View Full Version : Maybe available

November 19th, 2009, 02:49 AM
I think this is on the way to the dumpster... I'm not interested in it, but could be induced to rescue it if someone desperately needs one.


November 19th, 2009, 03:51 AM
I desperately need one :) Though I'm not willing to pay for the shipping across that blasted Atlantic.

You will however have absolutely no problem in finding a taker near you.

nige the hippy
November 19th, 2009, 06:20 AM
GULP! on it's way to the dumpster!!!!!!


...and actually the shipping across the atlantic isn't as desparate as it first appears.

But you won't have any problems getting rid of either nearer to you!

If they do end up in the dumpster, let me know where it is & I'll fly over there to fish them out!

November 19th, 2009, 06:46 AM
Are you joking? If you want to sell it, please let me know. I would drive out to you and pick it up.


November 19th, 2009, 07:08 AM
Yes: take it from me, as somebody who accidentally discarded a full populated Cromemco Z2, and then a System 3 ... it is something "the dumper" will regret

again, and again and again.

Someone (US bound) please go and save this hardware immediately.

November 19th, 2009, 10:02 AM
so has anyone stepped up and said "I'll take it"? If not, allow me to do so!! Please pull it to one side and let us talk turkey!

steve shumaker

November 19th, 2009, 10:07 AM
on the faint chance that no one else has actually spoken, contact info would help:


drop me a note. yes I could come get it.

steve shumaker

November 19th, 2009, 10:19 AM
Sent Private Message

November 19th, 2009, 11:13 AM
I think this is on the way to the dumpster... I'm not interested in it, but could be induced to rescue it if someone desperately needs one.


I would drive there myself in the dead of night for that one system. If no one gets it, please consider me.

November 19th, 2009, 03:24 PM
I think this is on the way to the dumpster... I'm not interested in it, but could be induced to rescue it if someone desperately needs one.


I'm located in Pittsburgh and would like to rescue this machine. I can arrange pickup at their earliest convenience.


November 19th, 2009, 05:43 PM
I posted the listing on CCTALK and someone forwarded it to Pat Finnegan at Purdue. He's on it...

November 20th, 2009, 07:24 AM
Sorry to disappoint so many people who were offering to drive great distances to retrieve this piece of hardware... I now understand the details of how equipment is disposed of. I'll describe it carefully because it explains one way that hardware can leave an academic institute and end up in your garage.

The primary issue is ownership - in this case the equipment is owned by the Physics
Department, so it is not so easy to dispose of. In fact, the only way to dispose of it is
to either transfer it to another department or to send it to University Surplus. They establish a price and sell it, keeping some of the profit and transferring the rest back to the Physics Department. There are no other legal ways to get rid of this equipment.
It is even more difficult to get rid of equipment purchased on a government grant since
it technically belongs to the US government, not the university. That's why we still have our card puncher...

Anyway, one scenario would be to find a buyer, and work with the University Surplus to
establish how to pay for it and ensure that any profit makes its way back to the Physics Department.

However the simplest thing for me would be to keep it in the Physics Department and start my own vintage computer collection... That's not what I had originally intended but looks more attractive than sending it to University Surplus without a guarantee that it won't be ground up and sold for its gold content. I have no time to devote to this in the foreseeable future, but the stuff isn't going anywhere now.

So, the bottom line is this hardware is safe and may one day be restored to a working condition but it is not quite as available as it first appeared. However, I will be happy to share anything I learn about it.

November 23rd, 2009, 01:30 AM
So here would be my 3 phase plan to liberate this hardware based on the Physics departments ownership

a) Move the hardware into a cupboard that nobody inspects very often ... out of sight is out of mind

b) Slowly but surely take the entire computers home, for restoration and cleaning purposes. This requires strength, some basis disassembly skills and the sure knowledge that a man smiling, carrying bits of old computer equipment to the trunk of his car on a weekend is clearly harmless

c) At home restore and clean the equipment, enjoy it, and if ever required "bring it back" to the original Physics department faculty.

N.B: probably your employer would not want you to tinker about with this equipment in work time, so surely represents the most responsible course of action.

November 24th, 2009, 05:12 AM
Close, but not quite the correct way to proceed. There is red tape to deal with but since
nobody here cares about this hardware, there is no problem getting the right people to sign off on it.

a) The hardware has been moved to my lab in the physics building so it isn't going anywhere. At some point, maybe next week, I can take pictures of it in more detail - it may not be quite what you think. It's sort of the body of a Chromemco with the head of an AMSAI stitched together a la Frankenstein. I'm still waiting to hear from the business office as to who originally purchased it and what it was used for.

b) I'd prefer to keep the computer in my lab rather than take it home. My marriage is much more important than any S-100 bus.

c) I've borrowed "junk" equipment before and there is a form to fill out if it is to leave the department on a temporary (ie, indefinite) basis. There are property numbers on this equipment so it is on file and someone is still accountable for it. The alternative would be to have it sent to university surplus with an arrangement that it would be bought (at whatever price can be agreed on, like $10) and not recycled. As I said before, that is really the only legitimate way to get complete ownership. But given that the people who work at university surplus don't have the time or interest to find a buyer, any price more than what they get for it by weight alone would work.

November 27th, 2009, 03:06 AM
Another approach that works for relieving any responsibility for accounting for equipment is the "destroyed in test" or an equivalent process. Basically the process for items which have been destroyed or otherwise rendered unusable and unrepairable through use. Sometimes an inspection is required, but often it is not. A one-off undocumented piece of equipment with no residual value should be suited for this process. Turning in any recoverable equipment tags is usually liked, but not necessary (since they can be destroyed along with the host hardware), and the equipment can be written off the books.

Just another item you may consider.

Thanks for keeping this from going to materials recovery, BTW.

December 19th, 2009, 04:07 AM
Now that I have reluctantly become "responsible" for this Chromemco machine, I went and disassembled the 8 inch floppy drive to remove the disk that had been stuck there for the past 35 years. Once I removed the drive from the rather organic wooden box, I was impressed at how overly complex the mechanism actually was... instead of a lever to close the drive there is actually a servo motor that loads it for you and a mechanism to shoot the disk out a little when you push the eject button. Of course, if anything mechanical goes wrong, your disk gets entombed for the next 35 years. In this case, one of the servo motors seems to be stuck but after removing some springs I got the disk out. It is a SSSD disk which I can read on an RX02 on a PDP-11 (which is another story). I may eventually wipe this disk but I downloaded its contents to the file:
so if anyone wants to write themselves a copy of this disk using this data, who knows what exciting stuff they might find... certainly some fortran source code, maybe even a fortran compiler. The mind boggles at the endless possibilities!

nige the hippy
December 19th, 2009, 05:50 AM
Looks at first sight rather like a home made Cromemco boot disk. I saved the image file just in case it's useful.

December 19th, 2009, 09:31 AM
If you'll pack the disk data up into a contiguous binary file, I'll convert it for you.

December 25th, 2009, 07:24 PM
Sounds like Matt is describing the Cromemco PerSci drive (which came in a furniture grade wooden cabinet). Definitely a beautiful item. I'm sure Chuck can come back with the specific type of wood used, but it's something dark-stained and Danish-modern looking.