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

Mystery S-100 FDC, VISTA, SOL

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

  • exidyboy
    replied
    Originally posted by Hugo Holden View Post
    That disc controller to me looks very similar to a Northstar MDS-AD3, with roughly about the same number of IC's, from what has been said it may be a fairly close knock off, it would be interesting to compare the schematics if you can find the Vista one.
    The OP is long gone but the quest to document micro-computing history continues.

    An inch and a half thick documentation folder for the Vista floppy disk system has been located in Canada. I am confident of finding a way to eventually get it scanned at archival quality.

    vista_binder_vcfed.jpg vista_tabs_vcfed.jpg

    Leave a comment:


  • ChickenMan
    replied
    If you run PASS2 on the disk, you can change the password to what ever you like

    I simply chopped off 3072 bytes from the start and used below to extract all files perfectly using CMPToolsGUI

    diskdef vista
    seclen 512
    tracks 40
    sectrk 10
    secbase 0
    blocksize 1024
    maxdir 64
    skew 1
    boottrk 1
    os 2.2
    end

    Leave a comment:


  • ldkraemer
    replied
    DECOD2.COM & ENCOD2.COM both appear to start execution properly, and just need the password:
    Code:
    A2>DECOD2
    
    Decode II  v1.0
    
    Copyright (c) 1980 - SuperSoft & Herbert Schildt
    
    Enter password: 53421
    XXXXX
    Invalid
    Program terminated...returning to operating system

    Larry

    Leave a comment:


  • ldkraemer
    replied
    It was interesting to have a look at the V*.RAW Image. I think I know what is going on with that image.
    Your Directory is located at 0x2000 = 8192 Decimal. And the first track is 128 Bytes x 24 sectors long
    making it the boot track (track 0). The remainder of the floppy is 512 x 10 sectors.

    What I did was to move the beginning of track 1 to 5120 (512 x 10). I used dd in Linux to do that.
    dd is also known as DATA DESTROYER.
    $dd if=vistaorig.raw skip=3072 bs=1 of=vtest.raw conv=notrunc;sync

    (I renamed your original file just to make it easier to type.)

    This chopped off the first track (track 0 = boot track) and has the Directory located where cpmtools
    would typically look. (I've had trouble with cpmtools trying to access other images with an odd
    ball Boot track that was Single Density.)

    Then, it was just a matter of getting the Definition correct enough to extract the files so the ASCII
    or TEXT files were SANE. That did take a bit of work, but it finally worked.

    The three linux commands I used were:

    build the new code
    $gcc -o mmcpm3U1 mmcpm3U1.c
    See if it gives a proper directory
    $./mmcpm3U1 vistaorig.raw
    extract the files
    $./mmcpm3U1 copy vistaorig.raw

    If the data had been inverted I could have used
    $gcc -o mmcpm3U1 mmcpm3U1.c
    $./mmcpm3U1 examine vistaorig.raw
    $./mmcpm3U1 copy vista.img

    I wasn't able to use cpmtools ver 2.21 because it barfs when trying to access the HEX bytes of your file.
    And the OFS xxxx (with BOOTTRK 0) doesn't seem to want to work on your original file. So, I located the
    DIRECTORY and just chopped xxxx bytes to make the Directory start at 5120 (Decimal) and then I can
    access it properly with mmcpm (a modified mmcpm.c)

    The attached text file will give you the information you are wanting. I think the files are good since the DOC and
    .ASM files appear to be SANE. But, the ONLY way to know for sure is a BINARY COMPARE or just try
    them in CP/M (if you dare).

    Maybe your cpmtools version will work with this definition:# Sorcerer Vista 5.25" SS 40T (40T 10x512 s/t)
    diskdef vista
    seclen 512
    tracks 40
    sectrk 10
    heads 1
    blocksize 1024
    #maxdir 128
    maxdir 64
    skew 0
    # skewstart 1
    # datasect 1
    # boottrk 1
    #0x2000 = 8192 was original DIR location
    # offset 5120
    offset 8192
    boottrk 0
    os 2.2
    end

    If not, you can always chop off the first 3072 bytes and use the offset of 5120.


    # vista - Sorcerer Vista - SSDD 48 tpi 5.25" - 512 x 10
    diskdef vista
    seclen 512
    tracks 40
    sectrk 10
    secbase 0
    blocksize 1024
    maxdir 64
    skew 0
    offset 8192
    boottrk 0
    os 2.2
    end

    # libdsk data below
    [vista]
    description = Sorcerer Vista - SSDD 48 tpi 5.25" - 512 x 10
    cylinders = 40
    heads = 1
    secsize = 512
    sectors = 10
    secbase = 0
    datarate = DD



    Larry


    vtest_info.txt
    Last edited by ldkraemer; August 9, 2019, 11:09 AM. Reason: added cpmtools & libdsk definitions

    Leave a comment:


  • exidyboy
    replied
    Dutchacorn - who used to own a Vista controller for the Sorcerer - has confirmed that the board pictured by the OP is the same as the one he had.
    Now we just need to find one, photograph it, dump the ROM's/PROM's and scan all the documentation.

    Leave a comment:


  • exidyboy
    replied
    Checksum algorithm has been reverse engineered by Simon Owen in spite of a complete lack of technical information.
    Larry Kramer has been tasked with fine-tuning the cpmtools definition.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hugo Holden
    replied
    Originally posted by exidyboy View Post
    I can't see any ROM's in the OP's photo
    The reso of the photo is not good enough to be sure, the three ROMs on the MDS cards just look at a glance like the rest of the TTL IC's there, but looking closely at the IC type and a small additional markings they are Roms.

    Leave a comment:


  • exidyboy
    replied
    Originally posted by exidyboy View Post
    It is possible the S-100 to Sorcerer interface board held an EPROM. I will look through old newsletters today and see if there are any clues.
    According to an article in a 1980 newsletter there is a boot ROM.
    Typically at B900H for a 32K machine or D900H for a 48K machine (which meant you could no longer use your ROMPac).
    I don't believe this ROM has been dumped so I'll add that to the long list of Sorcerer material that has to be tracked down.

    Leave a comment:


  • exidyboy
    replied
    Originally posted by Hugo Holden View Post
    I wonder if there are thee ROMs on this vista board ?
    I can't see any ROM's in the OP's photo but I don't know for sure that the discs I am working with were written with that board.
    It is possible the S-100 to Sorcerer interface board held an EPROM. I will look through old newsletters today and see if there are any clues.

    Progress has been made (not by me) on the MFM 250Kbit/sec disk encoding and attention has now turned to the checksum algorithm.

    The Theory of Operation documentation or ROM images would make life so much easier.

    Leave a comment:


  • exidyboy
    replied
    Originally posted by exidyboy View Post
    Have not turned up any docs yet. The OP's card is S-100 but Sorcerer newsletters suggest the Vista system sold in Oz interfaced directly to the 50 way connector.
    A 1981 newsletter clears up the confusion as to how it can simultaneously "S-100 free" and yet an S-100 card.

    The Vista E-20 system for the Sorcerer consisted of a DELTA double-density controller card and an interface board to the Sorcerer and MPI B51 drives. So the controller is S-100 but somehow they adapt it directly to the Sorcerer without requiring the Exidy S-100 expansion chassis. I imagine the enclosure must be pretty big!

    Apparently docs were provided with controller schematics and theory of operation but I can't find them anywhere online or in the catalogues of the key computer museums.

    Some encouraging progress has been made by people much more knowledgeable that I on figuring out the MFM sector encoding.
    I have about 15 discs that look like they would be readable. Some are rather warped having been under a house for who knows how long.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hugo Holden
    replied
    Originally posted by exidyboy View Post
    Have not turned up any docs yet. The OP's card is S-100 but Sorcerer newsletters suggest the Vista system sold in Oz interfaced directly to the 50 way connector.
    This Vista board has about 50 TTL's and a 34 way drive connector, two regulators one Xtal etc. The MDS-AD2 & 3 had about 47 IC's the 34 way connector and it had 3 ROMs on it.

    I wonder if there are thee ROMs on this vista board ?

    If it was essentially a knock off, then the OP might get lucky if the schematics are nearly the same. The MDS boards I got were both faulty and needed repairs and I needed the schematic. One way would be to count and compare the IC types that are there, to see if they were close to those in the MDS manual.

    Leave a comment:


  • exidyboy
    replied
    Originally posted by Hugo Holden View Post
    That disc controller to me looks very similar to a Northstar MDS-AD3, with roughly about the same number of IC's, from what has been said it may be a fairly close knock off, it would be interesting to compare the schematics if you can find the Vista one.
    Have not turned up any docs yet. The OP's card is S-100 but Sorcerer newsletters suggest the Vista system sold in Oz interfaced directly to the 50 way connector.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hugo Holden
    replied
    Originally posted by bcc View Post
    ..just remove the old discs and foam, blow away the small bits and stick a new one on the key..a pencil eraser pops them on and done. I started replacing them row by row and it really was a snap.
    That was fortunate. A % of the SOL-20 keyboards, probably the earlier ones like mine, the foam disks did not click into position, but were attached instead with a contact adhesive to the bottom of the key plunger. In my case to reattach the foam disks, I used ultra thin double sided tape (punched into disks) because I didn't want to put any liquid adhesives near the assembly. Generally its not necessary to clean the PCB surface in any way, provided that is, that you have the correct metalized mylar film discs, like the ones from the Sun, these raise the capacitance well above that required to trigger the key detect circuitry.

    That disc controller to me looks very similar to a Northstar MDS-AD3, with roughly about the same number of IC's, from what has been said it may be a fairly close knock off, it would be interesting to compare the schematics if you can find the Vista one.

    Leave a comment:


  • exidyboy
    replied
    Originally posted by glitch View Post
    If they were in the bootleg/clone/knockoff business, judging from the density and lack of FDC IC, it's probably a North Star compatible board, which was hard sectored 5.25" disks, 10 sectors per track. I would guess, again from parts density, that it would be the double-density North Star controller. North Star disk systems were popular and common, especially on early S-100 stuff.

    The other popular discrete controller from the era was the Micropolis disk system controller, again hard sectored 5.25", but using 16 sector disks instead of 10 sector disks. It'd have to be a modified Micropolis design though, all of the Micropolis controllers I've seen have trimpots for final adjustment.
    Looks like your Northstar intuition is correct. Please see snippet from a 1985 newsletter article. Keywords: Vista, Micropolis, 100TPI

    Leave a comment:


  • exidyboy
    replied
    Originally posted by glitch View Post
    If they were in the bootleg/clone/knockoff business, judging from the density and lack of FDC IC, it's probably a North Star compatible board, which was hard sectored 5.25" disks, 10 sectors per track. I would guess, again from parts density, that it would be the double-density North Star controller. North Star disk systems were popular and common, especially on early S-100 stuff.
    Northstar profile doesn't successfully decode a Kryoflux image of a Vista disk for the Sorcerer in HxC though

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X