Altair 8800 Clone Firmware Version 1.7

Announcements about the Altair 8800 Clone including software and hardware updates.

Altair 8800 Clone Firmware Version 1.7

Postby AltairClone » August 1st, 2014, 8:41 pm

Altair 8800 Clone firmware version 1.7 is now available on the Altair Clone support page.

This version adds support for the Altair Minidisk in addition to the standard 8 inch Altair floppy. The Minidisk's different data transfer rate, sector timing, motor start-up delay, motor shutdown, etc. are all accurately emulated. When the drive type is changed in the Configuration Monitor, the type of all three drives is changed, so be sure to upload the appropriate media into the drives whenever drive type is changed. Disk images for Minidisk BASIC, Altair DOS and CP/M are available on the support page.

This update also improves the "transparency" of using the Configuration Monitor while an 8080 program is running. When an 8080 program is paused via the front panel and the Configuration Monitor is used to to change a floppy, change baud rate, etc., it is desirable that the 8080 program be able to pick up and run again without any issue. However, prior to this update, some aspects of the emulated hardware were re-initialized after exiting the Configuration Monitor. This re-initialization caused some problems - primarily with software that used interrupts. With this update, the following changes have been made when exiting the Configuration Monitor and resuming the 8080 program:

  • Interrupt flags and interrupt enables of emulated 8080 hardware are no longer cleared
  • The 8080 processor interrupt state is maintained
  • 60hz real-time interrupts from the 88-VI/RTC remain on if enabled on the emulated hardware
  • Emulated serial port registers are not cleared/re-initialized
  • Floppy drive state, including track number, is not reset. If a drive was selected, it remains selected.
If however, the configuration monitor has modified a hardware item that does require re-initialization of the emulated hardware (e.g., changing serial port type), then initialization of the particular item affected by the configuration change is performed.

Feel free to contact me or post with any questions!
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Re: Altair 8800 Clone Firmware Version 1.7

Postby toml_12953 » August 3rd, 2014, 10:56 am

I tried to update the firmware from 1.6 to 1.7 but after all the lights stop flashing, I reset the Altair and the configuration menu still says 1.6. I had successfully updated to 1.6 from the previous version so I know my setup is good. During the transfer, the address lights are incrementing as normal but there's no update afterward (unless you just forgot to update the menu version message displayed when Stop and Alt are raised - not likely)
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Re: Altair 8800 Clone Firmware Version 1.7

Postby AltairClone » August 3rd, 2014, 11:54 am

Tom,

1) Verify that the version 1.7 file was actually downloaded and not 1.6. With aggressive browser caching (especially Chrome), you may have to use your browser's refresh button to force it to actually show and give you the correct 1.7 file link.

2) Be sure to extract the content of the .zip file and then download the extracted "8800 Clone Rev 1-7.bin" file to the Clone.

A normal update session is shown below. Verify your update appears to execute properly to completion and doesn't display any sort of error message. Let me know what you find!

Mike

Send the update file now (8-bit, binary mode)...
File Received.
Writing Program Memory...
8C80
Update Complete.

Restarting as Altair.
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Re: Altair 8800 Clone Firmware Version 1.7

Postby toml_12953 » August 3rd, 2014, 1:12 pm

I don't get the file received message. TeraTerm exits once its completion bar reaches 100%. If the Altair is sending messages after that, I wouldn't see them.
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Re: Altair 8800 Clone Firmware Version 1.7

Postby toml_12953 » August 3rd, 2014, 2:08 pm

OK, now I've updated to 1.7. Whew! I had just hooked up an old Win98Se machine to use as a terminal to the Altair. It worked fine in BASIC, editor, assembler, etc. but not so fine for file transfers, apparently. I replaced it with a Win 7 PC and, voila! The file transferred first time. Thanks for your time, once again!
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