Vector Graphic S-100 Documentation and Tech Info

This document copyright Herbert R. Johnson 2011, updated Aug 20 2012
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Vector Graphic systems

Note: the company name is "Vector Graphic Inc."; the name and the product lables do not have a plural "s". VG was an early S-100 microcomputer company, which produced several systems into the mid-1980's. As they used many Micropolis products, there are some Vector Graphic manuals in my Micropolis manual Web page.

Vector Graphic manual list

These are VG manuals I have available; copies are available for a modest fee. Contact me. - Herb


     Vector 16K Static Ram (copy), 18 pgs
     8K SRAM - copy, ask
     Flashwriter II user manual, rev 3, 35 pgs
     Flashwriter II board manual rev 4A, 30 pgs
     Z80 board assembly lang instr and user's guide, 20 pgs
     64K dynamic memory board users manual rev 3A, 16 pgs
     48K DRAM manual - copy, ask
     8K 56K update - copy, ask
     Extended Systems Monitor 4.1 (source listings), 23 pgs
     Extended Systems Monitor 4.3 (source listings), 22 pgs half size (poor copy)
     Extended Systems Monitor 4.3 User's manual, 16 pgs (poor copy)
     8K SRAM instruction manual, 17 pgs
     Z80 board user's guide, 13 pgs
     12K Prom/Ram schematic (2708s), 2 pgs
     Prom/Ram schematic (1702s), 2 pgs
     SCOPE user manual, 62 pgs
     technical bulletins - copy, ask
     RAID reference manual, 1.1A, 20 pgs
     "CP/M an Introduction to a Microcomputer Operating System", Ed Scott, 22 pgs

     CP/M 2 ZSM Assembler User's Manual, ver 2.5A, 1980, 12 pgs 
     RAID USer's Manual, Ver 1.1, 1980, 36 pgs
     SCOPE USer's Manual, Ver 1.6A, 1980, 74 pgs
     Mainframe User's Manual (cabinet, power supply, wiring) 15 pgs
     Motherboard User's Manual, 12 pgs
     System overview manual, (system B and B+S3), rev A 1980, 20 pgs
     PROM RAM III USer's Manual (copy), Rev 1-1-A, 1979, 42 pgs
     64K Dynamic RAM Manual, rev 3A, 1980, 16 pgs
     MDIAG document for memory test, 4 pgs (poor copy)
     Tandon 5-1/4" floppy drive manual (TM100 drive) 104 pgs
         w/schematics & parts, troubleshooting, more.  
         (see floppy drive manuals for more
     Mindless Terminal user's manual, rev 0-b, 1979, 30 pgs
         includes Ball Brothers TV90/120 schematic
         includes Keytronic keyboard schematics 
     Mindless Terminal user's manual, rev 0-b, 1979, 40 pgs
         includes C. ITOH CIQ-9 and CIQ-12 monitor schematic
         includes Keytronic keyboard schematics 
     ZCB Single Board Computer, rev 1B 1980, w/1981 update 56 pgs
     ZCB Single board computer, as above, PDF copy, 52 pgs
     Safestor Hardware, rev A, 1982, 46 pgs
     Technical Advisory:
         Jumpering of 5-1/4" hard disk drive, Nov 2 1981, 2 pgs
         Jumpering of 5-1/4" floppy drive, Nov 9 1981, 2 pgs
         Jumpering of 5-1/4" floppy drive, Nov 9 1981, 2 pgs    
         Upgrade timeshar sept 1981, 2 pages of three
     Port Map (list of I/O addresses), rev a 1981, 4 pgs
     Bitstreamer II User's Manual, rev 1A, 1980, 52 pgs
     Bitstreamer I/O Board manual, 22 pgs
     8" floppy disk controller manual, rev 1A 1981, 38 pgs
     Z-80 Board User's Manual, rev 2A, 1979, 22 pgs
     48K Dynamic Memory Board, rev 3 1979, 18 pgs
     Flashwriter II User's Guide, rev 3 1979, source code, 60 pgs
     2800 System overview - copy, ask
     3030 System overview - copy, ask
     Vector 3 hardware manual - copy, ask
     Vector "Dual Mode Disk Controller Card": FD/HD hard and floppy drives
          Engineering docs, rev 2.0, Feb 1981, 62 pages, copy.
     MZOS - Vector MZ Operating System & Utilities, ver 1.5 1978, 32 pgs
          driver sources for printers, Northstar to NZ disk conversion


Micropolis manuals are in my Micropolis Web page:

Vector Graphic Systems Using M-DOS (Micropolis Disk Operating System)
M-DOS System ver 8.5, User's Guide Rev b, 1979, 56Kb systems
Micropolis 1040/1050 S-100 Floppy Disk Subsystems User's Manual
Micropolis Disk Controller Board manual (by Vector), rev A 1980, 50 pgs

      

Vector Graphic owners, history

ANdrew Lynch

In 2007 one of my colleagues Andrew Lynch was working on a Vector Graphic S-100 system. He's looking for the 16-sector 100TPI formatted hard sectored diskettes it apparently used. Here's some photos of Andrew Lynch's system, with his permission:
image 4476
image 4478
image 4479

[Note: in a discussion thread in 2009, someone identified the chassis (cabinet if not the S-100 bus backplane) shown here as from "NNC" based on visual comparison and the "badge" on the cabinet. No Name Computers apparently made S-100 chassis and boards. Check my NNC Web page for further information. - Herb Johnson]

By late November, he got the system running CP/M. Here's a photo of that:
image 4884.

...and here's some Intel format ROM images: Andrew said: "I sent you the 4.3 ROMs in Hex and Bin format from a 2732 [4kb] EPROM. The 4.0c are in a variety of formats but come from a LOW and HIGH pair of [1kb] 2708's. You burn the LOW one first ($E000-$E3FF) and the HIGH one second ($E400-E7FF) or combine the files into an image which fits on a 2716 or one half of a 2732."
ROM version 4.3
ROM version 4.0 high
ROM version 4.0 low

Andrew also noted there were differences among the ZCB, z80 CPU boards: "Regarding the ZCB schematics, I noticed there were differences with regard to PROM expansion and the jumpers. The initial versions were 2708 based but later ones moved to just a single 2732. There were other differences listed in the matrix at the end of the manual as well. I think there were 6 or more versions altogether."

Andrew Lynch and others have discussed with me, the Tandon TM-100-4M drives and other drive brands used by Vector Graphic. These drives are 80-track (or used as 77-track); but the tracks are spaced at 100 TPI, not the standard 96 TPI used by other 80-track drives. For more information and discussion, here's some notes and photos I did; and here's some of that discussion. The discussion includes possible use of Commodore model external floppy drives as 100TPI drives, after replacing the Commodore electronics. From some of that discussion, and from my own Web searching, I came across some Web sites with more info about Commodore's use of Tandon and Micropolis 100TPI drives. Here's my notes and some Web links.

By October 2007, Andrew Lynch announced (in comp.os.cpm) that others had established a Vector Graphic mail list discussion group. It uses "listserv" to manage the list. Use this Web link to join the list. They also have an archive of VG files and documents. (For more information you'll have to join the list to read the contents.) By December 2007, Howard Harte announced in comp.os.cpm that he and Andrew and others worked to image several VG diskettes, and to run those images on a version of the SIMH general-purpose computer simulator. The disk images and the simulator are available at a Web page archive also created by the VG discussion group.

As a consequence of work by correspondents in the VG mail list, Vector Graphic support has been added to the SIMH computer simulator for VG hardware on a simulated Z80 running CP/M. Check the SIMH site for Peter Schorn's work on SIMH for the programs.

Bill Schneberg

Bill contacted me in July 2012 with this story of his VG experiences. - Herb

I use my Vector Graphic System B (Z80, S-100, 64K Ram, Micropolis drives, CP/M 2.2, Peach Tree Accounting Software) every 2 weeks to run my payroll. I purchased the system new, in August of 1980. If there is someplace on your web page for Vector Graphic, you can list my email, I am ok with that. I feel some day I will set up a web site devoted to my experience with Vector, but that is clearly in the distant future.

Regarding your comment "where do you get diskettes every several years?". I have been using my payroll program continuously since August of 1980, and I have probably replaced the "program" disk no more than three times. The magnetic properties don't wear out, what wears out is the jacket. Try putting on and off the same pair of gloves for 32 years! -- BTW I can always remember the age of my Vector; my son was born June 1, 1980, and I bought my first Vector in August of the same year. My son just celebrated his 32 birthday!

My system B came with 5 1/4 inch. "dual density, single sided, 16 hard sector" Micropolis drives. I acquired a couple of Vector System 3's that had the Tandon drives, these are "dual density, double sided, 16 hard sector" drives. The Tandon drives can read the "single sided" Micropolis created disks, but Micropolis can't read a double sided disk created by Tandon. [Likely because the Micropolis drives are 100 tracks per inch; most models of Tandon drives are 48 or 96 TPI. - Herb]

In the early 80's we had an active Vector User Group that met in Agoura, CA, close to the last Vector factory which was located in Thousand Oaks, CA. One of the active members was a person named Alf Harris. At one point, myself and a guy named Chuck Livingston, went to Alf's house, and we aligned our drives. Alf had acquired an "alignment disk" I presume this was from Micropolis. He set up a dual trace scope, inserted the alignment disk, and adjusted [the drive] until the proper trace appeared on the scope.

Alf had a great deal of Vector hardware, software, and manuals, but he died in early 2000's. I had coffee with him about 6 mos before he died. I would have asked for his Vector stuff at the time (and I believe he would have given it to me) but if my wife saw another piece of computer equipment come into my house at that time, I'm sure she would not be my wife today!

I'll be 63 in August; I still work 8 to 10 hours a day, but one of these days I intend to retire, and then I will have the time to sort my equipment and organize it.

Once again, I'm am glad your are in business. If anyone wants to speak to a Vector user (I never made my living from selling or repairing computers) I am a good source. - Bill Schneberg

Other owners

In 2009, Tom Sanderson announced a Web domain "vector-graphic.info" with a Web site of documents, software, photos, and PDF's of articles about VG and its officers. He's expanding the site to cover specific hardware, such as Tandon floppy drives. [NOte: In Aug 2012 the site was not accessable, but the domain has not yet expired. - Herb]

Another VG Web site is at this site in the UK. There is a Wikipedia entry as well for Vector Graphic, with more Web links.

Thanks to my colleagues Bill Degnan and Dan Roganti in 2008, for discussions and manuals from Micropolis on their floppy drives. Dan provided a manual on MDOS, Micropolis' Disk Operating System as well their various BASIC products.



Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA
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Copyright © 2012 Herb Johnson