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billdeg
October 18th, 2005, 06:26 PM
I am making this post should someone someday wish to collaborate on the restoration of an IBM Series 1 system. An electronic message in the bottle.

I am just about to get underway. I have some experience with IBM mini's, but it's been almost 20 years, so I will have to start almost from scratch. Anyone work with these systems?

System summary
I have a 4956 processor unit (field upgraded to rev K) with three hard drives (weighing a ton each), a tape drive, and an 8" drive. There is also a modem. The system is housed in 2 original IBM rack units. I think the racks are part no is 4997.

There are about twelve serial cables for terminal connection attached to the processor.

pmjett
March 28th, 2008, 06:44 PM
I too would like to try some collaboration. I just acquired a Series/1 rack. I've got a 4959 (slap full of what I think may be A/D cards), a 4956, a 4964 (?) hard drive (golly, that dude is heavy) and the floppy unit. All this is stacked in a 4997 rack. I haven't got a modem, or a terminal, or an async card. So if I power up my Series/1, I won't be able to communicate with it beyond the console on the 4956.

What I do have, which may be of some use to you (and others) is a BUNCH of Series/1 documentation. I got really lucky and found a big box of books on Craigslist from a former EDL programmer. It was pure fate.

Now to find some a copy of EDX or RPS.

mike

chuckcmagee
March 28th, 2008, 11:54 PM
WOW -- OLD bottle at this point. I made my living from 1984 until 1992 working on the Series/1. I can "EDL" with the best of them. If you played card games at the Flamingo Hilton in Vegas around 1985-88, it was MY software that kept track of how much money you lost at each table. The Series/1 was also doing all the "back office" stuff for the 2 Hilton casinos. I can't remember if I have ever seen a 4978 Terminal listed for sale on ebay. Of course, if it didn't come with the 2" diameter connection cable, you would be hard pressed to make one. Hehe, with copper getting more expensive by the day. Maybe I could remember how to do a $EDXNUC, more likely not.

The one I would love to find is a still working IBM 1130!! Sigh, it would destroy my poor floors here in the mobile home. I had to put the 350 lbs power wheel chair for my mom outside. My floors were caving in around the base of where I kept the chair stored.

mbbrutman
March 29th, 2008, 06:01 AM
I was just talking with somebody about the Series 1 yesterday - it's one of those machines you just don't see in collections. We were speculating that it was due to IBM only leasing the machines, but the opposite was true - IBM did not lease them at all, they had to be purchased.

I can't directly help; I have no direct knowledge of the Series I. This was a machine that my father used back in the early 80s when working at a brokerage. But I am interested in your progress.

billdeg
April 4th, 2008, 05:05 PM
I have made some progress lately. (With help) I have moved the system to a climate-controlled space and I have the 220 outlet and enough power for the three phases, etc. I have assembled all of the components into the 2 IBM 4997 cabinets. I am going to meet with an electrician next week to go over the power requirements. I have manuals and some software. I'll post an update soon.

Fortunately I marked all of the cables before I disassembled the system for transport.

oh, and some pictures and inventory are here:
http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ibm/Series1/
note the file dates as an indicator of progress.

I have newer pics to post.

Bill

billdeg
April 27th, 2008, 04:43 PM
On Friday I had an electrician check everything out, and verify that the building power is ready for action. Stay tuned for a CPU power on test. Fire suppression gear to the ready.

chuckcmagee
April 28th, 2008, 07:07 AM
I spent all morning using google to try and find a EDX/EDL emulation package. No such luck. Anyway, a lot of my Series/1 memories are coming back. I can remember how to use a 4978 terminal. And lots of the utilities ($EDXASM, $FSEDIT, $COPYUT1, $DISKUT1, $DISKUT2). And I actually could probably remember how to do a sysgen.

Here's hoping we can get the thing to "IPL" either from a 8" floppy or a hard disk.

The normal 4978 cable is a huge FAT job. There were lots of wires in there. Tons more than, say, a 8 wire RS232C connector.

kb2syd
April 28th, 2008, 07:25 AM
Bill:
Last Friday (the 19th) I met a former Series 1 technician. I forgot to tell you about it. I'll send you his contact info. He gave me a CD of pictures of vintage IBM gear.

billdeg
May 1st, 2008, 04:02 AM
thanks. I need a day off so that I can spend some dedicated time with this system!

billdeg
May 2nd, 2008, 10:24 AM
I powered up just the CPU (4956 rev K). It powered up and various lights came on, what appears to be the "ok now what?"

The 4978 terminal shows 'naught but a line across the screen. Normally I'd assume that a single line across the middle of the terminal screen is bad, but I was told by someone who knows much more than me that this is not necessarily a problem...I am confident that I have plugged the terminal into the correct card in the correct direction. I was hoping for at least something to appear on the screen in response to an IPL. How to plug in the disk drives is another matter, but I should be able to figure it out. I am about 50% confident that I know what's needed. I am in no hurry however to run the drives yet.

Little help? Anyone know how to run a terminal pad diagnostic? I have the manuals, disk drive, lots of boot disks and will research on this end how to cable the drives to the CPU. Although I am known to take risks when restoring machines, this one is not in my comfort zone. I wonder if the hard drives are locked? I am confident that this machine can be brought to life, it's in reasonably good shape. I have never powered it on before, but I have kept it covered. It has never been exposed to the elements, etc.

thanks 1MB

P.M if you'd like to call to discuss. The computer is located in Wilmington, Delaware just off I-95.

Bill

chuckcmagee
May 2nd, 2008, 01:51 PM
First of all -

Switch up (Alternate) for IPL from the floppy drive.

Switch down (Primary) to IPL from hard drive.

We had a "C.E." or customer engineer come in to do all the hardware reconfigurations. I would bet that there is some kind of physical drive locking mech., like a long screw or something like that. Not positive but that was common around 1977.

Until you get a bootable floppy or the hard disk might still be formatted, I am pretty sure you will NOT get anything on the 4978 terminal. It like other mini-computers of the time, have to get some IPL code in there before it does much.

Sorry, never fooled with the Diag Panel. I was too busy trying to get this or that program working.

Those square black connectors are called Berg connectors. Everyone I have seen has a plastic plug or filler in one hole to make the connector 'keyed'. Otherwise, you could easily flip over the connector and plug it in wrong. There are tiny plastic snaps on the sides. Each one snaps over the metal conductor and holds it in place. It is possible to move them around by using a needle to pry up the plastic flap a small distance while pulling on the wire. If you pry the flap too far, it will deform and stop working to grab the connector.

billdeg
May 3rd, 2008, 05:58 AM
Chuck,
This helps. I am starting to imagine ways to use the 4956 as a super expensive weak personal computer.

Currently the unit is not cabled up, but I have a pretty good idea of what goes where. But that can be dangerous. Better find out for sure.

NEXT: Learn more about the 4962 - is the hard drive parked? how do you cable the drive to the controller card, which is the correct controller card? Does the unit boot without a boot disk in the drive and look to the hard drive (like a PC) for the OS? What are drives called. I may have a BASIC disk somewhere intended for this computer, hmmm....

I do know what this system was used for originally. A medical records database system. The system used a modem to transmit info. It could have run a small computer department, there are a lot of serial cables. It would be fun to turn this into something else, after I have explored and documented how it was originally used.

chuckcmagee
May 3rd, 2008, 07:12 AM
As stated above, ASSUME THE HARD DISK IS PARKED! I vaguely remember there being a physical screw or something that locked down the heads.

Cabled properly, with a hard disk that still have to OS on it, it will IPL from the hard drive. See that primary/alternate thing in my prior post.

billdeg
May 3rd, 2008, 01:22 PM
do you know the location of the screw?

chuckcmagee
May 3rd, 2008, 01:44 PM
Can't remember that kind of detail. I am only partially sure that such a screw exists. I seem to remember it had a fairly large screw head. My main problem was I just looking over the repair guy's shoulder, about 20 years ago.

Druid6900
May 3rd, 2008, 08:09 PM
I recall that, on the first hard drives that Tandy used (I think they were Shugarts), there was an access plate on the bottom of the unit that was for two things. The first was to add/remove the terminator pack and the second was to unlock the drive heads.

Your unit might have something similar.

billdeg
May 4th, 2008, 01:26 PM
The drive is huge, bigger than any micro's drive. I have the manuals, but IBM did not make a "user manual" there is a lot of info to wade through. I will keep you all posted.
Bill

billdeg
May 6th, 2008, 07:12 PM
still working...did some more research today. I am starting to think that one parked the hard drive (if at all) using the boot disk utilties, not a screw. The drive appears to be a 9 meg drive. 50/9 pounds per meg.

cjk005
May 27th, 2008, 11:52 AM
Maybe you have already gotten around the parked disk drive issue. If not, perhaps I can help.

I worked on Series/1 machines from the late '70s through the mid '80s. The 4962 disk drive could be physically parked for shipment. To unpark the drive you pull the front panel cover (off-white color) off the drive unit. The disk drive assembly can slide out on the rails. I believe you need to press buttons in the rails to allow the assembly to slide out. The disk assembly should be stationary. There is a screw that can be turned to unpark the disk. When the drive is unparked, it will "float" - if you push on the disk assembly it will move somewhat.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

chuckcmagee
May 27th, 2008, 03:18 PM
Ahhhh haaaaa, see see, a screw to park the disk, nah nah nah. :cool:

billdeg
May 28th, 2008, 06:44 PM
CJK005: I am going to try this tomorrow at lunch.

80sFreak
May 29th, 2008, 03:23 PM
I have made some progress lately. (With help) I have moved the system to a climate-controlled space

Ack!! The pain, the pain! ;)

Cheers,

80sFreak

P.S. Good to see you have made some progress with this beast!

billdeg
May 29th, 2008, 05:22 PM
[For the benefit of those who had not already heard the story elsewhere]

speaking of that kind of pain, yesterday I moved a PDP 11/40 into the guest room from the shed in my back yard. This involved some heavy pushing and lifting. ... Actually it was kind of fun; I created a ramp system with planks and support boards. Using this system I moved the entire rack with computer and power supply installed. The system was moved from the shed, across the lawn, up the stairs of the deck, across the deck, into the dining room, through the living room, and down the hall to the guest room. And it still works. I should have made a video.

billdeg
May 30th, 2008, 07:19 PM
There are 5 ribbon cables for a model 4 4962. Four for the hard drive and 1 for the disk drive.

I believe I have the correct cabling, based on the manuals.

I was not able to find any references to parking or un-parking the hard drive, so I will assume that this is not necessary. The only thing I found was "..no maintenance is required"... This contradicts advice received here. I have a lot of docs, went through many materials, but there are more places I can look with docs on hand.

I powered on the 2-components, cabled, with the 4978 display station attached to the display card. No screen output. Not much happened other than everything powering on and some lights on the control console.

I am going to keep working at it. I will also post some more specific info if I have the chance. Thanks for the help thus far. I am going to see if I can track down an IBM mini computer tech from the late 70's early 80's.

Momerath
June 12th, 2008, 10:26 PM
If I remember correctly, the 4962 has a white plastic flapper that physically pushes against the actuator and can be viewed through the clear plastic enclosure. There is a white plastic handle on the oposite side of the casting. The 4963 has the locking "screw". Make sure the pulley and motor are not locked for shipping and there is tension on the drive belt. Most machines can be strapped for 110 or 208VAC but the motors are voltage specific.

Good Luck

billdeg
June 15th, 2008, 03:25 PM
thanks. I will try that.
bd


UPDATE - I located the maintenance manual for assembling and installing the entire Series 1 line. There's a lot to cover, but the diagrams are useful. I should have more to report over the next week or so. Not in a rush.

Bassoonbloke
July 2nd, 2008, 07:25 AM
So Bill,

Is it all up and working yet? (!) ;). Look forward to more piccy's of this beast, and want to see it doing something serious.
Good Luck with that.

Cheers,
Alan. :p

billdeg
July 2nd, 2008, 11:52 AM
I found a somewhat local outfit that services Series 1 computers. I put a call into them. Waiting for a reply.

MannyG
July 10th, 2008, 05:47 AM
I just found this forum. I was writing a 25th anniversay letter to an associate that I hired to be a system admin for S/1's at IBM Poughkeepsie.
I have very fond memories about S/1. It was the longest manufactured system by IBM. Also the first "open" system by IBM that allowed other manufacturers devices to connect. If I can locate any documentation or other parts, I will let you know. Manny Gonzalez

martybogg
September 15th, 2008, 06:56 AM
Hi folks,
Was nostalgic for the old days and found this forum. Haven't worked on a S/1 since around 1991 or 2. I was the architect for a POS system for a catalog showroom company up in NY back in the late 70's. Software was written in EDL and was re-entrant code (useful for that big 64K wad of memory!!) Later wrote a more advanced system for PO/Quotations and Vendor Price Comparisons online (dial-in modems of course, before the WWW.) Forerunner of things like Amazon and buyer networks. Ah, the things that might have been...

billdeg
September 22nd, 2008, 05:05 PM
One more step forward.

I was given an IBM 5140 Convertible (laptop) yesterday. With it came a console disk that is used to interface with a Series 1 4956. I have the original modem that came with the 4956 (the CPU of the Series 1), and the cables. At this point time is the thing holding me back.

BD

pmjett
November 8th, 2008, 06:41 PM
Bill,
I am glad to hear about your progress. It sounds like you are much further along toward operation than I am. I've put my S/1 into storage for the moment, and still haven't found a terminal.

I am interested to hear about the modem that you mentioned. Do you have a part number for said modem? I'd love to do a little research on it. The first time I went looking at the cards in the I/O expansion unit, I didn't really find any identifying numbers. (I was in a hurry, though)

I thought I'd include a head shot of my Series/1, if nothing more than to show that there is indeed one more surviving (albeit scruffy) example!

http://i360.photobucket.com/albums/oo42/pmjett/IMG_9789.jpg

thanks,
Mike

mrz80
December 8th, 2008, 04:35 PM
More years ago than I care to remember, the shop in which I worked at NASA/Goddard used 4 Series1s with lots and lots of serial i/o as dedicated dial-in 3270 emulators. THey hooked up to racks and racks and racks of modems. They were channel-attached to our IBM 3081 and ran IIRC the Yale 3270 emulator. IBM later offered essentially the same thing in the guise of the 7171 protocol converter.

billdeg
December 8th, 2008, 05:11 PM
Here is a program that you can use to connect with a Series 1 computer, although I have not yet done it myself:

http://www.vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread_record.cfm?id=206&tid=2

The program was used by IBM techs in the field for servicing Series 1 systems via an IBM PC Convertible 5140 laptop.

I also have four more recent pics:
http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ibm/Series1/thm_ibm_series1_manuals.JPG
http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ibm/Series1/thm_ibm_series1_covers-removed.JPG
http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ibm/Series1/ibm_series1_4956_manual.JPG
http://www.vintagecomputer.net/ibm/Series1/ibm_diskunit_manual.JPG

BIll

jdseymour
March 27th, 2010, 01:44 PM
In case anyone is still reading this thread...

I work for Cipher Systems in Beaverton, Oregon. Starting in the early 1990's, we sold an operating system called "HBX" that emulated Series/1 EDX and ran on the IBM PS/2 family of PCs. It was based on an earlier product (calling Humingbird) from a company in California called "Computer Information Enterprises" and was designed to provide object-level compatibility for Series/1 application code.

It used the IBM ARTIC line of coprocessors to provide support for various I/O ports and had crude (though not fully realized) ethernet support. It also included a Series/1 assembler emulator so that even complex applications would run without changes.

The product is still around and in use by several companies, though we haven't had a new sale for several years.

We had a variety of Series/1 hardware in house until we moved offices in 2004 and jettisoned it all. I still have a number of EDX manuals, though.

Feel free to email me. Although I'm "only" a software guy - so if you want to know where that odd cable should go, I'm probably no help...

-Jim Seymour

saundby
April 1st, 2010, 09:48 PM
I remember Hummingbird! I was running it from about 1990-92 to check out software that I ended up never getting any mainframe time for. Ended up writing my own apps for 386/486 as a result since I didn't think I'd ever get mainframe time and was getting pushed off the Vax, too.

Hummingbird was pretty nifty. I vaguely remember the transition between companies, and my VAR rep changed about the same time.

tobbe07
May 10th, 2010, 01:37 AM
I have been working with IBM S/1 since 1978 and we still have one system running in our production(Paper Mill) connected to a z/OS-system on Z9.

Thorbjorn Steeringer:grin:

Raven
May 10th, 2010, 11:21 AM
I have been working with IBM S/1 since 1978 and we still have one system running in our production(Paper Mill) connected to a z/OS-system on Z9.

Thorbjorn Steeringer:grin:

I love hearing about old systems still in active duty, makes me happy, and that's a pretty old one. :D

glitch
May 10th, 2010, 12:17 PM
Huh, didn't know this thread existed! We've got two partial Series/1 machines here at work -- they were bought at the university surplus auction for the racks (I think we paid $25 for both of them). A friend of mine who used to do computer consulting for the university in the 80's said they were used as terminal emulators for a modem pool to interface with the university's IBM mainframe. I was told there were originally 6 units running terminal emulation, with another two in "warm standby" in case something went down. The two we have are the standby units.

Anyhow, the system cabinets have been removed from the racks, and are currently sitting in the warehouse. If anyone is interested, PM me -- we'd originally planned on either trying to sell the boards on eBay or just scrapping it for the metals. Since the system is incomplete, there's not much of a chance for me to get it up and running. I'll be up and back from southern Virginia to upstate New York all summer, so if someone is interested along I-95/I-81, I could probably bring the system most of the way.

billdeg
May 29th, 2010, 05:38 PM
Glitch,
I would be right on your way....My IBM Series 1 is at my office in Wilmington, Delaware near the Amtrak station and a few blocks from rt 95. PM me when you're passing through. I would be interested in the cabinets, they're 4997's (right?) or whatever you're not using. Let me know if they're still available.
Bill

billdeg
May 29th, 2010, 05:42 PM
Bill,
<snip>

I am interested to hear about the modem that you mentioned. Do you have a part number for said modem? I'd love to do a little research on it. The first time I went looking at the cards in the I/O expansion unit, I didn't really find any identifying numbers. (I was in a hurry, though)

<snip>

thanks,
Mike

Hi - I just noticed your post. After the holiday weekend I will check for the modem. I *think* it's in a box nearby...it's been a while.
BD

pmjett
August 4th, 2010, 10:48 PM
Hi - I just noticed your post. After the holiday weekend I will check for the modem. I *think* it's in a box nearby...it's been a while.
BD

Heh. That is ok. I seem to have quite a lag in checking this thread. Coincides with the itch to get the Series/1 out of storage and under power. Sounds like you have made some good progress. Have you had any additional luck getting your Series/1 to boot?

I've got the EDL programmers that live near me- I keep meaning to sit down with him and his wife and a notebook and really try and get some schooling.

Still no display options, so if you find the modem card, I'd love a few specs that will help me locate another one. If there is any information or pictures that I might help you with, I'd be glad to try and help. I think my Series/1 is all wired up (basically just pulled out of service and mothballed)

Thanks again!

Mike

btw,this time I've subscribed to the thread, so hopefully I'll realize when new postings happen.

zeno.kugy
October 8th, 2010, 02:28 AM
I'm glad to see that there are still some IBM Series 1 running.

I programmed them in the 80s and 90s using Cobol, Fortran end EDL - Event Driven Language and didn't think some of there where still being used.
I even opened an EDL Alumni Group on linkedin, thinking that I would have found only alumni, but it seems that there is still a few people still using it.

I came across this forum, while looking for a picture of a EDL manual cover, to create a logo for the above group. Do you have any that I could use?

If you have any software related question concerning Ibm S1 I will be pleased to help.

pmjett
October 8th, 2010, 03:32 AM
I came across this forum, while looking for a picture of a EDL manual cover, to create a logo for the above group. Do you have any that I could use?

I have a bunch of documentation. Let me look this weekend and see if I can locate any EDL literature. I can scan it and post it. Ultimately I want to scan all of my stuff and get it out onto the net, but that is a project for another day.


If you have any software related question concerning Ibm S1 I will be pleased to help. Thanks! I'm sure that at least a couple of us here might have to pick your brain.

Mike

billdeg
October 9th, 2010, 05:24 AM
I'm glad to see that there are still some IBM Series 1 running.

I programmed them in the 80s and 90s using Cobol, Fortran end EDL - Event Driven Language and didn't think some of there where still being used.
I even opened an EDL Alumni Group on linkedin, thinking that I would have found only alumni, but it seems that there is still a few people still using it.

I came across this forum, while looking for a picture of a EDL manual cover, to create a logo for the above group. Do you have any that I could use?

If you have any software related question concerning Ibm S1 I will be pleased to help.


I think I have docs for EDL for the series 1 in IBM binders. My system powers on, but I have no idea how to do anything with it. I have been able to do very little with the Series 1 other than gawk at it like a Australopithecus staring at a monolith that just landed in the forest.

zeno.kugy
October 14th, 2010, 07:40 AM
>My system powers on, but I have no idea how to do anything with it

Does the operative system boot?
Do you get any prompt sign on the monitor?

billdeg
October 14th, 2010, 08:45 AM
no - not really even sure if I have the correct monitor hooked up, or if it's plugged into the correct slot on the cable backplane. I was told it worked when taken out of production, but I got it partially disassembled.

OLDCE
December 1st, 2010, 08:47 AM
Wow this is a blast from the past for sure. I can't believe I am now the "old timmer" which is what i use to call the old guys that I worked with when I started with IBM back in 1978.

If you have the diagnostic diskettes, (can't remember what the label is for the basic diskette) you can try IPL'ing to the programmers console, or to a printer device, or terminal device. For example if you had a 4964 printer, which is device type 01, address 64 you would press on the programmers console: stop, stop on address, 1950, store, load, R0, 0164, store, stop on address, start. This will store the device type and address of the printer in address 1950 register 0 and output the IPL information to that device. Also for the 4978 terminal, you need to look at the adapter card jumper address to make sure it is set to right address. Finally I believe MAP 000 is the Start map for checking out the system. You could go there and follow the flow charts.

billdeg
January 19th, 2011, 10:55 AM
Please anyone - come help me with this one! The system is set up and ready for an old IBM tech to help!