• IMS Series 8000 Microcomputer

    From Abbub@21:2/145 to All on Thu Apr 25 19:53:25 2024
    Using an IMS International Series 8000 computer to write this. The main ¨(master) CPU board and memory board (Z80 at 4MHz with 64k of RAM) was built in ¨1979. The two MPU (slave) boards also have Z80s and 64k of RAM, as well as two ¨serial ports. The operating system is TurboDOS, which is a multi-processor ¨version of CP/M (sort of) that allows the main CPU to share system resources ¨(hard drives, floppies, etc) among the MPU boards. The MPU boards have two ¨serial ports, one for connecting terminals to access the operating system, and ¨one that can be used for modems, printers,etc. I'm connected to one via a ¨terminal and then have the second one connected to TCPSER so I can telnet to ¨my BBS and send you guys this message. I have, for what it's worth, the second ¨terminal also up and running and am playing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the ¨Galaxy in the other window. Multi-tasking like it's 1979! ;)

    ---
    * Origin: Telnet: bbs.WalledCTTY.com:1989 - Fort Collins, CO USA (21:2/145)
  • From mary4@21:1/166 to Abbub on Sat Apr 27 00:52:06 2024
    Using an IMS International Series 8000 computer to write this. The main ¨(master) CPU board and memory board (Z80 at 4MHz with 64k of RAM) was built in ¨1979. The two MPU (slave) boards also have Z80s and 64k of
    RAM, as well as two ¨serial ports. The operating system is TurboDOS,
    which is a multi-processor ¨version of CP/M (sort of) that allows
    the main CPU to share system resources ¨(hard drives, floppies, etc) among the MPU boards. The MPU boards have two ¨serial ports, one for connecting terminals to access the operating system, and ¨one that can
    be used for modems, printers,etc. I'm connected to one via a ¨terminal and then have the second one connected to TCPSER so I can
    telnet to ¨my BBS and send you guys this message. I have, for what
    it's worth, the second ¨terminal also up and running and am playing The Hitchhiker's Guide to the ¨Galaxy in the other window. Multi-tasking

    THATS COOL! :D

    --mary4 (Victoria Crenshaw) the 286 enthusiast

    ... BREAKFAST.COM Halted... Cereal port not responding.

    --- Mystic BBS v1.12 A47 2021/12/24 (Linux/64)
    * Origin: Datanet BBS | telnet://datanetbbs.net:23 (21:1/166)
  • From AKAcastor@21:1/162 to Abbub on Sat Apr 27 17:26:22 2024
    Using an IMS International Series 8000 computer to write this.

    That's an awesome computer you have! I am not familiar with these machines, so it is really interesting to read your description.

    Very interesting about the two MPU boards. A lot of Z80s working together!

    I have, for what it's worth, the second terminal also
    up and running and am playing The Hitchhiker's Guide to
    the Galaxy in the other window. Multi-tasking like
    it's 1979! ;)

    Wicked flex with the multitasking. It sounds like a very capable machine, nice work keeping online with it.


    Chris/akacastor


    --- Maximus 3.01
    * Origin: Another Millennium - Canada - another.tel (21:1/162)
  • From Abbub@21:2/145 to Akacastor on Sat Apr 27 20:25:32 2024
    *** Quoting Akacastor to Abbub dated 04-27-24 ***
    That's an awesome computer you have! I am not familiar with these
    machines, so it is really interesting to read your description.

    Well, they were mostly used in businesses, so it's not really a 'home ¨computer' kind of thing. In fact, the only reason I know about them (and went ¨out of the way to acquire one and get it working again) is because it's the ¨first computer I every wrote a program on. My dad's radio station in the early ¨1980s used one and when he'd go up after hours to work (he was the main ¨engineer as well as the owner) he'd take me with, park me in front of a ¨terminal, and let me write programs with Microsoft BASIC and it's compiler.

    *** Quoting Akacastor to Abbub dated 04-27-24 ***
    Wicked flex with the multitasking. It sounds like a very capable
    machine, nice work keeping online with it.

    I've been working since March to get it running again. 74x logic chip issues, incomplete documentation issues, getting it to work with GOTEKs (since I don't have a 8" floppy), and learning the operating system, of which there's SCANT knowledge of on the internet. Fortunately, there's one guy on teh vcfed forums who seems to know the systems really well, and he's been a huge help.


    ---
    * Origin: Telnet: bbs.WalledCTTY.com:1989 - Fort Collins, CO USA (21:2/145)
  • From Ben Collver to Abbub on Sun Apr 28 10:33:15 2024
    Re: IMS Series 8000 Microcomputer
    By: Abbub to Akacastor on Sat Apr 27 2024 20:25:32

    Awesome work getting that online. I don't know anything about S100
    computers and i think it's cool that you can multi-task on it.
    You mentioned getting it to work with GOTEKs. Are those USB floppy
    drives? How did you get it to work with those?

    I'd be tempted to try and get z88dk to target that machine.

    https://z88dk.org/site/targets
  • From poindexter FORTRAN@21:4/122 to AKAcastor on Sun Apr 28 09:19:00 2024
    AKAcastor wrote to Abbub <=-

    I have, for what it's worth, the second terminal also
    up and running and am playing The Hitchhiker's Guide to
    the Galaxy in the other window. Multi-tasking like
    it's 1979! ;)

    Wicked flex with the multitasking. It sounds like a very capable
    machine, nice work keeping online with it.

    I did some work back in college for an investment firm in San Francisco
    back in the 80s. Their multitasking setup consisted of 2 XTs - one with
    a CGA and mono monitor, the other with one mono monitor. Most people had
    2 keyboards, some had a switcher.

    How far we've come - yesterday I was RDPed into a jump box that was
    RDPed into 4 different sites in the US and SSHed into Amazon Web
    Services in 2 different availability zones. From Home.





    --- MultiMail/Win v0.52
    * Origin: realitycheckBBS.org -- information is power. (21:4/122)
  • From Abbub@21:2/145 to Ben Collver on Sun Apr 28 10:12:02 2024
    *** Quoting Ben Collver to Abbub dated 04-28-24 ***
    You mentioned getting it to work with GOTEKs. Are those USB floppy
    drives? How did you get it to work with those?
    Yeah, it has two GOTEK USB floppy emulators pretending to be 8" Shugarts, and ¨a MFM Emulator rev. D pretending to be a 190 MB full height Maxtor XT2190 MFM ¨drive. I'm using a FD50to34 adapter to connect it to the IMS 401 8" floppy ¨controller board, and the two GOTEK's have the latest version of the ¨flashfloppy ROM installed on them. There was a TON of trail and error that a ¨guy down in TX and myself did to figure out the 'magic recipe', but some of that had to do with the fact that TurboDOS used it's own format to squeeze more data onto the disks than CP/M did.

    ---
    * Origin: Telnet: bbs.WalledCTTY.com:1989 - Fort Collins, CO USA (21:2/145)
  • From AKAcastor@21:1/162 to Abbub on Mon Apr 29 17:09:38 2024
    it's the first computer I every wrote a program on. My dad's radio
    station in the early 1980s used one and when he'd go up
    after hours to work (he was the main engineer as well
    as the owner) he'd take me with, park me in front of a
    terminal, and let me write programs with Microsoft BASIC and it's compiler.

    Great opportunity for computer time!

    Did you ever type in programs from the 'learn to program' books aimed at kids? They may have come along just a bit too late for you. I remember borrowing them from the library in the late 80s when I was learning on Apple ][ in elementary school and a Tandy 1000 at home. By the late 80s the books started to feel dated (but I still enjoyed them a lot).

    These may be from after the time period you're referring to - and are targeting home computers, but a lot of it was fairly generic BASIC - but anyway I thought I'd share a link to download Usborne 1980s Computer Books:
    https://usborne.com/ca_en/books/computer-and-coding-books

    I've been working since March to get it running again.
    74x logic chip issues, incomplete documentation issues,
    getting it to work with GOTEKs (since I don't have a 8"
    floppy), and learning the operating system, of which
    there's SCANT knowledge of on the internet.

    That is a complex project - lots of pieces to sort out before it all works together. Is it all working pretty smooth now, or is there more to sort out?

    Fortunately, there's one guy on teh vcfed forums who
    seems to know the systems really well, and he's been a huge help.

    And it's great that there's now another person who knows the system too! Great work!


    Chris/akacastor

    --- Maximus 3.01
    * Origin: Another Millennium - Canada - another.tel (21:1/162)
  • From Abbub@21:2/145 to Akacastor on Tue Apr 30 07:12:48 2024
    *** Quoting Akacastor to Abbub dated 04-29-24 ***
    Did you ever type in programs from the 'learn to program' books aimed
    at kids? They may have come along just a bit too late for you. I
    I know the books, but I didn't use them. I think I had a print out of the ¨reference guide. I mostly wrote D&D character generators, variations of Star ¨Trek (based on what I had seen pictures of in computer magazines, having never ¨actually seen the game), and 'security' login programs. lol

    *** Quoting Akacastor to Abbub dated 04-29-24 ***
    works together. Is it all working pretty smooth now, or is there more
    to sort out?
    It's all working very smoothly. The last thing I need to do is build an actual case for it. I have all of the pieces in place, but they're just sort of spread out across my workbench. This computer was originally a desk. Like, it was literally built into a desk that you sat the terminal on top of. I've moved to Mean Well power supplies, and all of the original 8" components are now 3.5" or 5.25" components, so it's much less hardware than it originally was. My plan is to build an 'homage' to the original cream and wood-grained case that IMS shipped some of these units in, but not as xbox huge.

    ---
    * Origin: Telnet: bbs.WalledCTTY.com:1989 - Fort Collins, CO USA (21:2/145)
  • From Ben Collver to AKAcastor on Tue Apr 30 13:11:35 2024
    Re: IMS Series 8000 Microcomputer
    By: AKAcastor to Abbub on Mon Apr 29 2024 17:09:38

    Did you ever type in programs from the 'learn to program' books aimed at kids? They may have come along just a bit too late for you. I remember borrowing them from the library in the late 80s when I was learning on Apple ][ in elementary school and a Tandy 1000 at home. By the late 80s the books started to feel dated (but I still enjoyed them a lot).

    That's how i "cut my teeth" too, checking out kids programming books from
    the library and typing them in on an Apple ][, and later into GW-BASIC on
    a PC. It felt novel at the time, similar to those Science Fair 150 in 1 Electronic Project Kits. So many options to start out with, then modify.

    http://www.zpag.net/Electroniques/Kit/Images/150in128248box.jpg

    http://www.zpag.net/Electroniques/Kit/Images/Kit150.jpg

    https://usborne.com/ca_en/books/computer-and-coding-books

    Thanks for this link. Could make for a fun lazy Sunday in an emulator.
  • From AKAcastor@21:1/162 to Abbub on Tue Apr 30 17:06:32 2024
    It's all working very smoothly. The last thing I need to do is build an actual case for it. I have all of the pieces in place,
    but they're just sort of spread out across my workbench.
    This computer was originally a desk. Like, it was
    literally built into a desk that you sat the terminal on
    top of. I've moved to Mean Well power supplies, and all
    of the original 8" components are now 3.5" or 5.25"
    components, so it's much less hardware than it
    originally was. My plan is to build an 'homage' to the
    original cream and wood-grained case that IMS shipped
    some of these units in, but not as xbox huge.

    Will you build a box-type case for the computer, or a desk-type case? It sounds like the box-type case is the plan (easily understandable for space-saving reasons). Were those cases that IMS shipped the units in meant to be used after shipping, or were they just for packing the materials together to deliver to the site?

    It would be pretty great to have a computer that is also furniture, given enough space was available for it of course. It seems like the ergonomics of computers has changed over the years. ;)


    Chris/akacastor


    --- Maximus 3.01
    * Origin: Another Millennium - Canada - another.tel (21:1/162)
  • From AKAcastor@21:1/162 to Ben Collver on Tue Apr 30 17:14:02 2024
    That's how i "cut my teeth" too, checking out kids programming books from the library and typing them in on an Apple ][, and later into GW-BASIC on a PC. It felt novel at the time, similar to those Science Fair 150 in 1 Electronic Project Kits. So many options to start out with, then modify.

    My biggest memories of the 150 in 1 electronic project kits is a hand-me-down with missing parts, where any project was hit-or-miss whether I'd be able to complete it successfully. The kits always looked very enticing, but at the time I didn't quite "get it" I guess. I did have to add one of the kits to my retro hoard^H^H^H^H^Hcollection a couple years ago when I saw it at a garage sale. Maybe I'll understand it better on the next project I try and build. :)


    Chris/akacastor

    --- Maximus 3.01
    * Origin: Another Millennium - Canada - another.tel (21:1/162)
  • From Abbub@21:2/145 to Akacastor on Wed May 1 08:10:35 2024
    *** Quoting Akacastor to Abbub dated 04-30-24 ***
    Will you build a box-type case for the computer, or a desk-type case?

    I'm going to build a metal case with wood accents, similar to the units that ¨IMS shipped in the early 80s. The unit that was up at the radio station that I ¨remember from when I was a kid was about the size of a mini fridge. I don't ¨have the space for that, or for a desk, though I was joking with my wife about ¨running down to IKEA and getting a new 'case' for this machine from the ¨'office furniture' section.

    I think I can keep this down to about 18"x12"x10" or so, since I don't need ¨any 8" drives and the modern power supplies I'm using are much smaller. It ¨won't be a replication of the original case, but a modern version that's an ¨homage to the original design.

    *** Quoting Akacastor to Abbub dated 04-30-24 ***
    space-saving reasons). Were those cases that IMS shipped the units in
    meant to be used after shipping, or were they just for packing the
    materials together to deliver to the site?

    They were actually shipped in the cases that they ran in, with legit IMS markings on them. It may have been possible to get something custom built, but I'm not entirely sure.

    I also like the idea of computers as furniture, but I'll reserve that for when I eventually get a CRAY that I can set up in the living room upstairs as guest seating. :D

    ---
    * Origin: Telnet: bbs.WalledCTTY.com:1989 - Fort Collins, CO USA (21:2/145)
  • From Ben Collver to AKAcastor on Wed May 1 11:33:59 2024
    Re: IMS Series 8000 Microcomputer
    By: AKAcastor to Ben Collver on Tue Apr 30 2024 17:14:02

    It felt novel at the time, similar to those Science
    Fair 150 in 1 Electronic Project Kits.

    My biggest memories of the 150 in 1 electronic project kits is a hand-me-down with missing parts, where any project was hit-or-miss whether I'd be able to complete it successfully.

    If i had all the time in the world, i might try implementing some of the circuits in spice. Of course there would be limitations. I don't think
    spice can receive radio transmissions. :-)

    https://ra3xdh.github.io/

    https://qucs.sourceforge.net/docs/tutorial/workbook.pdf

    <https://www.electro-tech-online.com/threads/ simplest-fm-receiver-circuit-in-ltspice.156282/>
  • From AKAcastor@21:1/162 to Abbub on Wed May 1 11:54:44 2024
    I think I can keep this down to about 18"x12"x10" or so,
    since I don't need any 8" drives and the modern power
    supplies I'm using are much smaller. It won't be a
    replication of the original case, but a modern version
    that's an homage to the original design.

    This sounds like a great way to display the IMS system.

    I also like the idea of computers as furniture, but I'll
    reserve that for when I eventually get a CRAY that I can
    set up in the living room upstairs as guest seating. :D

    Yes, that's the dream isn't it! I saw a Cray at the Computer History Museum a few years ago, the first time I'd seen one in person, it felt like a big moment. :) Very stylish hardware, beautiful.


    Chris/akacastor


    --- Maximus 3.01
    * Origin: Another Millennium - Canada - another.tel (21:1/162)
  • From AKAcastor@21:1/162 to Ben Collver on Wed May 1 12:05:44 2024
    My biggest memories of the 150 in 1 electronic project kits is a hand-me-down with missing parts, where any project was hit-or-miss whether I'd be able to complete it successfully.

    If i had all the time in the world, i might try implementing some of the circuits in spice. Of course there would be limitations. I don't think spice can receive radio transmissions. :-)

    Can you also simulate the little springs with one or two strands of the wire connected and other strands snapped? The 150 in 1 kits had some special properties like this. :)


    Chris/akacastor

    --- Maximus 3.01
    * Origin: Another Millennium - Canada - another.tel (21:1/162)
  • From Ben Collver to AKAcastor on Thu May 2 09:30:09 2024
    Re: Re: Electronics project kits
    By: AKAcastor to Ben Collver on Wed May 01 2024 12:05:44

    Can you also simulate the little springs with one or two strands of the wire connected and other strands snapped? The 150 in 1 kits had some special properties like this. :)

    Ha! I do remember the original stranded wires and the springs, which would make a little twang if you flexed then let them go. After the technician worked on the phone box down the street, i would check out the ground there
    and collect solid copper wire scraps. They remind me of the individual conductors in twisted pair Ethernet cables, except i remember the colors
    were predominantly blue and orange, no green and brown. Kind of like in
    this diagram. Seemed to work perfectly with the 150 in 1 kit. The part
    that makes me cringe is that i used to strip off the insulation using my
    teeth.

    <https://i2.wp.com/2020cadillac.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ cat-3-wire-schematic-wiring-diagram-cat-3-wiring-diagram.jpg>
  • From AKAcastor@21:1/162 to Ben Collver on Thu May 2 14:54:16 2024
    Ha! I do remember the original stranded wires and the springs, which would make a little twang if you flexed then let them go. After the technician worked on the phone box down the street, i would check
    out the ground there and collect solid copper wire scraps.

    Precious, precious wires! I know exactly the kind you mean. I feel like I became jaded later on once I realized how cheap it was to buy literally HUNDREDS OF FEET (or many metres!) of wire and stopped collecting the scraps. :)


    Chris/akacastor

    --- Maximus 3.01
    * Origin: Another Millennium - Canada - another.tel (21:1/162)
  • From poindexter FORTRAN@21:4/122 to AKAcastor on Fri May 3 00:28:52 2024
    Re: Re: Electronics project kits
    By: AKAcastor to Ben Collver on Thu May 02 2024 02:54 pm

    Precious, precious wires! I know exactly the kind you mean. I feel like I became jaded later on once I realized how cheap it was to buy literally HUNDREDS OF FEET (or many metres!) of wire and stopped collecting the scraps. :)

    I used to buy thousands of feet of cross-connect wire when I was a telecom manager - pretty sure it was the same guage as the wire in electronics kits, maybe a little thicker.
    --- SBBSecho 3.20-Win32
    * Origin: realitycheckBBS.org -- information is power. (21:4/122)