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billdeg
June 28th, 2008, 07:09 PM
A while back (I could not find the thread if it still exists) I thought I posted a message about my Northstar Horizon, suddenly not being able to boot. I checked the drives, the drive controller, and the terminal, all OK. I then found that many of the contacts were corroded on the processor card. I happened to have a spare card and with the replacement card I was able to revive the system and boot a diskette. yay.

The good news is now I can proceed again with archiving my library of diskettes. These are those hard-sectored MDS controller disks that are hard to come by.

bill

Soupwizard
June 28th, 2008, 09:12 PM
A friend of mine recently picked up a Northstar Horizon (well, I picked it up and will eventually deliver it to him). It has a hard-sectored controller (forget the name on it). Is it possible and/or recommended to find a soft sectored controller to use, since hard sectored disks seem to hard to find?

thanks,
Jeff

Dwight Elvey
June 29th, 2008, 08:56 PM
Hi
I punch them as I need then. I made a punch jig
from an old SA400 drive frame.
Dwight

billdeg
July 2nd, 2008, 08:28 PM
I was able to make it though about 100 diskettes and to catalog them all, but in the process the 2nd processor card died. This time I am going to attempt repairs, starting with a complete check of the voltages that are being generated by the power supply, etc.

I am very sure that the drives are OK, I tested them elsewhere. The 7805 resistors may be the problem, etc. Fun.

At least I made it to a good point. I have about 15 different variations the NS DOS, CP/M, and other DOS's. I will post a catalog at some point here or on my site. If anyone is interested, bug me I will post sooner than later.

bill

bugman2112
August 9th, 2008, 05:20 PM
I just acquired a Northstar Horizon. Looks like its in very good condition. Blew a tantalum capacitor upon first start. I have replaced it, and it appears to be trying to boot from the drive. However, I now realize that with no monitor program in ROM, or software, I cannot use some of the disk image transfer utilities available in order to make myslelf some usuable disks. Would anyone out there be willing to let me buy or trade something for one dos boot disk? I believe I have a double density controller with a double densitiy drive. All I/O motherboard settings, memory, and boot address appear to be stock, so a stock configuration DOS disk should work fine. I have new hard sectored disks, so I could trade, pay, whatever to make it worthwhile.
Any help is appreciated.

Dwight Elvey
August 9th, 2008, 09:43 PM
I just acquired a Northstar Horizon. Looks like its in very good condition. Blew a tantalum capacitor upon first start. I have replaced it, and it appears to be trying to boot from the drive. However, I now realize that with no monitor program in ROM, or software, I cannot use some of the disk image transfer utilities available in order to make myslelf some usuable disks. Would anyone out there be willing to let me buy or trade something for one dos boot disk? I believe I have a double density controller with a double densitiy drive. All I/O motherboard settings, memory, and boot address appear to be stock, so a stock configuration DOS disk should work fine. I have new hard sectored disks, so I could trade, pay, whatever to make it worthwhile.
Any help is appreciated.

Hi
You might contact Dave Dunfield. He has some method of bootstrapping
a N*.
Dwight

Mardy
August 10th, 2008, 05:39 AM
I just acquired a Northstar Horizon. Looks like its in very good condition. Blew a tantalum capacitor upon first start. I have replaced it, and it appears to be trying to boot from the drive. However, I now realize that with no monitor program in ROM, or software, I cannot use some of the disk image transfer utilities available in order to make myslelf some usuable disks. Would anyone out there be willing to let me buy or trade something for one dos boot disk? I believe I have a double density controller with a double densitiy drive. All I/O motherboard settings, memory, and boot address appear to be stock, so a stock configuration DOS disk should work fine. I have new hard sectored disks, so I could trade, pay, whatever to make it worthwhile.
Any help is appreciated.

Bugman, PM me your mailing address and I'll send you a N*DOS boot disk. Also check to see if you have either the single density (MDS-A) or double density (MDS-A-D) controller. That will determine which type of boot disk I send you.

billdeg
August 10th, 2008, 07:35 AM
I believe it is possible to make a boot disk using Dave Dunfield's program but you have to have a 10 hard-sectored disk.

My Northstar (Not working at the moment) has the NS* disk controller, and I have been able to get a number of types of drives to work on it. For example the same Tandon you find with an IBM PC. I have also installed half-height drives. The only issue is the hard sectored disks, at least that's what I found.

Anyway, if you're stuck, PM me and I will make arrangements to send you a boot disk if you promise to return the original.

Bill

bugman2112
August 10th, 2008, 07:45 AM
Thanks Mardy, I will do so!

I did contact Dave and I thought it would be as easy as boot strapping; something I've done before with apple computers. However, his software needs some kind of simple monitor program to allow for data to be plugged into memory. The only choices for the N* are if you have the PROM option installed on the CPU board, or a bootable dos/cpm disk. I have neither. If you had a front panel like on an Altair, you could program a boot strap that way as well.

billdeg
August 10th, 2008, 11:09 AM
I thought 22disk would be all you needed to make a boot disk, but when I checked Dave's site it says that

"NorthStar Transfer

NST is a system I created to archive/restore Single and Double density NorthStar hard-sectored formats via a serial connection to a system with the NorthStar controller. This is the only means I am aware of to preserve NorthStar disks.

A companion program NSI (NorthStar Image) allows access to the individual files in a NorthStar DOS format disk. NST/NSI images are also directly usable by my NorthStar Horizon and Altair 8800 simulators."

http://www.dunfield.com/dave/classic.htm

geneb
August 24th, 2008, 08:16 PM
It looks like I'll be joining the Northstar Horizon bandwagon myself soon. I do know that Athana still sells hard sectored media. If I'm remembering correctly when I called about getting that media for an H-89, they run about $40/box of 10.

g.

bugman2112
September 2nd, 2008, 03:08 PM
I have received a NDOS boot disk and am up and running. Once I had a boot disk, I was easily able to send over via serial connection Dave Dunfield's disk utiliy which allows for transfering disk images. I now have a full compliment of ndos disks, as well as, CP/M.

I did run into some trouble when transfering other CP/M files which were not in ndos disk image format. Even with Dave's utilites, you can only import/export text files it seems. I discovered a work around. I was able to use KERMIT transfer programs on the northstar and a PC to transfer those files. Now I can use anything CP/M on the northstar.

Athana does still have hard sectored disks. They quoted me only $30 per box. However, I have tried punching a few of my own using a 1/8th inch hole puncher. They seem to work great. It does take 10 minutes per disk, but I can live with that considering I have 500+ disks laying around and don't want to pay premium prices for hard sectored disks. And it's not like I need a hundred of them!