Timesharing BASIC Setup

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

Timesharing BASIC Setup

Postby toml_12953 » February 8th, 2017, 9:36 am

I have a cassette interface installed and an Okidata serial printer. I'd like to use TS 2.0 to run two serial terminals and the printer. Is that possible? I see no "O" listed in printer types. Will either C700 or Q70 be sufficient to print plain text to the Okidata? If so, what addresses do I use for the terminals? Would it be 20 and 24? If I can't use the printer, I know I could use any of three serial terminals at 20, 22 and 24.
When entering the addresses into the initialization dialog, do I enter them in octal or decimal?

Thanks for your time and patience!

Tom Lake
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Re: Timesharing BASIC Setup

Postby AltairClone » February 8th, 2017, 11:28 pm

Timesharing BASIC does not support the MITS 88-LPC interface board (i.e., the MITS "O"kidata option). It requires the Centronics or Qume printer with interrupt operation enabled. I'm considering adding the MITS 88-C700 board (Centronics) to the Clone. This would allow the MITS accounting software and Timesharing BASIC to work with a printer. This may be a good time to allow the printer to route to either serial port 2 or 3 as well.

In the TS BASIC initialization dialog, use decimal values for the port numbers. In the Clone's configuration monitor, set the cassette serial port to be a 2SIO instead of SIO. The two serial ports you want to specify during the TS BASIC startup are ports 16 and 20, skipping port 18 (serial port 2) which you have connected to your printer (though it won't work with TS BASIC).

Note that by default, Clone serial ports 1 and 2 are connected to interrupt vector 2, and serial port 3 (the cassette serial port) is connected to interrupt vector 3. You'll need this information during the TS BASIC startup dialog. See the "Interrupt Vectors" menu in the Admin menu of the Clone configuration monitor.

Mike
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Re: Timesharing BASIC Setup

Postby toml_12953 » February 9th, 2017, 7:30 am

AltairClone wrote:I'm considering adding the MITS 88-C700 board (Centronics) to the Clone. This would allow the MITS accounting software and Timesharing BASIC to work with a printer. This may be a good time to allow the printer to route to either serial port 2 or 3 as well.
Mike

Please do! Would this be just a firmware change or would it require an actual hardware port? If hardware, could older Clones be retrofitted? Would I still be able to use my Oki or would I have to find a different printer?
Given the way I use my Clone, this is exciting news for me!

Tom L
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Re: Timesharing BASIC Setup

Postby toml_12953 » February 24th, 2017, 9:00 am

AltairClone wrote:Timesharing BASIC does not support the MITS 88-LPC interface board (i.e., the MITS "O"kidata option). It requires the Centronics or Qume printer with interrupt operation enabled. I'm considering adding the MITS 88-C700 board (Centronics) to the Clone. This would allow the MITS accounting software and Timesharing BASIC to work with a printer. This may be a good time to allow the printer to route to either serial port 2 or 3 as well.

In the TS BASIC initialization dialog, use decimal values for the port numbers. In the Clone's configuration monitor, set the cassette serial port to be a 2SIO instead of SIO. The two serial ports you want to specify during the TS BASIC startup are ports 16 and 20, skipping port 18 (serial port 2) which you have connected to your printer (though it won't work with TS BASIC).

Note that by default, Clone serial ports 1 and 2 are connected to interrupt vector 2, and serial port 3 (the cassette serial port) is connected to interrupt vector 3. You'll need this information during the TS BASIC startup dialog. See the "Interrupt Vectors" menu in the Admin menu of the Clone configuration monitor.

Mike

So have you decided if you're going to add the C700 to the Clone? It would be a great addition for me especially if I could continue to use my serial Oki printer. Even if you decide against the C700, please do allow routing the printer to any serial port! Thanks for your time and effort!

Tom L

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Re: Timesharing BASIC Setup

Postby AltairClone » February 25th, 2017, 9:12 am

I've realized since my last post that the Altair accounting software is hard coded for the MITS Qume printer interface - not the Centronics. Since the Qume is also supported by regular and TS BASIC,the Qume interface may be the better board to implement. Unfortunately, I haven't found any documentation for the Qume interface board yet.

The third serial port on the Altair Clone (via the cassette interface option) does not support hardware handshaking, so the ability to route printer output through the third serial port may not be that useful - at least not with older printers that don't have a large RAM buffer. I noticed the OKI 320 printer that a few hobbyists have mentioned on this forum has a 128K buffer, so that printer can handle most any print job without requiring a hardware handshake.

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Re: Timesharing BASIC Setup

Postby toml_12953 » February 25th, 2017, 10:17 am

AltairClone wrote:I've realized since my last post that the Altair accounting software is hard coded for the MITS Qume printer interface - not the Centronics. Since the Qume is also supported by regular and TS BASIC,the Qume interface may be the better board to implement. Unfortunately, I haven't found any documentation for the Qume interface board yet.

The third serial port on the Altair Clone (via the cassette interface option) does not support hardware handshaking, so the ability to route printer output through the third serial port may not be that useful - at least not with older printers that don't have a large RAM buffer. I noticed the OKI 320 printer that a few hobbyists have mentioned on this forum has a 128K buffer, so that printer can handle most any print job without requiring a hardware handshake.

Mike

You've probably already seen this site but here it is anyway.

https://gopherproxy.meulie.net/gopher.floodgap.com/0/archive/walnut-creek-cd-simtel/SIMTEL/SIGM/VOLS000/VOL040/QUMEINST.ASM

Have you asked Steve Shepard if he still has any Qume manuals? He used to have all kinds of Altair manuals.
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