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Jay Craswell
July 26th, 2009, 01:45 PM
I have only one pre Altair Computer in my collection. Its an MCS Intellec8 I think this is an "improved" one that features the NEW 8080 chip rather then the 8008 chip that came standard with this box when it was first released. Does anyone remember this?

Thanks - Jay

Chuck(G)
July 26th, 2009, 02:08 PM
That was the model of the Intellec 8 just before the MDS-800, right? Lots more blinkenlights and buttons than the MDS and an EPROM ZIF socket on the front? ISTR that you could get versions of the 8 with 4004, 8008 and 8080 CPUs.

Jay Craswell
July 26th, 2009, 02:18 PM
The manual says its a MCS-8 "Microcomputer set" it was used to help develop code and ideas for the CPT 8000 series of computers. I was lusting for an Altair before I went to work for CPT so when this was about to be "Pitched" into the dumpster I grabbed it.

Yes, an EPROM socket is on the front for what were they? 1701? Some ANCIENT Eprom from the old old days....

Marty
July 26th, 2009, 02:29 PM
Hi;
Do you have any Schematics for this beast ????
The Eprom most likely is the old (i think) 1702 , intel made some various flavors of this , depending if it was an eprom or a prom equiv.
THANK YOU Marty

dave_m
July 26th, 2009, 02:47 PM
That was the model of the Intellec 8 just before the MDS-800, right? Lots more blinkenlights and buttons than the MDS and an EPROM ZIF socket on the front? ISTR that you could get versions of the 8 with 4004, 8008 and 8080 CPUs.

I remember using an Intel Intellec system of some kind. It may have been the MDS-800. I used it to develop code for the 8748 single chip proccessor. There was an 8" diskette drive for saving data files. The operating system was called ISIS, and as I recall there was a 40 pin zif socket where one would program the 1K EPROM in the 8748.

Chuck(G)
July 26th, 2009, 03:03 PM
I remember using an Intel Intellec system of some kind. It may have been the MDS-800. I used it to develop code for the 8748 single chip proccessor. There was an 8" diskette drive for saving data files. The operating system was called ISIS, and as I recall there was a 40 pin zif socket where one would program the 1K EPROM in the 8748.

On the MDS-800, the EPROM programmer was a separate box--at least ours was. You got the feeling from the rather bare front panel of the MDS-800 that it had been planned with more lights and switches than were there. On the Intellec 8, I think the socket was indeed for a 1702 EPROM.

The MDS-800 schematics are here. (http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/intel/MDS/980147A_intellecMDS_schematic.pdf)

dave_m
July 26th, 2009, 04:34 PM
On the MDS-800, the EPROM programmer was a separate box--at least ours was. You got the feeling from the rather bare front panel of the MDS-800 that it had been planned with more lights and switches than were there. On the Intellec 8, I think the socket was indeed for a 1702 EPROM.

The MDS-800 schematics are here. (http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/intel/MDS/980147A_intellecMDS_schematic.pdf)

Great documents. From looking at the front panel drawing, I think this is what I used. We also had an 8048 In-circuit Emulator (ICE) function. Would this have been in the MDS-800 box or was it perhaps packaged with the PROM Programmer? I only used the system once for a small project circa 1980 and it did the job well.

Chuck(G)
July 26th, 2009, 09:40 PM
Great documents. From looking at the front panel drawing, I think this is what I used. We also had an 8048 In-circuit Emulator (ICE) function. Would this have been in the MDS-800 box or was it perhaps packaged with the PROM Programmer? I only used the system once for a small project circa 1980 and it did the job well.

We used the ICE-85 (8085) setup, which was a different set of boards and pod from the EPROM programmer. The last thing that I used the MDS for was cross-assembling 8086 code that I'd translated using Intel's converter from 808x assembly. It was a very slow process--the converter was glacial in speed.

In retrospect, I think the MDS-800 was a great system--built like a battleship, lots of card slots and Multibus. Sort of the industrial version of the hobbyist's S-100 system.

The 800 was an expensive system for software development, so we built our own second system using a Multibus card cage (5 slots?) and floppy drives and PSU. It ran ISIS-II just as well as the 800 did. (We used those awful Hazeltine 1400 terminals).

Dwight Elvey
July 27th, 2009, 05:53 AM
Hi
The best terminals to use were the BeeHive terminals.
The Intelect8 came with either the 8008 or the 8080.
The Mod4 was a different machine, in a similar looking
box.
I have a MSD800 that I've been planning to get running
but just haven't found the time to dig into. As Chuck
says, they were built like tanks.
The 1701, 1702, 1601 and 1602 all came out at the same
time. The were combinations of O.C. and Sync/Async
bus. The 1702, later the 1702A was the most popular.
I've always considered the EPROM as one of the most
important steps in amateur computing, even more than
the uP it self. The uP was just an evelutionary step but
the EPROM was a quantum step.
Dwight

Chuck(G)
July 27th, 2009, 08:38 AM
Dwight, since you've got one, can an 800 use 16-bit Multibus cards or is it too early? This has been one of those unsolved questions that I've wondered about.

As for terminals, the Hazeltines were what Electro Rents was flogging. By far the best terminal I've ever seen was produced by one of the Scandinavian firms (Norway? Sweden?). A glorious thing with contrast-controlled keytops, a display on an articulated arm; human-engineered to a fare-thee-well. I also seem to remember that it cost a small fortune.

After 1980, we OEM-ed rebadged Beehive VT100 clones but with our own firmware. But I still remember my Beehive Super Bee terminal very fondly, quirks and all.

dave_m
July 27th, 2009, 09:24 AM
I've always considered the EPROM as one of the most important steps in amateur computing, even more than
the uP it self. The uP was just an evelutionary step but the EPROM was a quantum step.
Dwight
Dwight, Are you saying that when EPROMs came out, it allowed hobbyists to try their hand at design since their mistakes could be erased and development would not cost them a fortune in PROM chips?
-Dave

Jay Craswell
July 27th, 2009, 09:58 AM
I don't know the answer on schematics. I ought to scan the manual I have in and post it someplace but time to do that task.... And how many people have one of these? I remember it cost a small fortune when new.

Multibus came out quite a bit later. But I have to be honest its been.... decades since I even looked at this machine. Its been sitting on top of my desk for a long time. It looks much like an Altair except its all rocker switches rather then toggles. And the LEDs are behind a plastic screen.

BTW for what its worth We used the two slot Multibus for our Phoenix Multirprocessor. The main difference is we built our cards to be twice as high so they were quite large. The CPU was a true multiprocessor using a 8086 and a 8085. We had our own system as well as M/PM 86 MSDOS, CPM86 and 80 it was a pretty amazing box.

The thing that I thought was neat was if for some reason the current CPU went out of "fashion" you just pulled out the old one and plugged in whatever was the next big thing. We had one box running a 68K family cpu that was used to compile code for example.

Dwight Elvey
July 27th, 2009, 08:48 PM
Dwight, Are you saying that when EPROMs came out, it allowed hobbyists to try their hand at design since their mistakes could be erased and development would not cost them a fortune in PROM chips?
-Dave

Hi Dave
Yes, that is it. One could blow bipolar PROMs but at that time they
didn't have the density that the 2708 or 2716s provided at a lower cost.
Mistakes could be erased and tried again. Boards like the various disk
controllers that needed firmware were practical.
Instead of buying a $15K development machine ( that is what a useful
MDS800 would have cost ), one can get by with a simple S-100 box
and a simple programmer( 2708s were a little harder than the 2716s but
doing 1702s is quite complicated ).
I doubt things would have been anywhere near as far along if the
EPROM had not shown up when it did.
Dwight

Dwight Elvey
July 27th, 2009, 08:57 PM
Dwight, since you've got one, can an 800 use 16-bit Multibus cards or is it too early? This has been one of those unsolved questions that I've wondered about.

Hi
I know we plugged a 8086 board into the MDS800 at work but seem to recall
that it used the side bus to connect to 16 bit memory. As I recall, we still
had a 8080 to boot and deal with disk while the 8086 ran its own code.
I think that was more a limitation of the fact that were did all the file
I/O in ISIS II, that was 8080/85 code.
One could put several processors in the MDS800 because each board
that controlled the bus also had a bus arbitrator chip on it.
This was part of why it was more complex than the simpler S100 bus.
Dwight

Jay Craswell
May 20th, 2010, 05:52 AM
Its so long ago that I can't remember. I do remember thinking how much I liked the VME bus "connectors" versus card edged fingers. Anyhow, the second connector was (At that time I think?) mostly undocumented. I think we used it for extra data bits but wasn't it 16 bits on the main card edge?

We also had (one) dual 8085 CPU. That was a bit easier to multiprocess then 8085/86.


Hi
I know we plugged a 8086 board into the MDS800 at work but seem to recall
that it used the side bus to connect to 16 bit memory. As I recall, we still
had a 8080 to boot and deal with disk while the 8086 ran its own code.
I think that was more a limitation of the fact that were did all the file
I/O in ISIS II, that was 8080/85 code.
One could put several processors in the MDS800 because each board
that controlled the bus also had a bus arbitrator chip on it.
This was part of why it was more complex than the simpler S100 bus.
Dwight

wmmullaney
May 20th, 2010, 06:25 AM
do these resemble your cards?
http://picasaweb.google.com/wmmullaney/IntellecMCS8Cards#

How much do you think the bare Intellec cards are worth today?

Dwight Elvey
May 20th, 2010, 08:35 AM
Its so long ago that I can't remember. I do remember thinking how much I liked the VME bus "connectors" versus card edged fingers. Anyhow, the second connector was (At that time I think?) mostly undocumented. I think we used it for extra data bits but wasn't it 16 bits on the main card edge?

We also had (one) dual 8085 CPU. That was a bit easier to multiprocess then 8085/86.

Hi
Yes, I think you are right. The main bus could support 16 bits and the side connector was used
to interconnect boards that took two boards to do one function.
Dwight

Dwight Elvey
May 20th, 2010, 08:41 AM
do these resemble your cards?
http://picasaweb.google.com/wmmullaney/IntellecMCS8Cards#

How much do you think the bare Intellec cards are worth today?

Hi
These are the ones used. The boards were also sold separately. as well as
being used in the Intellec-8.
It looks like you have enough cards to actually make a system if you had
a back plane.
If you had the entire system they'd have more value. As just the boards,
I don't expect they'd get more than $50-$100. You might actually get
more as the group. If you had one of the 8008 boards it would have
more value.
Dwight

wmmullaney
May 20th, 2010, 01:42 PM
I guess I should take some pics of the other stuff. I do have a hand wired backplane, no idea how to power it up (and dont want to destroy the cards). I also have a hand wrapped card with close to 80 chips on it. All I can figure is it's a ram expansion, but it only has 9x1kb chips on it..

Also in the box are 3 44 pin cards(apple 1 style), 1 handmade serial card, another uncompleted hand-made, and one that I can't figure out what it is. Could these possibly be from the Intellec4?

Dwight Elvey
May 21st, 2010, 09:27 AM
I guess I should take some pics of the other stuff. I do have a hand wired backplane, no idea how to power it up (and dont want to destroy the cards). I also have a hand wrapped card with close to 80 chips on it. All I can figure is it's a ram expansion, but it only has 9x1kb chips on it..

Also in the box are 3 44 pin cards(apple 1 style), 1 handmade serial card, another uncompleted hand-made, and one that I can't figure out what it is. Could these possibly be from the Intellec4?

Hi
These are not likely Intellect4. I believe these had the same sized connector as the Intellect 8 boards.
44 pin was just a handy size for some custom boards. Many prototype board sold with 44 pin connectors.
Dwight