It’s official, we are going to the Maker Faire May 18th and May 19th. The Maker Faire is a gathering of people who make things, naturally this is a perfect fit for us. Last year we only brought the Altair 8800micro for people to play with and our table was always crowded. This year we are going to bring all the platforms and some that under development.
We are probably going to need help. If anybody is planning on attending and would like to help, we can compensate with a free entry pass. You must spend at least 4 hours at the table in order to qualify. If interested, please email me and I will be making a decision on that this month. You must be familiar with our products enough to talk about them to people who come up.
I’ve been spending my free time working on a new project. This platform system will have a 65C02 and emulate the OSI 600 Superboard II or Challenger C1P. Visit the forums for pictures I’ve posted of my messy wire-wrap board with tactile buttons for a keyboard. The final version will have larger buttons but I’m having a difficult time getting buttons that are the right size, right price and has different sizes for SHIFT, RETURN, ENTER, and SPACE BAR. I’ll come up with something but I’m open to any ideas. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll look at your suggestions.
What’s great is the wire-wrap board is actually really stable, almost as good as a PCB and yet I don’t have any caps on the chips for noise. Right now, I’m ready to implement the serial interface. I’m not going to do the cassette interface as they are just a real pain to deal with. After I have that working and an external keyboard option, I’ll lay down a board and see how things look. If you are interested in me going into production on this, email me and let me know so I can get an idea of how many people might want one.
Maker Faire in the San Francisco bay area is a huge venue with so much to see and do. Last year was won of the best times I’ve had at a venue ever! I hope that my application to show my equipment is approved so I can return again this year. In the mean time, I will plan on being there.
Well, my wirewrap project has been on standby while the design details get worked out. It appears that I’m running out of I/O pins on a micro controller and I’m having to dance around that a bit. I should be starting today. This may be my first board that is all 3.3V based. My other boards all use standard TTL 5V logic levels for most of the work and 3.3V where needed. This causes interfacing issues so I may think outside the box again. I like having all my projects do something a little different. The replica 1 TE was the first kit I used the Propeller on. The Micro-KIM was the first kit I kept most of the original design. The Altair 8800micro was the first CPU emulation I wrote. What’s next? Hopefully I can post pictures soon, but I don’t want to show something that is years away, so I’ll post updates when I have a board working.
What I can say is that with the help of Jac Goudsmit I have a Propeller micro controller connected to a 6502 bus using the Propellers onboard memory as video RAM. This means I can connect a Propeller controller to a 6502 system and directly address video RAM at 1MHz speed. We also have the ability to eliminate ROM this way but the project I’m working on also has a serial port and keyboard. This is where aspirin gets applied. We need to shuffle 1 or 2 pins to give us the I/O required for everything. Once this is done, the project will make a nice single controller I/O package for 8 bit processor systems.
I’m going to wire wrap a project that I’m working on starting today. It takes a few days for me to do a board this way because I like to do it in small sections at a time so I don’t make mistakes. If this project works, it’s one I’ve wanted to do for a while but never had the time (still don’t). Without too much information I can say that I’m working with another 6502, this time the WDC65C02 at 3.3V and the whole circuit will be 3.3V, a change from my other designs. In the past I’ve kept my circuits at 5 volts just like vintage machines, but this project is a little different because of the video interface. As soon as I have a working wire wrap version I’ll post pictures and details.
We are going to be hosting a workshop at the VCFSE in Roswell, GA just north of Atlanta on April 20th and 21st. There are 4 different kits to choose from from beginner to more experienced builders. If you have never experienced the fun of a workshop now is the time. Building a kit in a classroom type setting is great fun and really has that 70′s computer feel to it. This will be a next generation workshop as I can’t physically be onsite but will be using a video conference setup to assist in the workshop. There will be experienced people there with plenty of soldering experience to help those who need guidance with soldering. I will be available on video chat to help answer more kit related questions or just to chat and answer general questions. So, you can not only build a kit, but pick my brain.
The workshop is free, simply order the kit you want to build from the VCFSE Workshop page.
Registration ends April 12th and is limited to 12 entries, so don’t miss out!
JUST ADDED: Tools needed for the workshop
Soldering iron 25-40 watt, 30-35 best
wire cutters to cut the extra length off of resistors/capacitors, etc.
Sign ups are now open and on a first come first serve basis with limited seating. You can order your workshop here:
Please contact me if you have any questions.
We finally have the Altair micro serial number 1 up for auction on Ebay. 50% of the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project. I have friends who have used the services offered by Wounded Warriors and this is my chance to give back. Please help support this project. The auction can be found here:
The long awaited RAM drive for the Altair 8800micro is now available to order. We are ordering boards this week and orders will ship in about 2 weeks when the boards arrive. You can choose from kit or assembled as is with most of our products. If you have an Altair now is your chance to get a RAM drive and have a full operating system (CP/M) with 2 virtual RAM drives. To load CP/M simply load a disk image onto the SD card, then transfer it over to the RAM drive A or B and run the bootloader to boot from the RAM drive. visit the store or the Altair 8800micro order page to order yours now.
Our first ever sale last year was a huge success so we decided to hold it as an annual event. These prices are incredibly low. If you can’t solder, or just want to save money, now you can get many of our popular kits assembled at the kit price! Save up to $80 on a kit. If you’ve been wanting a kit but don’t know how to solder or don’t think you could build one, let us build it for you for free!
All of our assembled kits are built upon order so expect some delay processing orders do to heavy demand.
Sale ends Sunday 9/16/2012
We’ve been a little busy around here and things are going to get a lot busier in the near future. We have been in Talks with Thomas “Todd” Fischer to acquire the IP and remaining inventory of IMSAI. With this pending purchase we will be able to roll out new IMSAI series 2 machines in the near future. There is still some work to do but a tentative agreement has been reached.
In order to raise the capitol required for the purchase we will do a Kickstarter project that will ask for a donation to help “Save IMSAI”. If you have ever wanted to be a part of something big, this is your chance. We are working out rewards for donations but even $5 or $20 will help. I’m doing something I don’t like to do and that is to ask for help to save IMSAI. Together we can reboot IMSAI and make something incredible. Please wait until the Kickstarter project is up before making a donation. It is really an exciting time here.