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Thread: Any UK based S100 users out there ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    UK, South East
    Posts
    20

    Default Any UK based S100 users out there ?

    Folks,

    Having just acquired a Northstar Horizon (doesn't seem to boot from floppy) I wondered if there are any UK based users out there - particularly if you based in the South East. Could do with some help getting mine to work and sourcing interesting s100 boards.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Northwest (UK)
    Posts
    344

    Default

    Ahh, was that the one that sold on Ebay last week? Was tempted by that one myself. I've a couple of S100 systems that I'm currently trying to revive along with a Northstar Horizon that belongs to a friend.

    Are you getting any activity from your system? Does it try to boot from disk?

    Cheers,
    Dave

  3. #3

    Default

    Hello from Marcus in Wixford.

    So I am now based in UK Midlands, at least it is now the same country [as you]. I can't offer much more than solidarity and to say you should post pics of what is and is not working and the config etc. Hard sectored disk controller and media , I ask ??

    mb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    UK - Worcester
    Posts
    1,519

    Default

    Another one here - in Worcester though.

    Post pictures and details of problems and we will try and walk you through getting it working...

    BTW. Welcome to the UK Marcus...

    Dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    UK, South East
    Posts
    20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonferret View Post
    Ahh, was that the one that sold on Ebay last week? Was tempted by that one myself. I've a couple of S100 systems that I'm currently trying to revive along with a Northstar Horizon that belongs to a friend.

    Are you getting any activity from your system? Does it try to boot from disk?

    Cheers,
    Dave
    That was the one - the chap had a veritable Aladdin's cave of vintage computers and I bough just about half of everything he had including the Northstar.

    Anyway in regard to the Northstar it appears to have three boards - the Z80 processor (no monitor option fitted), 64K RSM card and the floppy controller card. Has three floppies fitted labelled A, B and C - one full height and two half height drives (models TBC as I have not removed them yet).
    I have connected my laptop and terminal program to the right serial port (null model cable via USB serial connector) and powered on. Serial settings at 9600, 8,N,1 as the unit has been fitted with a switch on rear that selects either 300 or 9600 baud.

    I get a single 0 character on the screen and nothing else. The unit tries to access drive A - drive light comes on and head appears to move back and forth every few seconds with (what I can only describe as) a scraping sound - not something that worries me as it doesn't sound unusual for an old 5 1/4 inch floppy drive - based on my Commodore experience.

    I have a folder full of original floppies that came with the unit abut none of the three I have tried appear to help the machine boot.

    In the limited time I have with it so far I have tried:
    1. Removing all but the CPU card to see if anything changes on the terminal - although probably futile without a monitor ROM installed on CPU board.
    2. Removing each card and reseating all the socketed IC's.
    3. Removing the cable from the edge connector of drive A (all three connected in series) to see if it would boot from drive B but it doesn't try to access B and I don't understand the drive addressing yet mechanism yet so may be wasting my time there.

    Any pointers ?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    UK, South East
    Posts
    20

    Default

    Thanks Dave.

    Not much to go on yet until I start dismantling but here are the the first few pictures showing the front, rear and top off.
    Will pull the drives out this evening and get some snaps with details of the drive types.

    s-l1600 (8).jpg
    s-l1600 (7).jpg
    s-l1600 (4).jpg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Leicester, UK
    Posts
    168

    Default

    Hello zippysticks,

    I was an S-100 owner 30 years ago and hope to be again soon. There were a few interesting S-100 system on ebay here last week but all got a bit too rich for me.

    Hopefully you'll get everything sorted. Please keep us informed.


    Cheers,

    Andy.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    UK - Worcester
    Posts
    1,519

    Default

    Andy,

    Did you get your NASCOM fixed (whilst I am in NASCOM mode)?

    Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Leicester, UK
    Posts
    168

    Default

    No Dave, not yet I would very much like to though.

    Andy.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    UK - Worcester
    Posts
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    Default

    Not too interested in the drives at this stage...

    More interested in what the cards are and how they are configured.

    Make a note of exactly which card came out of which slot and how the links/switches are all configured - ditto for the 'main board' (switch/link settings that is). This will be extremely useful to you later on. Buy a hard backed notebook and make lots of notes. You will be amazed how many times you will come back to the notes you make. Take lots of photographs as well. I have a camera purely for old computer photographs!

    Do NOT apply power - resist the temptation!!!

    I too was looking at that machine - but I have enough projects here at the moment and the thought of informing my wife that I had a new machine to fix... No Dave don't go there!

    Andy: do you want to create a thread on the forum for your NASCOM project and you can tell me where you have got to (or have I missed it). I see various posts all over the place, but can't piece them together at the moment. I see you have a video display - but you seem unsure as to what the CPU is up to and why you can't get a sensible video picture I guess?

    Dave

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