Altair 8800
Altair 8800b
Altair Foley

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

Altair 8800
Altair 8800
Altair 8800

Two different Altair 8 inch floppy drives are shown in the first 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 next two pictures to the right is a very early version of the Altair floppy. It used an early version of the Pertec FD-400 drive with an aluminum door and handle as opposed to the more common plastic door found in later versions 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.

Shown 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 FD-400 drives that were used in the single drive cabinets.

This link provides details about the 3202 drive cabinet and its restoration. Pertec 3202

Pertec FD-410

Pictured on the bottom right is an Altair drive in which the FD-400 drive has been replaced with an FD-410 drive. The FD-410 replaced the problematic, direct-drive, DC hub motor with a 24 volt DC motor and belt driven hub. This allowed the FD-410 to serve as a drop-in replacement for the FD-400 and eliminated the lock-up problems associated with the direct-drive hub.

This link provides details about the restoration of the FD-410 drive and cabinet.

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.

Useful Links