CP/M 2 - what's its legal status? (Vector box cards)

JP Hindin jplist at kiwigeek.com
Wed Nov 23 14:21:46 CST 2005

On Wed, 23 Nov 2005, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> >>What I can't explain are the small cables between the RAM cards in the
> >>middle of the card cage and whatever the cards are at the rear.
> >Battery backup for the ram?
> I don't think so.  Each little black cable goes to a different card at each
> end.
> If you look closely at the top view of the card cage, starting from the
> front, you see what I would guess to be a hard/floppy controller, a RAM
> card (note the positioning of the components that you can see and compare
> them with the three cards in the middle), perhaps a CPU card,  a couple of
> empty slots, three more RAM cards and then three unidentified cards with
> SSI chips (some sort of comms?).  The front RAM card doesn't appear to have
> the same small black cable attached.  Perhaps bank switching of some sort?

Jackpot Chuck;

The three cards ahead of the RAM cards are FlashWriters - terminal
interface cards, basically. The Vector time slices through standalone
copies of the OS in separate memory cards, running multiple instances of
the single-user CP/M.
The single wire from the FlashWriter is BD_ENABLE.

The cards are:
56k RAM board
56k RAM board
56k RAM board
Odd little wire divider (No clue whatefer)
ZCB (CPU board)
RAM board
Floppy & Hard disk controller
BitStreamer (out of picture)

The FlashWriter talks to a MindlessTerminal (vaguely proprietary
connection, but easy enough to mimic as I'm working on now). My ZCB has
RS-232 hanging off it, and a memory board next to it - which suggests to
me that it can run a serial console and another instance of an OS, but I
haven't tested this yet.
The BitStreamer is a serial & parallel port I/O host.

The thing is a pretty nifty set up, to be honest, I didn't know it was
nearly so cool ;)

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