The ACS-8xxx were multi-user systems. They could support from 1 to 4 users, but you could also get them in versions for up to 9 users and a supervisor. In appearance, they were large and heavy rectangular desktop boxes with Z80 or 68000 CPUs (ACS-68000 series).
They used a large custom single-board computer the size of the case. The drive controller was a
separate half-card mounted on top of the SBC. The early 8000s had separate cases for the 8" FD & HD. In later models the drives and cards were
integrated into the same case.
The 8000 systems were labeled ACS-8000-x, where x indicates the size of the disk-drive and hard disk :
The ACS-8000 had a 10, 20 or 40 MB Winchester hard-drive and could be upgraded to 80 MB. Hard-disk models also had disk-drives. CP/M, MP/M II or Oasis were the available operating systems.
The ACS-8000 MTU had a 17 MB magnetic streamer.
The ACS-8000 was quite similar to the Altos Serie 5 but was more powerful.
The TCU-8 is not a computer but an 8 channel RS-422 asynchronous terminal multiplexor. Altos, Wyse or other RS-232 serial terminals were plugged into the connectors labeled 0-7. They could be daisy chained together. The address of the unit in the chain was set with the DIP switches.
Monday 11th April 2011
R Ryan (USA)
I work as an ICT Technician at a Secondary School here in the UK. The caretaker bought in from home last week an Altos TCU-8 computer.
It has a row of LED''s at the front labelled 0 to 7, a bank of input connectors at the back also labelled 0 to 7, a larger input connector, kettle lead 3 pin power socket, on / off switch and a 5 row dip switch component.
Any information about this computer would be helpful. There''s nowhere to connect any type of TV, monitor or keyboard. The front row of LED''s look like something the Altair 8800 would have.
Saturday 19th March 2011
Jason (Birmingham, West Midlands, UK)
We used an altos 8000 system with 20 meg hard drive and 8 inch floppy from 1982 to perhaps about 1989 they were 100% reliable all that time and were obsolte long before being worn out. They weighed about 80-88 pounds and had something like 256 k of ram for allegedly 3 or 4 users and the operating system ran cpm and mpm on it, still remember "pip" instead of copy. Had 8 megaherz cpu Very very good quality machine.
Monday 27th December 2004
john (syracuse new york)
Altos Computer Systems
From 32 kb to 208 kb
Display features depend on the attached terminal
SIZE / WEIGHT
designed to fit a standard 19
several RS232 ports (depending on models), parallel
BUILT IN MEDIA
8'' disk-drives : from 512 kb to 2 Mb 10, 20 or 40 Mb Winchester hard-disk (upgradable to 80 Mb) 17 Mb magnetic streamer (ACS-8000 MTU only)