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View Full Version : Working stock REV 0 Altair 8800 spotted on ebay



TJ_Mossman
January 24th, 2015, 10:47 PM
Not mine, and well above my price range :p

www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-MITS-Altair-8800-REV0-Vintage-Microcomputer-EXCELLENT-WORKING-Condition-/271745573626

leiy
January 25th, 2015, 01:14 AM
The price seems insane right now.

Corey986
January 25th, 2015, 02:30 AM
Actually, we don't know how "working" it is... especially for a single motherboard system with no IO. Trust me, it can look like it runs, but until you can load Microsoft basic over a serial port it ain't working. Now this one on eBay is in great condition cosmetically I think because it's only a 256 byte system, so you can't do much with it so I'm sure after the novelty of getting it running it was never used or it never worked right. Tends to be the case with non-restored machines, they are cosmetically perfect because they never ran.

As for price, this is actually low, not insane. Breker sold one similar over a year ago for 15k. We haven't seen a complete verified working early Altair in good condition setup with original motherboard(s) that can run basic sell publicly for years. The ones I have seen are either "A" or "B" models or have had the motherboards upgraded to single piece or something like that. The MARCH unit that we use to demo basic at the shows is like that. It's a very very early Rev-0 Altair, but the motherboard has been upgraded to a single piece PT board and the power supply has been upgraded. Very common at the time, which is why original is so rare.

So the winner of the auction got a great deal, but may have to do some work to get it functional. I'd pull, but keep the 256 byte card, find two early 4k MITS Ram cards and a SIO serial card, hook it up to an ASR-33 and load basic to prove it works completely. If not I'd get it to work. Then you can prove it really works and not just lights up blink lights. You can deposit memory and read it on a partially working system, so I never use that as a gauge that it works.

Original motherboard setups are rare and fragile.

Cheers,
Corey

leiy
January 25th, 2015, 02:38 AM
Actually, we don't know how "working" it is... especially for a single motherboard system with no IO. Trust me, it can look like it runs, but until you can load Microsoft basic over a serial port it ain't working. Now this one on eBay is in great condition cosmetically I think because it's only a 256 byte system, so you can't do much with it so I'm sure after the novelty of getting it running it was never used or it never worked right. Tends to be the case with non-restored machines, they are cosmetically perfect because they never ran.

As for price, this is actually low, not insane. Breker sold one similar over a year ago for 15k. We haven't seen a complete verified working early Altair in good condition setup with original motherboard(s) that can run basic sell publicly for years. The ones I have seen are either "A" or "B" models or have had the motherboards upgraded to single piece or something like that. The MARCH unit that we use to demo basic at the shows is like that. It's a very very early Rev-0 Altair, but the motherboard has been upgraded to a single piece PT board and the power supply has been upgraded. Very common at the time, which is why original is so rare.

So the winner of the auction got a great deal, but may have to do some work to get it functional. I'd pull, but keep the 256 byte card, find two early 4k MITS Ram cards and a SIO serial card, hook it up to an ASR-33 and load basic to prove it works completely. If not I'd get it to work. Then you can prove it really works and not just lights up blink lights. You can deposit memory and read it on a partially working system, so I never use that as a gauge that it works.

Original motherboard setups are rare and fragile.

Cheers,
Corey


Thanks for explanations.

But I really doubt this machine can run a lot of board with stock C8080 without "A", but it is no matter for a Vintage computer, it just rectify the computer was in early stage.

Tor
January 25th, 2015, 03:26 AM
Well, I don't know how others reason, but a replica from Grant Stockly would be of vastly more value to me. Same system, but improved where it matters. I would chose one of those over an "original" every time, unless the latter was very cheap. Unfortunately I couldn't afford to buy a kit the last time I had the chance, the dollar exchange rate took a large jump in the wrong direction at the same time, (as is happening now), so I'm without. Won't buy one of the "originals" in any case. Or I'll just stick to the altairclone, although it doesn't have the 'real' bus.

Marty
January 25th, 2015, 04:02 AM
Hi All;
I would disagree with Cory, Now Maybe the price has changed significantly since I got mine.. I don't Remember what I paid for mine, But I would say it was about half to two-thirds of this price..
Now my Altair had Memory, I forgot how much and Serial I/O and the Disk Controller Cards, as well as two 8" Altair Hard Sector Diskette Drives..
And Tor, Yes, If You can find One, The Grant reproductions are Great Machines, I have had two of them, I had to sell them and my other Altair a few Years ago..
I have put the Type of switching Power supplies that Grant used in my Altair, so I can keep Running it, and Not burn something up.. Of Course, I have kept the Origional Altair Power Supply in it, it's just not connected to power..
And I had to sell its origional Processor Board when I sold my other Altair, So now I have Grant's origional Processor Board, Before He did the Silk screen on His Official release boards.. And so it looks like an origional Altair processor Board..

22435

THANK YOU Marty

Corey986
January 25th, 2015, 05:51 AM
Marty,

Yes they have increased incredibly in value of the past few years. Everything from the 70's and early 80's in the hobby has, especially Altair, Sol-20, Apple and stuff like that. How long ago did you get your Altairs? Three years ago I could have bough an Apple II plus with just about every needed accessory for $50. Now I'll pay 200-300 or more for the same thing. There are a lot of new people into the hobby and many are coming with larger wallets and they want original manufacturer stuff. So frankenmachines aren't worth much but working original stuff is taking off at an incredible pace.

Cheers,
Corey

Marty
January 25th, 2015, 06:09 AM
Hi All;
Corey, OK, Thank You..
"" So frankenmachines aren't worth much but working original stuff is taking off at an incredible pace. ""
I guess, I shouldn't be suprised..

THANK YOU Marty

snuci
January 25th, 2015, 08:32 AM
Well that didn't turn out like I thought it would. $10,000? Wow. If you look at the bid history, it looks like the winner was going to take it home no matter what the price.

leiy
January 25th, 2015, 08:39 AM
Well that didn't turn out like I thought it would. $10,000? Wow. If you look at the bid history, it looks like the winner was going to take it home no matter what the price.

I finally put the price to 10000, but I'm not win this bid, what a pity!

The winner just input the 10000 tag before me, so he wins the bid.

10000 USD is the maximum price I will accept for the factory assembled Altair 8800.

This Altair 8800 is exceed the price of Intel Intellec 4 with gray traced 4004 last year (8,000 USD ebay).

Corey986
January 25th, 2015, 09:24 AM
BTW, I just realized you meant 8080 vs 8080a. No functional difference between those chips. The 8080a could just drive a full TTL load not just low power devices.

I was referring to most Altair we see are Model "A" or "B" not the early Rev 0 one like this one that just sold. The A and B fix most of the weak points in the Altair but aren't as collectable.

Cheers,
Corey

leiy
January 25th, 2015, 09:48 AM
Thanks for clarify the difference between 8080 & 8080A.

If there have a factory assembled rev 0 Altair 8800 in future I will buy one for sure.

Although I have a rev 0 Altair 8800 "K" already.

Corey986
January 25th, 2015, 10:17 AM
Not much difference between an A or a K if your kit was assembled by someone with a clue. The lack of solder mask meant these systems were hand soldered anyway and who knows if the skill of someone at MITS was better than someone in the field. As for collectibility, it's nice to have one of each, but I wouldn't go out of my way to choose one over the other. My rev-0 Altair was originally built by someone with a clue, all the wirelooms were laced using real wide waxed lacing, when I rewired it with NOS wire (the original wires were brittle) I made sure to reproduce his work. I have seen some home assembly ones though that are pretty basketcase using ribbon wires and soldered on IC sockets to the CPU card connector. Pretty ugly and not great soldering jobs also.

So you never know.

22439

Just a side note. Yes my fan is a quiet fan, I have the stock jet engine sounding one, but that's the only non MITS stock change on mine after the restoration. If you haven't done that change I highly suggest it. Night and day.


Cheers,
Corey

Marty
January 25th, 2015, 11:30 AM
Hi All;
Corey, I would Suggest that You get a Pair of Switcher Power Supplies, and put them in the Back (side) of Your machine, where You do not have any BackPlanes, to save Your Boards and a smoother Running Voltages.. Your Boards will run cooler and with a lot less ripple.. For show You could then just hook up the Origional Power supplies, but for Home the Switchers would be better..

THANK YOU Marty

Corey986
January 25th, 2015, 12:47 PM
I've thought about having switchers as a supply and just swapping them if needed. The problem is I use a clear plexiglass cover on my Altair so you can see in. If I ever put my metal cover back on I might.

I have recapped my supply with matching caps so don't really have any ripple. My original caps were bulged. When I did a restoration on mine it was a ground up restoration electronically including a complete rewire with NOS wire.

Luckily my system was just like the one that just sold. It had only two s100 connectors for a single memory board and cpu and so was cosmetically good because it was never really used. I got correct MITS s100 connectors with the correct date and another motherboard which I wired up. It's like brand new but it's real and not a Grant Stocky replica. It has been rock solid reliable.

Cheers,
Corey

billdeg
January 25th, 2015, 01:58 PM
Did you see? $10,000, SOLD!

I have felt that the real value of the orig 8800 is maybe $1750-3000 depending on the cond. / what it comes with. Was there something about this one that is so wonderful to justify this price? I could believe maybe $2700, but that he got is not believable. Something is not right here.

6 different people bid over $2500. This is well above average...but this is going to shake a few more free from collectors who want to cash in. Watch ebay for a few more people to try to get these kinds of prices. If *those* also sell for more than $5000, then we have a true price increase and not just a fluke.



b

TJ_Mossman
January 25th, 2015, 02:26 PM
Did you see? $10,000, SOLD!

I have felt that the real value of the orig 8800 is maybe $1750-3000 depending on the cond. / what it comes with. Was there something about this one that is so wonderful to justify this price? I could believe maybe $2700, but that he got is not believable. Something is not right here.

6 different people bid over $2500. This is well above average...but this is going to shake a few more free from collectors who want to cash in. Watch ebay for a few more people to try to get these kinds of prices. If *those* also sell for more than $5000, then we have a true price increase and not just a fluke.



b

I'd suspect that it's becuase this unit appears to be completely stock, still, I'm suprised it went over 5K.

Also, when was the last time was was sold as working? The best I've ever seen are ones claimed to "light up", with worn front panels and aftermarket cards.

Corey986
January 25th, 2015, 02:58 PM
"Stock" but stripped.... Not a loaded system. But in great shape. Not many early Altair still have the original motherboard (s) and a non-upgraded supply. Most have dings, scratched paint and worn front panels. There is a big difference between a condition ranking of 5 and a 9 out of 10 in collectibles. This one looked really good. Don't know when we will see another one like that come up for auction, though your right I'd like to see what happens if a few people try to cash in. Though I can tell you it's not the highest I have seen a good condition Rev 0 go for at Auction. This is just the highest I think on eBay.

tkc8800
January 25th, 2015, 04:45 PM
I've thought in recent years that an original rev.0 Altair, that was set up to run Basic, with original MITS boards was worth between $7-$10k. I think this one while ticking most of those boxes, cannot run Basic. A big drawback on price I would have thought. Still, the seller did well.

Marty
January 25th, 2015, 07:13 PM
Hi All;
Corey, How much Memory do You have ??
I see four Boards that I think are 1K's, but the one with Big Yellow Caps across the Top I can't tell what it is..
And I see one of each style of the Serial I/O Boards..
"" The problem is I use a clear plexiglass cover on my Altair so you can see in. If I ever put my metal cover back on I might. "" If you do Just make it look nice, then having a Clear cover won't matter..

THANK YOU Marty

chatin
January 25th, 2015, 10:45 PM
Hi All;
Corey, How much Memory do You have ??
I see four Boards that I think are 1K's, but the one with Big Yellow Caps across the Top I can't tell what it is..
And I see one of each style of the Serial I/O Boards..
"" The problem is I use a clear plexiglass cover on my Altair so you can see in. If I ever put my metal cover back on I might. "" If you do Just make it look nice, then having a Clear cover won't matter..

THANK YOU Marty

I purchased this Rev0 back in December. I added a new drop-in Z80 CPU card by SD sales. Works like a champ. The orginal builder of mine died many years back but did a fantastic job. I was waiting all year for a Rev0. There were none all year to speak of. January is the 40th Anniversary!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-MITS-Altair-8800-circa-1976-Fit-For-A-Museum-/301429541950?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2047675.l2557&nma=true&si=w4sicrZUTAndsu5aiMg4X3sNwr0%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

:p

Corey986
January 26th, 2015, 01:48 AM
Hi All;
Corey, How much Memory do You have ??
I see four Boards that I think are 1K's, but the one with Big Yellow Caps across the Top I can't tell what it is..
And I see one of each style of the Serial I/O Boards..
"" The problem is I use a clear plexiglass cover on my Altair so you can see in. If I ever put my metal cover back on I might. "" If you do Just make it look nice, then having a Clear cover won't matter..

THANK YOU Marty

I have four 4K MITS SRAM cards.
The rest of the cards in the system are a CPU card, SIO-A and single PIO. The card with all the caps is a MITS 2k PROM board with a couple of 1702A running a modified version of the Turnkey monitor for the SIO card and also a copy of MBL. I use the PROM card so I can load software off my paper tape drive quickly without risking scratching my front panel with toggling in the boot loader all the time. I have my system pretty much setup for late 75/early 76 so that it's very usable for demonstrations and well fun. I could quickly switch it back to early 75 by putting in my four 1k MITS RAM cards and pulling the ROM card. My system is all MITS except for the upgraded fan which my wife made me put in because of the noise. It was a great recommendation from a friend and is a simple bolt-in and plugin, nothing permanent.

I also have another spare Rev-0 motherboard with 2 "slots" and a cassette card set I'v been debating adding, but I use paper tape so it's really not that necessary. If I did wire up the extra motherboard I think it would be very close to marginal for the original power supply so right now it's a spare. I don't use the PIO since I got an ADM which allows serial chaining (before then I ran my papertape on parallel), so I have thought about removing the PIO, but I still am torn on that.

Another side effect of the plexi cover is that if you do the Steve Dompier music thing it works much better than if the metal cover is on. I've tried it both ways.

Cheers,
Corey

snuci
January 26th, 2015, 04:02 AM
I purchased this Rev0 back in December. I added a new drop-in Z80 CPU card by SD sales. Works like a champ. The orginal builder of mine died many years back but did a fantastic job. I was waiting all year for a Rev0. There were none all year to speak of. January is the 40th Anniversary!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-MITS-Altair-8800-circa-1976-Fit-For-A-Museum-/301429541950?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2047675.l2557&nma=true&si=w4sicrZUTAndsu5aiMg4X3sNwr0%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

:p

Actually, there was one three days before yours went up for sale. I had also been looking for a long time and jumped on one within minutes of it being listed. I made a best offer and wrapped it up in two hours so you probably never saw it. You can see it here: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/321610615511

Contrary to the bad phone camera pictures and the dirt, it is in immaculate condition and looks brand new without a scratch on it. The front face-plate looks unused. I repositioned the motherboard and the wires and found the mystery card inside to be a Mits single PIO card. I knew when I made the offer on it that it had no memory or CPU card but it was a decent price.

I also was fortunate enough to find and win this Rev 0 CPU card a few days ago http://www.ebay.com/itm/171643855142 I will remove the ZIF socket and try to find period ICs for the missing chip and the chips that have been replaced. I would also like to find the round green ceramic disc caps, if possible, because I've only ever seen those on Rev 0 cards. The ones on it are probably fine but the aesthetics is off to me.

Now I'm waiting to find some original Mits memory cards to complete it. I do have two Processor Technology 4KRA cards for it while I search.

I do love hearing about auctions I was watching and where they went so thanks for posting, chatin.

leiy
January 26th, 2015, 05:26 AM
Actually, there was one three days before yours went up for sale. I had also been looking for a long time and jumped on one within minutes of it being listed. I made a best offer and wrapped it up in two hours so you probably never saw it. You can see it here: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/321610615511

Contrary to the bad phone camera pictures and the dirt, it is in immaculate condition and looks brand new without a scratch on it. The front face-plate looks unused. I repositioned the motherboard and the wires and found the mystery card inside to be a Mits single PIO card. I knew when I made the offer on it that it had no memory or CPU card but it was a decent price.

I also was fortunate enough to find and win this Rev 0 CPU card a few days ago http://www.ebay.com/itm/171643855142 I will remove the ZIF socket and try to find period ICs for the missing chip and the chips that have been replaced. I would also like to find the round green ceramic disc caps, if possible, because I've only ever seen those on Rev 0 cards. The ones on it are probably fine but the aesthetics is off to me.

Now I'm waiting to find some original Mits memory cards to complete it. I do have two Processor Technology 4KRA cards for it while I search.

I do love hearing about auctions I was watching and where they went so thanks for posting, chatin.

the missing 1975 IC maybe hard to find, but easy find newer one to replace.

here is the photo of this missing IC, you can take it for reference:

http://w305251.s101-45.myverydz.com/special_altair8800/misc/IMG_9339[1].jpg
The photo is from my REV 0 Altair 8800 CPU board.

Corey986
January 26th, 2015, 09:39 AM
Slight correction to my earlier post, I double checked my pre-restoration pics. I had four slots in my main motherboard. It was the second motherboard that I added that had 2 slots I had to put NOS MITS S100 connectors on, they were fun tracking down as I only wanted exactly what MITS would have provided. My system originally was wired up for an SIO-A card and PIO and had a 2k MITS ram card (4K card with 1/2 the chips). The SIO-A card was missing so I tracked down a Rev-0 one. My basic rule for any replacement card is to find a rev-0 version as if the owner of the system when new was into bleeding edge stuff and got the first version of a card that might make the system more useful.

Cheers,
Corey

Cheers,
Corey

Marty
January 26th, 2015, 10:30 AM
Hi All;
Corey, You might want to check the "top" soldering, as some of Your pins in Your Picture, look a little Bleak.. Like pins 1, 2, 5, 13, 14 and 16..

THANK YOU Marty

Corey986
January 26th, 2015, 11:15 AM
If your talking about the serial connectors, then yep they must have had some other wires at some point hooked up, but by the time I got the machine it was wired for the SIO-A and PIO. I could have sucked the solder out, but decided to leave it because I would have had to re-gold pate the connectors. I could have done that, I have the equipment, but decided to leave it. It also could have meant the connectors were recycled. I have seen that before. The harnesses were laced with military grade/telco wide wax based lacing which I'm guessing the builder "borrowed" from work as that was pretty expensive stuff back in the day. It wasn't easy or cheap tracking the same stuff down.

Cheers,
Corey

Marty
January 26th, 2015, 01:00 PM
Hi All;
My mistake, I thought the last picture was from Corey and instead it was from Leiy.. So the comment about re-soldering the top is meant for Leiy..

THANK YOU Marty

Corey986
January 26th, 2015, 02:16 PM
Now you have me self conscious about the extra solder on my DB25 connectors. Guess I'll bring the de soldering station and gold plating setup up to my office to clean things up. :D

Cheers,
Corey

snuci
January 26th, 2015, 02:20 PM
the missing 1975 IC maybe hard to find, but easy find newer one to replace.

here is the photo of this missing IC, you can take it for reference:

(image removed)

The photo is from my REV 0 Altair 8800 CPU board.

Thanks for the picture. That is very helpful.