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.
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A V3 Version of our IDE/CF card S100 Board

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    A V3 Version of our IDE/CF card S100 Board

    It's hard to believe but this board is now over 5 years old. It is probably our most popular S100 bus board to date. It went through two major revisions.
    I would like to now introduce what will probably be the final version of this very useful S100 board. It’s called the V3 IDE/CF Card S100 board. The main updates are:-
    • I did not want to change the basic 8255 driven circuit and all the software I and others have over the years written for the board. Sure if I were to do it all over again I would probably have done it different using perhaps a faster Zilog PIO or an onboard fast fully dedicated Z80 (as for our ZFDC board) or Propeller etc. The NEC or OKI 82C55-2’s are dirt common and seem to be able to handle anything the CPU sends to them.
    • I want to hand lay down broad power traces to all the boards IC’s for more even power distribution – particularly to the power hungry HEX displays.
    • I have inserted a trace “Keep out Area” on the front of the board so there is no danger of the IDE adaptors touching a critical trace.
    • I have now switched to a “multi regular” voltage regulator footprint. This allows you to use either:- a 1.5Amp L7805CV, a TO-3 LM323K (3Amps), a Pololu 5 Volt , 2.5 Amp D24V25, or a 3A regulator called PSU5.
    • I did bend the no new changes rules a little and added two 22V10 GALs. This greatly simplifies the board and really speeds up the port addressing and the potential drive select/reset issues some were having. I realize not everybody is familiar with GAL’s. Please see here for more information about GALs. For those people and beginners I will supply the pre-programmed Lattice 22V10 GALs. The PALASM code is shown below. Again these GAL’s are fairly common (Jameco #39159 for the 15ns variety).
    • Correct a potential drive A: or B: switch circuit problem described by some.
    • I have added a wait state circuit (0 - 8 I/O wait states) to accommodate very fast S100 boards such as our 80386 and 80486 boards without requiring further generalized I/O wait states on the CPU board for other system I/O ports.
    • People should be able to simply switch IC’s from their old board to this new one. Only two new GAL ICs and two 74LS373 are required.
    • Last but least I relabeled much of the Silk Screen to be more relevant. For example placing IC numbers above their pin locations etc.

    I have written up a description of the board here:-
    (Bottom of the page).

    This time I had 4 final productions boards made by PCBCart (China) before I announced it. That way I don’t have to worry about a large batch of boards coming back with a critical design flaw. The picture on the web site is the final board, not a prototype.

    Anyway I will do a group order for a batch of these V3 bare boards. Please let me know ASAP if you would like one or more bare boards. They will run somewhere between $14 - $16 each + shipping. Note batches of these boards do/will not occur often. If you even think you will need such a board, now is the time.
    It’s best to send me an e-mail direct (monahan AT vitasoft DOT org).

    John Monahan