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Thread: altair 8800b turnkey question

  1. #1

    Default altair 8800b turnkey question

    Hi - My latest project is a altair 8800b turnkey. Does anyone have a "typical inventory" of what cards and peripherals were shipped with the turnkey? Switch settings? I believe my Altair is incomplete. I also believe that these units were configured to only work if everything originally installed is in place and working, but I am only guessing. I am waiting for a serial monitor to be shipped to me to see if I can do any I/O. Next i guess I will locate another s100 system to swap working cards, but I get nervous doing that kind of stuff..ideas? ANy good basic operations/setup books out there? error codes? thanks.

  2. #2


    The only thing the BT required was the turnkey module, processor card and some RAM.

    Ideally, though, the machine had a disk controller so that it could actually boot something. . .

    The Turnkey card had some PROMs on it as well as some switches that mapped the PROM into memory and addressed where the machine would vector when booted (this is from memory, but I think that's right.) It also had at least one serial port.

    Typically the PROM in question was a DBL (Disk Boot Loader) that started up the drives.

    There were some with a system monitor PROM as well.

    I don't have my BT docs accessible at the moment, but I'm pretty sure you can get them from, at least.


  3. #3


    thanks. I will see what's there. On a slightly different topic I just made a dead vic 20 motherboard into a clock. I drilled a hole in the board and stuck a clock through, attached the hands and bingo a vic 20 clock. A Christmas present?

  4. #4


    I got the manual for the 8800b on ebay a while back. According to the manual it "..consists of a power supply board, an interface board, a central processing unit (CPU) board and a display/control board." It has a lot of information on the chipsets, troubleshooting, assembling the boards, etc. If you need anything specific, let me know. I can scan some stuff and email it or send you a photocopy. You might find it on a PDF on the net somewhere though.

  5. #5

    Default zenith c-19-cn

    thanks, this is all useful information. I plan to use a zenith c-19-cn, rs232 cable with the altair. I will let you know how it goes. I have not hooked them all up yet. It looks like the Zenith is OK, but I am in uncharted waters. If there is a way to run a program on the zenith without being hooked up to a computer, I don't see how to do it. I found a manual on-line, I believe that the c-19-cn is just a terminal, even though it has a z80 chip. No ROM with a prog. language or machine language access. There is a key called "off line" that when left pressed allows echo of characters typed onto the screen. When not engaged, nothing echoes to the screen, I assume the keyboard input is being sent to the serial port, and because nothing is attached, nothing is echoed back.


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