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Merry Christmas from Micro Innovations (everything will be public domain)

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Merry Christmas from Micro Innovations (everything will be public domain)

I have been in communications with Mark Gordon of Micro Innovations. Mark Gordon has uncovered several boxes of MI design data. Mark is planning on releasing all the design data into public domain. Mark plans on converting all the data into PDF format. Then he is planning on putting it all up on a website. However, it will take months to get it all up. It will all be free and anyone can use the data in any way they like, including reproducing the products according to Mark Gordon from Micro Innovations.

 

Mark also mentioned that he will not be getting involved in any redesign or repair operations of ADAM hardware/software. In addition, no support will be provided for the information that is released into public domain.

 

Micro Innovations was the best 3rd party hardware developer for the ADAM making a wide selection of reliable HARDWARE products. This was very nice of Mark Gordon to announce that he will be spending several months releasing all his Coleco ADAM designs up on a website. Hopefully hardware engineers will be able to use this information to redesign new ADAM products using surface mount components. This information that will be released in the months to come might also contain useful information on repairing Micro Innovations products that were produced in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

 

As soon as I receive more information from Mark Gordon and his website link, I will update this thread. In the 80's and 90's I lived a few miles from the Mirco Innovations headquarters. I use to drive over and see the ADAM workshop while purchasing Coleco ADAM hardware supplies with my dealers account.

 

The following attachment contains a sample of the data for the Micro Innovations IDE hard disk host adapter prototype. There was only one working prototype that was made which allowed an external printer and Hard Disk Drive to be attached to the ADAM computer. Permission has been granted by Mark Gordon of Micro Innovations to share this data.

Coleco_Adam_IDE_Host_Adapter.pdf

Edited by HDTV1080P
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That is great news. The more data we have out there in the public eye, the better job homebrewers can do. :-D

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This is really great news for ADAM enthusiasts and appreciate the time and effort you made in helping this happen as well as Mark's generosity in making all this information available freely. The next time you have a chance to talk to Mark, you should let him know, if he doesn't already, that next year's ADAMcon is scheduled to be held in Cleveland and that everyone would love to see him there if at all possible.

 

Two things...

 

- If you could ask Mark to release the ADAMnet Hard Drive/Floppy Drive controller information first seeing as one of these boards recently surfaced and was acquired by Rich DiRocco. He contacted me to find out what the board was and is looking for further info. in order to attempt to put it to good use, but unfortunately all I could do was offer some very basic info. on it that I could remember,

 

- For those interested in the IDE Interface Card, the work has already been done by ADAMcon and his son (MicroFox Tech.) to make these available for the very reasonable price of $45. Anyone interested should checkout their website at: http://ann.hollowdreams.com/adamsupplies.html .

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Correction to the very first post in the thread

The sample PDF is for a Powermate Host Adapter which Micro Innovations shipped many. Mark in the original email was thinking about the working prototype HARD Disk Drive that used ADAMNET. The advantage of ADAMNET is that in theory 100% of the ADAM software could run from the Hard Disk Drive like Supergames without any major software patches needed. The only negative of ADAMNET is that the communication interface is slower compared to the Powermate Host Adapter.

 

The following is a select quote from a email I received from Mark Gordon today

 

“I just realized that this design is not for the prototype unit I was thinking of. That product was an AdamNet Hard Disk Drive. *** ***** had the only one I ever made (he was evaluating it for me when I decided to call it quits – if he’s still alive, he may still have it). This design is for the interface card for the Powermate Hard Disk Drive. I delivered quite a few of these.”

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Thanks Shon. As far as the ADAMnet controller board that I mentioned above that was recently acquired, below is a picture of it that should help versus just my description.

 

As far as an ADAMnet Hard Disk Drive, I would still think that there would be problems running the Super Games from it without there being some kind of patch to E.O.S. which would allow for the partitioning of the Hard Drive into smaller partitions or the ability to create directories lke you can in MS-DOS. The other possibility would have been a software solution with a control interface/menu for moving around the hard dive and selecting programs to execute. Otherwise, as far as I understood, the ADAMnet Hard Drive would have been one partition that was the size of the drive which would mean that only one bootable (press the Computer Reset) program could have been placed onto it at a time and all the rest of the space would have been for storing data files, SmartBASIC programs, etc. etc. The problem with this would be that the Super Games did not use a standard directory and therefore copying a Super Game to the Hard Drive would in essence squash any possibilities of adding more files to the Hard Drive. So with that said, the only thing I can think of would be that the Super Games would have to have been converted into an image file like the emulator files are and then a boot file created.

 

Still in all, it would have become very tedious organizing the Hard Drive without the means to create Directories and even partitioning it into smaller drives isn't the end-all solution as I have found out in my use of the IDE Compact Flash drive that is available. Don't get me wrong, if you are placing similar files onto one partition like rom images to be run with CopyCart or SmartBASIC files, then there isn't much issue. However, if you are placing different bootable programs onto one partition, then it can become a bit messy if you want to maintain the original integrity of each program (a bootpic screen, the version of SmartBASIC the program was supplied with, the HELLO program, etc.), then one has to do some renaming of files, use a HEX/DECIMAL/ASCII editor and edit Block #00 to rename the BootPIC, BASICPGM as well as edit the BASICPGM file to rename HELLO as well as possibly rename the actual SmartBASIC program files seeing as there are many issues where programmers named the files the same thing. I went thru a lot of this last year in setting up a bunch of games on my IDE CF Card and it can become quite tedious, something that the ability to create Directories within a partition would have solved.

 

For instance, I copied a couple Reedy Software (Phraze Craze and Dragon) games to the same partition on my IDE CF Card and each program contained the following files:

 

- BootPic

- BASICPGM

- HELLO

 

without renaming them and doing some editing, I couldn't place them on the same partition. So in Dragon's case:

 

- BootPic became DragonPic

- BASICPGM became DragonPGM

- HELLO became Dragon

 

and then I had to use an editor to correct the file names in DragonPic and DragonPGM. This was an easy one and there were some that took a lot more work than this just so that I could place them together on the same partition.

 

Seeing that I never used a Hard Drive on other classic 8-bit computers of that era, I'd be interested to hear from others if this was a common problem when using the systems native O.S. and not an alternative such as CP/M.

Edited by NIAD

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The following is a quote from Mark Gordon (Name deleted below with *** to offer some privacy to the owner of the ADAMNET Hard drive prototype).

 

“I actually just finished scanning the ADAMnet Hard Disk Drive controller schematic today. This is the prototype that *** ***** has or had. It connects to the Adam via ADAMnet and runs an IDE hard disk drive in an external case. Here’s the schematic. I will eventually find the board layout and firmware info and share those too. One step at a time.”

MIHDI2.SCH.PDF

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.

 

 

The following is a select quote from a email I received from Mark Gordon today

 

“I just realized that this design is not for the prototype unit I was thinking of. That product was an AdamNet Hard Disk Drive. *** ***** had the only one I ever made (he was evaluating it for me when I decided to call it quits – if he’s still alive, he may still have it). This design is for the interface card for the Powermate Hard Disk Drive. I delivered quite a few of these.”

 

The one and only ADAMnet Hard Disk Drive resided with a Washington area user who moved it to Florida, who in turn put it into my hot little hands @ ADAMCON 10 many moons ago. It still resides in my possession at this time.

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The one and only ADAMnet Hard Disk Drive resided with a Washington area user who moved it to Florida, who in turn put it into my hot little hands @ ADAMCON 10 many moons ago. It still resides in my possession at this time.

 

You must release the Kraken! :D

 

So does it work? If so, were there any special software programs included with it for partitioning or menu control on the lines of Tony Morehen's HD Menu program for the IDE drives? Or was it just one large partition like I'm thinking that would work the same way as a Data/Disk Drive and therefore be pretty limited in it's functionality.

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An ADAMnet hard disk interface. Hmmmm... a 6803... no surprise there. But an IDE interface would be easier now and wouldn't require the outdated Western Digital controller chip.

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An ADAMnet hard disk interface. Hmmmm... a 6803... no surprise there. But an IDE interface would be easier now and wouldn't require the outdated Western Digital controller chip.

I thought the same thing, but then the board is labeled ADAMnet HD/DD....., but then again the HD probably stands for High Density and not Hard Drive and the © date of 1991 would suggest it's solely a Floppy Disk Controller board afterall that was made a year earlier than the ADAMnet Hard Drive. I guess it was wishful thinking on my part, especially seeing as there was probably only one ADAMnet Hard Drive made and it's in your hands now... thankfully.

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I thought the same thing, but then the board is labeled ADAMnet HD/DD....., but then again the HD probably stands for High Density and not Hard Drive and the © date of 1991 would suggest it's solely a Floppy Disk Controller board afterall that was made a year earlier than the ADAMnet Hard Drive. I guess it was wishful thinking on my part, especially seeing as there was probably only one ADAMnet Hard Drive made and it's in your hands now... thankfully.

 

 

IF we could get the actual specs and programming for the disk drive, we are ready to produce them. What would be even better would be to actually eliminate the disk drive controller chip and upgrade it so that the manual adjusters are not needed. You are correct inthe fact that the HD stands for high density; we have a couple of 1.44m drives with that circuit board in them.

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I thought the same thing, but then the board is labeled ADAMnet HD/DD....., but then again the HD probably stands for High Density and not Hard Drive and the © date of 1991 would suggest it's solely a Floppy Disk Controller board after all that was made a year earlier than the ADAMnet Hard Drive. I guess it was wishful thinking on my part, especially seeing as there was probably only one ADAMnet Hard Drive made and it's in your hands now... thankfully.

IF we could get the actual specs and programming for the disk drive, we are ready to produce them. What would be even better would be to actually eliminate the disk drive controller chip and upgrade it so that the manual adjusters are not needed. You are correct inthe fact that the HD stands for high density; we have a couple of 1.44m drives with that circuit board in them.

 

I would try to source the controller chip before I go too far down that road.

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New Micro Innovations website is now up and running

The following is a quote from Mark Gordon of Micro Innovations:

 

The initial web site is up – the link is below. I’ve put some of the schematic diagrams up for viewing and/or printing. As I find more data, I’ll put it up (I have boxes of stuff to go through). Enjoy!”

 

http://www.microinnovations.us/

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Mark Gordon of Micro Innovations has been adding more and more information into public domain everyday on his website. Mark said people should check the Micro Innovations website daily for the latest updates.

Micro Innovations designed and holds the copywrite for all their hardware designs, however for some of the software that runs the hardware, Micro Innovations had a business agreement with Tony Morehen. Mark found the software source code for the ADAMnet Floppy Disk Drive and for the ADAMnet Hard Disk Drive, however before he can release the software into public domain he needs Tony Morehen’s permission.

Can someone send me a private message with Tony Morehen’s current email address so that I can forward the information onto Micro Innovations? Without Tony Morehen’s permission the software source code for some of the Micro Innovation products will not be released into public domain.

Edited by HDTV1080P

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I don't think anyone has remained in contact with Tony Morehen over all these years and honestly, I'm not even sure that he is still alive... well, I hope he is and is doing very well especially considering how much he gave of himself to the ADAM community.

 

Seeing how generous Tony was, I don't think he would have a problem with the source code to his software, etc. being freely shared in the proper manner, but it still is always best to exhaust all avenues in trying to contact him to be sure. I would guess that putting the word out to Dale Wick, Rich Clee or Bob Slopsema would be a good first step.

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You must release the Kraken! :D

 

So does it work? If so, were there any special software programs included with it for partitioning or menu control on the lines of Tony Morehen's HD Menu program for the IDE drives? Or was it just one large partition like I'm thinking that would work the same way as a Data/Disk Drive and therefore be pretty limited in it's functionality.

 

Sorry for the late reply Jim. YES, it works great, and yes it takes a boot disk since it takes the place of data drive 2 (just as the ide hd units). It is the same as any ide hd unit, but with the speed of a disk drive, ADAMnet plug in capability, and the usual 10 partitions. The one problem; which Mark failed to achive; was to get Tony to do the programming for the TDOS side,.....so there is no TDOS on the drive. Reportedly that is why when Mark left the east coast for Colorado, he trashed all the units that were produced and only the one survived.

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So I phoned Tony Morehen a few years ago (maybe 8 years ago) to see what was going on and to ask for permission to have the interested parties continue to maintain the software. I had managed to get a copy of the source code for TDOS from Guy Cousineau before that, and Guy suggested that I contact Tony to make sure he gave permission. We chatted for a while about what kinds of programming he was doing lately (at the time he was really into Visual Basic programming) and how he felt that TDOS and the related software should be treated. Any questions I asked him suggested that he was pretty happy to have people continue to spread and use TDOS, and he didn't have a problem with having myself or others update TDOS to reflect new hardware. So with his support, that is what we've done since then.

 

When I called and interviewed Mark Gordon back maybe 12 years ago about the legendary (and very expensive) trashing of the AdamNET harddisks, an issue that came up between Tony and Mark, was that Tony didn't feel that the performance over AdamNET was sufficient. So they had experimented with a high-speed AdamNET upgrade, but I guess it gets messy with normal speed and high-speed devices on the same wire. I guess it didn't work to Mark's satisfaction and so Mark eventually gave it up and decided that it was hopeless.

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Thanks for the information hardhat. If you still have current contact information for Tony Morehen, please send me a private message with the contact information so that I can forward the information to Mark Gordon.

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The following are select word for word quotes from Mark Gordon of Micro Innovations (an email conversation from 12-23-13).

 

“I think I’m finished adding files (I’ve now been through all of the boxes) to the MI website, with a very few exceptions (listed below). Here are the issues I’m aware of so far:

Missing data:

1) MIB3 schematic – I can’t find one. I suspect that the MIB3 is a re-layout of the MIB2 (same schematic). I’ll check that out as time permits.

2) Dual Serial Installation Instructions – I haven’t found them. I assume they exist and I’ll continue to look for them.

3) Press release for the Powermate IDE Hard Drive – I thought there was one but I can’t find it. I’ll continue to look for it.

4) ADAMnet software (this is the software that is installed inside the ADAMnet drives – floppy and hard drives. I have the files, but I need permission from Tony Morehen (and maybe Guy Cousineau) to release them, as we all co-own the rights to them.

Disconnect Issues:

1) The schematic diagram for the 1MB Memory Card does not match the other files. I think I had more than one version. If I can find all of the files for both, I’ll put them up. If not, I’ll have to figure out what to share. Right now, we have a mismatch.

2) The printer card installation instructions tells me I included a PROM boot socket on the board. But, the firmware file I found does not accommodate one and the photo I found doesn’t show one. I need to figure out which is right. Maybe someone who has one can help me out?

3) The ADAMnet Double Density firmware file is the file used on the High Density controller when it has a double-density drive installed. I’ll add it to the high density firmware list and look for the right file that was used on the double density controller.

By the way, I did not discover the disconnects until I did a complete review of the web site today. I’ll correct what I can.”

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The following is a quote from Mark Gordon of Micro Innovations

“I fixed all of the disconnect issues I mentioned below. I’m still missing the MIB3 schematic and the Dual Serial Card Installation Instructions, which I’ll keep an eye out for. So, for now, the web site is complete (except for the software I need Tony Morehen’s permission to release).”

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