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phe 10-11-2007 03:18 AM

Anyone know how to load Basic? I got a hex file with 4K basic on it from the altair 32 emulator. I tried several different loaders, with several different changes that I thought would select the correct ports (020/021). I'm using hyperterminal and selecting "send text file".

Well, no matter what I try, no go.

Any ideas how to do this?


Grant Stockly 10-11-2007 07:58 AM

I never got around to doing it myself. I will this weekend at the latest. I'll get a file and some instructions for you.

I'm not sure what is in that file you had, but you probably shouldn't use "text" file. That might be stripping off the 8th bit of binary data...

phe 10-11-2007 12:19 PM

Thanks Grant. I look forward to that.

I found this quote for "text" file:
You can send text files as an alternative to keyboard input using Send Text File. This is useful, for example, when you need to send a string of keyboard input to a remote computer for troubleshooting purposes, or need to send a lengthy keyboard input string as part of a connection sequence to a remote computer or router.
I still suspect the loader was not right.

I seem to have two major gaps of knowledge for the Altair: the protocol around using the IO ports, and the use of the sense switches. Can you recommend any manuals for these two knowledge gaps?


marty 10-11-2007 01:22 PM

Hi Paul;
Hex files would not be the way to go, they may carry extra information, for the hex loader. I would get a Binary file, which is what I got from the same site, the file should end in .bin.. that may not cure all your ills but it should help !! I have had the same problem, with hyperterminal, even loading .bin files. I think Grant is correct, they strip off the 8th bit. :(
You could go to and ask Bruce Ray if he would be willing to let you use his loader.. Which doesn't strip off any information... I used it to help him copy paper tapes for our Novas, but it should work with any binary file.. it will transfer either direction, to or from any Ibm -- windows based machine.. :D :D
Have a great day Marty

phe 10-11-2007 01:41 PM

Thanks, Marty. I never liked hyperterminal. Now I like it even less. I seem to have a need for it once every three years or so, and every time it only doest about 80% of what I need! :mad:

I'm not sure what I could offer Bruce Ray in return and I would feel uncomfortable asking him. I'd feel like I was interrupting his main business for my hobby :o

If I can't find a suitable program that transfers the files, I'll probably try to write one in C++ or something. But that will surely take quite a while. :D

We'll see if Grant pulls another rabbit out of the hat. He usually does.


Grant Stockly 10-11-2007 07:32 PM

I like hyperterminal for some things. :)

I use teraterm pro for sending/receiving binary files.

marty 10-12-2007 01:54 AM

Hi Paul;
Don't worry about Bruce Ray, He wrote the program a number of years ago to transfer all the Paper Tapes that we both had to his Hard disk, and then to a CD so as to keep them on a more protected medium. If you haven't been to his Web site, Bruce Collects and Restores Old Data General Machines, He is the Authority on them. So the program was written for our own need. I have it at home, but I don't have permission to give it away.
Thanks Marty

marty 10-12-2007 12:56 PM

Hi Paul;
I have loaded the tera term pro, program, but I have not tried it out. So we will have to rely on Grants word that it works and is good. No problem there.
thanks marty:D :D

Geoff Harrison 10-14-2007 07:04 PM


Originally Posted by phe (Post 907)
Anyone know how to load Basic?


I just finished loading basic into my 4k Altair with a 2SIO board using an XP machine as the terminal. I'll post a longer explanation of what works and what doesn't and why later today or tomorrow, but in the mean time, here's what should work.
  • Get a copy of Tera Term. You'll be sending a pure binary file to the Altair and Hyperterm can't do that. I downloaded Tera Term from here.
  • Get a copy of the 4k Basic3.2 tape image from Rich Cini's Altair emulator. For convenience I have put a copy of it here.
  • Make sure you can communicate with the Altair 2SIO card. I think you said in an earlier 88-2SIO thread that you got that working, so you should be good to go. NOTE: due to cable limitations I am using only RD, TD, & GND, so I am not using handshaking and the fastest I can send data to the Altair without dropping bytes is 4800. If you have a full cable, it should run faster, but I am unable to test that until I fix my cable.
  • Set up Tera Term to use 4800, 8 bits, no parity, 1 stop bit.
  • Toggle the following bootloader into the Altair. This comes from the Altair Extended Basic manual and is set up specifically for 4k Basic3.2

    000:  076 003 323 020 076 025 323 020 041 256 017 061 032 000 333 020
    020:  017 320 333 021 275 310 055 167 300 351 013 000 000 000 000 000

    Check it carefully. If it doesn't correctly load Basic it will probably trash itself and you'll have to enter it again.
  • Set address switches A11 and A10 on, all others off. Hit reset, hit run.
  • On Tera Term, go to File->SendFile, select the Binary checkbox, navigate to the 4kbas32m.tap file you downloaded above, hit Open. Tera Term will display a status box showing the number of bytes sent.
  • When the file finishes transferring, if all went well you'll see something like "Memory Siz@@" on the main Tera Term screen. Before you type anything else, go to Setup->SerialPort and change the word length from 8 to 7. Then you can hit enter and answer the rest of the Basic startup dialog questions. You should finally end up with something like

    973 BYTES FREE

    [4K VERSION]

Good luck. Let me know if you have any problems or questions.


Grant Stockly 10-15-2007 12:18 AM

Thanks a lot for helping me with this!

Did you try 9600 or 19200?

Paul, make sure to change the jumpers on the 2SIO for 4800. :)


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