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  #1  
Old 11-06-2007, 04:03 PM
bugman bugman is offline
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Default Newbie Question

I am quite interested in this project after stumbling upon it recently. I have a couple of questions for you all. Bascially, I enjoy retro computing. My collection primarily contains Apple ii stuff. But I was hoping to take my hobby to the next level. This seems like the ticket. What I want to ask is how realistic you think my goals are. I have a decent amount of computer/programming experience with older computers. I also have built several electronic kits and circuits. I wouldn't say that I am an electronic expert; however, because I dont own an oscilloscope and don't get into that much detail (I'm a microbiologist afterall, I only play an electrical engineer on TV). I'm hoping to gain some of that experience.

My main goal would be to build a functioning computer, that could run basic and be displayed on some kind of monitor/CRT (dont care about those details, just some display). I would also want to be able to save/load the basic programs. Don't mind (maybe even prefer) an audio interface for this rather than disk.

How realistic is this goal? I'm not so much questioning my soldering abilities, but rather the availabilty of information that would tell me how to get to that end.

Lastly, do you have a recommendation of the 680 vs. 8800. I am not tied nostalgically to either. But the price and usuability of the 680 seem to be winning.

Thanks for any advice!!

B.Ties
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2007, 06:25 PM
Grant Stockly Grant Stockly is offline
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Your experience and knowledge seems similar to a lot who have bought the kits. A VOM (Volt ohm meter) is a required tool. Even in the 70s not many had oscilloscopes.

The 8800 is nice because you can see into the heart of the computer and manipulate it on a very low level. The 680's front panel does not show nearly as much.

I'd like some other kit builders like Paul or Geoff to give some insight here.
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2007, 09:38 PM
Geoff Harrison Geoff Harrison is offline
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It's a tough call. The 680 is a compact, pretty machine with decent memory, serial port and system monitor & VTL in ROM. It's a younger design than the 8800 and it shows.

But...

As Grant said, the 8800 gives you a better front panel and it opens up a whole world of S-100 expansion cards from Grant, eBay and elsewhere. You'll find much more software available for the 8800 than for the 680. You will need to add some cards (memory, serial, PROM) to bring it up to the level of the 680, but you'll also be able to take it much further.

You're not going to go wrong with either one, but for me the scales tip in favor of the 8800

Geoff.
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2007, 02:25 AM
bugman bugman is offline
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Well, if I'm going to do this, i've decided to go with the 680. Financially, i can't committ to the 8800, especially knowing that I would likely need to invest much more to get it where I want. So if you dont mind, i'd like to ask a few specific questions on the 680 so I can make sure I know what I'm getting into. I apologize if this information is already here. Some of the acronyms are new to me.

Can you be a little more specific about what the 680 as built will be able to do?
What extra hardware will I need to:
1) display output on some form of terminal.
2) load and use altair basic
3) save / load created programs

4)Also, are the included manuals fairly extensive?

Thanks for your help and patience.
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2007, 02:57 AM
Grant Stockly Grant Stockly is offline
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The answer to all your questions is yes. The 680 packs the most bang for the buck for sure!
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