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falter
October 7th, 2015, 04:07 PM
Hi there,

Dumb question. Does a Sol-20 require some cards in its slots to function? I'm looking at one that the vintagecomputermuseum guy has at $1300.. no cards in it at all. In the documentation they describe it as a 'single board' computer. But I had thought they required 'personality cards' or something like that. Wondering what one with no cards would be worth.

Thanks!!

Corey986
October 8th, 2015, 04:08 PM
Yes it does require a s100 ram card and a PT personality module. Post the link to the one your are looking at and we can see if you have the personality module. There is one on eBay that looks like someone took a rattle can to. The finish is far from original, so who know what also is going on under that spray can paint.

falter
October 8th, 2015, 06:44 PM
This is it here. I think we may be talking about the same one.

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=151777459503&alt=web

Nama
October 8th, 2015, 07:39 PM
Is it just me, or does that SOL look to have been repainted? It's just not the right color. Too bright.
Also, no personality card!

billdeg
October 8th, 2015, 07:58 PM
You should be able to boot with just the personality module installed because (ROM at C000) assuming the tiny amount of RAM used by SOLOS is also installed on the motherboard and is functional. Alas there is no SOLOS ROM installed so this is not going to be a functional unit. Looks to have been repainted. I'd rather have a dirty but complete unit. This seller is not known to be a boy scout... you should know what you're doing use caution or you'll get burned..
Bill

Corey986
October 9th, 2015, 02:57 AM
Is it just me, or does that SOL look to have been repainted? It's just not the right color. Too bright.
Also, no personality card!
It's also got yellow peel and no spatter coat. They used to have more pics of the unit where you could really see it was a poor repaint, but now they lowered the price and pulled those pics.

Cheers,
Corey

billdeg
October 9th, 2015, 04:18 AM
Ebay seller vintagecomputerman visits this forum frequently. Maybe he can explain what's going on with this thing.

falter
October 9th, 2015, 02:58 PM
Kind of been curious about this guy since he showed up on ebay. Namely where he gets all this stuff and what his objectives are, since his prices are usually way too high to really move things.

billdeg
October 9th, 2015, 04:36 PM
He *does* move things - look at his feedback score and sales. THere is a very large retail market out there, he is a pro at selling vintage gear to that market. He buys his stuff from ebay and other places as I have seen him resell items that were on ebay just recently before. You could criticize him but one has to admit some of that is really just a little jealously for making good money, eh? Driving up the prices? He sometimes leaves out details when they're not favorable about the item, but he does not misrepresent anything either. Caveat emptor but it's just business. I give him credit for knowing his market very well.

falter
October 9th, 2015, 09:02 PM
I don't begrudge the guy at all. If I could make a living off of my hobby I totally would (that's a lie, I'd never be able to sell anything :)). I just wondered where the supply came from. Flipping ebay stuff can be tricky -- people *can* check past sales, and of course can see other stuff from other sellers for sale and totally price shop. And shipping these days is insane. I'm a fairly serious collector but shipping from the US has stopped me cold for now (well, sort of.. I grabbed a ZX80 last week... *that* shouldn't cost too much to ship, I hope). That's the one thing I hate with ebay. And where I live -- just not a lot of vintage stuff on craigs, etc. Would really love to find something from the mainframe era but that all seems to be cropping up south of the border.

I'm not sure the vintage market is that large either -- I've noticed a steep drop in prices on a number of things people used to fight over. The really rare stuff will always have fans I guess, but how would a vendor ensure a steady enough supply at a cost they could make money on? And how many will there be from generations that have never known anything but iphones?

Anyway, I figured there had to be something up with that Sol at that price. Just didn't quite understand the personality thing that well.

MarsMan2020
October 10th, 2015, 07:40 AM
I think it's super annoying, all eBay does is drive up the prices of vintage stuff and make it difficult for people to get into the hobby. I'm lucky to have a Vector MZ system because a friend sold it to me a for a "fellow vintage enthusiast" price and not the price you's see something like that go for on eBay.

It's silly to see things like Vector Graphic 64K RAM boards that there were lots of made, and you can almost always find 1-2 of them on eBay (so there are plenty being sold) and have people asking $150 for them. Hell, I saw a NEW BUILD Zeta SBC+Floppy Drive combination, a hobbyist board anyone can make with all new parts, go for over $300.

The last minute sniping is obnoxious and penalizes people who have slower internet. Lost out on a nice PDP-8 because I was on satellite internet and had to bid a handful of seconds in advance of the end of the auction to make sure my bid went through. As far as I am concerned with all the sniping programs and services people use, eBay should just give up on the traditional auctions, make it so everyone puts in a single bid for the highest amount they are willing to pay, no one sees any of the other bids, and it just picks the highest bid at the end of the time. That's effectively what the sniping programs make the auctions be, might as well formalize it and make it actually work that way.

Not a huge fan of eBay at all.

smp
October 10th, 2015, 08:00 AM
... eBay should just give up on the traditional auctions, make it so everyone puts in a single bid for the highest amount they are willing to pay, no one sees any of the other bids, and it just picks the highest bid at the end of the time. That's effectively what the sniping programs make the auctions be, might as well formalize it and make it actually work that way.


That sounds like a great idea to me. Most of the time that's what I do anyway - simply put in my maximum price that I'm willing to pay in one bid, and let the others fight it out, or the snipers do what they will. Sometimes I win, but most of the time one of the crazies with too much money wins.

smp

NeXT
October 10th, 2015, 08:51 AM
A lot of the really interesting S100 replica boards I've seen so far do not include the really juicy things like layouts or component lists so you can build your own. Now, there are a number of good sources here (http://s100computers.com/My%20System%20Index%20Page.htm) but for boards like the Altair's CPU board or a few of the other then common boards like the Dazzler there doesn't seem to be anything that exists outside of scanned PDF's and photographs.


simply put in my maximum price that I'm willing to pay in one bid, and let the others fight it out, or the snipers do what they will. Sometimes I win, but most of the time one of the crazies with too much money wins.
That old saying doesn't mean squat these days. Snipers now are willing to take massive and very expensive risks to get their hands on something. If you keep that mindset you are going to lose. The only way to outdo them is simply be one and I'm sure most of us don't have the credit limits to do that.

S100-Fun
October 14th, 2015, 08:19 AM
Hi, New to this forum.
Way back in the late '70s and early '80s I worked at the Byte Shop computer store here in the SF bay area.
I built all the various S100 computers and boards.
I have just restored a Sol 20 back to working condition, mainly restoring the keyboard with replacement foam pads.
It boots just fine and loads programs from tape.
I have a late DSDD Northstar floppy controller and the standalone drive, but no Dos boot floppy.
Does anyone have a Northstar boot disk for the Sol-20?
I have several boxes of hard sectored disks, so I can provide some blanks.
Thanks for your help.

S100-Fun
October 14th, 2015, 08:55 AM
Just noticed that there is another Sol-20 listed on Ebay.
It is listed as "Sol Terminal Computer"
Rust pits on the case, no photos of the inside.

S100-Fun
October 14th, 2015, 10:40 AM
Ok, found the info I need to create a Northstar boot disk for the Sol-20 on the "Virtual Sector Generator for 5.25" Floppies Now Shipping" thread.
Will give it a try.

Nama
October 14th, 2015, 12:40 PM
It's always really satisfying when someone finds the info you've created helpful. As many people who create online resources for our favourite hobby know, it's very hard to estimate how valuable that information is for other people.

Anyway, you can log in to neoncluster's FTP site, and download all the SOL 20 CP/M and N* disk images, both SVN and NSI files. Also the SVN to NSI (and visa versa) conversion tool from Jim Battle, and Corey's awesome patched NST stub for the SOL (NST itself is available from Dave's Dunfield's site). I'm not sure if Corey or Jim have a place to download their files, so I think the only place to get them is from my FTP.

Hope you get your SOL up and running with the help of these.

Phil

(n.b. I was playing with my SOL and my newly built VGS last night, and noticed that the famous TARG game on the CP/M disk images does not play well with CP/M. I have another version modified to work with CP/M, and I will upload the .ent file to the FTP page this evening...if I can remember)

UPDATE: TARG for CP/M uploaded now

falter
October 15th, 2015, 05:39 PM
Just noticed that there is another Sol-20 listed on Ebay.
It is listed as "Sol Terminal Computer"
Rust pits on the case, no photos of the inside.

Didn't see it. Doesn't look like it sold.. maybe the seller withdrew it?

S100-Fun
October 15th, 2015, 10:52 PM
I bookmarked it, but nothing comes up now. Guess the seller pulled it.

deramp5113
October 23rd, 2015, 06:40 AM
(n.b. I was playing with my SOL and my newly built VGS last night, and noticed that the famous TARG game on the CP/M disk images does not play well with CP/M. I have another version modified to work with CP/M, and I will upload the .ent file to the FTP page this evening...if I can remember)


Below is a link to some CP/M disk images for the Sol-20 running a N* DD controller. The "SOLGAMES" disk has a number of popular Sol-20 games on it as .ENT files. The .ENT files can be launched from the CP/M command line using the RUNENT program that is on the disk. Even though the games can be launched from CP/M, the games themselves are the original code so they run correctly. Of course, this also means most games end up clobbering page zero and therefore require a cold boot (e.g., EX E800) to restart CP/M when done with the game.

http://deramp.com/downloads/index.php?dir=processor_technology%2Fsol-20%2Fsoftware%2Fnorthstar_dd_floppy%2Fdisk_images% 2Fcpm%2F

The program RUNENT on the disk has been modified versus the original version:

1) Assume a default file extension of ".ENT"
2) Display only addresses as the .ENT file loads instead of the entire file (speeds up the load process)
3) Automatically set the run address to the first address in the .ENT file if the run address is not specified on the command line.

The PCGET utility is on the disk to make it easy to retrieve other games from a PC via the serial port.

The disk images can be written with Dave Dunfield's NST utility, or see PC2Flop for a bit simpler solution (http://deramp.com/downloads/index.php?dir=processor_technology%2Fsol-20%2Fsoftware%2Fnorthstar_dd_floppy%2Fdisk_image_t ransfer%2F

Mike

S100-Fun
October 23rd, 2015, 01:12 PM
Just noticed that the Sol-20 listed on Ebay has been listed again.
It is listed as "Sol Terminal Computer"
Rust pits on the case, and photos of the inside.

falter
November 5th, 2015, 01:53 PM
I checked it out today.. I think I can see a bit of rust inside too.. what do you think something like that would be worth? I notice one in good condition went for $750 (think that was a one off though).

billdeg
November 5th, 2015, 04:12 PM
these can go for $2000 if working with drives and ephemera.

MicrocomputerSolutions
November 5th, 2015, 05:37 PM
I've seen some of the stuff that the vintagecomputermuseum has sold on eBay when stuff has been shipped to me for repair after people bought into his ads. I don't he/they is/are as uneducated about the stuff that they are selling as they claim to be.

Everything they I have seen that has come from there is not very original, it's rigged and it's usually inoperable old junk. People have paid me thousands of dollars to make repairs, and restore stuff after buying from him/them. Once, I tried to ask some questions, and rather than answer me, he blocked me. If you ask detailed questions, question his description of an item/items, and try to tell him that what he sold you is not what he described in his ad, he blocks you.

Yet, while he blocked me from bidding on his items, and ignored my questions about what he was selling, several times he/they tried to bid and buy S-100 stuff that I put up for auction on eBay. The stuff I was selling was non-working experimenter only grade Compupro boards and odds and ends from other S-100 manufacturers that I acquired that was modified or not working that I felt was not the same quality as the stuff that I normally sell through my business. I did not want the stuff resurfacing for sale, misrepresented as working, or condition unknown and sold to unsuspecting S-100 Collectors and Users. I removed his bids for my items several times, and after he/they continued to bid on my items when I repeatedly told him I didn't not want his business, I had to put him on my Blocked Bidder List to end his attempts to buy my stuff anyway.

I'm not jealous of him/them, I'm mad that he can get away with misleading people and get inflated prices for junk, they he/they represent as "found" or untested and original, when it's often tested, thrown together unmatched odds and ends, and junk. I have nothing against him/them making AN HONEST LIVING, FAIRLY AND HONESTLY describing what he is selling. But that's not what he's about.

falter
November 6th, 2015, 01:08 PM
I've never bought anything from vintagecomputermuseum personally. And I am jealous, I want to find and buy the stuff he's buying at the prices he buys at, which I suspect are a lot lower than what he 'retails' for. :) But his Sol isn't the one I was looking at... it was this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SOL-Computer-Terminal-/252157918899?hash=item3ab5c87eb3:g:S2gAAOSw~bFWJxd e

I'm thinking *that* is not worth $2000. And maybe I've been around old cars too long, but generally if there's rust on the outside, there's rust on the inside. The seller offered to try to fire it up though and see what we gets. We will see.

billdeg
November 6th, 2015, 01:51 PM
these are beautiful machines, but that's over priced IMHO

falter
November 6th, 2015, 04:26 PM
I was thinking $500-600 if non-working. Is that out there? There was that other non-working one in much better cosmetic condition that sold for $750.

Corey986
November 7th, 2015, 08:21 AM
I was thinking $500-600 if non-working. Is that out there? There was that other non-working one in much better cosmetic condition that sold for $750.

I think those days might have come to an end. People have discovered the Sol-20 is a beautiful and useful machine. A fully contained S100 system including a built in riser for troubleshooting S100 cards. Working units for sale are becoming rarer, so you should have some troubleshooting skills.

With Sol-20, rule #1, try to get one that isn't a rust bucket and has all the parts (i.e. personality module). They aren't easy to troubleshoot, because they are pretty integrated, but not super difficult if you have an oscilloscope, logic analyzer and a 8080 simulator module.

Cheers,
Corey

billdeg
November 7th, 2015, 03:03 PM
I keep putting off finishing mine. I tested the chips, ran through the voltages per the schematic but I have a single line of garbled text at the bottom of the screen and no > prompt. I have another system that does have the prompt (IMSAI with CUTTER), I just need to commit more time to my SOL-20. I have not scanned the underside of the motherboard for shorts, test the caps, etc.

S100-Fun
December 17th, 2015, 07:54 AM
vintagecomputermuseum Dropped the price to $809.
I don't think that this unit will work at all as it looks like it has been in water, perhaps smoke damage? as the circuit board it black except under where the personality module was which is missing.
The chassis has rust marks everywhere.
the edge connectors are corroded as are the IC leads and sockets from water.
The case was repainted. If you look close, you can see pits in the paint, so the case must have been rusted also.
So unless you need some keycaps, power transformer or wood sides, I would stay away from this one as it is only good for a static display.

MicrocomputerSolutions
February 11th, 2016, 11:28 PM
vintagecomputermuseum has recently been advertising Morrow Designs MM256K 256K dynamic ram memory boards as static memory boards at $119 each.

Other people have been selling the same boards for $19.99.

Considering how vintagecomputermuseum sells tons of computer parts, I'd think that he should be able to tell the difference between static and dynamic ram chips.

Want to get banned from his auctions? Simply send a message to him/her stating that the MM256K is a dynamic ram board, and watch what happens.

simkiss
February 17th, 2016, 04:15 PM
vintagecomputermuseum has recently been advertising Morrow Designs MM256K 256K dynamic ram memory boards as static memory boards at $119 each.

Other people have been selling the same boards for $19.99.

Considering how vintagecomputermuseum sells tons of computer parts, I'd think that he should be able to tell the difference between static and dynamic ram chips.

Want to get banned from his auctions? Simply send a message to him/her stating that the MM256K is a dynamic ram board, and watch what happens.

Totally agree. That seller is a bad actor and refuses to update his auctions despite knowing full well his descriptions are fraudulent. This is not a gray area. He has the knowledge and skill to know what he is doing. I will not buy from him under any circumstances.

MarsMan2020
February 17th, 2016, 04:47 PM
Totally agree. That seller is a bad actor and refuses to update his auctions despite knowing full well his descriptions are fraudulent. This is not a gray area. He has the knowledge and skill to know what he is doing. I will not buy from him under any circumstances.

Ugh I hate this guy. I am pretty sure he has single-handedly driven up the price of S-100 boards on eBay with his overpriced crap auctions.

MicrocomputerSolutions
February 17th, 2016, 06:11 PM
Ugh I hate this guy. I am pretty sure he has single-handedly driven up the price of S-100 boards on eBay with his overpriced crap auctions.

I don't have a problem with his making a buck by selling hard to find parts.

What I don't agree with is, his buying up known defective and other parts, and misleading Buyers about the condition.

I'd bet that the $119 Morrow MM256k "static" memory boards were bought by him for $19.99 or less a short time ago from the same Seller that is still selling them as dynamic memory boards for $19.99.

DDS
February 18th, 2016, 05:08 AM
While it has been a while since any new S100 boards were made commercially, I have often noted everything he sells is marked as "rare" or "extremely rare". IMHO, Godbout/Compupro/Viasyn boards were made in enough quantity that damn few of them would qualify as "rare". One possible exception would be the CPU 68K. I suspect if he were selling belly buttons he would mark them as "rare".

However, somehow this guy seems to be tapping into a supply of older hardware that is not readily available from other sources. One work around would be to deal directly with those sources if they could be identified. The alternative is to deal with him with your eyes wide open knowing that he is not the most reputable seller. ;-) Or avoid him entirely and wait for the item you want to turn up from a more reputable source.

per
February 18th, 2016, 05:20 AM
One resource that's not readily available: Recycle stations and in particular things like universities and colleges. It's amazing how much old computer equipment that is just tossed at technical institutions.

vwestlife
February 18th, 2016, 06:59 AM
Want to get banned from his auctions? Simply send a message to him/her stating that the MM256K is a dynamic ram board, and watch what happens.

You can't even do that anymore...

http://i65.tinypic.com/i5vo11.png

MicrocomputerSolutions
February 18th, 2016, 08:01 AM
One resource that's not readily available: Recycle stations and in particular things like universities and colleges. It's amazing how much old computer equipment that is just tossed at technical institutions.


There are Compupro boards showing up from Sellers in China on eBay now. It was not legal to export Compupro Systems and Components to the Reds back when Compupro was in business, so I have to figure that the boards being sold now are ones that were picked out of the electronic scrap that is exported to China by the shipload.