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Thread: Altos Acquisitons

  1. #1
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    Default Altos Acquisitons

    Especially Terry

    (1) Altos 8000 series with 8" disk drive
    (1) Altos 580 with 5.25" floppy drive, and winchester (size unknown as of yet)
    (1) Altos Series 5 5.25" floppy disk, and winchester (size unknown as of yet)

    I guess I am glad it wasn't a 586 - I really don't need another Intel x86 machine, and especially one running Xenix - that was teh scourge of the earth!

    Just got them out of the truck, after making room, and moving the junk to the front near the garage door.

    Vlad - want the PM9500, ya gotta let me know!


    Tony

  2. #2
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    Default

    Altos' specialty was multi-user systems, so you may have a chance to sink your teeth into some MP/M.

    --T
    Teach your children how to think, not what, and hold 'em close, not tight.
    _____________________________________________

    Please visit the Vintage-Computer Wiki. Contributers welcome.

  3. #3

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    Cool.
    Never owned an 8000, but I can tell you about the smaller machines.

    The Series 5 configured with 1 floppy and 1 hard drive is a "5-5".
    (With 2 floppies, it's a "5-15")
    On that and the 580, the console port is marked "JC".
    It takes a serial terminal set for 9600 8n1.
    Each floppy holds 700K; you'll need HD media.

    There's a chance you may have an o/s called OASIS.
    It's pretty rare, so you might want to take some time to preserve it
    and/or learn it.

    And Xenix is still pretty cool, regardless of who put it out.
    It was my first multiuser, multitasking system o/s.

    HTH,
    Andy

    "It's a me-too, 8-bit machine with good graphics and a disk system nobody will support."
    -- Bill Gates, about the Sony SMC-70 with the new 3.5" floppy drives (InfoWorld; June 7, 1982)

  4. #4
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    I always hated Xenix, especially the SCO crap. I think I still have a copy of it somewhere in the garage. I only supported it in the field, mostly for some privately-owned Days Inn hotels in the South Miami / Homestead area.

    The hardest work I did, was having to rebuild the one at the Homestead Days Inn after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 - man, the building was toast, and the Xenix box didn;t fair much better. Luckily, I had done a backup 2 weeks earlier, and dd'd the drive out preparing for a hard disk upgrade, and he had put that stuff in a safety deposit box at the bank!!!

    Without that, he woulda' been screwed - dumb luck, I guess!

    OK - Altos update.

    First, can anyone tell me the wiring for the serial ports?
    Standard terminal null-modem'd over?

    The 580 looks like it was used for a football - I think someone dropped it on it's left rear. Chassis inside is a little bent, but HD spins up.

    The Series-5 makes a loud-as-hell spinup noise, but seems to be willing to work. Again, got work on the cabling.

    Did these systems boot from floppy then hi the HD? Or boot straight from HD?

    Anyone got media for these puppies?
    I see Dave Dunfield has Altos 586 media....


    Tony

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharkonwheels View Post
    First, can anyone tell me the wiring for the serial ports?
    "The ALTOS connector is wired as a modem with the following RS-232-C connection wiring required.*"

    Code:
     1 Chassis Ground*
     2 Transmitted Data
     3 Received Data
     4 Request-To-Send (optional, requires jumpering)
     5 Clear-To-Send
     6 N/C
     7 Signal Ground
     8 +12 V.P.C.
     9-19 N/C
     20 Data-Terminal-Ready
    The minimum cable is apparently 1, 2, 3 and 20.

    Did these systems boot from floppy then hi the HD?
    Yes.

    "It's a me-too, 8-bit machine with good graphics and a disk system nobody will support."
    -- Bill Gates, about the Sony SMC-70 with the new 3.5" floppy drives (InfoWorld; June 7, 1982)

  6. #6
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    I just got an Altos 986T, and it sure is slick. Serial host?? I read that Xenix runs on it, how about Unix??

    I opened the top cover (it's late, didn't go really into it) and saw that the top rear is all power supply. These things are heavy!! If the PS is bad, is there a way I can use a regular ol PC ps?? Just to lighten it up.

    Above, it seems this thing uses serial terminals to communicate. Can a computer be hooked to it using a terminal program? Googling doesn't tell me much but places to get replacement tapes for it and more questions (one from back in 1992, unanswered).

    Before I power it up I have to blow it out real good. it looks like it was stored on Tattooine.

    Nathan
    Last edited by NathanAllan; March 31st, 2007 at 01:04 AM. Reason: sand
    The ancients knew *more* than us...
    http://www.legendarytimes.com/forum/index.php They're baaaack!

    Come and see http://www.gamegavel.com for all your gaming needs! We have Zero-ohm resistors!

  7. #7
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    About this Altos, it has a bunch of serial ports on the back of it. I haven't had a chance to mess with it yet (tomorrow hopefully). What does it *do*? Is it a serial server? Can I use this to connect my machines that have only a serial port to connect out with???

    Nathan
    The ancients knew *more* than us...
    http://www.legendarytimes.com/forum/index.php They're baaaack!

    Come and see http://www.gamegavel.com for all your gaming needs! We have Zero-ohm resistors!

  8. #8

    Default

    Nathan, you probably need scroll up and re-read the messages in this thread. That info should also apply to your machine, assuming it's like other Altos systems.

    I seriously doubt it's a terminal server. If it runs Xenix, it's a computer and the serial ports are for terminals. Of course, you'll need at least one serial terminal (or a PC) and the proper cable, wired to the console port (JC?) before you can see and boot messages or communicate with it. Your terminal or comm software should be set for 9600,8n1.

    Andy

    "It's a me-too, 8-bit machine with good graphics and a disk system nobody will support."
    -- Bill Gates, about the Sony SMC-70 with the new 3.5" floppy drives (InfoWorld; June 7, 1982)

  9. #9

    Default

    Console is on "port 1" that's the bottom left if you're looking at the back. and you may have to frig around with the TX & RX, DTR-DSR & RTS-CTS lines with a breakout box when connecting it to the pc if you don't get activity. Hardware / or no handshaking in hyperterminal.

    My recently acquired 986 works perfectly (thanks David!), but the 586 has a stuck hard disk. I had to re insert a few chips on the terminal, and I'm going to have to hack the administrator password to get into xenix.

    Really must get the machine with the 5.25" drive networked up. to write disk images.
    "Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" (BANG )

  10. #10

    Thumbs down

    The stuck HDD has definitely had a crash, did the gentle turny thing (the heads should all be in a landing zone as it's a voice-coil driven head positioner - definitely a last resort with an un-parked stepper driven positioner) and it felt a little different in places, could have been dirt in the motor, but, spin it up and you get occasional really seriously scary noises, I'd like to get a microphone in there and record it for a bit of sci-fi-horror sound track, but I'd rather see if the drive is saveable before introducing any more aluminium turnings into the mech.
    "Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" (BANG )

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