floppies. For my own matter, I could get ahold of at least 10-20 new old stock, shrinkwrapped boxes of 10 pcs SKC HD. Unfortunately as you say the demand is very low so no point in trying to sell or trade them away, in particular not internationally due to postage costs.

vbriel
May 2nd, 2008, 03:46 AM
The funny thing is, I used to but haven't needed HD disks in years so my supply is gone. I just got a box for $3 on fleabay. I rarely used the HD disks. My Apple IIplus used double density disks and my other computers used 3.5" after that.

Other people were selling boxes in lots and they were getting good money for them.

I have a SCSI cable and a 5.25" connector ready to make a 8" to 5.25" cable, but I really am horrible with cables. This website shows how to make the cable adapter:

http://home.iae.nl/users/pb0aia/cm/8-525.html

Other people can make them so neat, mine always look like birds nests. I guess I should practice this art more.

I have a P75 that I'm going to use to make my images into disks. My diskettes have already shipped so I should be ready to try something out next week.

This is more fun than getting an old system to work. This is building a system from a board.

Vince

vbriel
May 4th, 2008, 03:00 PM
Ok, after a lot of work and 2 cables, I finally got CP/M loaded and working on the Ferguson. Unfortunately I don't have BASIC so I'll have to keep an eye out for that I guess, otherwise, I got Zork loaded and running! Life is good when Zork is on your CP/M machine!

NobodyIsHere
May 4th, 2008, 04:05 PM
Congrats Vince!

More pictures!

Thanks!

Andrew Lynch

vbriel
May 5th, 2008, 04:14 AM
I'll take some pics tonight. I got MBASIC loaded using 22disk. I can't believe I got it all working this weekend!

Now I want to pull the EPROM's and back them up to .bin files.

Vince

vbriel
May 5th, 2008, 04:42 PM
Here's just a simple boot screen and DIR of the boot disk. So, I have now tested with 22disk and can upload programs into a disk and I use the image program to backup my disks. I have Zork and the orginal Adventure, MBASIC, and some business software. Man, this restore feels better than any other I've done. Maybe because I only got the Ferguson in a box, didn't even know if it worked or not.

For those with Xerox 820's, yes the Xerox disks booted when converted to 5.25" disks on the Ferguson, thus confirming that Xerox disks will work with the Ferguson and visa versa.

Vince

http://www.brielcomputers.com/files/cpmboot.jpg