Altair8800 'kit' - can you identify this stuff?

From: William Layer <>
Date: Thu Jan 27 09:15:49 2005

Thanks for the info so far.. here are the ugly details on the 'kit'..

Dave wrote:

> Btw - if you have an unassembled 8800 - it might be a good idea to keep it that way - I
> would think unassembled ones would be more rare than assembled ones.

Sorry if I was confusing on this.. I was half-joking when I said 'kit form'; the unit wasn't so much *unassembled* as *disassembled* :) The unit is quite an interesting hodgepodge at the moment.. Here is a better description of what I have:

Original 8800 Chassis, with early faceplate - dang I love that old 70's computer typeface! A ding in the white topcover, but overall very nice shape.

Display / Control board (rev 1) removed, and showing evidence of a burnout in the lower left, 7400 chip I think. Someone has socketed every chip on the board, with a collection of random colorful sockets. The board shows some small rework with kynar, to fix lost pads/traces on one socket pattern. Needs a couple of switches replaced. Marked "3421K" in black Sharpie.

8080 CPU card (rev 1) removed and showing signs of modification (a mystery chip has been added with glue & kynar), and CPU is missing. Marked "3423K" in black Sharpie.

Motherboard replaced with a Processor Tech (?) MB-1 Mainboard - 16 slots. The pullup/pulldown resistors look like they were installed by a small child, and not a gifted one. I will rework this area.

Power supply replaced with beefy 8800B power supply, obviously to accomodate all that extra hardware that the motherboard will hold. Large fan is also added, without a grille. Watch your #&!$_at_ fingers, kid!

A card marked "MCT R30 ASSY 105510" (seems like serial or parallel I/O)

A card marked "SD Systems VersaFloppy II" (must be the disk controller)

A card marked "SD Systems Expandoram II" (must be the memory card, and it's fully populated. No idea what the capacity is)

A card marked "SD Systems SBC-200" (has a Z-80A cpu, and what I think is the matching Z-80 buss driver chip. Has 4 ROM sockets, two of which are populated. One is clearly marked 'EDO BIOS'. Also has edge connectors marked serial & parallel I/O. Seems like a multifunction card; CPU, ROM & I/O)

A card marked "Signum Systems MICE-48" with a long ribbon cable leading to an emulator probe, bearing an EPROM chip. (It's clearly an In-Circuit Emulator device, my guess is that it was emulating an 8048 or similar)

A card marked "Vector 8800V", which is a complete and utter disaster of Kynar and flying components. I wouldn't let this thing near a running system. (seems like a generic breadboard card, which has been built into some form of custom hardware, has a large device marked "Analog Devices 940", and about 12 other chips, plus a pile of discete components)

A large dual-floppy drive chassis, blue in color, with 8" drives. Seems like generic Intel hardware of the mid-70's. No obvious markings.

A collection of 8" disks, some clearly CP/M based. I'm quite certain that in light of the Z80 card, that this machine was running CP/M until it was taken (or took itself) out of service.

A small board marked "John Bell Engineering Phoneme Synthesizer" with a DIP connector, wall-wart power supply, and a few chips including a Votrax SC-01 chip. (Ok, it's clearly a speech synth. Apparently, this thing could talk at one point..)

Ok - I think that's pretty much all of it. If anyone can verify / correct me on identification, or provide other info, it would be greatly appreciated. Some of this stuff (like the ICE hardware) might be up for trade.

Thanks for all of your time,

Received on Thu Jan 27 2005 - 09:15:49 GMT

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