S100 Computers

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Industrial Micro Systems - History
This was a relatively late comer into the S-100 Bus boards arena. From their name it was clear that they targeted the industrial based market rather than the home/hobbyist community.  The actually manufactured a wide range of S-100 boards.

Al Fiegehen and Don Lehr founded Industrial Micro Systems in Southern California in the late 1970’s. They engineered and manufactured a socketed 8K S-100 bus static ram board (C00232). The boards underwent rigorous in-house testing prior to shipment and proved to be highly reliable. They soon  (1978)  produced a second 16K static ram board (C00282) which rapidly became an industry standard for S-100 static ram memory. By 1979 the company had developed a complete line of Z80 S-100 boards and began selling a turnkey CPM based computer system. These computers had an I/O board (model 440) with a power-on IPL boot ROM which eliminated the need for a front panel switchboard. The computers also had a tape backup using an Alloy DS-100 tape controller.

Soon after this the company moved their facilities to Carson City, NV to take advantage of both favorable economics and commercial land.

In 1981 the company introduced its Series 5000  (w/5.25” floppy drives) and the Series 8000  (w/8” floppy drives) computers. They were S-100 bus, CPM 2.2 based systems which had a robust linear power supply and a nickel plated steel chassis. The company also changed its name to “IMS International” and expanded its sales into the European market.

In 1982 the company introduced a S-100 bus multi-user Z80 slave board (A862, MPU) and began selling master/slave multi-user systems packaged with Software 2000’s TurboDos operating software.  In 1983 IMS engineered one of the first S-100 switching power supplies or “switchers” for their Series 5000 computer.

In 1985 the company once again changed its name to L/F Technologies and introduced its S100+ line of master/slave board systems. Both a Z80B (A1270) and a 80186 (A1230) CPU master board, as well as several 80186  (A1240 and A1510) slave boards along with a Z80H (A1320) slave board were available for this computer. The new systems utilized an above board 26 conductor parallel data cable to communicate between the master and the slaves, making it unique among the other S-100 master/slave multi-user computers on the market.

Then in 1987 the company introduced an 80286 Unix based multi-user system. This computer had no S-100 bus architecture and came in a cube shaped case. The company again changed its name to Cubix Corp., a name that has lasted to the present day. After the introduction of the Unix based system the company began phasing out its S-100 product line

It should be noted here that in 1988 Cubix bought out InterContinental Micro Systems (aka MuSys) which was a Los Angeles based competitor that produced a similar line of S-100 master/slave boards. However, Cubix was not interested in InterContinentals S-100 products, but rather wanted to obtain ICM’s QuickLink board technology, which turned IBM XT/AT type computers into multi-user systems. 

The company is still in business, now producing blade servers. See http://www.cubix.com.
Inside view of box IMS Office System

The above internal view of this later IMS S-100 system contained the following boards:-

An A1100 Winchester Controller
An A1120 QIC Controller
An A930 Floppy Controller
An A1230 186 Master Processor
An  A1260 RAM
Six A1510 186 User Processor CPU boards

The 186 Master processor card did not have on-board memory, the A1260 card provided the RAM for the whole system.  All of the user processors have on-board memory. You will notice a 26 pin ribbon cable connecting the processor cards, this was called the S100+ Bus, and was used for communication between the master and user cards.

There was also a daisy chain cable connecting all processor cards, used for priority select and addressing.  The rear panel of the chassis has the RS232 "paddle boards" attached, these provided support to the rs232 outputs on the processor cards.

The system had an 190 MB Maxtor XT-2190 hard disk and a half height QUMETRAK 242 8" floppy drive.  
Each processor had its own onboard EPROM monitor software.

In the early 1980's IMS were well known as the suppliers a complete word processing, data processing office setup system complete with a removable platter 16MG hard disk storage system. There were two systems, both systems contained a 12 slot S-100 motherboard.

One unique aspect of the later IMS systems was that peripherals were handled using an array of "Personality" boards that attached to the parallel and serial ports of the cards.  There were hard disk and floppy disk "Personality" boards as well as RS232, modems, and a RTC board.  Documentation about this can be seen here.

A good summary of the S-100 boards that make up the IMS 5000 series can be seen here.


IMS S-100 Boards
16K RAM   32K RAM    64K DRAM    80186 CPU    FDC 400    FDC 930    HDC    IO Board    Z80 CPU  
8K RAM   4 Line Serial     CPZ 4800   LANS100    CPS-Q6A   CPS-MX   CPX-BMX   QIC Tape Controller  Other Boards


This page was last modified on 12/08/2013