Forums

S-100 Bus

Started by bitrex April 21, 2017
Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage 
surplus S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere.

What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up 
and running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of 
mass-storage controller, terminal interface....?
On Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:04 -0400, bitrex wrote:

> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage > surplus S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. > > What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up > and running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of > mass-storage controller, terminal interface....?
You can probably get away without the mass storage controller, at least initially. I think you need the rest, though. Of all the cool vintage S-100 bits that I think I'd jettison first, the mass storage controller would be on top of the list -- make a card that reads files off of a thumb drive while faithfully emulating a tape reader, instead. Unless you WANT to mess around with reviving some 8" floppy drive, that is. -- Tim Wescott Control systems, embedded software and circuit design I'm looking for work! See my website if you're interested http://www.wescottdesign.com
On 04/21/2017 12:25 PM, Tim Wescott wrote:
> On Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:04 -0400, bitrex wrote: > >> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage >> surplus S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. >> >> What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up >> and running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of >> mass-storage controller, terminal interface....? > > You can probably get away without the mass storage controller, at least > initially. I think you need the rest, though. > > Of all the cool vintage S-100 bits that I think I'd jettison first, the > mass storage controller would be on top of the list -- make a card that > reads files off of a thumb drive while faithfully emulating a tape > reader, instead. > > Unless you WANT to mess around with reviving some 8" floppy drive, that > is. >
Yeah, no thanks to that one, I guess. I'll have to do some research on the tech, it's a bit before my time. So all these Z80 CPU boards and 64K ram boards filled with dozens of DIP ICs and TO-3 voltage regulators are mutually compatible? Just snap em into some surplus PSU and backplane and you're most of the way there? I've always wanted a 6809 with a bunch of RAM. Halt and catch fire!
On 04/21/2017 12:25 PM, Tim Wescott wrote:
> On Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:04 -0400, bitrex wrote: > >> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage >> surplus S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. >> >> What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up >> and running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of >> mass-storage controller, terminal interface....? > > You can probably get away without the mass storage controller, at least > initially. I think you need the rest, though. > > Of all the cool vintage S-100 bits that I think I'd jettison first, the > mass storage controller would be on top of the list -- make a card that > reads files off of a thumb drive while faithfully emulating a tape > reader, instead. > > Unless you WANT to mess around with reviving some 8" floppy drive, that > is. >
Look at this behemoth: <http://www.ebay.com/itm/MASSIVE-SD-SYSTEMS-CP-M-MP-M-CASE-WITH-SPACE-FOR-2-8-FLOPPIES-10-SLOT-S-100-BUS-/272637402809?hash=item3f7a749eb9:g:hjoAAOSwXeJYMFlU> 67 pounds, I don't really have room for it. I'll tell my girlfriend that she'll need to keep it in her living room, or else the relationship probably isn't going to work out.
On 4/21/2017 8:18 AM, bitrex wrote:
> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage surplus > S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. > > What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up and > running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of > mass-storage controller, terminal interface....?
Depending on the card(s), as little as a CPU card and power supply. Of course, it depends on what you want to *do* with that "system". If you just want some blinkenlites...
On 04/21/2017 02:31 PM, Don Y wrote:
> On 4/21/2017 8:18 AM, bitrex wrote: >> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage >> surplus >> S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. >> >> What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up >> and >> running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of >> mass-storage controller, terminal interface....? > > Depending on the card(s), as little as a CPU card and power supply. > > Of course, it depends on what you want to *do* with that "system". > If you just want some blinkenlites...
CPU, a few K of RAM, some non-volatile storage that's not some dinosaur from 1973, and something that can send terminal commands out via RS-232 might be a nice start.
On 4/21/2017 11:48 AM, bitrex wrote:
> On 04/21/2017 02:31 PM, Don Y wrote: >> On 4/21/2017 8:18 AM, bitrex wrote: >>> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage >>> surplus >>> S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. >>> >>> What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up >>> and >>> running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of >>> mass-storage controller, terminal interface....? >> >> Depending on the card(s), as little as a CPU card and power supply. >> >> Of course, it depends on what you want to *do* with that "system". >> If you just want some blinkenlites... > > CPU, a few K of RAM, some non-volatile storage that's not some dinosaur from > 1973, and something that can send terminal commands out via RS-232 might be a > nice start.
In the mid 70's, DRAM was in short supply (16Kx1's) and SRAM of any size (bigger than a 2114) was costly (e.g., 2Kx8 parts). E.g., I have a Z80 box with 512KB of DRAM that was something to *drool* over, "back in the day". For nonvolatile storage, your options were 8 inch floppies (hard or soft sectored) -- though you could cobble a 5" floppy onto the same controller with a tiny bit of surgery on the ribbon cable. I had a 10MB winny but that required a controller the size of the processor board! :< Of course, you can also hack the "BIOS" and implement any other sort of secondary storage that you want. Tiny systems like that are "weekend projects" for most folks, nowadays, as the development environment is so much richer (cross-hosted), now. Finding a vintage ASR/KSR TTY (to make the illusion complete!) will be a bit of a chore, though! :>
"bitrex" <bitrex@de.lete.earthlink.net> wrote in message 
news:NopKA.95377$3c5.9368@fx34.iad...
> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage > surplus S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. > > What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up and > running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of > mass-storage controller, terminal interface....?
Why would you want to?! - if you can get a big stack of boards for scrap money, there might be a few components worth harvesting. --- This email has been checked for viruses by AVG. http://www.avg.com
On Sat, 22 Apr 2017 02:25:04 +1000, Tim Wescott <tim@seemywebsite.com>  
wrote:

> On Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:04 -0400, bitrex wrote: > >> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage >> surplus S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. >> >> What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up >> and running? Backplane and PSU, processor board, RAM card, some kind of >> mass-storage controller, terminal interface....? > > You can probably get away without the mass storage controller, at least > > Of all the cool vintage S-100 bits that I think I'd jettison first, the > mass storage controller would be on top of the list -- make a card that > reads files off of a thumb drive while faithfully emulating a tape > reader, instead. > > Unless you WANT to mess around with reviving some 8" floppy drive, that > is. >
i think compact flash will be easier to implement
On Friday, April 21, 2017 at 5:13:15 PM UTC-7, David Eather wrote:
> On Sat, 22 Apr 2017 02:25:04 +1000, Tim Wescott <tim@seemywebsite.com> > wrote: > > > On Fri, 21 Apr 2017 11:18:04 -0400, bitrex wrote: > > > >> Hey y'all big tie and polyester suit fans. There's a lot of vintage > >> surplus S-100 stuff on eBay and elsewhere. > >> > >> What's the bare minimum one would need to get an S-100 retro system up > >> and running?
> > You can probably get away without the mass storage controller, at least
> > Unless you WANT to mess around with reviving some 8" floppy drive, that > > is.
> i think compact flash will be easier to implement
Not easy. CF uses the 80286 bus signalling scheme, aka IDE or PATA. It's slightly adaptable, to 8088, but NOT really good for 8080 and Z80 and such. On the bright side, if you COULD get it to work, that means almost all PATA devices could be adapted. I've got some older machines using PATA flash disks, it works out just fine. Alas, real PATA hardware is no longer mass-manufactured. CF is nearly dead, too. If you don't mind modifying the S100 boards, the three-terminal 5V regulators can be replaced with more energy-efficient switchmode gizmos in the same package. Then you could ditch the hulking-capacitors 8VDC unregulated power. I wouldn't rule out 8 inch floppy, that might be the best bootable OS option.