Altair8800 micro finally tested, It works!

Discuss the new Altair 8800 Micro

Altair8800 micro finally tested, It works!

Postby ddunton » Feb Mon 28, 2011 9:33 pm

Vince,

I finally finished the soldering and got a power supply to to see how much smoke I could make. Darn it no smoke. Worked first time. Have loaded 8kbasic and tested a few .bas files. Going to try to update terminal firmware now.

Thanks!

Doug
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Re: Altair8800 micro finally tested, It works!

Postby vbriel » Mar Tue 01, 2011 11:47 am

Doug,

Just so you know, there is going to be a major firmware update coming soon. The update will fix all known bugs with BASIC so all versions work and clears the path to get AltairDOS and CP/M going.

Vince
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Re: Altair8800 micro finally tested, It works!

Postby craigswrx » Mar Wed 02, 2011 8:18 am

thats good news cant wait for the update
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Re: Altair8800 micro finally tested, It works!

Postby skovsende » Mar Wed 02, 2011 2:59 pm

vbriel wrote:Doug,

Just so you know, there is going to be a major firmware update coming soon. The update will fix all known bugs with BASIC so all versions work and clears the path to get AltairDOS and CP/M going.

Vince


Can you tell us how you are going to implement the disk drives? Beside what you already told in the CP/M thread....

Best regards
Dana Skovsende
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Re: Altair8800 micro finally tested, It works!

Postby vbriel » Mar Wed 02, 2011 3:42 pm

The Altair 8800micro has 32K of system memory onboard. It takes 62K of RAM for CP/M. A add-on card is under development that gives 32K more of RAM for a total of 64K of system RAM. To handle the disk emulation, a microcontroller will emulate the Altair disk controller and 2 large RAM chips that are battery backed will act as the virtual disk drives. There will be switch controls to load and store disk images to these large memory chips. When this add-on board is available, all you will need to do is load your images into the RAM drive, load a bootloader program instead of BASIC and off you go. Once the images are loaded into RAM, you don't have to load them again. The battery backed RAM chips will hold the images with power off.

I'm just getting ready to try a prototype board and then the firmware needs to be written to handle the functions of the disk controller. After the system has been tested fully I'll make kits available.

If you are wondering why we don't use the SD card to read/write to disk images, the reason is the current driver can't do random file access read/writes and would probably be too slow in the current format.

It will be fun when CP/M is running on these machines.

Vince
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Re: Altair8800 micro finally tested, It works!

Postby skovsende » Mar Thu 03, 2011 1:57 am

vbriel wrote:The Altair 8800micro has 32K of system memory onboard. It takes 62K of RAM for CP/M. A add-on card is under development that gives 32K more of RAM for a total of 64K of system RAM. To handle the disk emulation, a microcontroller will emulate the Altair disk controller and 2 large RAM chips that are battery backed will act as the virtual disk drives. There will be switch controls to load and store disk images to these large memory chips. When this add-on board is available, all you will need to do is load your images into the RAM drive, load a bootloader program instead of BASIC and off you go. Once the images are loaded into RAM, you don't have to load them again. The battery backed RAM chips will hold the images with power off.

I'm just getting ready to try a prototype board and then the firmware needs to be written to handle the functions of the disk controller. After the system has been tested fully I'll make kits available.

If you are wondering why we don't use the SD card to read/write to disk images, the reason is the current driver can't do random file access read/writes and would probably be too slow in the current format.

It will be fun when CP/M is running on these machines.

Vince


1. How is this card programmed? Through the Propeller from the SD card or is it programmed "outside" via an PC?
2. This implementation has some drawbacks; how do you "change" a disk while CP/M is running?
3. How may disks is emulated?
4. If you are on the topic of emulating "storage", why not do a "BIOS" that are loaded from this card when the system is booted?
5. CP/M will be a lots of fun :-)

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