iPDS questions

From: Dave Mabry <dmabry_at_mich.com>
Date: Sun Dec 9 12:58:45 2001

I have one of these machines and at one time used it extensively for
developing. I'll try to answer your questions off the top of my head,
hoping that the cobwebs aren't too thick.

The iPDS was Intel's "Portable Development System" or "Personal
Development System"...not sure which was the official name. It was
8085-based with 64k of ram. It also had a separate 8085 doing the
keyboard scanning/debouncing, some I/O, and the crt function. There was
an optional second processor board that you could install and it became
a true dual processor machine. You could switch between the two
processors with a hot key. Both processors could be independently
compiling, editing, debugging, etc. It had four internal connectors for
iSBX modules which were small daughter boards that Intel standardized
for their Multibus. The iPDS and its operating system, ISIS-PDS, could
boot from a bubble memory module on an iSBX module.

I had mine set up so one processor would boot ISIS-PDS from the bubble
and the other processor would boot CP/M from the diskette drive. I also
installed some enhanced firmware into the processor that controlled the
keyboard and crt that allowed type-ahead. Something that we take for
granted for many years now, but it was a cool feature for the time.

The plug in modules that went into the side of the computer allowed you
to use a sort of mini in-circuit-emulator for 8051 and one for the
8088. Intel called them "emulation vehicles". As I recall, they were
pretty nice products, only lacking a big trace memory from thier big
brothers. EMV-51 and EMV-88.

You could also plug into that side connector any of the EPROM
programming modules that Intel sold for their stand-alone programmer
called the iUPP (Universal Prom Programmer).

For some reason, maybe because I don't have anything better to do
(that's what I've been accused of), I have resurrected my iPDS recently
and after a few fixes it now works. I probably have just about every
piece of software that ever ran on it in the ISIS-PDS world. In the old
days I wrote a BIOS for CP/M Plus for it, even utilizing a time-of-day
clock iSBX module from Zendex so it automatically knew time and date.
I've yet to replace the battery on that module to see if it still works.

If anyone would like copies of any of the software I have for that
machine, e-mail me privately (or on the list if you prefer) and I'll see
what I can do for you.

Oh yea, the diskettes were 80 track (96 tpi) double sided. I think the
capacity was about 640k. I replaced the one full-height drive in mine
with two half-height drives. Then I made the full height one into an
external drive that plugged into the connector on the back.

"Zane H. Healy" wrote:
> I'm sure glad to see the list is back up, I originally tried the following
> message on Tuesday. I still don't know anything more about the system.
> Unfortunatly it's been raining really hard around here since Tuesday, so
> the system is still sitting at work, and I've not really been able to
> examine it.
> Zane
> I'm still a little shocked. I just found a working iPDS system, complete
> with documentation and some software. Unfortunatly I don't think a lot of
> it is still readable. I did get the system to boot and pass all
> diagnostics.
> I know nothing about these beasties, from looking at the doc's it's
> obviously i8085 based with 64k RAM. It's got a single 5 1/4" floppy, and
> it's in a case slightly smaller than a Kaypro II. In the area behind the
> CRT is a storage area for two pods that each handle two different sizes of
> PROMs, these plug into a hole in the right side of the case.
> What on earth filesystem are the floppies? Are any kind of software images
> available to replace the dead floppies? Is there any software to read and
> write to the floppies from MS-DOS?
> Basically the main thing I'm interested in is the systems ability to read
> and write PROMs. I wouldn't mind being able to use this to support my DEC
> hardware :^)
> Zane
> --
> | Zane H. Healy | UNIX Systems Administrator |
> | healyzh_at_aracnet.com (primary) | OpenVMS Enthusiast |
> | | Classic Computer Collector |
> +----------------------------------+----------------------------+
> | Empire of the Petal Throne and Traveller Role Playing, |
> | PDP-10 Emulation and Zane's Computer Museum. |
> | http://www.aracnet.com/~healyzh/ |

Dave Mabry             dmabry_at_mich.com
Dossin Museum Underwater Research Team
NACD #2093
Received on Sun Dec 09 2001 - 12:58:45 GMT

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