Hi all! Time for RetroChallenge 2021/10 thrills and spills!
My project is to control an 8x5 NeoPixel RGB LED array from an Altair 8800bt computer, with an Arduino Uno R3 gluing the two together.
A while back I received an amazing donation from a former employee of Pertec (the company who bought MITS back in the 70s). This included an Altair 8800bt (turnkey model) and lots and lots of MITS S100 boards.
The 8800bt works, and didn't actually require much restoration. I did completely disassemble it and clean everything, and tested the power supply before trying it with any boards installed. All went well with the reassembly and the system functions nicely.
It's currently equipped with an iCom 3812 dual density dual 8" drive system, the associated interface card, and a CP/M 2.2 version designed for this combination of computer and drive.
Here's a picture of the 8800bt from the front:
- Create a protocol for the Altair to send blocks of 40 (8x5) 24-bit RGB codes to the Arduino
- Implement that protocol on the Altair and the Arduino
- Connect the Arduino to the NeoPixel array, and test that the Arduino can control the LEDs (this should be easy - the code is already out there, and the LED array has been tested before)
- Write a program on the Altair that lets the user select a pattern or animation for the LEDs, and then sends this pattern or animation to the Arduino using the protocol mentioned above
- Write it all up as I go and post it here
- Make one or more videos about the process, and also link those here