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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 4th May 2021, 9:33 pm   #21
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by onewatt View Post
Did that work?
Regards
Chris
....your making my brain work.....!
Unfortunately, I don't have the wherewithal to access the file type used (.HEIC).
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Old 4th May 2021, 9:35 pm   #22
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Same here, could someone please convert it to a more mainstream image file format and attach it (as .zip) to a further post?
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Old 4th May 2021, 9:36 pm   #23
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Here you go guys:

Softy2Hires.zip
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Old 4th May 2021, 9:44 pm   #24
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Cheers Tim, wow, that is a good image. Dare we ask if it is possible to try connecting this machine up and turning it on? What would the power requirements be? It looks as though the power socket is a DIN type, possibly. The 3.5mm jacks, audio in and out to cassette for file loading and saving?
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Old 4th May 2021, 9:44 pm   #25
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Thanks.
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Old 4th May 2021, 10:13 pm   #26
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

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Originally Posted by SiriusHardware View Post
Cheers Tim, wow, that is a good image. Dare we ask if it is possible to try connecting this machine up and turning it on? What would the power requirements be? It looks as though the power socket is a DIN type, possibly. The 3.5mm jacks, audio in and out to cassette for file loading and saving?
Yes I think you are correct for the 3.5 for tape in and out. No idea on the power side the review in Oct 1981 PCW does not mention anything and the Ad just says "comes with Power supply". I can see a regulator on the board but, it must have needed higher voltages for the programming as well?
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Old 4th May 2021, 10:23 pm   #27
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

I imagine that's the reason for the use of the DIN connector, multiple supply voltages. Maybe the original PSU is around somewhere, or if onewatt has a chance to find some documentation, ideally a circuit diagram, then maybe that will explain the supply requirements.

It hopefully won't be as complex as the supply requirements for the SOFTY-1 as it only seems to support single-rail EPROMs, so it will probably need +5V plus a single higher voltage input from which VPP will be derived.
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Old 5th May 2021, 4:11 am   #28
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

I had spotted that they did use a Black case for the (Rather cheaper Menta Z80 training computer - Which I've never seen a physical one of, and only recently noticed it whilst looking at these old ads / found a review of it on the 'net): http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/mi...ral-menta/3695
Where it's a rather similar layout to S2, but with less IC's? - and this says they even used the same case, for even more cost savings!
https://www.old-computers.com/museum...sp?st=1&c=1277
However, the Menta and the Softy-2 etc. are all in White cases, in the (1983?) ad, shown here: http://www.bygonebytes.co.uk/Softy.html
And also the one that the Cambridge CfCH might have (but no actual Dataman Documentation? as for a different Menta?): http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/d...Designs-Menta/


But I'd not originally noticed that the Softy-2 manual does have a black-cased S2 on the cover:
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...mmer-307527523


However there only seems to be one 'S4.1' PCB version in these from also looking at the various pictures in the Zip file I'd linked to that CircuitBoy had posted (where one had an extra sounder-PCB fitted).

But those had 'SC' written or typed on it's 2716 firmware EPROM label - Whereas this new find has 'SB' printed on its label.
So I guess B or C were versions-letters for the S2 (rather than 3-digit number used on the S1's EPROM label)

You can just about make out the PSU on the Softy-2 Manual's cover photo.
And it doesn't seem that the Softy-2 had an on-board 5V regulator, unless the only TO220 device (a transistor labelled TR5) is used with adjacent zener to form a regulator. But this one doesn't have a heatsink (although others had a small bit of bent Aluminium)
So might be able to just apply +5V to the +5V main-rail in it (as high +25V etc programming voltage is only required to program EPROM)

If only there was a scan of the Softy-2 Manual to be found on the 'net, that's been pictured alongside the other units that have been up for sale etc. in the past. - Although, if Softy-2 was only ready-built, they may have not give an actual full schematic.

Last edited by ortek_service; 5th May 2021 at 4:17 am.
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Old 5th May 2021, 1:56 pm   #29
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Here's some lineage - an advert from July 1979 PCW of the original Softy in case it's of interest.

Colin.
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Old 5th May 2021, 3:04 pm   #30
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

All resources are of interest - I don't think that advert was included in the thread on recreating the Softy 1 - if this sort of thing interests you worth reading:

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=167741

I have one of Chris' boards but, I have not had a chance to build it as yet - I am also not sure he has finalized the PSU design so I am not rushing. It is a race between him and Ian who is recreating the native 2708 programmer for the Triton. I am actually writing extra 8080 code for it at the moment to do things like Blank Check, Read and Compare as the Monitor has only Zap (Program)..
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Old 5th May 2021, 3:56 pm   #31
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

I would be interested in another photo view looking into the rear sockets so we can see how many poles / pins that DIN-alike socket has. That image probably wouldn't need to be in panoramic hi-res as long as the unit rear fills the image from side to side.
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Old 5th May 2021, 7:00 pm   #32
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

If we are being greedy then one of the bottom of the board as well if it lifts out easily...
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Old 5th May 2021, 8:41 pm   #33
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Softy’s at shop so maybe weekend before more pics, but will organise.
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Old 5th May 2021, 8:47 pm   #34
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

I'm guessing that if you can take a shot of the underside of the PCB, we'd probably like that one in the same super hi-res as the top view.

As Owen said, if you can positively identify the +5V and 0V supply rails you can probably power it up to the extent that it will produce a UHF RF signal which can be tuned in on an analogue TV. That's assuming that you don't have the actual power supply for it of course.
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Old 5th May 2021, 10:03 pm   #35
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

I think the Holy Grail is now a scan of the Softy-2 Manual - as the only ones I've seen have been pictured with a past sale of a S2.

(The only Dataman product listed by Cambridge-CfCH is the Menta, and they don't show any actual documents for it - But that doesn't have a DIN connector, even though casing covers were apparently the same. I don't recall seeing any Dataman products, going round Bletchey-TNMoC either - Just Mk14's etc.)

Hopefully, the manual might give some connector pinout details - even if this version was now only sold ready-built. (The later S3 manual only had a Block Diagram, although quite detailed with details of all the signals & Algorithm parameters. But I saw in the ad that you had to pay £150? at the time, to get the full S3 Software Development Kit Reference manual with schematics & firmware source code etc.)
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Old 5th May 2021, 10:15 pm   #36
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbucus View Post
All resources are of interest - I don't think that advert was included in the thread on recreating the Softy 1 - if this sort of thing interests you worth reading:

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=167741

I have one of Chris' boards but, I have not had a chance to build it as yet - I am also not sure he has finalized the PSU design so I am not rushing. It is a race between him and Ian who is recreating the native 2708 programmer for the Triton. I am actually writing extra 8080 code for it at the moment to do things like Blank Check, Read and Compare as the Monitor has only Zap (Program)..

Yes, I hadn't seen that particular early-ad before. I'd only been looking in all the Wireless World magazine from that time, where it seems they only started advertising a year or two later and ads were often quite small / weren't in every issue.

I've also got one of Chris's boards waiting for me, when I'm next able to pick it up. He had sent me an updated version of the PSU design, after I'd fed back some observations on the one he'd originally posted here on the Softy thread - So that's no longer the latest version.
And I did have some extra suggestions, but I've not heard anything recently so not sure exactly what he decided to go with in the end.

But maybe the original Dataman design is adequate, if you had a suitable transformer to make a replica, and power-sequencing is being over cautious.
Or maybe knock-up an alternative from what bits you've already got around (I've quite a few obsolete DC-DC converter modules, I might use to save having to order current RS ones)
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Old 6th May 2021, 1:32 am   #37
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

I have got a couple of 1970s programmer bare cards that look like they will run on a parallel port and 5V. The programming voltage is an inverter.
They come from an old development system.
On picking up the link the thread is still open. If anyone wants they are welcome to ask for the threads to be merged.
https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=173983

Last edited by Refugee; 6th May 2021 at 1:36 am. Reason: Permit to merge thrads
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Old 6th May 2021, 2:00 am   #38
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Yes, I remember seeing those - It looks like the Potcore they've used in the Step-Up Vpp supply is a similar size to the BBC Computer one I used on one I'd designed & built in the late 80's for my College Electronics project.

And that Z80 Dev system is a bit more like the old & large Intel 8008? / 8080? ones, that I think TonyDuell said he had.


I think now that the early one here has been identified as a Softy-2 one, it is much more closely related to its Softy-1 predecessor that had its own Softy thread, so if anything it would make more sense to merge with that.

But it might be best to keep it separate / rename to Softy-2, to not get it too mixed-up with others ones, if we do manage to get an upload of the firmware - or maybe a scan of the manuals - here.
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Old 6th May 2021, 2:12 am   #39
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Merging threads was just a passing thought and would go best with a parallel port one as it looks like it uses a Z80 PIO for comms.
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Old 6th May 2021, 4:32 am   #40
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

The Softy-2 here actually uses the (quite rare now) INS8154 PIA (alongside the same National-Semiconductor manufacturer's INS8060 SC/MP-(II) CPU) - With both of these the same as they used on the original Softy-1.

Dataman only switched to the Z80 CPU on the Softy-3, where they used a custom Toshiba single-chip Mask-ROM Z80 code-compatible Low-power Microcontroller in that - So no longer a separate PIA.

Although the INS8154 PIA is apparently Port & Data Direction registers compatible with the 6522 VIA (like the 6520 PIA is with the 6821 PIA).


However, the Softy-1 & 2 are all fully stand-alone units, rather than PC-Controlled.
- And in fact they can't even interface to one, for transferring data, as they don't even have a serial interface!

So the only ways of getting code in and out of them is:
1. Copying an EPROM in the ZIF socket to / from RAM
2. The 'TRANSWIFT' protocol Cassette storage system
3. Typing the hex-code in / viewing the RAM contents on a TV/Monitor
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