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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Partial Altair Kit I Bought

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    Partial Altair Kit I Bought

    I don't know if I did good, bad or in between on this - I offered $1500 and that carried the day. I don't think my price was too far out there - I know what individual components have sold for in the past, and if I went high it's probably not by much. I'm sure this stuff has appreciated since the last time I saw these things for sale.

    I am thinking about building it - if I can find authentic switches and LEDs, ICs etc. I'd be prepared to use clone parts where I had to (I wonder if I could get the front panel cover separately of a full clone kit? would it fit?) to get it going and then gradually replace with original parts as they came available. Kicking myself for not going for that Altair bus baseplate that sold for $51 a few months ago. I'm not doctrinaire like some collectors - I don't need the thing to be 100% original and correct, if it means not having to lay out $5000-7000 all at once.

    Even if it never gets built, I can pretend I have an Altair and spare my bank account of the full cost of buying a complete one. Just how my brain works.

    And I thought you said your collection was large enough now?

    Does that mean you are going to start selling things off and replacing them with others as you find them?!



      Altair is a different story.

      But yes I actually have been doing some downsizing. I've sold two of my Falcons and an Explorer 85, a couple of Apple IIs.. I am paring things a bit. The Altair was just one of those Holy Grails I had to have, at least once, in some form.

      In future I could see my collection coming down to just a number of rare and unusual items.


        That sounds like the logical approach!

        Buy what you really want to keep that interests you when it appears for 'sensible money' - and sell off some of the other stuff to pay for it...



          My original rule was that everything had to fit in one room. That was how I hoped to prevent myself from descending into hoarding. I did expect the collection would grow fairly large as that was what I wanted.. but I did not want it expanding into other areas of the house or requiring investment in storage. But even there I am finding it a challenge and even a demotivator to use the things when it takes 30 min to pull something out and set up.

          It's always bugged me though that I didn't have an Altair given what else I had. It qualifies as special and was always a top get if I could get it at a decent price, in some form.


            Quick question.. is the internal chassis of the Altair metal or some kind of wood/melamine sort of thing? This picture purports to be an original altair and the chassis apart from the side rails looks more like wood to me?


              Originally posted by falter View Post
              Quick question.. is the internal chassis of the Altair metal or some kind of wood/melamine sort of thing? This picture purports to be an original altair and the chassis apart from the side rails looks more like wood to me?
              All pieces of the internal chassis are metal.



                Originally posted by deramp5113 View Post
                All pieces of the internal chassis are metal.

                Thanks Mike. I guess I'll have to rig something up and hope a chassis appears one day. Haven't seen one yet though. I know Grant Stockly went to some trouble to reproduce the chassis to 100% accuracy but not sure if pieces or plans exist anywhere.

                A question for you - are you still selling your replica kits? If so, is it possible to buy individual pieces? I'm wondering if the front fascia and rear panel would fit in an original chassis?


                  About 15 years ago, Grant paid Optima to re-tool for the Altair case. Since he paid for the re-tool, Optima will only run the cases for Grant. My last contact with Grant was several years ago. I don’t believe he’s actively involved in the hobby anymore.

                  I still sell the Altair 8800 Clone and its cabinet, but unfortunately, none of the pieces are interchangeable with the original cabinet.



                    Yeah, and I think I read on Grant's site that the original drawings and specs for the case were lost... I'd have to get access to an original to measure things out and make my own parts. I could live with internals that are not perfectly to spec.. but the dress panel is problematic. I'm assuming other replicas of that like Altairduino don't fit either..


                      It's not a real Altair 8800 until you find the cheapest white wire on the market and wire things up with it.
                      Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.


                        Hahaha... apparently it comes with a roll of cheap white wire so we are set there. Wonder what gauge that is? It looks tiny.

                        I'm thinking I will rig up a crude chassis out of metal, unless I can find a small job fab shop that could do it for me. And then if I can get an exact measurement of the back panel and front dress and inner front panels, I'll probably create something temporary there until (I hope) real parts show up one day.

                        I'm thinking about following Grant Stockly's lead and going with modern switching power supplies for now also.