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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 3rd May 2021, 4:42 pm   #1
onewatt
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Default Early EPROM programmer.

Hi All,
As per the heading.
Is this just an early programmer?
Vy bst
Chris
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Old 3rd May 2021, 4:56 pm   #2
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Early Eprom programmer.

Isn't that a Softy-2?
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Old 3rd May 2021, 5:26 pm   #3
ortek_service
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Default Re: Early Eprom programmer.

Yes, It does look very-much like the Softy-2, here:

http://www.computermuseum.org.uk/mac...n_softy_2.html

https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...mmer-307527523

Although the Keypad looks to be slightly-different and Dataman seemed to usually use White vacuum-formed plastic covers / casing.
So maybe an early prototype / was a rebadge sold under a different name?
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Old 3rd May 2021, 6:31 pm   #4
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Default Re: Early Eprom programmer.

Fascinating - it does look like the Softy-2 - I assume the clips will need to be removed really carefully to look inside but, I would hope to find an SC/MP and some lost firmware....

Is this a machine you currently have?
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Old 3rd May 2021, 6:58 pm   #5
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Default Re: Early Eprom programmer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbucus View Post
Fascinating - it does look like the Softy-2 - I assume the clips will need to be removed really carefully to look inside but, I would hope to find an SC/MP and some lost firmware....
>>
Although with the Softy (1 & 2?), you can transfer its firmware to RAM to view / program another 2716 etc from. Which can then readout via a PC-based one etc. - Assuming it works (at least these don't require as complex a Power-Supply as the original Softy-I, as they only work with single-rail EPROM's).


There was some (quite-rare) pictures 'under the hood' of the Softy-2, on another Softy (1) thread, about reading-out its firmware (+ the building of a Replica by ChrisOddy) in this Zip file: https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...4&d=1610220783
(from: https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...=167741&page=5 )


The Softy-2 does appear to be very-much based on the original Softy-1 (mostly a different form-factor layout, twice the RAM, and supporting larger - single-rail only EPROM's). And uses the same SC/MP CPU with it's 4K memory page limitations
- Before they finally ditched that on the S3, for a full 64K-addressing low-power Z80 uC with custom-ROM
So circuitry is quite similar, but I don't think there's a copy of the circuit or the firmware on the 'net, as very little published info on it (There was / plus is now a lot more on the Softy-1)
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Old 3rd May 2021, 8:55 pm   #6
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Default Re: Early Eprom programmer.

Hi All,
Thank you for the rapid response. Yes, I picked it up with a few other eprom & eeprom surplus gear, so really interesting links and info.
I will see if I can remove the top and take another pic to confirm the insides.
Thanks again, much appreciated.
Vy Bst
Chris
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Old 3rd May 2021, 9:04 pm   #7
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Default Re: Early Eprom programmer.

The PCB even has the "S4.1" marking of the one in the first of ORTEK's links, so I'd guess a prototype or revised version.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 11:01 pm   #8
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Default Re: Early Eprom programmer.

Onewatt, I don't know if you can hear that sound.... it's the sound of everyone here barely containing their excitement at someone having turned up here with one of these units. Expect to be asked lots of questions later...
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Old 4th May 2021, 8:15 am   #9
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Default Re: Early Eprom programmer.

Hi SiriusHardware
Itís an integral part of this super forum to find interesting things and share them, but my knowledge is limited, so Letís hope I can answer the questions.
Iíll forward an internal pic later today, and may get another visit to where it came from and just might if Iím lucky find some paperwork (at least Iíll give it a go)
Vy Bst
Chris
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Old 4th May 2021, 10:20 am   #10
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Thanks onewatt for following up - the other integral part is how everyone chips in to answer the questions when presented with scraps of information so we can all learn - photos like you will take are devoured to create knowledge. It is that aspect of archeology here I love, as information is readily available on the wider net for so much but, here you realise what is missing and could be lost if we do not preserve it.
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Old 4th May 2021, 2:22 pm   #11
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

And a picture of the insides!
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Old 4th May 2021, 2:38 pm   #12
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

That's in excellent condition.
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Old 4th May 2021, 3:23 pm   #13
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Yes it is in good condition, although would it be possible to get a hi-res copy as the reduction on the forum is difficult to see the chips.

By the way the Black case may not have been a one off - the Ad from PCW Oct 1981 shows it in Black...

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Old 4th May 2021, 3:44 pm   #14
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbucus View Post
By the way the Black case may not have been a one off - the Ad from PCW Oct 1981 shows it in Black...
In a black and white advert?

But now we also need to add Menta to the list of machines to find out about, I donít remember ever seeing that one before.
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Old 4th May 2021, 4:02 pm   #15
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1960 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbucus View Post
By the way the Black case may not have been a one off - the Ad from PCW Oct 1981 shows it in Black...
In a black and white advert?
This is not a case of "For those watching in Black and White the Red ball is the one behind the Green"...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark1960 View Post
But now we also need to add Menta to the list of machines to find out about, I donít remember ever seeing that one before.
I knew that would start a conversation and indeed the Menta seems to be in a solid Black case as well... I would stake a bet we don't find many of those unless some of the schools up north testing them kept one!
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Old 4th May 2021, 4:35 pm   #16
SiriusHardware
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Quote:
would it be possible to get a hi-res copy as the reduction on the forum is difficult to see the chips
Rephrased for onewatt: Would you please place your original full sized photo from #11 in a .zip file and attach it to a post? The forum crunches all attached images down to 800 * 600 no matter how large the original was, which leads to loss of detail. You can get around that problem by attaching the original as a .zip file.

It certainly looks in beautiful condition. Of particular interest are the EPROM and the labelled smaller IC up in the upper left quadrant - that is likely to be a programmed bipolar PROM which looks as though it is soldered to the PCB.
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Old 4th May 2021, 8:05 pm   #17
onewatt
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Did that work?
Regards
Chris
....your making my brain work.....!
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Old 4th May 2021, 9:01 pm   #18
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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.....!
That's brilliant, so Hi-res you can almost smell it!
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Old 4th May 2021, 9:03 pm   #19
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Looks really good quality picture
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Old 4th May 2021, 9:28 pm   #20
Timbucus
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Default Re: Early EPROM programmer.

Wow - I had to open it in GIMP - that really is Hires!
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