Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Altair Clone a real product, or just a few hand made mock-ups?
The Altair 8800 Clone is a very real product, professionally designed and manufactured. Here is a photo of case inventory for the clone.
Does the Altair Clone run all Altair software?
The Altair Clone will run all Atlair software that is designed to run on the hardware present in the Clone. See the full hardware configuration on the home page. If a program requires a particular I/O card or graphics card not listed, then no, that software will not execute properly.
Does the emulated 8080 CPU really duplicate operation of a real 8080?
The 8080 CPU emulation in the Altair Clone passes a tough set of CPU tests. Some of these tests exercise undocumented "features" and quirks of the 8080 CPU that can only be tested by comparison to real silicon. Several popular emulators on the internet cannot pass all of these tests.
Can the Altair Clone play "Fool on the Hill" and "Daisy?"
The Clone properly runs the programs that caused the original Altair to play "music," but unfortunately, since the Clone does not emit unintended radiation in the AM band, you won't hear any music on your radio.
Is there an expansion bus? Can S-100 boards be added?
The computer does not have any sort of expansion bus, so S-100 boards cannot be added to the system. However, with all the empty space inside, the Clone makes an excellent display case for your spare S-100 boards! I have done this with my Clone, but did not post pictures to avoid confusion about S-100 support.
How difficult is assembly of the kit version of the Altair Clone?
The kit version leaves soldering of all through-hole parts to the user. This includes front panel switches, LEDs, resistors, diodes and connectors. All surface mount components are pre-assembled. The serial port wiring harnesses must be soldered as well. Power supply and fan wiring are screw terminals and connectors. If you are comfortable soldering components on a PCB and wiring connectors, then assembly of the kit will not be difficult for you. However, the Clone is not recommended as a starter kit for those without soldering experience.
Is there is a method or plan to provide future upgrades to the Clone's firmware if needed?
Yes, updates to the Clone's firmware can be download from the AltairClone.com website (see the Support link) and installed by the end user. For example, a recent update added the Altair 88-VI/RTC board (Vectored Interrupt and Real Time Clock) to the hardware supported by the Clone.
Can the computer be configured to run from 240 volts with an international power cord?
Yes, the Altair Clone can be configured for 120 or 240 volt operation. It can also be provided with a US, Australian, European or UK power plug.
Will the Altair Clone work with a Teletype?
The ASR-33 Teletype typically used with the original Altair uses 20ma current loop signalling for its serial communication. However, the serial ports on the Altair Clone are RS-232 only. To connect a Teletype to the Altair Clone (or any other RS-232 serial port), a simple RS-232 to current loop converter can be built. See this page for more information.