PDA

View Full Version : Northstar Horizon, anyone have a boot disk?



atod
October 13th, 2010, 06:59 PM
Hi Folks,

I'm trying to bring up a Northstar Horizon. It looks like it has the MDS-AD3 (Double Density Soft Sectored?) controller, RAM card and CPU card. I'm not aware of this computer having a built in monitor ROM to check further.

Does anyone have or know of where to obtain a copy of the boot disk?

Thanks,
Nick

ahm
October 13th, 2010, 07:26 PM
Check Dave Dunfield's ImageDisk site (http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/).
There are a bunch of NorthStar images under "System / Install disks".
You probably want the one called "NorthStar CP/M bootable OS versions".

Dwight Elvey
October 14th, 2010, 06:23 AM
Hi
You should mention that the images can not be used
to create a disk on a PC ( unless one is setup with a
catweasle).
The disk are hard sectored. Dave has created a boot
strap method to get the images from a PC to the
N*. As I recall, it requires making a special EPROM
to do the transfer.
Still, it is the only game in town! Check out his information
and if needed, send him a note.
Dwight

atod
October 20th, 2010, 09:21 PM
Thanks! I just read Dave's write up. So where can I find DS hard sectored 5.25" disks?
I have all soft sectored ones, can they be punched?


Hi
You should mention that the images can not be used
to create a disk on a PC ( unless one is setup with a
catweasle).
The disk are hard sectored. Dave has created a boot
strap method to get the images from a PC to the
N*. As I recall, it requires making a special EPROM
to do the transfer.
Still, it is the only game in town! Check out his information
and if needed, send him a note.
Dwight

Chuck(G)
October 20th, 2010, 09:46 PM
You can punch them if you're careful. You can probably also buy them from Athana (http://www.athana.com/). At least they claim that they're sell them on special order.

There are also a few folks who've had moderate success using a uC to synthesize sector pulses using a 3.5" drive.

Dwight Elvey
October 21st, 2010, 07:22 AM
Hi
I've made a punch setu that works but it is not
the best. I took an old SA400 frame and removed
the guts.
I then mounted a small block on the arm and an
apposing one on the frame.
I line drilled these two with a 0.101 inch drill ( forget
the number ).
On the flywheel on the back side, I hot glued a small
gear with teeth on the right locations and used a
small center drill to make indents. I then removed the
gear.
thelocks have just enough spacing that the disk
will spin in the envelope without being pinched
by the blocks.
I put 11 holes in the flywheel.
I then took a badge pin and glued it to the frame.
I use this as the idexing pointer.
I use the shank of the drill as the punch.
I cut a V in the shank end with my dremel.
As I close the latch on the disk, I slide the
drill through the blocks and the disk.
Before had latching it in, I rotate the fly wheel
so that it is exactly pointing to my index mark.
( actually you could use any hole mark. )
I then punch each hole after carefully rotating
the flywheel to the next position.
You d know that the disk must be 360K type
and not 1.2M?
Dwight

Dwight Elvey
October 21st, 2010, 07:26 AM
Hi
I should note that I've made a mechanical drawing for
11 hole punch blocks. I'd sent a drawing to one of the
fellows on another forum that said he had a friend
that might machine a number of these up.
I've not heard back.
If someone has a NC machine that might want to
make these, I can send them the drawings.
Dwight

atod
October 21st, 2010, 09:40 AM
Wow, this sounds like alot of work to punch the hard sectored disks. I wonder if there is a form fitting soft sectored drive? The only think I wonder is if I change the controller card, will the Northstar CPU card (and monitor) still work...

Thanks for the responses

kyeakel
October 21st, 2010, 09:44 AM
I use Tandon TM100-2 drives in my Northstar Horizons, I have CPM booting from these. I haven't had luck with N*DOS booting from these though.

Kipp

MikeS
October 21st, 2010, 10:35 AM
I use Tandon TM100-2 drives in my Northstar Horizons, I have CPM booting from these. I haven't had luck with N*DOS booting from these though.
KippThe drives are not usually the problem, although some of the more intelligent ones may refuse to go ready because they interpret the extra holes as a speed error; it's the controller (and OS) and the disks themselves that make hard sectors an issue.

atod
October 21st, 2010, 11:09 PM
Athana wants $35/ea for 5.25" 10 hold hard sectored disks.

I don't think it's economical to use these drives...

Your jig sounds cool


Hi
I should note that I've made a mechanical drawing for
11 hole punch blocks. I'd sent a drawing to one of the
fellows on another forum that said he had a friend
that might machine a number of these up.
I've not heard back.
If someone has a NC machine that might want to
make these, I can send them the drawings.
Dwight

atod
October 21st, 2010, 11:15 PM
I use Tandon TM100-2 drives in my Northstar Horizons, I have CPM booting from these. I haven't had luck with N*DOS booting from these though.

Kipp

Any reasons for choosing the Tandon TM100-2? Is it form factor fit? I see a couple TM-100-2A on Ebay, but they are around $100/each.

atod
October 21st, 2010, 11:40 PM
I use Tandon TM100-2 drives in my Northstar Horizons, I have CPM booting from these. I haven't had luck with N*DOS booting from these though.

Kipp

I took a look around. It looks like the Shugart 400L are more readily available and cheaper. Only downside is the drive is much slower compare to the TM100-2...

What disk controller are you using?

kyeakel
October 22nd, 2010, 05:32 AM
The Tandons are form factor fit and run from the same controller. The tandon drives are the same as in the IBM PC, full height. They can be found much cheaper than $100 each, you just have to be patient. The Horizons used the Shugart SA-400 when new. I think my controller is the MDS-A, I can check when I get home. Most of the disk drive issues I had were related to improper jumpering on the drives. The other issues were related to oxidization of the s-100 connectors on the motherboard. Since this computer has no eprom boot, it's difficult to tell if anything is working. Only one of the terminal ports on the back is setup for communicating when booting. The manuals are pretty clear about this. See here for manuals: http://www.hartetechnologies.com/manuals/Northstar/

Ken Vaughn
November 1st, 2010, 04:30 PM
Athana wants $35/ea for 5.25" 10 hold hard sectored disks.


I did a double take when I read your post -- $35 each for 10 sector hard sectored disks is indeed a *very* high price.

I sent an email to Athana requesting pricing and was quoted $35 per box of ten -- or $3.50 each, not unreasonable given that these diskettes are not available from any other source that I know of. They list these as Model # 47-7510. Confirm this before ordering.

bugman2112
November 5th, 2010, 02:02 PM
I owned a Northstar not too long ago, but decided to sell it. I punched my own disks. I found a procedure somewhere on the web. I used one hard sectored disk as a template (carefully removed the inner, magnetic round disk). By attaching the new disk to the template with small pieces of tape at the center hub, I carefully marked the spots to punch with a sharpie. Then remove the template, rotate disk, and punch the holes. It worked every time. Time consuming, yes. But I found that I really didn't need that many disks for the software I used. Be sure to use a small (1/8 inch) punch though...

I was only able to get started through the generousity of someone supplying me with a northstar boot disk. I asked on the Northstar forum, someone helped me. Then using Daves Transfer program everything was easy...

Dwight Elvey
November 5th, 2010, 04:44 PM
Hi
We are taking a list of those that would like to purchase
a punch assembly to do the punching. We are hoping to
keep the pricing at about $35 + P/H.
We are expecting to do some 10 hole and some 16 hole
punches.
Let me know if your interested. These should be easier to
use than any of the other methods I've seen.
Dwight

Dwight Elvey
November 5th, 2010, 04:46 PM
I owned a Northstar not too long ago, but decided to sell it. I punched my own disks. I found a procedure somewhere on the web. I used one hard sectored disk as a template (carefully removed the inner, magnetic round disk). By attaching the new disk to the template with small pieces of tape at the center hub, I carefully marked the spots to punch with a sharpie. Then remove the template, rotate disk, and punch the holes. It worked every time. Time consuming, yes. But I found that I really didn't need that many disks for the software I used. Be sure to use a small (1/8 inch) punch though...

I was only able to get started through the generousity of someone supplying me with a northstar boot disk. I asked on the Northstar forum, someone helped me. Then using Daves Transfer program everything was easy...

Hi
Just curious what you used for the punch?
You were lucky. I've had failures because of a few thousandths using my previous
punch.
Dwight

bugman2112
November 5th, 2010, 08:08 PM
Hi
Just curious what you used for the punch?
You were lucky. I've had failures because of a few thousandths using my previous
punch.
Dwight

I used a standard, hand held single punch type of device. But I did have to order through the internet from a fabric site in order to get the smaller hole size (I think it was 1/8 of an inch). I formatted and used the disks after punching. I never ran into a problem. But, I needed less than 20 for my needs so I may have had a false sense of reliablity with the low numbers. For my purposes, it worked well. The drives I used were tandon.

Dwight Elvey
November 5th, 2010, 10:40 PM
Hi
When I was doing them one at a time, similar to what you were
doing, I found that the H89 was most sensitive to the spacing, of
the two machine I was using at the time. The other was a
Polymorphic 8813.
I think it is more an issue of the firmware as to how accurate
it needs to be. The actual hole size is suppose to be 0.10
inch but I suppose .125 is within the tolerances that most
firmware would except. The spacing seems to be the most
critical.
Anyway, after building the one hole at a time I began thinking
of a more accurate way of doing it. That is the design we
are working on now.
Dwight

atod
December 10th, 2010, 12:08 AM
Thanks Ken. Your right, $35 does sound high

Dwight Elvey
December 10th, 2010, 09:52 AM
Hi
As many of you already know, we are in the process of having some
10 hole punches made. I expect results any time in the next couple weeks.
We made a few extras so if you haven't requested one and want one,
I can take a few more orders.
A prototype has been made and the punching has been confirmed to work
well. It is designed such that one can punch the holes without removing the
disk from the envelope. It is intended to be manual but a clever person could
make it an automatic punch with additional hardware ( way over kill ).
This is way better than the punch I made. I had to visually align each
hole. This new punch it so much better.
The cost will be $35 plus the current postal rate. In the US, that is $4.95
currently.
You'll need your own supply of 360K disk.
Dwight