Solid State Music (SSM) S-100 Documentation List

Copyright 2024 by Herbert R Johnson. Last update Mar 20 2024. This document copyright Herbert R. Johnson 2024, documents from others have their copyrights. Contact information about me, and about documents I have, can be found in this notice.

This Web page has links to other SSM Web pages I have. This page, includes a list of some SSM documents I have. If you don't see yours, ask me, please identify your SSM card. To return to my S-100 Web page follow this link.

On another Web page are notes from Iain McFetridge who designed the VB3 video card. Another Web page has notes about the MB8 and MB8A memory cards. Yet another Web page has notes about the SSM audio cards and 1970's electronic music. Check this linked Web page for a VB3 VB3A comparision.

History of Solid State Music

Apparently Solid State Music was founded by associates of California digital surplus dealers and of the Homebrew Computer Club. Check my WAMECO Web page for more information. One of the SSM founders was John Burgoon, the father of SSM employee and later California Computer Systems (CCS) co-founder Dan Burgoon. Far more comprehensive documents about SSM history, can be found on the Web.

The SSM circuit boards were initally colored blue, and so they were marketed as "the blue boards". Many were sold as blank boards with docs; SSM sold kits with parts, boards without parts, and assembled boards. There have been many SSM card variations for each "model" of SSM card. Be careful to confirm that a SSM document actually corresponds to an actual in-your-hands SSM board by model and variation. Notes below, and other Web pages of mine, provide examples of variations.

Recent work with Solid State Music cards

in 2024, various customers asked me about VB2 and VB3 cards, various models (see manual list below). I took time to compare the VB3 and VB3A boards. They are very similar except for a chip and a DIP switch. Check this Web page for a VB3 VB3A comparision. - Herb

In late 2023, various customers asked me about VB1 cards, with variations called "serial A" and "Serial B". I refer to these as VB1A and VB1B cards. There have been many SSM video card variations. As time permits I and/or others will compare these cards. Here's my immediate findings at that time. HInt: U8 may be changed, certainly the boards are laid-out differently around U8 (upper right component side). There may be other differences.

Here's a VB1 serial A card component side and the solder side. This is the VB1A solder-side corner near U8.

And here, is a VB1 Serial B card component side and the solder side. This is the VB1A solder-side corner near U8.

I don't have schematics for the VB1-A, common online manuals are for the VB1_B. I took time to review both boards while I have them in hand. The VB1-A has about 3 IC's which I see are different from the -B, and also have different PC wiring layouts (visually). By visual comparison:

     rev A    rev B  signals
U8  74165   74166  SLCT SDDX
U19 74163   74153  LOAD DTCQ
U29 74193   74161  CG01/2/4/8
Y1  20.00MHz 12.440 MHz

I confirmed by continuity IC U8 74166 on the -B, is physically wired to U7 and U6 as shown in the VB1-B manual schematic. The rev A has a different IC (74165) and clearly different wiring. Visually different wiring is around U19 and U29. - Herb

In Mar 2024, Craig Andrews of "Hellow World" on YouTube, compares the VB1B with the VB1C. Title is "Solid State Music VB1B & VB1C Operation and Video Blanking During CPU Memory Cycles". Craig notes my assistance with a board he obtained. He said the VB1C used a different character generator ROM MC66700-series, with different pins and different voltages from the 65700 used in the VB1B (if I have that right). Craig says schematics for the VB1B and VB1C "have a lot of mistakes".- Herb

In 2011, Bob Ammerman contacted me for a good copy of the SSM PB1 EPROM manual. The board programms 2716 and 2708. Here's why in his own words. - Herb

"I am in the process of restoring a NorthStar Horizon computer that I last used in the early 1980s. At this point I am in pretty good shape, except for the schematics of the Solid State Music PB1 EPROM Programmer board. I heavily modified the address decoding logic on the board and I'm trying to reverse engineer what I did 30+ years ago....As designed, the board uses a 4K window to address the EPROM programming socket. This is 4x bigger than it needs to be for 2708s (which I use) and 2x bigger than needed for 2716s (which I don't use). Address space is precious on my system, so I modified the board to only take a 1K window for the programmer socket. Here is how my system is addressed:

0000 .. DFFF - RAM
E000 .. E7FF - Video card
E800 .. EBFF - NorthStar disk controller
EC00 .. EFFF - 1K window for programming socket on SSM card
F000 .. FFFF - 4K of 2708 EPROM on the SSM card 

"Every byte used!:" -- Bob Ammerman

Conversations with an SSM designer

[SSM VB3A card]

In late September 2003 I was contacted by Iain McFetridge, who designed the prototype Solid State Music video card model VB3. He was surprised by all the current interest in S-100 equipment. When he found my site, he started a conversation with me. I've slightly edited that dialog and with his permission those are on my SSM Notes Web page. I've added footnotes in italics, and some comments in square brackets. -- Herb Johnson

Electronic music and SSM

Also on my SSM notes Web page, is a discussion about 1970's Philadelphia Computer Music Festival and electronic music on SSM S-100 cards.

My list of available SSM manuals

Contact me for PDF scans of the manuals listed below.

     CB1 8080 CPU board, 26 pgs
     CB1A 8080 CPU board, 26 pgs
     IO2 parallel I/O board 10 pgs
     IO4 instruction manual, 32 pgs
     MB3 2K/4K EPROM board (1702) 8 pgs
     MB4 4K/8k memory board 12 pgs
     MB6B 8K memory board 20 pgs
     MB8A 1K to 16K EPROM board (2708), 18 pgs
       - two sets of 8-position DIP switches either side of the line of logic IC's.
       - there's serious errors on this board! See this document. 
     MB8 8K/16K Eprom Board (2708), 1977, 10 pgs
       - two sets of 4-position DIP switches either side of the PROM array
    "MUS-X1 A high level music interpreter" docs & source, 66 pgs
     OB1 Vector Jump and prototype board. 12 pgs
     PB1 2708 2716 Programmer and PROM board, 26 pgs
     SB1 music systhesizer board
          "MUS-X1 A high level music interpreter" docs & source, 66 pgs
     SSM 8080 Monitor V1 listing, 1977, 50 pgs
     T1 Terminator board, 1978, 10 pgs
     T1 terminator board manual, 10 pgs
     VB1, VB1A, VB1B board manuals, photos. See notes above.  
        *ask me about specific boards, manuals*, identify yours in detail please
     VB1-C 64 character video interface, 1980, 60 pgs
     VB1-B Video Interface 42 pgs
     VB2 Video Board, 1978, schematics 42 pgs
     VB3 80 character Video Interface, 1980, 72 pgs + 68 pgs source
     VB3A 80 character video interface,
          VB3A Instruction and reference manual, 1981, 60 pgs + 38 pgs source
          VB3A USer's manual, same information and text Jan 1982
          VB3A Assembly and troubleshooting manual, 1981, 12 pgs
          SSM VB3 6 X 7 character EPROM retrofit - ROM dump, 6 pgs
          VB3 kit modifications, 2 pages with instructions

Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA
here is how to email @ me

Copyright © 2024 Herb Johnson