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Adam in 80 Columns (and other questions)

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What's needed to make the ADAM run in 80 columns? Is it only the EVE module that allowed this or were there other 80 column modules for the ADAM? What about 40 columns so it would work better with CP/M?

 

Also, what would you say are the most important mods and accessories for the ADAM that are still available (80 column cards and 3.5" drives are nice, but good luck finding one now days)? Currently I have two tape drives, a disk drive, a 64K memory expansion, and a VGA chip. I know there's a SD card interface out there and the Super Game Module, but have there been other 'life changing' ADAM developments in the past year or two?

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I'm sure NIAD will answer this is depth, but if you haven't already done so, use the Virtual ADAM emulator in 80-column mode to see what CP/M, TDOS, and other CP/M programs look like in 80-columns.

 

I guess it's logical that it wouldn't stretch it out or somehow magically make it the same size, but my biggest surprise the first time I saw 80-columns on ADAM was the SmartKey display at the bottom of the screen was still at ADAM's normal screen width...

 

Virtual ADAM can be found on my web site at: http://www.sacnews.net/adamcomputer/downloads/

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What's needed to make the ADAM run in 80 columns? Is it only the EVE module that allowed this or were there other 80 column modules for the ADAM?

 

The "80 column units" were a combination of a serial card (Eve, Orphanware) and a serial terminal card that could drive a composite monochrome monitor. I have never seen an Eve 80 column unit, nor pictures of it. The Orphanware unit was both cards in one white plastic box, attached at the side port; I believe it also used a ColecoVision power supply for the terminal card. I built my own equivalent from a separate Orphanware serial card and a bought kit of the terminal card, which I assembled in its own box with its own internal power supply. You can use any serial card (Eve, Orphanware, MI, even the ADAMlink modem) and any serial terminal for display, even a null-modem link to a PC running ProComm or Hypeterm etc. To my knowledge, all the EOS software patches for 80 columns still used the ADAM keyboard for input.

 

What about 40 columns so it would work better with CP/M?

 

ADAM CP/M used the 32-column mode of the VDP, but had a side-scrolling window to simulate 80 columns. It contains code which could have used the prototype ADAMnet serial/parallel card for I/O (device 14). TDOS (Tony Morehen's ZCPR3 clone) used the 40-column text mode of the VDP, but also had an 80 column version for the Eve/Orphanware serial boards, and probably the MI type as well. In my limited experience, the 32-column mode was very tough on the eyes to use. Many TDOS utilities were written specifically for 40 columns. Still, almost all CP/M software assumed an 80 x 25 screen and a smart terminal (like Heath or VT52). At least 80-column programs in dumb terminal mode could wrap fairly cleanly in 40-column mode.

 

Also, what would you say are the most important mods and accessories for the ADAM that are still available (80 column cards and 3.5" drives are nice, but good luck finding one now days)?

 

MI-type ADAM serial cards *might* still available through Bob Slopsema, though not sure if that is NOS or new parts. Replacement logic GALs were a problem for the MI design. I don't know if HLM-GMK still have any remaining stock of Orphanware-type serial cards, but the circuit design was all discrete TTL and would be easy to reproduce; the UART chip would probably be the hard thing to find (Signetics 2651 if memory serves). Until the last few years, desktop Wintel machines still had serial ports, so an older PC and Hyperterm with null modem cable would be an option for 80-column display.

 

*Dr. D.*

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use the Virtual ADAM emulator in 80-column mode to see what CP/M, TDOS, and other CP/M programs look like in 80-columns.

 

I am very interested to know if this supports the TEXT80 mode of SmartBASIC 1.x (my enhanced SmartBASIC interpreter). TEXT80 uses a serial port for the display (user-selected port and terminal emulation), but blanks the VDP and uses 2000 bytes of VRAM as screen buffer (80 x 25). This enables full-screen editing etc. I guess it depends upon how exactly the 80-column mode is being emulated. If it is not emulating a specific UART, or trapping port I/O to one of the known ADAM serial baseports (Eve/Orphanware or MI), then obviously TEXT80 won't work. I can't test this myself since there is no MacOS X version of Virtual ADAM (though I can run ADAMEM fine in the MacOS X port of DOSBOX).

 

*Dr. D.*

Edited by Dr. D.

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I would have to look at it to be sure, but I think it only supports the CP/M in 80 columns on the emulator. There is a box you have to check that says "80 column TDOS". If I knew how to run a program in that version of basic I would try it.

 

I am very interested to know if this supports the TEXT80 mode of SmartBASIC 1.x (my enhanced SmartBASIC interpreter). TEXT80 uses a serial port for the display (user-selected port and terminal emulation), but blanks the VDP and uses 2000 bytes of VRAM as screen buffer (80 x 25). This enables full-screen editing etc. I guess it depends upon how exactly the 80-column mode is being emulated. If it is not emulating a specific UART, or trapping port I/O to one of the known ADAM serial baseports (Eve/Orphanware or MI), then obviously TEXT80 won't work. I can't test this myself since there is no MacOS X version of Virtual ADAM (though I can run ADAMEM fine in the MacOS X port of DOSBOX).

 

*Dr. D.*

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First off, I am so glad to see that Dr. D has finally joined AtariAge... welcome aboard Rich!!! Everyone on this forum is in for a real treat with the technical knowledge that you can pass on in your answers and between all us old-timers on here now we will really be able to pass on some knowledge of the ADAM.

 

To answer Tempest's questions and to reaffirm Dr. D's answer, you have three options for 80 column output with the ADAM. You have the EVE VD-MB 80 Column Unit, the Orphanware 80 Column Unit or a Serial Card which allows the hookup of a terminal for 80 column output. Suffice it to say that the EVE and OBS units are almost impossible to find now-a-days and if one were to become available, I would venture a price tag of $350 or considerably more would be appropriate due to how very rare these unit are.

 

The EVE unit is the Cadillac of 80 column units seeing as it was a major upgrade to the ADAM system that not only offered 80 column output in CP/M and then later T-DOS, but it also provided a power supply for the unit as well as the ADAM Computer, 4 internal expansion slots for the likes of other EVE Interface Cards like the SP-1 (Serial/Parallel), SP-1P (Parallel) and SS-CC (Speech Synthesizer/Clock Card), cooling fan, professional metal housing and was supplied with a good amount of CP/M software all pre-configured for 80 column display on the ADAM. I owned one of these units, used it for many years without any issues and regret selling it with my original collection many years ago. I will post pics of the unit that were provided by Rich DiRocco (http://rich.dirocco....o/adam/ADAM.htm) in a following post.

 

I just recently acquired the first Orphanware 80 Column Unit that I ever owned and it works very well, although I like the EVE unit better. I have considered selling this unit, but am still undecided. Pictures of my unit (80 Column Unit that is :lolblue: ) will follow as well.

 

CP/M display is either 32 column with or without the screen scrolling or 80 coumns with one of the aforementioned 80 column hardware setups. A utility program called "scrnchop" was used to force 32 column display and avoid that hard to follow screen scroll or moving window as Coleco refers to it in SmartWRITER. While ADAM CP/M 2.2 was a very good implementation, I highly recommend bypassing it and going right into T-DOS, which is a freeware replacement to CP/M and offers SO MANY enhancements. Best of all, it's default video output is 40 columns and 80 columns is easily configured if you own the appropriate hardware.

 

FYI: For those playing around with the Infocom text adventures, there are disk images which have specific executable files depending on if you are using CP/M or T-DOS. For instance, the game Zork will contain three exxecutables:

 

:arrow: Zork.exe - CP/M version which may or may not be configured with a screen chop program to stop the window from scrolling. The game is extremely hard to play with a scrolling window.

:arrow: Zork40 - T-DOS version for standard 40 column display.

:arrow: Zork80 - T-DOS version for 80 column display.

 

You may also run into a disk image that is configured for 80 column output only in CP/M. If you run an 80 column configured version in the wrong O.S. (CP/M or T-DOS), you will know right away.

 

As far as the hardware setup you have on the ADAM, you have the most important items already and the ones that you will get the most use out of. The IDE Package and Printer Card with IDE Boot Prom that ADAMcon/MicroFox Tech. sells is a VERY, VERY nice addition and I would recommend considering picking up one of these especially since an SD Card the likes of which Else developed a couple years ago may never become available... unfortunately. Besides the IDE Package, I would suggest investing in a backup ADAM system if you continue to get more involved in using the ADAM for things other than playing CV games.

 

More to follow...

Edited by NIAD

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The Orphanware 80 Column Unit that I recently acquired with a Multi-Unit Ribbon Cable and EVE SP-1 Serial/Parallel Interface...

post-25956-0-91653300-1376101212_thumb.jpg

post-25956-0-56519100-1376101236_thumb.jpg

post-25956-0-93309900-1376101242_thumb.jpg

post-25956-0-31217600-1376101263_thumb.jpg

Edited by NIAD

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Thanks for all the info, I guess that answers my questions. Have all the CP/M Zork games been converted to T-DOS?

 

Another quick question, how important is it to have the ADAM vents unblocked? I moved the ADAM to new spot but the vents on top are blocked (the other vents are unblocked however), will this cause problems? I really don't play with the ADAM more than an hour or so at a time, so it's not going to be on for hours on end or anything like that.

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I'm sure NIAD will answer this is depth, but if you haven't already done so, use the Virtual ADAM emulator in 80-column mode to see what CP/M, TDOS, and other CP/M programs look like in 80-columns.

Yeah, I do like to talk about all things ADAM, don't I.

 

The T-DOS 80 column option is a locked feature of ADAMem DOS and only works with T-DOS. The ADAMem emulator does not have the ability to run CP/M in 80 columns. Amazingly, Marcel de Kogel programmed ADAMem and added all the additional features without ever having used or owned an ADAM Computer and I would assume the 80 column T-DOS option was implememted at the request of someone like Ron Collins, Herman Mason or George Koczwara. When one installs/configures T-DOS, there is an option to display SmartKEYs or not in 80 column mode.

 

@ Dr. D: I haven't tested it, but I highly doubt ADAMem DOS is compatible with your SmartBASIC v1.x in 80 column mode. Also, this T-DOS 80 column option is a feature of ADAMem and there is a configuration switch for it. You do not need Virtual ADAM to access it, although Virtual ADAM makes it a lot easier to configure... just check the box.

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Thanks for all the info, I guess that answers my questions. Have all the CP/M Zork games been converted to T-DOS?

 

Another quick question, how important is it to have the ADAM vents unblocked? I moved the ADAM to new spot but the vents on top are blocked (the other vents are unblocked however), will this cause problems? I really don't play with the ADAM more than an hour or so at a time, so it's not going to be on for hours on end or anything like that.

I'd have to double check, but I think all the Infocom games were converted to T-DOS.

 

If something is laying flat on the Memory Console and therefore completely blocking the vents, I would consider rearranging things. They are there for a reason afterall and someone in engineering thought they were important enough to add. Also, there are some chips on the ADAM Logic Board and CV Delta Board that are prone to overheating that may or may not have a heat sink glued to them, so error on the side of caution.

 

Also, do not place anything of weight like a Monitor on the area directly above the Digital Data Drives. I have heard that it can adversely affect the Data Drives although I have never experienced this seeing as I never placed anthing on top of the Memory Console.

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Wouldn't the video chip upgrade also allow 80 columns if someone were to patch CP/M?

You mean Matt's VGA mod? I'm not sure if it allows for 80 columns or not (I should ask him).

 

If something is laying flat on the Memory Console and therefore completely blocking the vents, I would consider rearranging things. They are there for a reason afterall and someone in engineering thought they were important enough to add. Also, there are some chips on the ADAM Logic Board and CV Delta Board that are prone to overheating that may or may not have a heat sink glued to them, so error on the side of caution.

Well it's not something laying right on it, but there's only a half an inch or so of clearance.

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Wouldn't the video chip upgrade also allow 80 columns if someone were to patch CP/M?

Th F18A VGA upgrade should allow 80 columns in any ADAM program (EOS, CP/M and T-DOS), but patches would have to be developed. On the EOS side, it would be a huge endeavor to patch each individual program, but really SmartBASIC would be the only one worth patching and then the individual SmartBASIC programs could easily be reconfigured.

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The EVE VD-MB 80-Column Unit, how rare is this unit of 80 columns support for ADAM ? Very interesting piece of hardware internal.

 

Yes, I know I am a true 8 bits Atari but I do interesting of outside Atari World sometimes as I do.

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The EVE VD-MB 80-Column Unit, how rare is this unit of 80 columns support for ADAM ?

Ungodly rare. I think I've only ever seen one on ebay and it went for an obscene amount of money (not that ADAM stuff goes for much, but it was pricey!)

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Th F18A VGA upgrade should allow 80 columns in any ADAM program (EOS, CP/M and T-DOS), but patches would have to be developed. On the EOS side, it would be a huge endeavor to patch each individual program, but really SmartBASIC would be the only one worth patching and then the individual SmartBASIC programs could easily be reconfigured.

Never thought of that. Unfortuantely I don't think there are enough ADAM owners with the F18A (I could not think of the name yesterday) to make it worth anyone's time. If I had the skills I would try, but this is well beyond me.

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Never thought of that. Unfortuantely I don't think there are enough ADAM owners with the F18A (I could not think of the name yesterday) to make it worth anyone's time. If I had the skills I would try, but this is well beyond me.

While I would love to have the F18A VGA upgrade in my ADAM, there are so many other things with the CV that have been a drain on the finances of late and I keep putting a purchase off. I guess it is high time to take care of this one and hopefully I can talk Matt into installing it as well as modding the case like he did for you. The case mod wouldn't be difficult, but I have no skills as far as desoldering the old VDP and soldering in the new socket. Hmmm, I'm gonna have to check if one of my ADAM CV Delta Boards already has a socketed VDP... although not likely.

 

Programming skills? I think the only one on here who could handle this would be Dr. D.

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The EVE VD-MB 80-Column Unit, how rare is this unit of 80 columns support for ADAM ? Very interesting piece of hardware internal.

 

Yes, I know I am a true 8 bits Atari but I do interesting of outside Atari World sometimes as I do.

While there were probably a couple hundred sold back in the mid to late 80's (before EVE went out of business), it seems as if they all vanished from the face of the Earth. The EVE VD-MB sold for $329.95 back then with the built-in Power Supply and $309.95 without the Power Supply.

 

I almost forgot about the other 80 Column hardware configuration that EVE sold, which I never did see firsthand. This was the EVE MON-80 which was the Video Board and Monitor assembly that sold for the same $329.95 price tag. I would assume that very few of these units sold and the likelyhood of finding this one is slim to none.

 

If you want to find out more about ADAM related products, checkout all the ADAM newsletters that are available on Joe B.'s website in PDF format.... link in my SIG.

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Necrobump. Has anyone given any thought to patching T-Dos to work with the F18A for 80 columns?

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You mean Matt's VGA mod? I'm not sure if it allows for 80 columns or not (I should ask him).

Yes, the F18A does support T80 (80 column mode) as implemented by the 9938, except for the blink "feature". The F18A (in the upcoming v1.6 firmware) also provides some additional options for T40/T80 modes including the ability to set any character to its own fg/bg color, pixel-level scrolling, etc.

 

The biggest problem with porting existing software to use T80 is not really patching to set the T80 mode (that is usually a 1-byte patch), but rather modifying the software to utilize the extra width. If a program was designed to format a screen in 40-columns, then it has no idea that the screen is now 80-columns wide if you patch the software to set T80 mode. Also, T80 obviously uses more VDP memory per page than T40 and a program might be storing other data just off the bottom of the T40 memory area, so you might see "garbage" on the screen if you simply enable T80 mode.

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... hopefully I can talk Matt into installing it as well as modding the case like he did for you. ...

The biggest problem with that is the bulk of the ADAM and its "power supply" (printer). Shipping would kill you. I don't like in the Midwest any more so meeting in person to make an exchange is not possible. I suppose you could strip it down and send just the motherboard, but I really don't like not being able to test. That would be your decision though.

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5 hours ago, RGDiRocco said:

Will have it all unpacked and running again soon!!!!

80column.thumb.jpg.14c61907998ceabe9b9a1d1963e5fa92.jpg

My precious!

 

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