Fantastic kit / usage notes

Discuss the new Altair 8800 Micro

Fantastic kit / usage notes

Postby DrGary » Feb Sun 08, 2015 11:34 pm

Thanks, Vince, for a great kit and prompt responses to my questions. To help others, here are some build/usage notes:

Build Notes:
• Manual errata, page 17: "Please note that there is no resistor #15. R15 was removed from the design." Actually, there is an R15, 560Ω resistor. Yes, install it.
• Manual errata, page 20: "There are 32 resistors and they are all 220 ohm resistors. They are labeled RED, RED, BLACK, and GOLD." That should be "RED, RED, BROWN, and GOLD."
• Manual errata, page 21: "Install the blue switches in the remaining switch locations on the bottom row (STOP, RESET, PROT, and AUX)." The list should include the ON/OFF switch.
• Remove all of the nuts and washers from the switches. The washers make them too wide to fit as close together as they need to. I don't think there are any stability issues on the front plate without them. However, I left them on when soldering the switches into place. By adjusting the top nut to a certain height on the switch, the switches were easy held in place by the faceplate so the assembly could be flipped over and the switches soldered. That avoided the problem of the switches falling out when flipped for soldering. Then remove the nuts and washers for good.

• Firmware: 5.1 is the latest that is shipped with the unit installed. 5.2 has 2 different versions, VGA or Composite video. You have to install the one for the video mode you use, you can't use both at the same time with 5.2 and you can't switch to the other one without flashing the firmware. So 5.1 is the official latest version.

• Usage: To save memory to the SD card:
1. With the system STOPPED
2. Raise SW8, AUX, and PROTECT
3. Lift the STEP switch to put the system in memory record mode. It will now prompt for a file name to store the memory to. Enter a file name with the 8.3 format. In other words, you MUST use a file extension. Eg: “memory.bin” It asks "Overwrite?", "Start?", "End?" The defaults are fine.

• Usage: To autorun a program:
1. With Aux up and switch A11 up at power up enter in the filename, then press SHIFT and ENTER. This stores that file name in the EEPROM.
2. Next power up use AUX and A12 up and it will auto load that filename on power up. This is the autostart mode.
So once that's done, you can leave AUX, A12, and RUN set. Then any time the system power cycles, it will load and run your program. Note: you may have to make sure A12 doesn't affect the way your program runs, as it will be up when it reboots.

• Program: There's a sample front-panel program here, from 1975!
• Program: And another one here,
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