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MITS Altair 8800 Restoration - NOS Wire

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    MITS Altair 8800 Restoration - NOS Wire

    About to start a restoration project on an Altair 8800 original. Currently looking around for parts that will need to be purchased.

    Unfortunately, someone over the years has desoldered all the white wires from the front panel that go into the baseplate.

    Does anyone know which gauge wire and whether there is an active supplier for NOS of this kind of wire?

    #2
    You don't want it--the original was perhaps 5 strand, perhaps AWG22 and very prone to breakage--just about the cheapest stranded wire that could be had at the time.. Get yourself some decent white wire.

    Remington Industries is a good supplier for hookup wire.
    Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

    Comment


      #3
      I agree the wire that came from MITS sucks. I used NOS wire circa 1975 that was the same size as the original wire, just better quality. So it has the same outside look, just isn’t as brittle. Was not cheap ($100 for roll) and took me a while to locate that wire running around surplus shops in the Bay Area a few years back. It was a many beer job to do the rewire but worth it. My ALTAIR has been rock solid even with the crappy supply and separate 4 slot motherboards.

      Comment


        #4
        Part of the problem was that the wires got nicked by the strippers people used. You don't need to duplicate the nicked wires. Use a good quality thermal stripper. A system that I worked on recently had single strand wire and looked to be original white wire.
        Dwight
        Last edited by Dwight Elvey; October 7, 2019, 06:22 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          Whatever you do, don't buy those cheap breadboard jumpers with "Dupont" male connectors (they're invariably knockoffs) on the end. I currently have an Altair on the bench that was re-wired with those. They may be worse than the original wiring...

          I personally like 25-pair telephone cable. You get a lot of unique color combinations. You can find it in stranded, but most is going to be solid conductor.
          Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

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            #6
            Telephone wire is almost always solid because of the methods use in the junction boxes. It is similar to wire wrap but not the same.
            Dwight

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Corey986 View Post
              I agree the wire that came from MITS sucks. I used NOS wire circa 1975 that was the same size as the original wire, just better quality. So it has the same outside look, just isn’t as brittle. Was not cheap ($100 for roll) and took me a while to locate that wire running around surplus shops in the Bay Area a few years back. It was a many beer job to do the rewire but worth it. My ALTAIR has been rock solid even with the crappy supply and separate 4 slot motherboards.
              The caps in mine have long dried out--one of these days, I'll refurb it. With the MITS original wire, it really was crappy wire. I picked up a 1000' roll from Haltek back in the day to replace it. I still have most of the roll--I think it came as surplus from Ampex (you remember those guys, don't you?)

              MITS really did cut a lot of corners; given the cost of the components initially, they had to.
              Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Dwight Elvey View Post
                Telephone wire is almost always solid because of the methods use in the junction boxes. It is similar to wire wrap but not the same.
                Dwight
                Yep, either wire wrap or 66/110 block termination. I've got a few sections of stranded, I believe it was originally for station cables on key system phones (where a 25-pair goes from the telephone to a RJ21 on the wall).
                Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More

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                  #9
                  Somewhere around here, I have a hunk of 1200 pair telco cable (AWG24). Solid wire--the techs have a special machine just to get it off the spool.
                  Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

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