Frédéric Le Duigou's SWTPC 6800 systems - prelim

This Web page last updated Jan 2 2013. It is a WORK IN PROGRESS. - Herb Johnson


In January 2012, Frédéric Le Duigou wrote: First, I would like to introduce myself: I'm a French Engineer, 49 years old now and I'm addicted to the old computers. I live in Paris - France, but my hobby location is in Brittany, the west part of France where I have more space. I built my first computer during my Engineering school, a Vegas 6809 under Flex-09. Here's a Web site where I posted some photos and discussion also I posted in this section [about restoring the Vegas system]. The site is in French, but you'll understand with the pictures ...

The French site is the "WDA Forum" for the WDA, for the "Preservation of Digital Heritage". Web services like Google Translate can convert the text to other languages. - Herb

I saved recently my old Vegas, and I rebuilt the system disk. The use of the HxC floppy emulator is fantastic, I'm able to make a physical floppy with any .dsk image ... but it's not the point today. I have found on eBay a SWTPC 6800 that I will make run soon. I will probably need some help ... I am also part of an association trying to preserve and repair old computers, calculators, ... I'm not willing to sell or buy anything, but to get (and provide if I can) assistance in my hobby.

Is there any one still working on this fantastic resource ? The Flex Users Group site seams dead. I also tried to contact Michael Holley, but I've got no answer. I already purchased several items from Vince Briel (Micro-kim) and from Henry Courbis (a MicroDrive for my Apple II from Reactive Micro). I would like some help in order to be connected to other Old computer's Fans. I also would like to exchange on forums with US Flex Fans (Can you recommend a forum for me ?)

Thank you for your help, and for the fantastic resources on your site ! - BR Frederic

Herb replies:

I have information about bringing up OTHER systems, which you may find useful, in my "restoration" Web pages. I've met Vince Briel and he's a good person and engineer, I have one of his MicroKIMs as well. Otherwise, I'm not familiar with the other persons or resources YOu've described, for the most part. My Web page

You are welcome to monitor my Web pages on my 6800 and see if I make progress. Or you can email me from time to time, I do respond to other people's interests in what I have. Thanks for contacting me, good luck with your system! - Herb JOhnson

A year later in Jan 2013, Herb got a reply:

Hi, I checked your website but it seams that you didn't work much on your SWTPC!

For my side, I progressed well in my SWTPC6800 repair. I could change the transformer input to run with 220V (mandatory in France !) and cleaned the bus. After some tests and tries, I could connect the main processor board MP-A with a 32K and a 4K memory boards. I connected the serial board MP-S to my PC HyperTerminal to play with the monitor. [Here's a photo of the interior of the 6800 system.]

Unfortunately, the Percom disk board I have is probably working only with hard sectored floppies that I don't have. I would need a DC-x disk controller to use a common floppy drive. Do you know where I could find one ?

I wish you a Happy New Year 2013! - Best Regards, Frederic

Herb replied: That's true, I've not made progress on my 6800 SWTPC. I have many other systems I've worked on in 2012. But I did find some unused 6800 boards and I may have some more available in coming months. That's good news, that you have your SWTPC 6800 working through the serial port and monitor. You can now test other boards and of course run programs including BASIC.

Are they 10 sector or 16 sector? People do sell them, and I have a limited supply. There has been reports of using a hand punch to create those diskettes, but the results are not good in my opinion. The punched holes drag around the inside of the envelope, because they are like little cones and not "flat".

I don't have SWTPC floppy controller boards to sell, but these are not complicated boards to make by hand-wiring up the components. You might consider making a board in that way. Old-days "wirewrap" may still be found. Or you can try to hand-solder point to point, but that's a lot of work. Or people make their own circuit boards using free software and send the layouts to a "PC board house" to produce. this costs tens of dollars for a few boards. Myself, I'd wire up a board, I have wirewrap tools.

Frederic replied: Thank you for your quick answer,

You are right, I may make the board manually. I have already started to make the schematics using Kicad, but it is quite a hard work. I will not have much time in the coming weeks as I will go to China for one month (for my job) By the way, when you make printed circuits, what pc board house do you use ? I don't know the actual cost. I usually make the small ones by myself (with copper chlorate , but the it would not be sufficient in this case. By the way, it's the only SS50 system that I have. I would love to get a SWTPC 6809!

Concerning the internet site, you are right also, I should make one. I think that I can make something dedicated to the 6809 and the 6800 boards ( I also worked on 6502, Z80 and 8080, but Motorola 680x are my favorite). I also worked to rebuild Flex systems. I recently acquired a Kim 1 ( a real one) , a Motorola Exorcet and a MEK 6802. The MEK is working fine but the Exorcet have some bad contacts ... on the floppy board ! (I'm cursed !) I should sort my pictures and put the stories on Internet !

My museum is 60 meters square in area, and I can hardly find space for working !

Thank you for your support - BR Frederic

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Herb Johnson
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