VCF East and SEBHC

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Glenn Roberts

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Sep 8, 2021, 5:03:05 PMSep 8
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Well VCF East begins a month from today so I thought I’d loop the group in on my thoughts and plans.  Alex Bodnar and I plan to be there representing the Heathkit community and SEBHC. Here are our writeups (complete exhibitors list here):

 

Heathkit: Keeping the Legacy Alive – Glenn Roberts

Demonstrating the H8 in original form but also the many enhancements that the SEBHC group has developed. Demonstrates the range of capability of this machine and how the group is very much keeping it alive! 10Mhz Z80 CPU; sound; graphics; networking; interfacing to modern devices (I2C) etc. Including information on how to order blank boards and build your own.

Adventure 1.0 on the Heathkit H89 – Alex Bodnar

Original hardware showing off the text adventure “Adventure 1.0”. This is adventure 1.0 from 1976 the predecessor to Colossal Cave Adventure and The Very Big Cave Adventure among others for other machines of the day.

I have asked for two tables for my H8 exhibit, and I believe Alex has one, hopefully they will be adjacent to each other per our request.

 

I am planning to exhibit three H8 systems:

 

  1. “traditional” H8 circa 1979 or so:  This will be an 8080-based unit with (hopefully) an H9 terminal (if I can get that working, otherwise H19).  It will be used to demonstrate loading and running software via the H-8-5 serial interface (PC emulating the cassette player).  I plan to show some demos from the early days of HUG, mostly little LED-based games (for those of us who could only afford the H8 computer and 4K!) plus some of the early HUG BASIC stuff.  This system will have a large slave LED display unit that Terry Smedley designed especially for this purpose (thanks Terry!!). Hopefully this “eye catcher” will bring people over to the table.  The system will have Norberto’s battery-backed dual-64K RAM board so I can call up demos from RAM. If I have time to prepare for it I may also demonstrate the early music software that used the front panel speaker.  If I can get it working I may use an H9 as the terminal for this system (most authentic setup for a late 70’s system) – right now having problems with a poor RS-232 signal.  I might add an H17 (100K) disk unit and show early HDOS (1.0? 1.5?) Here’s a teaser picture of the system as of today: https://photos.app.goo.gl/PWRrMy2evJoMUGJy7

 

 

  1. “gaming” H8 circa 1981 or so:  This will be a Z80-based (2Mhz only) system including the HA-8-2 and HA-8-3 boards from NOGDS.  I will demonstrate music and video here. I’ll also put other gaming software on here like invaders, munchkin, chess, etc. I’m still working to finalize the hardware. I’d like this to be a fairly authentic setup so I’ve configured with an original Heath Z80/WH-8-37/H-8-4 setup. For disk I’ll have an H77 with dual 3.5” drives and the Z67-IDE+. I’ve made a few concessions to modern stuff including a modern RAM board plus a USB interface to load games, etc.  teaser picture:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/S5jttptmWHekENFXA (system on bottom is “rusty”, my development box; may take it for backup purposes)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZQD7fkyocjJXTMt79

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SDNPEEXTSpAyzPnAA

 

 

  1. “H8-2020”.  This will be my flashy new H8 system using all new components including the latest backplane, front panel, Rev4 Z80 board and whatever else I can get in there.  I’ll have CP/M3 (banked) running, and hopefully HDOS 3 (overachieve goal: UCSD Pascal P system too!) I may try to use George Farris’ H19 emulator and a laptop for the console.  I will have available a list of boards that Todd can provide for anyone who wants to build a similar capability. I’ve begun some work on fabricating cherry side panels. This baby is currently still in pieces awaiting my order from Phoenix connectors. Teasers:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZFMeZzknfd5ECZ5f6

https://photos.app.goo.gl/LHb3FN7BamjxSvPG8

 

 

I’ll probably bring an SVD unit but may not demonstrate that.  Also possibly some other boards of interest to show.

 

If anyone else plans to attend please let us know and perhaps we can coordinate booth duty or at least meet up face to face!

 

I’ll post more pix as we get closer…

 

  • Glenn

 

Les Bird

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Sep 8, 2021, 5:52:16 PMSep 8
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Glenn,

What a fantastic booth that's going to be. Looking forward to pics from the festival.

Did you make any progress on analog controllers for the HA-8-3?

Les

Les Bird

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Sep 8, 2021, 5:56:21 PMSep 8
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Oh, and about the H9, so awesome! I wish I had a working H9 - mine is in pieces in storage. Hopefully some day I can revive it but it's in pretty bad shape.  If you do have an H9 hooked up, please run it at 600 baud :) I remember when my dad first built and hooked up our H9 at 600 baud, what an experience that was coming from an ASR33 teletype with paper tape.

Les

Steven Feinsmith

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Sep 8, 2021, 6:48:02 PMSep 8
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Yeah, I had three Heathkit terminals, H9, H19, and H29. Unfortunately, the H9 and H29 were stolen when I moved many years ago. The H19 survived and is still running today as 41 years old when I bought it in 1980. I love the H29 as the best terminal for my Heathkit system and S-100 system. The only thing I hated was the H29 keyboard. I often see sellers at eBay tend to post both H9 and H19 but NEVER see the H29???

Steven

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glenn.f...@gmail.com

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Sep 9, 2021, 6:32:22 AM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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I’ve been focusing on getting three stable system platforms before going further. It looks like I won’t be using the original Heath Z80/WH-8-37.  It’s throwing BDOS “Bad Sector” errors.  I don’t have time to diagnose further right now.  When I swap back to the modern Z80/H37/H67 board everything works like a charm.  Plus, quite frankly, with the chassis loaded with all those legacy boards things were running a bit hot.  I don’t want to have heat issues and need reliable operation for the show.

 

Next I’ll investigate the controllers for the HA-8-3…

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glenn.f...@gmail.com

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Sep 9, 2021, 6:41:33 AM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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I’m having multiple problems with the H9, not unusual given all the connectors in that machine.  Dave McGuire has encouraged me to do some connector cleanup with Deoxit and  that may help some of these problems which seem a bit random, e.g.:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/epNJMK72seDGrktUA

 

but I could live with some of that flakiness if it would just communicate, but here’s what I see on the RS-232 when connected to the H-8-5:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/fydkJihvLfGDCNjJA

 

the signal doesn’t swing above 2v on the positive side, even though it’s got full 12V available:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/qwtRDiKpAbpC8pB86

 

so I get random characters at best.  RS-232 needs at least a +3v signal threshold.

 

when I disconnect the terminal from the H-8-5 serial board the value swings much higher:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Bjbc1V6Co4F37VrX7

 

I actually swapped out the serial board on both the H8 end and the back end of the H9 and was seeing similar results.  At this point I set things aside as this is not critical for my demo (but would be nice to have…)

 

Any H9 experts out there?  Thoughts?  worst case scenario I’ll use the H19.  And yes I’m running at 600 BAUD 😊

 

 

 

From: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> On Behalf Of Les Bird
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2021 5:56 PM
To: SEBHC <se...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: [sebhc] Re: VCF East and SEBHC

 

Oh, and about the H9, so awesome! I wish I had a working H9 - mine is in pieces in storage. Hopefully some day I can revive it but it's in pretty bad shape.  If you do have an H9 hooked up, please run it at 600 baud :) I remember when my dad first built and hooked up our H9 at 600 baud, what an experience that was coming from an ASR33 teletype with paper tape.

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Dave McGuire

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Sep 9, 2021, 9:37:01 AM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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Glenn, you are welcome to borrow my H9 for the show if you don't get
yours ready in time. We'd just have to figure out how to get it to you.
I'll be heading back that way soon, but I don't know if it'll be
before the show.

Hmm. Before I make any promises I should probably test that H9
again. I repaired it this spring and it was working great then, but
haven't run it since then.

-Dave
> *From:* se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> *On Behalf Of
> *Les Bird
> *Sent:* Wednesday, September 08, 2021 5:56 PM
> *To:* SEBHC <se...@googlegroups.com>
> *Subject:* [sebhc] Re: VCF East and SEBHC
>
> Oh, and about the H9, so awesome! I wish I had a working H9 - mine is in
> pieces in storage. Hopefully some day I can revive it but it's in pretty
> bad shape.  If you do have an H9 hooked up, please run it at 600 baud :)
> I remember when my dad first built and hooked up our H9 at 600 baud,
> what an experience that was coming from an ASR33 teletype with paper tape.
>
> Les
>
> On Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 5:52:16 PM UTC-4 Les Bird wrote:
>
> Glenn,
>
> What a fantastic booth that's going to be. Looking forward to pics
> from the festival.
>
> Did you make any progress on analog controllers for the HA-8-3?
>
> Les
>
> On Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at 5:03:05 PM UTC-4 Glenn wrote:
>
> Well VCF East begins a month from today so I thought I’d loop
> the group in on my thoughts and plans.  Alex Bodnar and I plan
> to be there representing the Heathkit community and SEBHC. Here
> are our writeups (complete exhibitors list
> <https://vcfed.org/wp/festivals/vintage-computer-festival-east/vcf-east-exhibits/>
> here):
>
> *Heathkit: Keeping the Legacy Alive – Glenn Roberts*
>
> /Demonstrating the H8 in original form but also the many
> enhancements that the SEBHC group has developed. Demonstrates
> the range of capability of this machine and how the group is
> very much keeping it alive! 10Mhz Z80 CPU; sound; graphics;
> networking; interfacing to modern devices (I2C) etc. Including
> information on how to order blank boards and build your own./
>
> *Adventure 1.0 on the Heathkit H89 – Alex Bodnar*
>
> /Original hardware showing off the text adventure “Adventure
> 1.0”. This is adventure 1.0 from 1976 the predecessor to
> *Colossal Cave Adventure*
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossal_Cave_Adventure> and *The
> Very Big Cave Adventure*
> <https://ifdb.org/viewgame?id=tr0f7myiucqlmdym> among others for
> other machines of the day./
>
> I have asked for two tables for my H8 exhibit, and I believe
> Alex has one, hopefully they will be adjacent to each other per
> our request.
>
> I am planning to exhibit three H8 systems:
>
> 1. “traditional” H8 circa 1979 or so:  This will be an
> 8080-based unit with (hopefully) an H9 terminal (if I can
> get that working, otherwise H19).  It will be used to
> demonstrate loading and running software via the H-8-5
> serial interface (PC emulating the cassette player).  I plan
> to show some demos from the early days of HUG, mostly little
> LED-based games (for those of us who could only afford the
> H8 computer and 4K!) plus some of the early HUG BASIC
> stuff.  This system will have a large slave LED display unit
> that Terry Smedley designed especially for this purpose
> (thanks Terry!!). Hopefully this “eye catcher” will bring
> people over to the table.  The system will have Norberto’s
> battery-backed dual-64K RAM board so I can call up demos
> from RAM. If I have time to prepare for it I may also
> demonstrate the early music software that used the front
> panel speaker.  If I can get it working I may use an H9 as
> the terminal for this system (most authentic setup for a
> late 70’s system) – right now having problems with a poor
> RS-232 signal.  I might add an H17 (100K) disk unit and show
> early HDOS (1.0? 1.5?) Here’s a teaser picture of the system
> as of today: https://photos.app.goo.gl/PWRrMy2evJoMUGJy7
> <https://photos.app.goo.gl/PWRrMy2evJoMUGJy7>
>
> 2. “gaming” H8 circa 1981 or so:  This will be a Z80-based
> (2Mhz only) system including the HA-8-2 and HA-8-3 boards
> from NOGDS.  I will demonstrate music and video here. I’ll
> also put other gaming software on here like invaders,
> munchkin, chess, etc. I’m still working to finalize the
> hardware. I’d like this to be a fairly authentic setup so
> I’ve configured with an original Heath Z80/WH-8-37/H-8-4
> setup. For disk I’ll have an H77 with dual 3.5” drives and
> the Z67-IDE+. I’ve made a few concessions to modern stuff
> including a modern RAM board plus a USB interface to load
> games, etc.  teaser picture:
>
> https://photos.app.goo.gl/S5jttptmWHekENFXA
> <https://photos.app.goo.gl/S5jttptmWHekENFXA> (system on bottom
> is “rusty”, my development box; may take it for backup purposes)
>
> https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZQD7fkyocjJXTMt79
> <https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZQD7fkyocjJXTMt79>
>
> https://photos.app.goo.gl/SDNPEEXTSpAyzPnAA
> <https://photos.app.goo.gl/SDNPEEXTSpAyzPnAA>
>
> 3. “H8-2020”.  This will be my flashy new H8 system using all
> new components including the latest backplane, front panel,
> Rev4 Z80 board and whatever else I can get in there.  I’ll
> have CP/M3 (banked) running, and hopefully HDOS 3
> (overachieve goal: UCSD Pascal P system too!) I may try to
> use George Farris’ H19 emulator and a laptop for the
> console.  I will have available a list of boards that Todd
> can provide for anyone who wants to build a similar
> capability. I’ve begun some work on fabricating cherry side
> panels. This baby is currently still in pieces awaiting my
> order from Phoenix connectors. Teasers:
>
> https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZFMeZzknfd5ECZ5f6
> <https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZFMeZzknfd5ECZ5f6>
>
> https://photos.app.goo.gl/LHb3FN7BamjxSvPG8
> <https://photos.app.goo.gl/LHb3FN7BamjxSvPG8>
>
> I’ll probably bring an SVD unit but may not demonstrate that.
> Also possibly some other boards of interest to show.
>
> If anyone else plans to attend please let us know and perhaps we
> can coordinate booth duty or at least meet up face to face!
>
> I’ll post more pix as we get closer…
>
> * Glenn
>
> --
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>
> --
> You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
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> <https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/sebhc/049f01d7a567%2440b3aad0%24c21b0070%24%40gmail.com?utm_medium=email&utm_source=footer>.


--
Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

Glenn Roberts

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Sep 9, 2021, 10:17:32 AM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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No worries Dave. Let’s not put that on the plate. There will be plenty to show with or without the H9…

Sent from my iPad

> On Sep 9, 2021, at 9:37 AM, Dave McGuire <mcg...@neurotica.com> wrote:
>
> 
> To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to sebhc+un...@googlegroups.com.
> To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/sebhc/50f5f85d-d105-f47c-04b9-c26f874332cc%40neurotica.com.

Bobby Avi

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Sep 9, 2021, 10:29:01 AM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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Can't wait to see the exhibit!

Bobby

Norberto Collado

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Sep 9, 2021, 11:38:57 AM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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Glenn,

 

I have been looking in adding a small pcb board on top of the WH-8-37 board to use the modern IC in case the original IC goes bad. This is to extend the life of such controller.

 

Norberto

Dave McGuire

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Sep 9, 2021, 11:58:39 AM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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Ok, just keep it in your back pocket as an option.

-Dave

Les Bird

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Sep 9, 2021, 5:01:07 PM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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Glenn,

I did some research over here for the paddle controllers. Found a 500 ohm potentiometer (the one used for screen brightness on the H19) and wired it up to the HA-8-3 joystick port as shown on this Wiki page:

Hopefully this helps.

Some games also used push buttons - in Warlords it was used to grab and hold the fireball, in Spacewar it was used to fire. Will see what I can figure out for that.

I also ordered a pair of Atari 2600 paddle controllers on eBay. When they arrive I'll figure out the wiring for the HA-8-3.

Les


norberto.collado koyado.com

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Sep 9, 2021, 6:12:26 PM (13 days ago) Sep 9
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Eventually we want to use Modern controllers. Plan to add a micro to do the translation between the new controller and what the board expects. We do not want to rely on Ebay for vintage parts to make this work.

Norberto


From: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Les Bird <les...@bellsouth.net>
Sent: Thursday, September 9, 2021 2:01 PM
To: SEBHC <se...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: [sebhc] Re: VCF East and SEBHC
 

glenn.f...@gmail.com

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Sep 10, 2021, 6:16:37 AM (12 days ago) Sep 10
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First of all, I’ve been too busy to say thank you for setting up that Wiki. We’ll all need to start populating that.  For way too long this group has operated with the email archive as its only store of day-to-day knowledge.  We’ve long needed an FAQ and wiki.  So often someone will ask a question  that we’ve previously discussed here!  The idea of REMarks (which will come back to life once summer’s gone) is for the more complete/curated material.  I imagine much of the content of future articles could be drawn from the wiki entries, supplemented with text and diagrams to explain a solution.

 

Now as to the paddle controllers.  I still haven’t gotten to this but I do have some old game controllers from Atari/VIC-20 days.  My recollection is that when I used them with the HA-8-3 there was a lot of noise in the line, which translated to jitter of the sprites on the screen.  Perhaps they didn’t have shielded cables.  I will dig out the old controllers from storage soon.

 

FYI the NOGDS blueprint specifies a 10K pot for this…

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Jk5Q1gXJw8NKQ4ZH7

 

Keep the info coming on the controllers. That’ll help me get things set up!

 

  • Glenn

 

 

From: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> On Behalf Of Les Bird

Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2021 5:01 PM
To: SEBHC <se...@googlegroups.com>

Les Bird

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Sep 10, 2021, 7:27:54 AM (12 days ago) Sep 10
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Schematics added to the Wiki and page was updated to reflect the 10K ohm pot. I didn't see that before but really good to know. Also the buttons tied to GND instead of +5 is good to know.

I agree, we need a central location to go to and find the "day-to-day" solutions that get lost in the email archive. As we discover answers I will try to put them on the Wiki.

Now that you mention it, I do recall using VCS paddles in the past and it being jittery. Will verify if this is the case when the paddles arrive.

Norby, yes modern controllers would be a good solution. The interface will be the tricky part - taking USB data and converting it to something that will work with old hardware. I'm sure something exists out there that will do this for us.

Les

Douglas Miller

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Sep 10, 2021, 8:34:14 AM (12 days ago) Sep 10
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The FTDI VDIP1 allows for some other types of USB devices to be attached, although I don't recall it mentioning gaming equipment (do those present as serial ports, kbd/mice, or specialized devices?). Still, there may be a similar solution (or VDIP1 firmware variation) out there.

glenn.f...@gmail.com

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Sep 10, 2021, 9:21:35 AM (12 days ago) Sep 10
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Right. We’ve been using the pre-compiled VDIP1 software provided by FTDI.  Normally that’s their “VDAP” (Vinculum Disk And Peripherals) v3.69, however they have other firmware configurations for other purposes

 

Precompiled - FTDI (ftdichip.com)

 

The functionality of the different firmware versions is described here (p. 8):

 

Microsoft Word - UM_VinculumFirmware_V205_2 (ftdichip.com)

 

You can also build a completely custom firmware using toolkits that FTDI provides.

 

With the VDAP software there is support on the second USB port for “slave peripherals”.  From the manual: “Typical slave peripheral devices include USB Flash disks; FTDI’s FT232, FT245 and FT2232; as well as devices that are Printer class or HID (Human Input Device) class compatible. Other devices may also be supported if they have a suitable interface. For instance, CDC class equipment such as some mobile phones.”

 

So it’s only a “small matter of software” to use the VDIP1 to interface to a printer or human interface device… 😊

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