View Full Version : New unbuilt Big Board

Tom Boctou
September 13th, 2012, 05:03 AM
Hi All, first post here...

Sometime in the 80's, when the Big Board II kit had dropped to $99, a friend of mine bought one, but never built it.
Probably a decade on, he cleaned his leftover junk out of his parent's basement and passed the kit on to me.
For some reason I held onto it, in a box with an SA-801, a ZX-81 and other similar treasures.

Well, there it sits to this day.
A friend of a friend recently came to me with some 8" floppies that he wants to get some stuff off of. I figured I could find a working CP/M system for scrap prices, but it turns out that people collect this stuff (who knew?) and they're not cheap.
So I thought of the Big Board, and figured it might finally be time to build the kit.

Are there many of these things around still unbuilt? Is there any extra value to it for being unbuilt?

Thanks to anyone who can educate me about the state of the art in vintage computers...

September 13th, 2012, 06:00 AM
Not having one ( :( ) , I don't know the current value, but usually any time you stick something up on eBay with the word vintage cp/m unbuilt kit, it seems it goes for a pretty good amount. Certainly more unbuilt than built.
Are you thinking of building it ?

September 13th, 2012, 07:51 AM
In general an unbuilt kit system is usually worth more than a built system. The only difference is proving that the parts are there and the unknown of if it's built will it work vs a turned on and tested system. What amount though, who knows. I'm not overly familiar with them or the pricing. You could try googling around to see if any sold for x amount. Could be a toss up though. You might find a cheap s-100 system that isn't overly popular for $200 or so but I'm not completely sure the board would fetch you more. Still, yes it's collectible and very neat. Unbuilt stuff is really hard to come by :-)

Tom Boctou
September 14th, 2012, 04:21 AM
I've held onto a couple of old computers over the years - the Big Board kit, a ZX81, an original pre-XT PC motherboard, and let some others get away - Imsai, GT40, KIM, KS20, etc.

I'd always said that some day people would be collecting this stuff and restoring it, looking for a proper Synertek 6502 with the right date code, but I was just joking, I didn't actually believe it.

I haven't been paying attention for the last 10 years or so, until I needed to read the 8" floppies, and when I looked into what it would cost to get an S-100 box I was surprise to find out that I had been right - last time I paid attention to them you couldn't get $50 for a complete running system.

I hate to build the big board kit, it's not like they're making any more of those (or are they?), I only thought of it because I wanted to read the floppies.

So it looks like I can get a Xerox 820 motherboard pretty cheap, and if I remember correctly then it's a Big Board made under license. Anyone know if there's any tricks to it? An SA-801 should plug right in, right? The keyboard is a simple matrix that should be easy to kludge, right?

September 17th, 2012, 01:25 PM
HI, Tom,
Do you have a unpopulated Printed Circuit Board of The Ferguson Bigboard II ? Really is it? I'm interested if you'll wish to sell it a day.
For now, i'd be so happy if you can do a photocopiy natural size of it component side and solder side.
I have a Bigboard I alive closer to me here. And i can read and write any kind of floppy (of course in Single density cause its floppy disk controller is a WD1771) like 8", 5,25" and of course 3,5". Here you can see http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fvintagesbc.altervista.org%2F%3Fpage _id%3D242%26gt even in english language.
Of course you need also to build a ps2 to parallel interface to use a modern keyboard talking with a so far board.
If the necessity is just to read or write 8" floppy you can build an adapter that works very fine http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img54306/cnct.htm
But to make those things we have to know what we expect making adjustments. A bit of experience is needed.
Let me know what kind of documentation you need or better what kind of steps of info you need, cause it's hard to do anything searching on a tons of documentation if we not have a bit of experience.


October 1st, 2012, 12:36 PM
Hi at all, is there anybody who could help me to enter in contact with "Tom Boctou" (Junior Member)

October 1st, 2012, 12:38 PM
I take it you've already sent him a PM ?

October 2nd, 2012, 08:53 AM
I done this, but he will receive my message ONLY when he will connect at the VFC again, not before.

November 20th, 2012, 01:02 PM
Any news?