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View Full Version : Northstar Horizon



Erik
November 9th, 2003, 08:00 AM
I picked up a Northstar Horizon a while back and, due to extenuating circumstances, had to leave it sit for too long. . .

Yesterday I hooked it up to the variac and slowly brought it back to live. If the previous owners estimates were correct it was the first time the machine had tasted electricity in well over a decade and a half.

There were no issues with any of the electronics and once the system had enough juice it fired up and tried to access the disk. Good news.

I pulled out the box of docs and software and set everything else up to try and fire it up as a system.

I hooked up the modified TV (in a wooden case, just like the Northstar) to the Processor Tech VDM-1 Video Board (one of the first ever video cards - 16 lines by 62 characters!) and then plugged in the Cherry parallel keyboard (also in a wooden box).

I picked one of the many boot disks and then fired up the machine.

The display flashed a bunch of garbage (it uses 2102 static RAMs for memory so that's to be expected) and then cleared and displayed the startup text for CP/M 2.23.

I didn't have too much time left but I tried a number of other disks. I was able to fire up Wordstar but not much else. The other boot disks might just not be set up properly for the VDM-1 and the system probably isn't configured right for a serial terminal.

A bit more playing and I should have it licked. Either way, the machine is pretty much 100% after all these years. I like it when I don't have to "restore" a machine!

I'll get some pictures and post them sometime soon.

Erik

Terry Yager
November 9th, 2003, 09:47 AM
KEWL! Good luck with your N*...

--T

Erik
November 9th, 2003, 11:27 AM
Thanks!

I'm most excited about the video card. I've never seen one for sale before and I've got a working one with docs. I might have some RAM issues with it, I think, based on some of the screwy displays but fortunately I have a number of 2102s lying around that I can use.

Erik

Terry Yager
November 9th, 2003, 05:04 PM
There is a newsgroup that actually gets posted to occaisionally. Try posting to comp.sys.northstar. A lot of people still read it.

--T

tachyon
November 15th, 2003, 12:07 AM
Cool. Glad you were able to get your N* to come up.

I've got two of the beasts that are in my project queue.

If you are looking for documentation, Howard Harte has several manuals available at http://www.imsai8080.com/computers/s100/northstar.html as well as a couple of machines available via telnet.

Tom

Erik
November 15th, 2003, 09:00 AM
There is a newsgroup that actually gets posted to occaisionally. Try posting to comp.sys.northstar. A lot of people still read it.

I subscribe to that group and it's VERY quiet. I may post something someday if I have a specific question. . . :)


If you are looking for documentation, Howard Harte has several manuals available at http://www.imsai8080.com/computers/s100/northstar.html as well as a couple of machines available via telnet.

I've been over to Howard's site a lot. He's got some very cool stuff and having old systems online for use is just awesome.

I don't think I'll need any documentation, though. I've got just about everything Northstar put on paper at this point. . .

Erik