Looking for North star software

allison allisonportable at gmail.com
Mon Jul 2 21:11:59 CDT 2018

On 07/02/2018 08:48 PM, Fred Cisin via cctalk wrote:
> On Tue, 3 Jul 2018, dwight wrote:
>> I was thinking someone has already done this. If no, as you say, it
>> is not an impossible task.
> It can be done.  It has been done.  It is not the easiest.
> A friend did it, but he died 4 years ago, and his stuff is GONE.
> There should be GOOGLE reachable stories of how people have done it,
> and some .ASM or .HEX files of useful utilities.
>> The TSS/B is suppose to be their scientific package. It at least has
>> BASIC in it. I have another disk marked CP/M in the same box. I
>> should be able to put something together under CP/M.
> If you have CP/M, in a bootable form, then the utilities that come
> with CP/M (PIP, LOAD, SAVE, . . . ) can be coerced into creating a
> bootstrapping program to bring stuff over, to bring over more
> versatile utilities, etc.   PIP.COM, alas, is not an internal command.
> If you use a PC as your terminal, you can come up with ways to move code.
> You can PIP from the console.   (to bring over a .ASM or .HEX file)
PIP can be patched to be a modem handler.

>> It is a North Star Horizon. There seems to be some images out there
>> so I don't know how they are being captured.
> The images are probably created on a NorthStar.
> There exist some rather rare hardware boards for PC to read/write hard
> sector.  Not easily available.
> It may be possible to use a flux-transition board that has access to
> the index signal and write code to do it.
> BUT, the Horizon can also manage 8" drives (SSSD soft-sector CP/M
> standard!) with appropriate controller, or use other S100 FDC boards.

Really? not any of the MDS (SD or DD) controllers as they only know hard
sector.    A Soft sector controller with rom
on board then the situation changes.  Plan B is  a CPU with local eprom
and use that as the system monitor to boot
stuff to disk.

The standard NS controllers have only a small rom enough to boot a NS SD
or DD floppy using their controller
where the roms are.

> Once the CP/M system is up, there are utilities that have been written
> for it (some assembly required), for serial port transfer.

IF you hae CP/M and bootable with Asm, DDt and PIP life gets real easy. 
Check Dave Dunfields site for
a s100/NS emulator that runs images (NS dos, CP/M and more) that can be
serially down loaded from
the emulator though the PC.

> I have no idea what's available for NorthStar-DOS, but there is
> probably something around.
There is a lot of site with software , your friend google.   I already
mentioned Dave donefields old computers.
Harte has some stuff too.  NS* systems were popular.

> I think that the original drives of the Horizon were Shugart SA400,
> but Tandon TM100-x should work just fine.

Either one and many others can be subbed in.

I have two NS* Horizons, one I assembled late 77 and the other nearly 30
years ago.  Both work.  Biggest issue
is media as 10 hole hard sector stuff is just plain scarce.    The older
of mine runs a MDC4 765 based soft sector
controller and is an active highly modded CPM system.  The other is
vanilla and tucked away.

> Good luck,
> -- 
> Grumpy Ol' Fred             cisin at xenosoft.com

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