Octal Loader?

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

Octal Loader?

Postby Mirzayev » February 9th, 2020, 11:14 pm

Hello, I just ordered an Altair 8800 Clone last week, and am eager to start messing around with it!

While reading Dr. Dobb's Volume 1 on Tiny Basic, the source code for TBX recommends using an octal loader to input the entire thing. Is there a method to do this with the Altair 8800, aside from flipping the front panel switches?
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Re: Octal Loader?

Postby TronDD » February 11th, 2020, 9:35 am

Depends exactly what format you have the code in.

There are monitors you can use with the clone to enter octal bytes with a terminal, instead of the switches. A little faster but still tedious and error prone.

If the code is such human readable format, you'd be better off converting it to binary or Intel hex then you can use a bootloader or the clone's build in admin functions to load it to memory.

I wrote my own ASCII octal bootloader since I type up my code in a text editor, hand assembled, and wanted to load it to the Altair without conversion.
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Re: Octal Loader?

Postby Mirzayev » February 11th, 2020, 10:29 am

The code is printed all in octal bytes, so I'll look for a monitor. Any suggestions?

Interestingly, Ed Roberts published in the December, 1974 edition of Popular Electronics a guide on building a low-cost terminal. I would assume this would be similar to inputting octal bytes via a monitor?

http://www.rfcafe.com/references/popula ... r-1974.htm
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Re: Octal Loader?

Postby TronDD » February 11th, 2020, 1:28 pm

The Altair Turnkey Monitor probably. It comes loaded in PROM on the clone.
TURMON: https://altairclone.com/downloads/roms/


That terminal seems just be a keyboard, display and octal to binary converter. Doesn't look like it includes an interface to a systems. The Clone has serial ports so the terminal would need a serial UART.

The Monitor software is designed for a human to enter the octal with a normal ASCII keyboard. The monitor does the conversion to binary.
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