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  #1  
Old 01-13-2008, 08:06 PM
Forbin376 Forbin376 is offline
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Default Old Altair (and related) Manuals

I have been inspired by Grant’s work here to start a preservation project of my own as an owner of both an Altair 8800A and an Altair 8800B. To that end I have the following manuals. I can scan these in as images with a decent resolution (300 to 9600 DPI). I am looking for community response to help me decide the scanning resolution desired and which manuals would be of greatest interest to be done first. My Altair 8800A manual does not include the assembly instructions. Grant’s information here is much better than mine. The other manuals are complete as far as I can tell.

IEEE Standard 696 Interface Devices
Describes the “S-100” bus vs. the Altair Bus

Altair 8800A Theory of Operation
Missing pages 1 & 2

Altair 8800 Operator’s Manual

Altair 88-DCDD (NEW)
Floppy Disk controller for 8” Single Side Hard Sectored diskettes (32 Sectors/Track, 76 Tracks)

Altair 88-DCDD (Original - the one with the "bus Bars")
Floppy Disk controller for 8” Single Side Hard Sectored diskettes (32 Sectors/Track, 76 Tracks)

Altair 88-2SIO
2 port serial card for 20ma Current Loop, TTL, or RS-232 Serial I/O

Altair 88-4PIO
4 port parallel I/O card for TTL devices

Altair 88-VI/RTC
Vector Interrupt / Real Time Clock

Altair 88-16MCS
16K Static Memory Card

Altair 8800B
Includes: MITS KITS Assembly Hints

Processor Technology 48KRA-1
48K Memory Card

Objective Design, Inc. Programmable Character Generator
For use with a Processor Technology VDM-1

Tarbell Floppy Disk Interface
Floppy Disk controller for 8” Single Side Soft Sectored diskettes (16 Sectors/Track, 76 Tracks) – for use with Altair FD Drives

Microsoft Basic-80 (version 5.0) for 8080 based systems
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2008, 10:57 PM
Grant Stockly Grant Stockly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forbin376 View Post
I have been inspired by Grant’s work here to start a preservation project of my own as an owner of both an Altair 8800A and an Altair 8800B. To that end I have the following manuals. I can scan these in as images with a decent resolution (300 to 9600 DPI). I am looking for community response to help me decide the scanning resolution desired and which manuals would be of greatest interest to be done first. My Altair 8800A manual does not include the assembly instructions. Grant’s information here is much better than mine. The other manuals are complete as far as I can tell.

I scan all manuals at 600dpi B/W and color. This is easy for me because I have access to a duplexing sheet feed scanner. Drop in 750 pages and wait 2 hours.

I don't see anything over 600dpi being worth it.

When I recreate a manual I do the following steps: (I use a Photo Shop macro for a lot of the brainless stuff. Photo Shop has a batch feature and will open-apply-save an entire folder easily...
-Convert all B/W scans to greyscale (to prepare for rotating) (MACRO!)
-Precision rotate with several "guides" per page to align text and graphics to the page. Most pages require .1-.3, the most I've ever done must have been 2 degrees. (MANUAL!)
-Delete all the copy specs that I can see at a decent zoom (MANUAL!)
-Change all page sizes to 8.5x11 (the rotation process makes the pages larger) (MACRO!)
-Examine the pages with the most text and graphics to determine the margins (and page number location) (MANUAL!)
-Delete all existing Photo Shop margins, apply margins and page number location guides (MACRO!)
-Reposition all pages and page numbers (MANUAL!)
-Print a proof, look for obvious copy specs that I missed

Its a long process. I usually spend 50-100 hours on computer kit manual depending on the quality of the source material. Its a labor of love. As far as I am concerned I want the kit builders to have the best quality available. Plus, once the initial work is done its a File->Print operation. No sense in doing less than my best.

I have made available the Kenbak and 8800 manuals for free. These manuals are high quality and text searchable. I have not uploaded the 680 manuals yet, but they will be up soon.

I am a digital pack-rat and archivalist. I save EVERY step above, so that if I want to go back and change something I can. With hard drives being so cheap it only makes sense!

I will upload some pictures of the process. I don't expect you to take these steps. Just scanning the manuals is good enough. The raw data can be processed any time in the future. If you want, I can scan them for you. I don't know what kind of equipment you have access to.
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  #3  
Old 01-19-2008, 11:09 PM
Grant Stockly Grant Stockly is offline
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Screen capture of guides for straightening page. I delete the specs after rotating because sometimes a slight rotation will cause a single pixel to be a small group (from the transform). I catch more if I delete after the rotation.

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Old 01-19-2008, 11:10 PM
Grant Stockly Grant Stockly is offline
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Screen capture for the margin process where pages are centered/located and page numbers are placed. In my manuals you can flip through them and the page numbers don't move.

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  #5  
Old 01-19-2008, 11:15 PM
Grant Stockly Grant Stockly is offline
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This is a screen capture of the Altair 680 project. I use a very simple file naming convention. I RAR the folder and then increment the 01/02/03 number as well as change the last part of the name to reflect the current process. The archive names are actually folder names. These manuals were provided to me by Steve Sheppard. In fact, I didn't think he wanted them back because I thought they were copies. The paper was so white and new that I thought it couldn't be a vintage manual!

Some manuals don't go as high because they were at one time part of what I thought was a BIG manual, but it had a few small manuals at the end.


This is what I have in the "OLD" folder...



This is what is in the MANUALS folder, which contains the OLD folder...



The PDFs are big, but "you get what you download"... Not included here for some reason is the VTL manual.
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  #6  
Old 02-22-2008, 05:19 AM
Forbin376 Forbin376 is offline
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Default Amazing

Grant you are truly doing some amazing work. My scanner is an Epson CX-6400. It's a flat bed but without any kind of a feeder. The results are good but it takes a lot of time. I don't see any point in duplicating your wonderful work but some of my other manuals and computers notes might still be of use. I also have some notes on cable configurations for the MITS 88-2SIO, a note for how to get 19,200 baud out of it. An additional circuit for the 88-DD (MITS FD drive “buffer” boards) that reduces the head “knocking” by providing a “time-out” before head unload occurs. These were modifications worked out during the time I worked for the Altair Computer Store. Are you offering an 88-2SIO kit at this point?

Frank
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