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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Bytesaver II restoration

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    Bytesaver II restoration

    I have just finished restoring a Bytesaver II board and made some notes related to the attached image.

    As is often the case with vintage S-100 boards there is a moderate amount of service work to do, that is if you expect the function to be reliable.

    This particular board had one of the worst combinations of IC sockets and IC pin types. Cromemco must have had a deal going with TI at the time because all the 74LS series IC’s were TI types, not a mixed bag of brands often seen on vintage s-100 boards.

    The IC sockets were also all made by TI. Generally there are two versions of their socket that look the same externally, though you can spot the difference looking into a hole on the socket. In TI’s early design, the socket claw grabs the IC pin from side to side across its wider dimension. In the other case the claw grabs the pin across the flat (as most dual wipe sockets do). The ones on this board are that latter type. These particular ones have a very low claw tension, even when new.
    The fist thing I noticed was that the ROM sockets were totally “worn out” with the ROMs basically falling out of the sockets with very minimal force. I made a small tool with a wire loop connected to a defunct IC pin. Using this to test each socket claw I found many were stretched apart and had no spring force at all.

    (It is very important that no other object other than a standard geometry IC pin is inserted into an IC socket, or it will stretch and damage the claw, leaving the socket unreliable or the connection lost altogether).

    In some cases the claws can be stretched apart and still appear to work, especially if the IC’s pins are splayed apart and have not been formed properly to fit the socket hole entry points. In these cases one face of the IC pin only touches one side of the socket claw, making for an unreliable long term connection.

    It required that all of the ROM sockets were replaced. With this type of socket, the plastic shell lifts off the top of the pin array, so each pin can be removed and the hole cleared with the solder sucker and temperature controlled soldering iron. This way there is no damage to the pcb.

    #1 On the photo below shows the new dual wipe ROM sockets installed.

    #2 The board also contained a type of DIP switch, which I have found notorious for poor connections as they age. They were removed and machine pin IC sockets fitted and high quality Omron DIP switched plugged into those. This give an overall height the same as the original switch and one day new switched can easily be plugged in as required.

    #3 I have found over the years that the white thermal paste on power devices tends to go powdery and break up and it is better replaced.

    #4 There is another problem better dealt with. Cromemco used a plastic screw to secure the 7905 IC. This is a very bad idea because with heat the screw stretches, the forces drop and the thermal contact between the metal flag of the device to the heat sink is degraded. Somebody also had trouble with this in the past, in that it was a 6-32 plastic screw with a 4-40 nut screwed on it with damaged plastic threads. So I replaced that with a metal screw where the screw’s length is insulated with heat shrink sleeving.

    #5 The original screws and nuts securing the heat sink and the devices were very rusted. These were replaced.

    #6 All of the IC’s were removed from their sockets and the IC pins cleaned with 2000 grade paper (I find this better than chemical cleaning), then a clean with CO Contact cleaner and then lubricant applied (Inox’s mx-3).
    Vintage TI brand IC’s have silver plated steel pins which develop a black oxidation. Sometimes these pins are brittle and fracture even if they were bent and straightened once. Other times they rust through, often at the pin entry to the plastic IC body. Three of the 74LS05 IC’s had damaged or rusted pins and were replaced, I used TI types to help match the rest on the card.
    Each IC socket hole was tested with the test pin, dipped in mx-3 to lubricate it. Fortunately, the claw tension in all the smaller sockets was normal and none required replacement.

    #7 Two 74LS367’s required replacement due to pin rust.

    After this restoration work, the card was then ready to try using Martin Eberhard’s software and I was able to program the 2708.
    Attached Files

    I recently used Martin Eberhard’s software with a Bytesaver-I. It worked great and was easy to use.
    Member of the Rhode Island Computer Museum