Announcement

Collapse

Forum Rules and Etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.


Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.


Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.



Rule 3: Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.


Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.


Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.


Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.


New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.


Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
See more
See less

Sol-20 with Helios II drive

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Sol-20 with Helios II drive

    I thought I'd post a new find here that I'm excited to have found.

    I was able to acquire a Sol-20 with a Helios II disk drive. Both are in almost pristine shape but I am missing any internal S-100 cards so the Helios II is a door stop for now until I can find the Helios II controller and formatter cards The true find is the Helios II unit that looks to be in great shape but as Corey986 has suggested to me off-line, it will need some preventative restoration (new caps) and some testing to see if it works. Sadly, I can't try the latter without the cards but i have some great reference material to look over in the meantime.

    I will, however, be looking over the Persci 270 drive very carefully and replacing the caps at the very least. I don't tend to do this but it has been suggested by a couple of sources and the rarity of the slightest chance this is a working example makes me a little more cautious than normal. I also have a large metal cap in the power supply that needs to be replaced as per a Processor Technology bulletin but I have no idea where I'm going to get that new cap

    Here's a few pics of the Sol-20 and Helios II:
    Sol-20.jpgHelios II - 2.jpgHelios II -1.jpg

    More pics of the Helios II at http://vintagecomputer.ca/?computers...logy-helios-ii
    Maintainer of http://vintagecomputer.ca

    #2
    Please document your cap replacements by posting them online. You might help someone out with the task years later.

    That's a beautiful system you have there. I always thought the SOL-20 was the best looking computer of its day... Digital Group out of Colorado had some nice looking equipment too but I've heard next to nothing about them in a Vintage Computer context. I just see them when looking through my old BYTE magazines. :S

    Comment


      #3
      The two bolts on the front seem very strange. I have never seen a helios with that setup. Does it look like it's original or did someone drill and countersink the holes to secure the drive and then touched up the black paint? What I have seen are some helios secure the drive from underneath only and some like mine from underneath and an extra bolt on top from the front panel.

      Cheers,
      Corey

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Corey986 View Post
        The two bolts on the front seem very strange. I have never seen a helios with that setup. Does it look like it's original or did someone drill and countersink the holes to secure the drive and then touched up the black paint? What I have seen are some helios secure the drive from underneath only and some like mine from underneath and an extra bolt on top from the front panel.

        Cheers,
        Corey
        There really aren't many picture of Helios IIs out there so I don't really know what's normal. It certainly looked normal to me but I can inspect that a little better. I have seen one picture with no front bolts but the one on this page looks like it has them as well (if you look carefully) http://oldcomputers.net/sol-20.html
        Maintainer of http://vintagecomputer.ca

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by JDallas View Post
          Please document your cap replacements by posting them online. You might help someone out with the task years later.
          I like doing that because I find old posts very useful so I'll be posting updates here so this is where those updates will be. I'll be using the "Cromemco/Persci 277 Alignment and Repair" guide by Martin Eberhard publicly posted here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-Xd...it?usp=sharing Corey sent me a newer copy but I'm not sure it is posted anywhere. This is for a Cromemco drive but the internal drive mechanism is the same and some of the information is valid for the Persci 270. I will be supplementing it with information in the "EPT Vol 9 - Helios Service" guide poosted here: http://www.hartetechnologies.com/man...%20Service.pdf.

          If anyone has gone through a restoration of a Persci 270 or 277, I'd love to hear more. I am working with Corey on this because he's restored a drive. We will continue the conversation here as it progresses.
          Maintainer of http://vintagecomputer.ca

          Comment


            #6
            Yep. It looks like we found another variation on the helios front panel. They kept changing it.

            Cheers,
            Corey

            Comment


              #7
              Well, I checked my Sol-20 and plugged it in to see if I had the right BOOTLOAD personality module to match the Helios II. I did get the ">" prompt but I couldn't hit "enter" because my keyboard pads need replacing. I went to the dollar store where I bought my previous weather stripping to make new pads and they were out. I'm not sure if they'll stock that item again as dollar stores are so now I'm hunting for 1/4" two-sided sticky foam weather stripping.

              I have another Sol-20 so maybe I'll swap keyboards temporarily to check the personality module. Corey has mentioned that the test is to see if there is a "boot" command in place of the "term" command. This personality module looks like this:
              Sol-20 Personality module.jpg

              I also spoke to the original owner and the internal S-100 cards are gone so I am in need of the Helios II controller and formatter cards. Can't do much without them. I did shelve the Helios II for now (literally) and my back wasn't too happy about that. Why was the bottom made of cast iron? No wonder it weight 60+ pounds!
              Maintainer of http://vintagecomputer.ca

              Comment


                #8
                Home Depot sells low density foam that is perfect for a keyboard rebuild. Make sure you get the low density stuff it feels just like the original stuff. Took me a few minutes to find it as it tends to be on a lower shelf in the two Home Depot stores I have bought it in (I also did a Lisa keyboard for the MARCH museum recently).

                Cheers,
                Corey

                Comment


                  #9
                  I've bought a couple of these keyboards to fix keytronics capacitive keyboards on Sol and Vector Graphic machines. The pads are ready to snap in and in like-new condition. Keyboard is only $20.

                  http://www.memoryxsun.com/3201018.html

                  Mike

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Corey986 View Post
                    Home Depot sells low density foam that is perfect for a keyboard rebuild. Make sure you get the low density stuff it feels just like the original stuff. Took me a few minutes to find it as it tends to be on a lower shelf in the two Home Depot stores I have bought it in (I also did a Lisa keyboard for the MARCH museum recently).
                    Corey, what is the product name for the foam you used? I used model RR track bed foam for a Model II rebuild, which is a little stiffer than the original keyboard.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I'll check if I have the packaging, if not next Home Depot trip I'll take a pic of the package.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Corey986 View Post
                        I'll check if I have the packaging, if not next Home Depot trip I'll take a pic of the package.
                        I think it might be this one: http://www.homedepot.com/p/MD-Buildi...2071/100665371

                        The disks are 7/16" (that's the size of my punch) and 1/4" deep so this should work.

                        Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we have this in Home Depot Canada stores. I've looked before so I was interested in the packages too.

                        I have heard of deramp5113's suggestion before but didn't have the link. Thanks for that. I actually do like making them though so I'll try a couple of local hardware stores and see if I can find the low-density weather stripping before being forced to purchase the keyboards. They are a good price.

                        Thanks guys.
                        Maintainer of http://vintagecomputer.ca

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Just want to mention I couldn't find the package, but tomorrow is Saturday and that always means a trip to home depot for something on the "honey-do" list so I'll take a pic and post it tomorrow.

                          Cheers,
                          Corey

                          Comment


                            #14
                            A quick update from me too. I think I found some open cell foam weatherstripping that will do the job at Home Hardware in Canada. As it's commercial grade, the stores don't stock it but I've ordered it for pick-up and will check to see if it's sufficient next week when it arrives. This is open-cell foam so it should be suitable.

                            Here's a link for anyone in Canada that may be interested: http://www.homehardware.ca/en/rec/in...e/_/R-I2395278
                            Maintainer of http://vintagecomputer.ca

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Still waiting for the weather stripping but did swap keyboards on my working Sol-20 and it turns out that the personality module in the Sol-20 that came with the Helios II does not have the "BOOT" command but has the "TERM" command. I tried >BOOT and >B. When I type TERM, the cursor goes away so I'm assuming it's in terminal mode and expecting data from the serial port. The output is in the pic below.

                              I'll need to get a BOOTLOAD personality module (or 4 programmed MM5204 chips) for it now but I don't understand how the Helios II worked with it. I acquired it from the original owner and they went together. Could it be that the original owner typed in the boot stub each time?

                              All this said, this Sol-20 is earlier than my other two Sol-20s. The keyboard was Rev B. I also have a Rev C and Rev D. The 8080 is also white ceramic as opposed to the purple ceramic. It also doesn't have a spec of rust or corrosion under the keyboard.

                              Anyway, here's what the output looked like.
                              SOl-20 Boot.jpg
                              Maintainer of http://vintagecomputer.ca

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X