These instructions are for the Version 1.5 board (both "Standard" and "Pro".) If you aren't sure what board you have, take a look at this page: What Kind of Kit Do I Have?
NoticeI'm no longer publishing an HTML version of the assembly instructions. It was difficult keeping up with three versions of instructions (downloadable PDF, printed manual, and HTML version.) Instead there will be one PDF version that you can download below. This is the same PDF that will be sent to the printer for the spiral bound hard copies.
Your Arduino will arrive pre-programmed, but you may have to upload the software at some point. You can do that by following the instructions on this page.
You also would have received a Micro SD card with disk images. If you'd like to download the contents of that card again, you can download this archive.
The manual mentions David Hansel's documentation. You can download that here.
If you are looking to upgrade your existing version 1.4 kit (in the bamboo box) you can see those instructions here.
THIS IS IMPORT STUFF, READ BEFORE BUILDING! Here's where I'll add a few items that did not make it into the manual:
- Do not overheat the toggle switches when soldering them. Apply the soldering iron just long enough for the solder to flow. The switches can be damaged if you leave the soldering iron in place unnecessarily long.
- Some people have found the baud rate jumper chart in the manual to be less than clear. This chart should be easier to read. You will want to set your VT100 emulator to 9600 baud.
- You'll notice there's a notch on the rear panel. That notch should face to the right (as you're looking at the back of the case.) When you install the I/O expansion board, you'll see where it fits.
- If you received a micro SD card module with unattached header pins, you will need to solder them with the header pins coming out of the top of the module.
- WHATEVER YOU DO - DON'T SOLDER THE HEADER PINS LIKE THIS! (I've actually made this mistake myself in the past...)
- If your 14-pin cable has a tall end and a short end, make sure the short end goes on the main circuit board. Otherwise the front panel will not fit correctly.
- Your printed instructions may call for one 82Ω resistor and one 150Ω resistor. The revised boards instead have two 150Ω resistors. This resistor controls the brightness of the LED and the small variation in resistance will not be noticeable.
Hey! Why is my PROT toggle not working?To enable a second serial port on the Altairduino, it was necessary to "steal" a pair of pins from somewhere. It was determined that the PROT toggle was probably the least used, so it's disabled. If you absolutely want the PROT toggle and don't care about the second serial port, take a look at the documentation and search for "PROTECT".
If you're looking for a PS2 keyboard (if you have the first version of the Pro kit) and/or a VGA monitor to use with your Altair-duino Pro, I can recommend these from Amazon. They're inexpensive and they work fine for retro-computing:
Here's the ProHT PS/2 Serial Standard 104-key Keyboard. Granted, it's not retro enough, but it's cheap and it works. At this writing, it was only a bit over $11.
I also like this Eyoyo 8 inch TFT LCD Monitor. It's small, light, and inexpensive (less than $60) and it has a variety of inputs, including VGA, HDMI, composite, and component. Everything you need for almost all retro computing possibilities. Plus it has a 4:3 retro computing aspect ratio.
UPDATE: version 1.1 of the I/O expansion board (available March 2020 and later) now has a USB keyboard connector. Any standard wired USB keyboard should work, but you need to avoid using a keyboard with a USB hub. Some keyboards have built-in USB hubs and those will not work either. If your keyboard has one or more USB sockets on it (to connect a mouse for example), or is wireless, then it likely contains a USB hub and will not work. Also, I've never seen a back-lit keyboard that works. I suspect they have an internal hub to route power to the lighting.