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Altair 8800 owner in Australia

kingchops

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2011
Messages
179
Location
Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Hi All,
I recently purchased the Altair 8800 that was advertised on the vintage-computer.com Altair page. I've wanted one for several years and jumped at the chance when I saw one available. It was safely shipped to Australia and I've managed to load the number adding program into the machine and run it successfully so I'm pretty happy that it works at the basic level. My ultimate goal is to get basic running on the machine. The machine has cpu board, two dynamic 4k ram boards and the original 1k static board, it has the cassette interface board (88-SIOB & piggyback modem) and a couple of parallel boards, the 88-4PIO and another generic one.

I was told that there was originally a terminal connected via the parallel board but don't know at this stage how to replicate that setup. I'm not sure either if I can connect a serial cable to the 88-SIOB board. My first thoughts were to do that and try to interface to a pc via a terminal emulator program. I'm currently trying to source a 88-2SIO as I've read that they were the best serial card made by MITS.

Any help of tips would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Theo

Here's a few pics:








 

kingchops

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2011
Messages
179
Location
Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Thanks for the heads up!

Unfortunately I'm not very good with a soldering iron.

As it happens I just bought a Cromemco serial/paralles IO card and I'm going to try and get that working with my altair.
 

Des

New Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2009
Messages
9
Location
Australia
That system looks very clean, especally the front panel

have you performed any restoration work on it?
 

per

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
3,006
Location
Western Norway
As the system doesn't contain any bootstrap loader, you will have to enter one by hand if you want to load programs from casette/parallel/serial ports. The manual for BASIC itself will tell you how to do this for the most common interfaces, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Just keep in mind that each interface/card has it's own bootstrap loader, and you will only need to enter the one for the interface you decide to use.

What will likely be a problem, though, is to get the casette interface properly set up. What's imprtaint is that the volume should be set just right, and the distortion/filtering of the audio output should be as minimal as possible. I've heard that casette loading can be a real pain, due to such interface problems.

The most convenient way of getting output will be to get a serial interface board. You can simply hook one of these boards up to a modern computer, and then use a terminal emulator (such as PuTTY) for comunication. Depending on if the board you get is in a DTE or TCE configuration, you will either have to use a null-modem cable or a straight-through cable (respectively). Getting such a board should be no problem as the S-100 homebrew comunity still makes boards (as mentioned), and the components requiered are still widely available today.
 
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