View Full Version : Old Tube Machine in Australia, Still Capable of Running.

May 5th, 2005, 10:19 AM
By the way did you know that there is an old computer at a museum in Melbourne, Australia which is apparently the third electronic computer built in the world. It is called CSIRAC from the organisation which built it CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation).

It is the only intact computer from that era.

Here's the website: http://www.cs.mu.oz.au/csirac/csirac.html

joe sixpack
May 5th, 2005, 02:01 PM
users had a primitive (16 x 20) bit mapped display on which cartoon characters were often displayed!LOL it would be fun to play with for a few hours but man what a pain.

May 15th, 2005, 07:14 AM
Up-time for tube computers was measured in hours. Cost to build was 100's of thousands of dollars and technicians would swarm over every failure to get the machine running again.

What a great job! Guaranteed that each technician would be performing huge numbers of hours of work to make the computer keep working.

Oh well, it had to happen, a semiconductor computer with an up-time of thousands of hours, and cost $300. I am typing this message on one now.

CP/M User
April 24th, 2006, 03:32 PM
What's interesting about this machine was it was first
generation being used up til 1964. It makes me wonder how
reliable it is - in terms of the number of valves that were
replaced - or was it fairly efficent?

I guess it's still at the Museum in Melbourne, should go & see
if I can find it!

CP/M User.

May 23rd, 2006, 01:29 AM
I used to work for the csiro division which built that machine. I'm pretty sure they evolved into applied physics. The modern radio physics was a couple of miles from us, but the two divisions merged anyway after I moved to exploration and mining.

I THINK I recall a similar machine being given away/dumped whateaver while I was there. I remember it was an analogue machine and possibly electro mechanical.

Much of my collection was intercepted at csiro on the way to the bin. Maybe some day someone will care about this stuff. The big stuff like that and a pyramid and so forth I have had to tunr down. Just don't have the room...

I wouldn't assume a valve computer was terribly unreliable. There are plenty of radio transmitters with 1000's of hours uptime...now power consumption is another matter...:)

August 16th, 2006, 04:39 PM
Based on my personal experience, tubed computers ran as late as the 70s. Example; An IBM 705 II was installed at EI Dupont in Wilmington, DE. At the time, (1968 ) I worked for Midwestern Instruments, which later became Telex. (We had replaced 12 IBM 727 tape drives with our M4000 models attached to that system) That 705 ran roughly 99.7% uptime. It did display an occassional "silver-migration" flash, but the darn thing seemed solid as a rock!
Biggest problem was the console device, an early IBM electric typewriter with a "snatch-roller" drive. Boy! Could it jam-up! This old tube machine did most of the Dupont's payrolls and treasury reports...even though there was a 360/67 and numerous other 360s installed in the building. I don't know when it was put down because I had moved on to Telex hdqs in 1969.