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?
If you have an earlier version of the kit, you can find previous copies of installation instructions here.
Your Arduino will arrive pre-programmed, but you may want to update the software at some point. You can do that by following the instructions on this page.
The manual mentions David Hansel's documentation. You can download that here.
I BROKE/LOST/ERASED MY SD CARD!Pretty much any Micro SD card will work, available from Amazon, Walmart, or almost any store. You can download the contents of the SD card that originally came with your kit from this archive.
THIS IS IMPORT STUFF, READ BEFORE BUILDING! Here's where I'll add a few items that did not make it into the manual:
Page 16 of the Altair 2.0 Pro assembly manual (in the "This is a good time to test your Altair-Duino" section) it incorrectly says to raise the EXAMINE toggle. You should instead lower the toggle.
- Version 2.0 Pro:
Apparently around page 19 I have failed to mention adding the 34-pin male header on the lower left of the expansion board.
- 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 your mounting holes for the rear panel cover seem to be off by a millimeter or two, you probably have this panel mounted backwards.
- 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...)
- Version 1.5.2: 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.
- Version 1.5.2: 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 want to enable the PROTECT/UNPROTECT switch, you will need to rebuild the Arduino software, and remove the SP3232 chip.
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, most back-lit mechanical keyboards do not work. I suspect they have an internal hub to route power to the lighting.
Here's a page with more information about the USB keyboard requirements and links to some RGB lighted mechanical keyboards verified to work: LINK
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.