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new_castle_j
November 1st, 2015, 07:08 AM
Another TurboDOS system is up and running. This time it's the NorthStar Horizon 8/16. This system was a little more challenging since it uses hard sectored floppy disks and it is picky about the hard disk. Nothing enough trial and error couldn't overcome however. Once the floppy and hard disk drive questions were answered, actually installing TurboDOS was rather easy, NorthStar automated the whole process with a scripted install that was fun to watch. The scripts took care of erasing the directory on the newly formatted hard disk, then it prompted to insert a series of 4 floppy disks which it then proceeded to copy the files off the disks into the proper user areas on the hard disk, renamed some files, set the permissions, and finally ended with prompting to insert a blank floppy which it generated a boot disk from. This system cannot boot directly from the hard disk, rather it uses a floppy to bootstrap the master processor in the system, then the master takes control of the hard disk and downloads the OS's to the slave processors.

This system is all Z80, most of the boards in the chassis are familiar to N* folks, ZPB processor, 64K RAM, MDC Floppy, and HD-5 hard disk controller, this set makes up the master processor, or Server. The remaining boards are UP-8 User or Slave processors. Each UP-8 has 64 K of RAM and it's own Z80, 1 serial port for a console, and a second port for modem or printer. There are 3 UP-8 boards in this system, however, I only have 1 currently installed. NorthStar offered a 16 bit 8088 slave processor board, but this system does not have one.

NorthStar also included a TurboDOS add-on with their distribution, this add-on is called TurboPlus and was developed by MicroServe Inc. in New York. TurboPlus has some nifty features, you can send e-mail messages between the user consoles and also instant messages. There's a batch processing facility that allows you to create multiple batch processes and assign them to run concurrently on the different processors in the system. Hand in hand with batch processing is the status command to monitor all the processes. A large part of the TurboPlus add on is the help facilities, each command comes with a help file and an easy to use help file viewer program.

Another interesting thing about this particular NorthStar is that it was made in Ireland and it also appears to have been used in a hydro electric plant in Canada.

One more thing, thanks goes to deramp5113 for developing and sending me a copy of PC2Flop on a boot disk so I could write the TurboDOS disk image files from Dunfield.

and now for the pictures....

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new_castle_j
November 1st, 2015, 07:15 AM
...more info on TurboPlus attached.

27625

retrogear
November 1st, 2015, 07:34 AM
Good job !!! Did you find more Turbo-Plus files than in the Maslin archive? If so, I would like a copy. Also I would be very interested if you get the twix messenger to work. That was a feature I could never
get to run in emulation.

Larry G