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'[OT?] Retro-Computer'
1999\09\26@032601 by Keelan Lightfoot

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For quite some time now I have been designing a computer that looks like a
mainframe from the early 70s -- Many toggle switches and lamps, and a large
cabinet. It's CPU will be a Z80, but the CPU control panel will be
controlled with a PIC. Basically, the system will be built out of about 5 8"
high x 19" rack panels, 1 each for the Power-supply, RAM, ROM, I/O and CPU.
I know this isn't directly PIC related, but, shucks, there are a bunch of
smart people here :)

My questions:

1) The system bus will need to be around 32 inches long. The CPU/bus will be
running at 10 MHz. Will I have any problems? I am planning to use a 50 wire
ribbon cable with 50 pin IDC connectors stopping off at each module (rack
panel).

2) Where could I get toggle switches with wide, long, flat actuators, like
those used on the PDP/8? I am looking for switches that will line up nicley
in a horizontal row. I would need to have switches that support ON/OFF,
MOMENTARY/OFF and MOMENTARY/OFF/MOMENTARY positons. I would prefer switches
with a contact for the OFF position too, so that I can use a flip-flop for
debouncing, rather than loading down the PIC with debounce timing.

3) Does anyone have a paper-tape reader for sale for a reasonable price? I
wish I could use punchcards, but finding a punchcard reader that I would not
feel guilty about butchering would be hard, and finding a punch card
supplier would probably also prove problematic. (I can cut my own paper
tape)

I have been designing this thing for some time, and finally am accumulating
enough money to build it. I want it to have incandescant lamp indicators,
just because they will look more 'magestic' when the computer is running.
The inside of the cabinet will be quite bare, as I am using semi-conductors,
not vaccum tubes :) I am mostly building the cabinet for effect -- To have a
5' tall cabinet (I am going to have a dead 20" area on the bottom of the
cabinet, available for future expansion) full of toggle switches and
flashing lamps will be quite impressive :)

The PIC in this system will control the programming interface on the CPU
panel - It will take over the bus using the Z80's DMA facilities, where data
can be manually entered into RAM using the toggle switches. The PIC will
also control the system clock when it is allowed, so that code can be slowly
stepped through for debugging. I think that a PIC will also control the
paper-tape reader if I can find one.

- Keelan Lightfoot

1999\09\26@041445 by Don McKenzie

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Keelan Lightfoot wrote:
>
> For quite some time now I have been designing a computer that looks like a
> mainframe from the early 70s -- Many toggle switches and lamps,

snip---

> 2) Where could I get toggle switches with wide, long, flat actuators, like
> those used on the PDP/8? I am looking for switches that will line up nicley
> in a horizontal row. I would need to have switches that support ON/OFF,
> MOMENTARY/OFF and MOMENTARY/OFF/MOMENTARY positons. I would prefer switches
> with a contact for the OFF position too, so that I can use a flip-flop for
> debouncing, rather than loading down the PIC with debounce timing.

We threw out a PDP-8 front panel only about two years ago, you may find
these around still.
(or am I kidding myself, it may be like finding an intel 4004)

The PDP-40 is a rather nice front panel from a point of view of
imitating the flashing Address and Data bus of the 70's. I think this
would suit your needs if you can find one.

I have one, but I have it hooked up to a Z80 doing an imitation LED Data
and Address bus ripple, in much the same fashion as I dare say you wish
to do. I also would like to convert it to a single chip micro such as a
PICmicro, as my old z80 needs a bit of a kick start, 8255's and all that
on an old PCB.

I understand your preference for incandescent lamps, so the LED's would
be of much use anyway, but I think the switches should do the trick.

Don McKenzie  spam_OUTdonTakeThisOuTspamdontronics.com http://www.dontronics.com

Don's Download Dungeon:   http://www.dontronics.com/download.html
Australian Electronics Ring http://www.dontronics.com/aering.html
Win $500USD Cash. Micro design contest:  http://www.simmstick.com

1999\09\26@044839 by Keelan Lightfoot

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>We threw out a PDP-8 front panel only about two years ago, you may find
>these around still.

Nooo! Don't tell me that!! :) I like it more when someone says "I am going
to throw out (something old, useless and hard to find, and by the way, what
you want) tomorrow." :)

>The PDP-40 is a rather nice front panel from a point of view of
>imitating the flashing Address and Data bus of the 70's. I think this
>would suit your needs if you can find one.

I'm not just looking to simulate the flashing lights, but to also have a
working computer created. It will *secretly* have serial ports (I have 2 Z80
SIO/0s that I have to use up), so that I will be able to have a modem, and
perhaps run the worlds largest smallest webserver :) I would like to create
my own computer, just to say that I did :) In the end it will probably end
up doing something mundane like controlling the sprinklers in my garden, and
telling me there is mail in my (real) mailbox.

>I understand your preference for incandescent lamps, so the LED's would
>be of much use anyway, but I think the switches should do the trick.

If I could find a PDP-8 front panel, I would rather find the rest of the
computer, and build a working PDP-8 :)

PS: I'm looking for suggestions for names of my computer. I'm looking for
something that pulls the same mental strings as UNIVAC and ENIAC.

- Keelan Lightfoot

1999\09\26@062234 by Don McKenzie

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Keelan Lightfoot wrote:
>
> >We threw out a PDP-8 front panel only about two years ago, you may find
> >these around still.
>
> Nooo! Don't tell me that!! :) I like it more when someone says "I am going
> to throw out (something old, useless and hard to find, and by the way, what
> you want) tomorrow." :)

OK, I changed my mind. Thought I better do a web search and make sure of
what it was we tossed out.
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/dec-faq/pdp8-models/
http://www.telnet.hu/hamster/pdp-11/1105.html

Subject: What is a PDP-8?
Date of introduction:  1965 (Unveiled March 22, in New York).
Date of withdrawal:    1968.
Total production run:  1450.

We threw out a pdp-11/05 which was released June 72.
Hope that softens the pain. :-)

Don McKenzie  .....donKILLspamspam@spam@dontronics.com http://www.dontronics.com

Don's Download Dungeon:   http://www.dontronics.com/download.html
Australian Electronics Ring http://www.dontronics.com/aering.html
Win $500USD Cash. Micro design contest:  http://www.simmstick.com

1999\09\26@085200 by paulb

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Keelan Lightfoot wrote:

> I would prefer switches with a contact for the OFF position too, so
> that I can use a flip-flop for debouncing, rather than loading down
> the PIC with debounce timing.

 You *are* having a leg-pull here are you not?  "Loading down" a PIC
doing debouncing?  What *else* would it be doing?  You are presumably
going to use a matrix arrangements with diodes on the switches to read
them?  9 lines to a matrix can decode 72 separate contacts quite easily
and a 16F84 has plenty of memory to debounce them all.

 That leaves you with three or four lines to interface to the rest of
the machine.  I daresay you'll need plenty of shift registers such as
TPIC6595s to drive all those lamps, but that's only 2 PIC lines.
--
 Cheers,
       Paul B.

1999\09\26@112838 by Steve Kelley

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part 0 8417 bytes
<META content=text/html;charset=iso-8859-1 http-equiv=Content-Type>
<META content='"MSHTML 4.72.3110.7"' name=GENERATOR>
</HEAD>
<BODY bgColor=#ffffff>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>Keelan . . . .
</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>I've got a name . . . .
.for the project . . . * <FONT color=#ff0000>ENUF </FONT>*. . . . . . no ,
seriously , this is reminding me</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>of the hardware I was
trained on ( not to date myself ).&nbsp; The Cyber 18 ( CDC , Circa late 70's
)</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>had a wopping * 4 K-words *
or ram , that was the high-tech * Magnetic- Core * variety.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>But , so much for memories
, on to business . . . . . </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>I've got a PDP - 11 / 73
sitting in the garage and you are welcome to it , if you pay the
cost</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>of shipping 100 lbs.&nbsp;
The system does use a * back-plane * for the bus and basically is</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>functional , except for the
30 Meg . hard drive that you can replace for $ 20.&nbsp; This
version</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>does not have a * low tech
* panel , but uses locking push-buttons , illuminated from </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>internal LED's
.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>One other idea . . . . .
.find out what is being done with some of the old CDC hardware . . .
</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>some universities used them
in the computer / business programs , and they came complete</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>with a * switch - indicator
*&nbsp; type of&nbsp; * <FONT color=#ff0000>break-out panel
</FONT>*.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>Oooops !&nbsp;&nbsp; Almost
forgot to contribute something PIC related&nbsp; :)&nbsp;&nbsp; Instead of
having the PIC</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>control the Z-80 ,&nbsp;
why not just&nbsp; * single -step * the PIC . . . . or run it at&nbsp; 1- khz
and interrupt it</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>every&nbsp; 20 clicks . . .
. to see whats sitting on the switches : -) </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2>If you're interested in the
PDP - 11 / 73 , please email off the PIClist . . . . . </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif"
size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Regards . . . . </FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif"
size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
Steve Kelley</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif"
size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
Protobyte Inc.</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif"
size=2>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;
<A href="infospamKILLspamprotobyte.com">.....infoKILLspamspam.....protobyte.com</A></FONT></DIV>> <DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#0000ff face="MS Sans Serif" size=2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<BLOCKQUOTE
style="BORDER-LEFT: #0000ff solid 2px; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">
   <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2><B>{Original Message removed}

1999\09\26@174559 by Ing. Marcelo Fornaso

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>PS: I'm looking for suggestions for names of my computer. I'm looking for
>something that pulls the same mental strings as UNIVAC and ENIAC.
>
>- Keelan Lightfoot

KEENIAC ?

1999\09\26@175845 by Tom Handley

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At 02:51 PM 9/25/99 -0600, Keelan Lightfoot wrote:
>If I could find a PDP-8 front panel, I would rather find the rest of the
>computer, and build a working PDP-8 :)

  Keelan, if I could find a PDP-8, I'd shoot it so it doesn't breed ;-)
I never want to see punched tapes or cards again. I never want to type on
a TTY again, ever... I never want to see a DEC or ADAM-3 terminal again.
I like what I have now and I never want to go back. So there ;-)

>PS: I'm looking for suggestions for names of my computer. I'm looking for
>something that pulls the same mental strings as UNIVAC and ENIAC.

  INSOMNIAC   ;-)

  - Tom

>- Keelan Lightfoot


------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom Handley
New Age Communications
Since '75 before "New Age" and no one around here is waiting for UFOs ;-)

1999\09\26@202253 by bowman

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Tom Handley wrote:
>
>    Keelan, if I could find a PDP-8, I'd shoot it so it doesn't breed ;-)

I was surprised when I read the FAQ and saw how few there actually were.
Seemed I was always falling over one, or one of its offspring, the
PDP-11. Of cource, I was working around Boston at the time, and they
were breeding the things in Maynard.

--
Bear Technology  Making Montana safe for Grizzlies

http://people.montana.com/~bowman/

1999\09\26@202708 by Dave VanHorn

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> I was surprised when I read the FAQ and saw how few there actually were.
> Seemed I was always falling over one, or one of its offspring, the
> PDP-11. Of cource, I was working around Boston at the time, and they
> were breeding the things in Maynard.

Fond memories..  I learned Basic, Fortran, and Cobol on an 11-780 running
RSTS-E.
Mis-spelling "Environment" was bad. Very bad.

1999\09\26@203546 by Robert M. McClure

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At 06:08 PM 9/26/99 -0300, Ing. Marcelo Fornaso wrote:
>>PS: I'm looking for suggestions for names of my computer. I'm looking for
>>something that pulls the same mental strings as UNIVAC and ENIAC.
>>
>>- Keelan Lightfoot
>
>KEENIAC ?

Los Alamos built a computer in the 1950's called MANIAC.  I am NOT making
this up.  Don't know what the acronym stood for. XX XX Numerical Integrator
and Computer, or some such thing.

Then, of course, you could use UMIAC  (umiak is the Eskimo word for a
female's kayak).

Another though is KEROUAC  (I will leave it to you to put words to the
acronym.)

There was really at one time a BIZMAC, but it hasn't been seen in years,
so I think you would be safe to plagiarize the name.

Or perhaps PADDYWAC  (as in knick-knack, paddywack, give a dog a bone)

Aha -- how about THROBAC  (nah -- scratch that)

If none of these will do, ask me again.  :)

Bob McClure

1999\09\26@215651 by Keelan Lightfoot

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>   Keelan, if I could find a PDP-8, I'd shoot it so it doesn't breed ;-)
>I never want to see punched tapes or cards again. I never want to type on
>a TTY again, ever... I never want to see a DEC or ADAM-3 terminal again.
>I like what I have now and I never want to go back. So there ;-)

LOL!!! I am bored of what I have now, and want to get a taste of what came
before :) I am 18, and unfortunately, my entire life has been microchips,
miniaturization, microcomputers, smaller smaller smaller, faster and less
fun for someone with a soldering iron and a bucket of components. I want
something big, something that hurts me if I drop it on my foot, something
that reads a medium that I can manually edit, something that flashes lights
and lets me know it is working! I find modern computers great for computing
but horrible for experimenting. I have to tip-toe around a modern OS chewing
on 24 megabytes of RAM, and I can't do anything stupid like divide by 0
without the OS going crazy, crashing and taking a month to reboot just so
that I can divide by 0 again.

- Keelan Lightfoot

1999\09\26@221310 by Keelan Lightfoot

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>There was really at one time a BIZMAC, but it hasn't been seen in years,
>so I think you would be safe to plagiarize the name.

I had never heard of the BIZMAC before.. Found this picture...
http://www.fwtunesco.org/musi/museu9.html
That machine is too 'beautiful' to steal the name from :)

>Or perhaps PADDYWAC  (as in knick-knack, paddywack, give a dog a bone)

Ummm.... No. :) This old man goes rolling home.

>Aha -- how about THROBAC  (nah -- scratch that)

Hehe :)

>If none of these will do, ask me again.  :)

I found a list of old computer names, if you need a little more inspiration:
:
http://www.iinet.net.au/~dgreen/timeline.html

1999\09\26@224430 by Russell McMahon

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Junkiac
JunkiVac ?
NUNIVAC / NONIVAC        no valves :-)

MK80            a la MKII but "rather" later (and Z80 based)

RM


_____________________________
What can one man do?
Help the hungry at no cost to yourself!
at  http://www.thehungersite.com/

>PS: I'm looking for suggestions for names of my computer. I'm looking for
>something that pulls the same mental strings as UNIVAC and ENIAC.

1999\09\26@225507 by Andy Kunz

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>I was surprised when I read the FAQ and saw how few there actually were.
>Seemed I was always falling over one, or one of its offspring, the
>PDP-11. Of cource, I was working around Boston at the time, and they
>were breeding the things in Maynard.

Serious (for a change).

We have a PDP, I'm not sure which, down in our basement.  Anybody interested?

Andy

==================================================================
Andy Kunz               Life is what we do to prepare for Eternity
------------------------------------------------------------------
EraseMEandyspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTrc-hydros.com      http://www.rc-hydros.com     - Race Boats
andyspamspam_OUTmontanadesign.com  http://www.montanadesign.com - Electronics
==================================================================

1999\09\26@225643 by bowman

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Keelan Lightfoot wrote:
>
> I want something big, something that hurts me if I drop it on my foot, somethi
ng
> that reads a medium that I can manually edit, something that flashes lights
> and lets me know it is working!  I can't do anything stupid like divide by 0
> without the OS going crazy

What you REALLY need is a vintage Friden square root calculator. They
were electromechanical devices that were widely used for serious number
crunching at the dawn of digital computer. You could set one of those up
to divide by zero, and it would churn away for hours, merrily looking
for a solution in its cogs and gears. I was working for the NYS
Education Dept. summers when going to school, and this was a great way
to convince my boss I was busy while I read dirty books and so forth.


--
Bear Technology  Making Montana safe for Grizzlies

http://people.montana.com/~bowman/

1999\09\26@232209 by Sean H. Breheny

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Yessss! Finally somebody who thinks like I do <VBEG>

I love miniaturization, but lets keep alive the stuff that you can actually
get your hands on (at least until we all have scanning-tunneling electron
microscopes and molecular-beam-epitaxy machines in our basement <G>)

BTW, I am 19,and yes,I do know how to bias a triode (roughly <G>).

Sean


At 07:57 PM 9/26/99 -0700, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

| Sean Breheny
| Amateur Radio Callsign: KA3YXM
| Electrical Engineering Student
\--------------=----------------
Save lives, please look at http://www.all.org
Personal page: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/shb7
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1999\09\26@233659 by Dennis Plunkett

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At 20:43 26/09/99 -0600, you wrote:
>Keelan Lightfoot wrote:
>>
>> I want something big, something that hurts me if I drop it on my foot,
something
>> that reads a medium that I can manually edit, something that flashes lights
>> and lets me know it is working!  I can't do anything stupid like divide
by 0
{Quote hidden}

Even older you could call it an ADDER, forget whom made this but I have one
in my museum somewhere, and this this was fully MANUAL! you have to push
very big buttons, then pull a few leavers (Levars of you US types), and
then the value would appear. But I think that Keenlan is looking to find
something that appitimises electronics and the momentus occasion that he is
attempting to recreate, something like:-

PENTODE
Problimatic
       Evolutional
               Numberical
                       Tabulating
                               Output
                                       Descriptive
                                               Engine


OK, so you do better
Dennis

1999\09\26@234733 by Keelan Lightfoot

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>What you REALLY need is a vintage Friden square root calculator. They
>were electromechanical devices that were widely used for serious number
>crunching at the dawn of digital computer. You could set one of those up
>to divide by zero, and it would churn away for hours, merrily looking
>for a solution in its cogs and gears. I was working for the NYS
>Education Dept. summers when going to school, and this was a great way
>to convince my boss I was busy while I read dirty books and so forth.

I've got an Olivetti Divisumma, a motor driven mechanical calculator that
can add, subtract, multiply and divide. I have never tried a divide by 0 on
it, but I think I will go out tomorrow and give it a try (It is in a
building near 2 apple trees. Bears like apples. I can't see a bear at night,
but it can see me!). It doesn't use a repeated subtraction division method
-- I tried 99999 (I think) divided by one, and it churned out an answer in
about 10 revolutions of the motor.

It is amazing to listen to the thing run -- after all repeating sound of
calculating the result and remainder, it bangs out the result by lifting
little posts with raised backwards numbers on them, and whacking the back of
the posts with little hammers. It does this 2 times (I seem to recall), once
to print the result of the division, and the second time to print the
remainder.

- Keelan Lightfoot

1999\09\26@234923 by Keelan Lightfoot

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>Serious (for a change).
>
>We have a PDP, I'm not sure which, down in our basement.  Anybody interested?

I am torn! 2 offers for a PDP in one day...only so much money for
shipping... I am interested!

- Keelan Lightfoot

1999\09\27@025452 by Lee Jones

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>> I was surprised when I read the FAQ and saw how few there
>> actually were.  Seemed I was always falling over one, or one
>> of its offspring, the PDP-11.  I was working around Boston at
>> the time, and they were breeding the things in Maynard.

> Fond memories..  I learned Basic, Fortran, and Cobol on an
> 11-780 running RSTS-E.

Minor correction.

The PDP-11/70 was the high end of the 16-bit PDP-11 family.
It ran RSTS/E, RSX-11, RT-11, MUMPS, DSM, Unix, and others.

11-780 is a reference to the first model of the 32-bit VAX
line, the VAX-11/780.  It ran (and still runs) VMS.  Early
versions had an RSX emulator mode for runing PDP-11 binary
programs.  I don't believe RSTS ever ran on a VAX.  I think
the VAX-11/780 was announced in November or December of 1978.

                                               Lee Jones

1999\09\27@071612 by Howard McGinnis

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>fun for someone with a soldering iron and a bucket of components. I want
>something big, something that hurts me if I drop it on my foot, something
>that reads a medium that I can manually edit, something that flashes lights
>and lets me know it is working! I find modern computers great for computing

I have 4 warehouses full of 1970 vintage MODCOMP II computers - just what
you're looking for!  Nice front panel, wire wrapped CPU planes, a TTY
controller with maybe 100 components. Core memory - 64K of 16 bit words!
Tons of 10 Mb Wango (Perkin Elmer) disk drives. A real time OS that fits
into 24K of memory. 16 levels of interrupts. Make me an offer!

Wierd thing is that it's MODCOMP II's that still launch the shuttle - a
little modified over the years to replace the core memory and newer
peripherals!

Howard
Howard McGinnis
KILLspamhmcginniKILLspamspamdigital.net
Electronic Visions, Inc.
1650 Barrett Drive
Rockledge FL 32955
(407) 632-7530
http://ddi.digital.net/~hmcginni
RemoveMEmcginnisTakeThisOuTspame-visions.com

1999\09\27@072027 by wwl

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While we're on a retro thread...
(I was originally going to use a PIC for this project but changed my
mind!)
Build a nixie-tube clock - full details including PCB artwork files :
http://www.netcomuk.co.uk/~wwl/nixclock.html

1999\09\27@075112 by Russell McMahon

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Almost - its obviously got to be

       ****    KEELIAC   ****

RM

_____________________________
What can one retro computer builder do?
Help the hungry at no cost to yourself!
at  http://www.thehungersite.com/



{Quote hidden}

1999\09\27@094418 by bowman

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Keelan Lightfoot wrote:
>
> I've got an Olivetti Divisumma, a motor driven mechanical calculator that
> can add, subtract, multiply and divide. I have never tried a divide by 0 on
> it, but I think I will go out tomorrow and give it a try

Most of the simple calculators were smart (dumb?) enough to not try a
divide by 0. The Fridens were programmable with little levers, toggles,
and so forth, and you could sneak up on the actual division. Just like
MS Windows ignores attempted accesses on NULL, I imagine the original
Friden engineers figured anyone making that fundamental an error
deserved what they got.

>  Bears like apples. I can't see a bear at night, but it can see me!).

Actually, a bear doesn't have the greatest vision during the day, and I
doubt it improves at night. They definitely can smell an apple though.

--
Bear Technology  Making Montana safe for Grizzlies

http://people.montana.com/~bowman/

1999\09\27@100650 by Stevens, Kurt

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I can get my hands on a VAX 8800, disk array and tape drive plus parts, but
you're talking some serious shipping, not to mention a 220 or 440 volt
supply to run it.

       Kurt Stevens

{Quote hidden}

1999\09\27@133251 by Reginald Neale

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How about

Prehistoric Imitation Computer In A Cabinet?

Reg Neale

1999\09\27@153414 by Mark Willis

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Paper Tape reader.  Try getting a set of opto-isolators, and making your
own;  One opto clocks the whole rig, off the "sprocket" hole, software
PLL the whole thing off that hole, use floppy drive type stepper motors
to spin the takeup reel, and it should work fine, I'd think.  An 'F84
should do that easily (just don't rip the paper tape in half - used to
be able to get pretty high speeds off mylar tape this way, beat a KSR/33
<G>)

Paper tape punches, could make your own similarly, I'd think;  Should be
able to find a KSR/33 (or ASR/33 or ???) for not too much, though, at a
hamfest or surplus equipment sale or ???  I haven't been looking, for
those or for card punches, the local U.W. CDC machines were thrown out
in pieces about 1982 or so, sadly (What a fun toy a Cyber would make!
<G>)

Look into active termination for that bus, someone else here is the
expert but I'd guess that'll be needed instead of passive; you could
just build a cable and terminate it, load it with PIC chips, then scope
it & see (though SCSI hard drives seem to work just fine with a somewhat
longer bus, and identical cable, terminated.)  Maybe set every other
wire as ground, that should help.

 Mark

Keelan Lightfoot wrote:
{Quote hidden}

1999\09\27@153429 by Mark Willis

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Keelan Lightfoot wrote:
>
> >   Keelan, if I could find a PDP-8, I'd shoot it so it doesn't breed ;-)
> >I never want to see punched tapes or cards again. I never want to type on
> >a TTY again, ever... I never want to see a DEC or ADAM-3 terminal again.
> >I like what I have now and I never want to go back. So there ;-)
>
> LOL!!! I am bored of what I have now, and want to get a taste of what came
> before :) I am 18, and unfortunately, my entire life has been microchips,
> miniaturization, microcomputers, smaller smaller smaller, faster and less
> fun for someone with a soldering iron and a bucket of components. I want
> something big, something that hurts me if I drop it on my foot, something
> that reads a medium that I can manually edit, something that flashes lights
> and lets me know it is working! I find modern computers great for computing
> but horrible for experimenting. I have to tip-toe around a modern OS chewing
> on 24 megabytes of RAM, and I can't do anything stupid like divide by 0
> without the OS going crazy, crashing and taking a month to reboot just so
> that I can divide by 0 again.
>
> - Keelan Lightfoot

You want something big that hurts you if you drop it on your foot?  Glue
a 745 pound lead brick onto your current machine's base, Keelan - You
think the older machines were any better?  Aieee!  <G>  You knew you
were having a BAD day when, on the 15th try, you finally figured out
that the reason your S-100 machine's 5-minute boot program entry through
front panel switches wasn't working right was that you had a bit stuck
on in a $35, 4k SRAM chip.  Then you replaced that, and one of the
voltage regulators on another memory card went out.  Then you finally
got 'er to boot up, tried running JRT Pascal, and had it gripe, while
compiling your 1200 line program for about 3700 seconds, 11 times out of
12, that I := I + J + K - 1; was "Expression too complex for compiler to
parse" - and the 12th time, it'd compile just fine, no source code
changes.  On a good day, you'd buy Turbo Pascal 1.0, slide that 8"
floppy in, tell it to load the source, hit Compile, and then yell
"Baloney" when it compiled that code in about 45 seconds - then bounce
your jaw off the floor when you "called it's bluff", and hit Run, and it
DID.  (Still have that floppy somewhere <G>)

Seriously, except for Winxx, you didn't miss a whole lot, in many
ways...  Though I do think a Cray-1 would be a fun machine to run a
Flight sim on.

Enjoy yourself, either way.

 Mark

1999\09\27@155458 by Lee Jones

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>> For quite some time now I have been designing a computer that
>> looks like a mainframe from the early 70s

> Paper Tape reader.  Try getting a set of opto-isolators, and
> making your own

This is prefectly reasonable.  You can use one of the
photosensor linear arrays for the sensor too.


> Paper tape punches, could make your own similarly, I'd think;

_Much_ harder to punch holes accurately than the read them.


> Should be able to find a KSR/33 (or ASR/33 or ???) for not too much

You want the ASR/33 teletype.  ASR is Automatic Send/Receive with
a paper tape reader/punch.  KSR was Keyboard Send/Receive with no
paper tape capability.  Doing maintenance and repair on either one
will give you a real appreciation of complex mechanical units.

There are also higher speed paper tape punchs.  Some might be
available as surplus from companies that made tapes for older
CNC tools which used the mylar tapes.

                                               Lee Jones

1999\09\27@162023 by Nick Taylor

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Mark - -

You bring back fond memories of upgrading to CP/M 1.4!  You must be
almost as old as me ... I'm a 65 y.o. single parent of 10 and 11
y.o. sons, have a beard and ponytail, and I did inhale (a lot) ...
but I served in the military for over twenty years (Korea & 'Nam)
and voted for Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan as well.  I've been
called a "bleeding heart right-wing wacko".

- Nick -

1999\09\27@204956 by Russell McMahon

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I made a hand pulled opto paper tape reader looooooooong ago.
Very successful.
Clocked by extra opto on "feed" sprocket holes.
Used small photo transistors and AFAIR background lighting arranged for the
purpose.
Hand fed - smoothness was a good idea but speeds as fast as you could pull
it were successful. Lets see - say it was 1m/sec. That about 3.28*12*10*8 =
over 3000 bits per second. Double this at 2m/second! - Wow that's fast!
Remember that back then the alternative's were 110 baud teleprinters and
75/1200 baud modems and maybe the new fangled 300/300 modems and ... . For
amateur use 3000 baud was superb. My Masters thesis  project output data on
papertape (Motoroal MC6800 powered :-)) and it was input to the university
computer (Burroughs B110 rings a bell). This was trailing edge for them but
was the only way that I could interface between the two. I found the
papertape punch at the local dump and resurrected it :-)


RM


_____________________________
What can one man do?
Help the hungry at no cost to yourself!
at  http://www.thehungersite.com/

{Original Message removed}

1999\09\28@025253 by Anne Ogborn

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I've got a model railroad.

Planned for it's control system (I'm still putting in track) is, of course,
a PIC
based system.
But, I thought it would be fun to have a simulated steam engine backhead
as the way one actually controls the trains.
The layout is quite simple, and I was going to make all controls be
from microswitches inside various valve stems.

Since one of the great charms of a steam engine is the leaky steam, I'm
planning on running low pressure steam through the pipes (some of which, of
course, will leak a bit).

don't ask how I'm going to protect the microswitches. Haven't figured it out
yet.

So, in effect I'm actually building a steam powered computer.

8c)

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1999\09\28@030137 by Anne Ogborn

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KLEPTOMANIAC?

1999\09\28@042301 by Keelan Lightfoot

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>You want the ASR/33 teletype.  ASR is Automatic Send/Receive with
>a paper tape reader/punch.  KSR was Keyboard Send/Receive with no
>paper tape capability.  Doing maintenance and repair on either one
>will give you a real appreciation of complex mechanical units.

I have heard much praise for the ASR-33. I know about how mechanically
complex something like that can be -- I have been collecting mechanical
adding machines for about 4 years now, and have only once attempted to
actually start to go inside the mechanics of the machine, and soon realized
that the people that built these machines were geniuses :) I have started to
ask around for an ASR-33 -- It turns out that my dad used one many years ago
at a construction company, for ordering supplies, making bids, etc. His way
of putting it was that it was their fax machine :)

Anyone in Calgary, Alberta have an ASR-33 for sale? (I am not from Calgary,
but go there often :)

- Keelan Lightfoot

1999\09\28@193818 by paulb

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Anne Ogborn wrote:

> I've got a model railroad.

 Would we have ever guessed? ;-)
--
 Cheers,
       Paul B.

1999\09\30@010736 by admins

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I seem to remember a microprocessor (don't remember the manufacturer)
p/n 6100 which was a pdp 8e on a chip.  There was also the FoxFire a DG
NOVA 1200 on a chip - unique in that the value of the bias resistor
determined the max cpu speed (we had a 10 ohm 20W wire wound on ours).
I started out on the 1401 4k and IBM 1620/1710 20k of 2 Microsecond 6
bit memory (8 4 2 1 Flag Parity).  Used tables from 100-399 to do math.
Hdw div and floating point were options.  By hacking the tables you
could do weird radix math and encryption.

If you can find an old 1710 it would be ideal, it has the functionality
of a hand calculator with A/D D/A and point closure/sense.  Came in a
console plus an interface rack - would warm up a cold winter night!!!

I ran a 3k student Univ. on a 1620 then a IBM 360/25 24kb with a
2311-7.5 mb disk, a 1k/min card read/punch,and a 240 lpm printer.  The
32kb of 900ns memory cost $250,000 (8kb stored the microcode). I
actually programmed the IBM 650 drum system @ TX A&M when I started grad
school in '71.  They were using it for payroll until they got the
program converted to the IBM 360/65.  Somewhere in storage I have a 450
card per minute reader and the original source cards for the OS I
designed for the IMSAI 8080 floppy system.  They gave me CPUs 1015,
1017, and 1018 (#s 5,7, & 8) of the production run and the first 2-card
8.5" floppy controller they designed (I had to redo it with a WD 1771
chip eventually).  My Imsai was up and running until 83 hurricane came
ripping through Galveston --- took our apt, my computers, and my med
school books.  I don't remember what hurt more, the books or the
computer!  I still miss the toggle switches and the lights!

Given your purpose, use a serial 485 bus across the back of the racks,
simpler to build and a lot less trouble.  You can have up to 32 devices
on the bus.  Or build something like the DalSemi 1-wire bus, use their
serial number chips for device addresses (you can get 100 for $25 on
their site ibutton.com).  You could use their 1-wire point close/sense
chips for I/O to control your lights and to sense switches.  Could be a
lot of fun!  For switches look at cherry they supplied the IMSAI
prototype switches, paddles and all.

If you want an impressive panel look for pictures of the 360 model 95 -
panel was 3ft x 6ft lots of lights and switches!

Keep us posted,
joe


'[OT?] Retro-Computer'
1999\10\02@091643 by Tom Handley
picon face
  Put an old Apple I or II in there and call it WOZNIAK ;-)

  - Tom

At 10:47 PM 10/1/99 -0600, Graeme Smith wrote:
{Quote hidden}

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom Handley
New Age Communications
Since '75 before "New Age" and no one around here is waiting for UFOs ;-)

1999\10\02@100958 by Dan Larson

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On Fri, 1 Oct 1999 22:47:07 -0600, Graeme Smith wrote:

>Similiac? I originally thought similac... but it turns out that is already
>used for a soymilk product (Baby formula)
>

Hey, I thought that was the name of the stuff I fed my kid when
she was < 12 months old!  It went in as a white liquid and came
out as.... Well I'll spare the details...<G>

I don't know what this has to do with retro-computing though...

Dan

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