new find: an Intel MDS 800

From: Steve Thatcher <>
Date: Tue Oct 26 19:13:15 2004

Hi Scott, you must be the one that bought the "MDS800" from eBay recently.
I tried to tell the guy that it was a MDS2XX series which was the second
generation development system from Intel.
It is not a MDS800...

I used these systems back in the 70s and 80s as others here have done. In
bringing up the system verify power supply operation before powering
anything on. A system that I recently acquired has so far only yielded a
good internal disk drive and all the cards are non-operational.

The internal drive could be either SD or DD. If there is a 50 pin ribbon
connecting the drive to the back board in the system, then you have an
internal single density drive. If there is a cable running from one of the
front cards to the drive, then it has been hooked up as double density.

I don't have any comments on keeping its credentials.

best regards, Steve Thatcher

At 08:00 PM 10/26/2004, you wrote:
>I recently acquired an exciting new (old) machine, an Intel MDS 800,
>known as the 'Blue Box.' It's the 1975-era 8080 based box that kicked
>off CP/M.
>My particular machine was intended as an 8051 ICE box, it has the 8051
>emulator pod and external PROM programmer.
>The system came complete with a big box of what appears to be complete
>docs and a lot of software on 8" disks. There are four or more
>different versions of IRIS, a disk labeled 'CPM' which I hope is a
>boot disk, and multiple versions of other Intel tools, including the
>targeted 8051 development tools.
>I paid a fair amount for this system, and am going to go slowly at
>bringing it up. It's been stored a long time and there's a troubling
>amount of surface rust on some of the screw heads and exposed
>I've popped it open and some of the ICs (mostly TTL) have corrosion on
>the leads. I have a few opening questions for others who have
>restored hardware in similar condition: should I remove the corrosion
>on IC leads, or do I run the risk of 'removing' the leads. The
>circuit boards look really good, so worst-case I will replace some of
>the chips.
>What is the opinion about this kind of servicing? The chips in
>question are all (so far as I have investigated) common 7400 series
>(some Schottky) TTL gates. Do people consider it as 'damaging' to the
>'credentials' of a piece of classic hardware to replace chips with
>others with significantly different date codes?
>This is going to be a long term project for me, I fear, because I want
>to do it right. This machine has a built-in CRT display so I might be
>forced to do some (something I almost always refuse to do these days)
>video monitor troubleshooting.
>The machine has a built-in 8" floppy, which I assume is the
>low-density original, and an expansion case (third party) with two
>newer and higher density drives.
>Is there a source for new or NOS 8" floppies out there? One thing for
>certain that I'll be doing early after getting this machine up and
>running is a backup of all the media that came with it (a fair amount,
>probably 30-50 disks, many of which are Intel branded originals).
>Lots more questions and comments likely to come on this project.
Received on Tue Oct 26 2004 - 19:13:15 BST

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