Altair Computers and Accessories
This page provides useful information and links related to the Altair line of computers and accessories from MITS.
Altair 8800 Computers
Pictured on the right are three different Altair computers. The top picture is the original style
of the Altair 8800. Below that is the later model 8800b. The third computer pictured is the Foley
edition of the Altair 8800b Turnkey computer. The Foley computer was the first computer to be
sold through a department store chain.
These computers were purchased from eBay, and as expected, required some work to restore them to operating condition.
This link provides details about the Altair 8800 and its restoration (coming soon).
This link provides details about the Altair 8800b and its restoration.
This link provides details about the Foley edition of the Altair Turnkey computer and its restoration.
A large collection of videos demonstrating operation of Altair computers is available through this YouTube playlist.
Other Useful Links:
Altair 8 inch Floppy Drive
Two different Altair 8 inch floppy drives are shown in the three pictures to the right. The top drive is
the last version of the drive produced. According to ex-MITS employees, this version was cancelled by
Pertec before it was ever released for sale to the public. This drive has the newer 8800b
style face plate, is populated with the write-protect detection and LED indicator, and uses a newer
buffer board design that utilizes ribbon cables with IDC connectors instead of hand-soldered conductors. The
buffer board also includes the power supply components (other than the transformers) rather than using
a separate power supply board.
This link provides details about the first drive pictured and its restoration.
The drive pictured in the lower two pictures is one of the first versions of the Altair floppy drive.
The Pertec FD-400 drive used in this cabinet, with the aluminum
door and handle, was also one of the first version of the FD-400. This cabinet has a user-installed modification that
makes the power LED flicker when a disk is inserted and spinning. This allows the operator to verify a disk
is inserted and to be sure the motor is still spinning. Sometimes, the motors on the Pertec FD-400 drives would
seize and stop spinning.
This link provides details about the second drive pictured and its restoration.
Pictured immediately below is the dual-drive 3202 cabinet made during the Pertec era of MITS. It provides
two Altair compatible 8" drives in a single cabinet. The front panel of this 3202 has the tan/brown iCOM
color scheme instead of Altair blue/black. The 3202 was typically outfitted with two Pertec FD510 drives
(A/C motor) instead of the direct-drive DC motor found in the FD400 drives that were used in the single
This link provides details about the 3202 drive cabinet and its restoration.
In addition to the Altair drive restoration projects above, this document provides notes about trouble-shooting and repairing a number of Pertec 8 inch drives.
- Altair 8" Floppy Hardware Manual
- Pertec 8" Floppy Drive Manual
- Altair Disk Utilities
- Altair Software, ROMS, and Disk Images
- FDC+ Enhanced Floppy Disk Controller