View Full Version : Exidy Sorcerer S-100 card?

February 11th, 2015, 03:54 AM
I recently purchased an Exidy Sorcerer II and in the lot were two unpopulated cards made by Exidy. I will post pics later but this morning, I was trying to find some information about the one that looks like an S-100 card. I checked over a few sessions in the past couple of weeks but could not find anything other than details about te Exidy S-100 expansion unit. Then I happened on this part of the Exidy Sorcerer manual:

Exidy I/O Expansion Kit (not needed with the Exidy S-100 Expansion Unit)
The I/O Expansion Kit contains an S-100 interface card and a cable
which attaches the card to the Sorcerer's 50-pin edge connector. The
interface card has the same bus controllers and buffers as the Exidy
S-100 Expansion Unit; it fits into any other S-100 mother board and
allows the Sorcerer to control the bus.

Further searches produces no results that I could find on what the Exidy I/O expansion kit looks like but I'd love to see if someone has such a card even though I know Sorcerer's are not too plentiful. I'm sure this card is even more rare and the build manual would be even rarer so I'm hoping to find a needle in a haystack.

Does anyone happen to have one of these kits or heard of them?

February 11th, 2015, 06:13 AM
If you don't find a schematic or documentation, it would be an interesting puzzle to deduce the components necessary by the interconnections on the board and the definition of the S100 and Exidy bus. I like puzzles.

February 11th, 2015, 07:19 AM
I like puzzles too :) I will definitely take hi-res pictures and post them. I don't recall any labeling (like components) on the boards other than an Exidy logo on them but I'll double check. I also have four boxes of documentation (one box shown in my Vector 1++ thread) and there was some Exidy documentation in there but at least now I know what I'm looking for if this is, in fact, a Sorcerer to S-100 bridgeboard.

February 11th, 2015, 04:00 PM
Well, I started putting 2 + 2 together. Have a look at this blog post: http://vintagecomputer.ca/the-exidy-sorcerer-mystery/

February 11th, 2015, 08:37 PM
A suggestion- don't just take hi-res photos, put the board on a scanner too. That way you get a good square image without perspective aberration that a camera might introduce.

February 12th, 2015, 05:39 PM
Good idea guys. I'll have it scanned today or tomorrow. JDallas, you may want to look at the S-100 Expansion chassis schematic. I would guess it's similar, if not pretty close. The only thing missing on this card would be the power and S-100 slots.

February 13th, 2015, 04:11 AM
Front and rear scans of the Exidy S-100 I./O card added to the bottom of the blog post http://vintagecomputer.ca/the-exidy-sorcerer-mystery/

Good luck!

February 13th, 2015, 06:01 AM
Both the expansion bus and the S100 card have the identical count of ICs with the same pin count; ten 14p, one 16p, and eleven 20p. That suggests strongly that its the same design pushed to a S100 card instead. I'll confirm this more closely later.

The Richardson Tx location listed on websites as the final location of Exidy when it closed in 1982 *may* be Dynasty Computer Corp. that licensed and took over the sale of the Exidy Sorcerer, including rebranding it under their own product name. Apparently Exidy didn't stay in the home computer market and refocused on arcade games.

From Wiki:
Exidy licensed the Sorcerer computer and its software to a Texas-based start-up called Dynasty Computer Corporation in 1979. It was relabeled and sold by Dynasty as the Dynasty Smart-Alec.

February 13th, 2015, 08:31 AM
I believe Exidy stared in Sunnyvale, California but closed it's doors in Richardson, Texas. Is that a suburb of Dallas? It must have moved head offices at some point or there were two "Exidy" companies.

February 13th, 2015, 01:48 PM
Richardson is indeed a suburb of Dallas, about 25 miles due NE. According to Wikipedia:

"Exidy sold the rights to the design of the Exidy Sorcerer to Dynasty Computer Corp. of Dallas, Texas. They made minor updates and re-released it as the "Dynasty smart-ALEC".


March 16th, 2015, 04:27 AM
Both the expansion bus and the S100 card have the identical count of ICs with the same pin count; ten 14p, one 16p, and eleven 20p. That suggests strongly that its the same design pushed to a S100 card instead. I'll confirm this more closely later.

Just curious if you've had a chance to look at this. Believe it or not, I am purchasing another smaller S-100 unit from the original owner of this card and it may have a populated version of this card in it along with the rest of the "home made S-100 expansion box" for the Exidy Sorcerer complete with ST-506 compatible hard drive controller and 8" floppy controller. I already have the hard drive and dual 8" floppy drives with software on 8" disks.

This may be the final piece of the puzzle.

March 16th, 2015, 08:18 AM
Exidy Socerer S100:
I'll take a look at that this week. I didn't want to invest the time until I knew there was still interest in that. I have an Exidy file with all my collected reference material.

March 16th, 2015, 08:35 AM
I'm hopeful that I will have the answer to what goes where with the populated board (if that's what it is) so it will be an exercise of interest now, as opposed to necessity. I will post a follow up post when I get the item. I did acquire two Sorcerer's so it makes sense that the original owner would have two cards. We was a member of a Southern California Exidy user group (I have a couple of newsletters in the documentation) so he would have tried to get the most out of his systems.

I am very excited if my suspicions are correct.

March 21st, 2015, 09:45 AM
Exidy Sorcerer S-100 Adapter Capture:
I'm going to start capturing the nets from the bare-board images you've provided of the S-100 card.

The 50 pin connector at the top of the board is documented in the Exidy manual. I have the component pin-outs from the Exidy S-100 bus resident adapter which looks to be the same design. I can use that to quickly identify the positions of the components on the S100 version and identify the function of each net that I capture.

I'll work from Corel PhotoPaint to mark my progress over a copy of the bare-board images and enter the connections into my Excel spreadsheet. This should be a clean job as the source is a bare board.

Here's two useful tables regarding the 50 pin edge connector:

Pin & Signal:

01). PRESET#
02). INT#
03). WAIT#
04). Data_Bus_Enable
05). BUSRQ#
06). NMI#
08). Data_Bus_Direction
10). PHI1
11). ROM_PRE
12). Reset_Acknowledge
13). PHI2
14). UP8K
15). MREQ#
16). M1#
17). RD#
18). IORQ#
19). RFSH#
20). WR#
21). A08
22). HALT#
23). A10
24). A09
25). A15
26). A11
27). A13
28). A14
29). A00
30). A12
31). A02
32). A01
33). A04
34). A03
35). A06
36). A05
37). D0
38). A07
39). D2
40). D1
41). D4
42). D3
43). D6
44). D5
45). RESET
46). D7
47). +5Vdc
48). I/O
49). GND
50). GND

Signal & Pin:


March 21st, 2015, 10:24 AM
Hi JDallas,

Just today i was looking for information on the construction of the cable so this is good information. In my travels, I saw the S100 Expansion Chassis Technical manual here: http://maben.homeip.net/static/S100/exidy/sorcerer/Exidy%20S100%20Expansion%20Unit%20Technical%20Manu al%20197904.pdf

It has a parts list and schematics so that should help but I'm fairly certain I have found and have a fully populated board on it's way. That's why I am looking for a cable. The second board utilizes the 50 pin IDC connector and not the card edge connector on top. I just haven't found the specs for the Sorcerer side card edge connector (spacing) but it's probably fairly standard. I found this at Digikey that I hope will work: http://www.digikey.ca/product-detail/en/C3AES-5036G/C3AES-5036G-ND/1123411

If you want, I can try to rescan the component side of the board but it is not as shiny as the solder side if it will help.

March 24th, 2015, 04:13 PM
Very interesting. I would have assumed that the expansion chassis and this board were almost the same except for power since the expansion chassis would have needed the extra circuitry. I imagine this board did come later but I have yet to find any references. Now I do know the Sorcerer was not a big seller here in North America but there should have been mention of it. I should take a look at some of those newsletters I have and see if it's been mentioned.

March 24th, 2015, 05:47 PM
Where is your Exidy directory?

I have paper newsletters that I can scan in from the So. Cal. Sorcerer User Group. I also have some paper manuals that might be worth scanning.

March 25th, 2015, 04:34 AM
Ahh, same as me for now. I should create a downloadable file area. I have something that allows single files to be downloaded but folders would be better.

I scanned in the newsletters so I will make them available once I figure out how to have publicly downloadable directories in WordPress.

March 25th, 2015, 04:00 PM
@JDallas Just a quick note that I uploaded some newsletters from the Southern California Sorcerers User Group from the mid-80s available here: http://vintagecomputer.ca/files-area/ I'm not sure if I like the software used for file downloads but please drill down into the folders to find the files.

Hope you and others enjoy.

March 27th, 2015, 11:49 AM
Exidy S100 Capture: Updated images below.

Progress images below.

I've connected:
1) all the pins from the Exidy Sorcerer 50pin connector.
2) all the pubs from the S100 bus.

Should finish up this weekend unless I get busy with other things.

- - -

I dug out one of my two copies of Sol Libes' book on interfacing to the S-100/IEEE-696 to get the actual new signal names because Exidy used a proposed version that I recognized as quite incomplete. About 30+ pages into the book, they documented the dimensions of the board; so I'm going to use that to add the S-100 to my Pads circuit CAD.

It popped into my head to do it a little differently than I have for prior bus boards. I'm going to create a schematic object like a component but it will be the S-100 pin-out and documented names and signal groupings to fit along the left margin of the schematic. This supplies all the standard reference information including alternate names for S-100 and IEEE-696. The signals will be grouped like Address, Data etc so that I can quickly pull a bus signal off the object for the rest of the board.

Another advantage is that this construct allows me to rename any signals attached to the S-100 board edge object per the naming convention of my own circuits. When I flip to board layout the object appears not as a component "pad" as through-hole or surface-mount but as a set of 50 pins properly sized, two sided for the 100 total, with an positioning offset to the left-lower corner of the board.

One would normally just create the board outline with the pins on the edge and save it to the library. I can still do that after loading the S-100 outline and placing the S-100 pin-edge object. This construct just makes it easier to document and connect pins in the schematic and have it automatically carry the net connections to the board layout, in any signal naming I choose.

Its so cool a way of doing it, that I have to create it. :) I guess I'll have to design some S-100 boards to justify the time.

March 30th, 2015, 02:58 PM
As I mentioned earlier, I thought I may have found a second Exidy S-100 Expansion Kit card. If you were to find two needles, it looks like it's easier to find them in the same haystack. Turns out, I found two needles.

In the lot was a metal box that was described to me as a "power supply". The rear had a cut out with a power supply model number. Here's a picture. I figured it was just some sort of bench power supply.

Here's what I saw originally and I passed on it because I figured it would be super expensive to ship something not THAT useful.

I had one more item that needed to be shipped a few weeks later but I was still curious about why that power supply was so big (it was hard to judge the size). So I asked for more pictures and the owner sent me this among other pictures of the actual power supply in the unit. This is the top of the unit looking down. The actual power supply is in the bottom.


Even after seeing this, it didn't occur to me that those were S-100 cards in a bus so, again, I thought nothing of it. What would cards be doing in a power supply? Then it dawned on me one morning that that might be a small S-100 computer and may be related to the Exidy so I re-inspected that picture. It wasn't a great picture so I had to guess that it was another Exidy card. I also guessed at a couple of other cards that were tucked into that power supply that I now figured out was a chassis. The last card I couldn't figure out but I knew it was memory of some sort.

I finally decided to "go for it" and acquired the unit and had it shipped with the other item. As it worked out, this was the key hub to a complete system.

It contained:
- An Exidy S-100 Expansion kit card (to connect my Sorcerer)
- A California Computer Systems Model 2422 FDD (for an 8" dual floppy drive that came with the lot)
- A California Computer Systems Model 2032 32k Static RAM card
- A CompuPro Disk 3 hard disk controller (for a Tandon ST-506 compatible hard drive that came with the lot).

It's actually an S-100 mid-tower :) Here's a picture of the complete system:

I know the CCS 2422 floppy controller is or the Exidy Sorcerer because I have source code for the firmware. I also have a bunch of 8" disks with Sorcerer software on them so the 8" drives would make sense. The 8" floppy card clinches it(I think). I also acquired a lone Tandon 5MB hard drive in the lot and I'm hoping it's for the Sorcerer as well. The HD controller makes that piece fit, theoretically.

I'll take some more pictures and post them on my site. @JDallas, I think I have the mystery solved so you can either keep going and "check your work" or stop and see if you were heading in the right direction. I'll have some hi-res shots posted of the fully populated board.

Can't wait to try it but I need a Sorcerer to S-100 cable and I need to replace the power cable on the "Exidy Tower". I have no idea who makes the case but it is similar to the S-100 information mentioned in the SCSUG newsletters I had posted previously. I think I have this one solved unless someone points out some incompatibility between the cards and the peripherals.

March 31st, 2015, 03:34 AM
The Sorcerer side is male 25 contact x 2 sided card edge slot so I think this cable will work: http://www.digikey.ca/product-detail/en/C3AES-5036M/C3AES-5036M-ND/1123412 I haven't yet purchased it but I think it will work. The Sorcerer expansion port looks like this close up:


The card was certainly easy to spot once you knew what you were looking at. I wasn't expecting S-100 cards in a power supply :)

Anyhow, here are some pics. At the bottom is a high res pic. Not all ICs are easily visible but I think you can make them out. If not, let me know.


April 21st, 2015, 09:07 AM
I decided to move my projects and albums offsite to my own domain. I'll send the URL when that's available; its not a priority to me at the moment.

If I already have your email, I'll send you a PDF of the schematic's current state. I realize that the schematics are not important as you now have a populated board to pattern the build of the bare-board. I'm doing the schematic for my own reasons, and will offer you the final version to keep with your documentation.

April 21st, 2015, 11:17 AM
That is excellent. Thanks you. I'm glad to have it.

If you do make a board, allow me to be the first in line to purchase one.

April 21st, 2015, 11:53 AM
I'm not going to make a printed circuit board of the Exidy Sorcerer S-100 adapter.

I just thought it would be worth the effort to look at how they solved the issues in bridging their particular Z80 system to a S-100 bus. And since you have a bare-board I could do the whole schematic capture from the photographs and improve that process too.

If I do any sort of System-to-S100 bridge, it will include IEEE-696 so that's a bigger problem. I don't know if I would even want to do that, but was curious enough to look at one given approach. The bare-board made it a quick project.