View Full Version : Mystery S-100 FDC, VISTA, SOL

December 14th, 2017, 06:56 AM
Looking for any information on this Vista FDC.

It came with a SOL-20 and 2 MPI b51 SS full
height floppy drives, also tagged Vista.

I have zero information and no boot diskettes.
Most of the IC's are late 1979 datecode on the
controller and there is no 40-pin controller chip.

This will be my first attempt at attaching a photo here...

Any info appreciated.

December 14th, 2017, 09:24 AM
Vista was a company that made accessories and (Orange?) clone parts for the Apple, and S-100 computer market. It was owned by the same brothers who owned ACP (Advanced Computer Products), a early computer store. Vista made apple clone computers, apple accessories, S-100 accessories (like expansion drives and drive enclosures), and some software was branded with ther name.

Much of the stuff they sold was unlicensed/unauthorized copies of legitimate products. Some of the stuff was decent quality, some was very crudely made.

At one time, the headquarters for Vista was on Edinger directly across the street in Santa Ana, CA from the original ACP computer store, where one of the first computer swapmeets was held in the parking lot. The ACP computer store was sold a few years ago, and Vista declared bankruptcy and was liquidated decades ago (after being sued successfully by multiple parties, and owning Millions $$$ of dollars), although new products that were shipped to Vista by other computer manufacturers, that were never paid for by Vista, or recovered by the Bankruptcy Trustee or the Legal Owner/Manufacturers surfaced for years, reappeared and available for sale from where ever they were hidden from the Bankruptcy Trustee.

The Brothers who owned ACP actively solicited donations for their computer museum (which was housed in some backrooms at the ACP store), and in the past few years have been slowly selling off the stuff that was donated to the museum on eBay.

December 14th, 2017, 11:26 AM
Thanks much for that background info.

Looks like I will end up 40 IC's to the positive.

The drive cabinets are not in bad shape, although the power supplies work, like you said, the PCB layout is of low quality.

On the positive side, I purchased a Rev4 Sun keyboard and harvested the keytronic foam pads and disks. The keyboard was in excellent shape, barely used if ever. I spent about an hour disassembling the keyboard yesterday and another hour today pulling off the disintegrated foam and disks from my SOL keyboard. The new pads were a snap to put on and now everything that wasn't working in relation to the keyboard now is working great. I started by actually pulling off the keycaps and realized I didn't need to at all...just remove the old discs and foam, blow away the small bits and stick a new one on the key..a pencil eraser pops them on and done. I started replacing them row by row and it really was a snap. Before assembly I took some dry 400grit wet-n-dry sandpaper and used it dry very lightly and sparingly on the keyboard FR4 pads...then a flux remover spray. I recommend this method. Most useful tool is the small screwdriver that comes with iPhone repair kits for popping out the old discs and the pencil eraser for tapping the new ones in place...I can't imagine punching out foam, then manually glueing. That keyboard I harvested parts from cost about $25...well worth it...and I still have some left over pads.

December 14th, 2017, 12:49 PM
If they were in the bootleg/clone/knockoff business, judging from the density and lack of FDC IC, it's probably a North Star compatible board, which was hard sectored 5.25" disks, 10 sectors per track. I would guess, again from parts density, that it would be the double-density North Star controller. North Star disk systems were popular and common, especially on early S-100 stuff.

The other popular discrete controller from the era was the Micropolis disk system controller, again hard sectored 5.25", but using 16 sector disks instead of 10 sector disks. It'd have to be a modified Micropolis design though, all of the Micropolis controllers I've seen have trimpots for final adjustment.