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Thread: Netronics Explorer/85

  1. #1
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    Default Netronics Explorer/85

    My Explorer/85 board arrived today.

    20160908_165950.jpg

    20160908_170024.jpg

    Looks to be in decentish shape. I was hoping for the variant or 'level' that had the case, PSU and keyboard, but, these are exceedingly rare (this is the first one that has come up I think in 2 years plus), so I'll take what I can get. Netronics stuff seems to be hotly contested these days on ebay so it was nice to get it for just over a couple hundred dollars.

    I suspect this was together with that keypad we saw. The same seller also sold an expansion board that increases the number of S100 slots to 6. But for some reason some knuckleheads fought over it and it was at almost $130USD which I thought a bit much for what it is. Do kind of wish I'd grabbed the keypad, but I'm hoping the serial terminal function exists and works on this.

    I *think* that 25 hole area shaped like a DB25 is probably the serial connection. I'm really not sure how this thing was interfaced before, probably just by hex keypad. Key will be figuring out what level it is and then working backwards from there. The board is a Rev C. I notice they didn't solder in a reset button, so I'm assuming that must have been done via keypad.

    I don't unfortunately have any power supplies that crank out 8V.. so probably time to invest in a good bench supply so I can roll with these things.

    I've put higher res pics here for those curious:

    https://drive.google.com/folderview?...mM&usp=sharing

  2. #2
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    Darn. I just looked on ebay and noticed I missed the power supply for this thing from the same seller. Someone grabbed it the second they put it up (it was BiN).

    I also noticed this card: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/VINTAGE-VECTO...3D351831471348

    Kind of looks S100? Wonder if it was what they were using for input/output.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Yeah, that's a Vector S-100 protoboard. Probably some parallel I/O interface to an experiment or project.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Hi Falter,
    Did you get some manuals or documentaion for it? I have bought one from a guy here in Surrey, BC (looks like it was made from scratch--Netronics kit?). It is comprised of a big board like yours, an ASCII keyboard and some manuals or documentaion. Was lucky to get it for $40Cdn but that is about 3 yrs ago. Unfortunately, I have not touched it since I got it.
    I may have to dig it from storage and see what else came with it. I believe this was lower level as per Wiki.

    RT

    BTW...THE MANUALS can be downloaded from here (maybe you already know����)
    http://www.hartetechnologies.com/manuals/Netronics/
    Last edited by RizThomas; September 10th, 2016 at 08:04 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default

    I'm trying to get a couple of dead S-100 systems up in running after having them in storage for years (decades?) and recently dug out my Netronics Jaws 64K Ram board I bought for use with my Quest Super Elf single board computer (also dug out) back in the early days. I also have a Netronics video terminal board that needs some TLC to get up and running again. A couple more projects to try to make work.

  6. #6
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    I've figured via the manual out that mine was in fact configured for hex keypad use.. so that is at least known and that is what that keypad was for. Still kicking myself for missing the psu but whatever.

    The manual is a bit circumspect on how to wire up for serial terminal. There are holes on the board arranged in a pattern that look suspiciously like a DB25 but for some reason I can't find a pinout for it.

    I wish I'd grabbed the expander. And although it is unlikely I hope a case appears some day.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default

    Took me years to get a case - wound up buying a whole "new" EX-85. Did you fined a Power supply yet? I may have an extra one if I can locate it.
    Do you have a way to read the monitor chip love to get a copy of the keypad monitor. I have the files for the Keyboard monitor and the MS basic as well. My programmer can program 8755s if you need on made.

    FYI my first EX-85 was a kit purchased new in 1979 (also my first computer) The monitor is heavily based on the SDK-85 so you might want to look at documentation as well.
    Who let out the magic smoke!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. #8
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    Forgot to mention looking at the pics of the board, if you haven't figured it out yet the 24 pin socket net to the monitor is the keypad interface, I believe that version did not support a serial console.
    Who let out the magic smoke!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
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    I was reading through the manual a while back.. IIRC my board is version C. In the manual they describe jumpers you can set to use a serial interface. But yeah.. I don't recall where one hooked it up.

  10. #10
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    Physically it will support serial interface but I think the hex monitor does not have a serial console routine. You would have to load a program for that. Can you burn 8755s? If so you can replace the hex monitor. I would like a copy of the hex monitor if possible. If you can't I think I have an extra 8755 I could burn the serial console monitor in to.

    The board uses the SID and SOD pins for serial in and out and for the cassette tape in and out. J1-3 is the output and J1-2 is input J1-1, 7, and 19 are all grounds.
    Who let out the magic smoke!!!!!!!!!!!

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