View Full Version : What is this!!!???

February 17th, 2006, 08:46 AM
Hello all. I just joined last night, and have already had a great experience with a few people here.

Anyway, I have this quite interesting "computer" that looks to be homemade, and I assume is from the 60's??? (Maybe the 70's...?? I dont know) well, Here is a link to it:

They could take a while to load...


If you can tell me what this may be, that'd be quite helpful. I found it in a thrift store in Loveland, CO about 7 years ago, and knew then that I had stumbled upon something quite special indeed!

The unit measures (about) 3' in length by 1.5' wide, by 1.5' high.

It all works, (although I blew out the fuse,) and has a schematic on the inside of the lid. I wired it up according to the schematic, and turned it on and most of the lights lit up (I assume some of them are burned out) and the whole thing jumped about 6 inches up and out of the box. Due to it's large size and weight, when it jumped up, it cracked a seam on the box. After about 5 seconds, the fuse on the unit blew, and I havent really looked into replacing it, because I really dont know what it is... The under side of it has large relays that press switches and depending on how it's wired, certain lights on top light up. All of the lamps are definitely old bulbs, as I have seen them on other equipment from the 50's and 60's such as reel to reel players, etc.

If anyone would like more pictures of it, or has more questions about specific pieces, etc. let me know!


Micom 2000
February 17th, 2006, 01:58 PM
Wow, what a treasure. 'Blinkenlites" and toggle switches to enter data !!
If no one here comes up with info, if I were you I would definitely put this question up on classiccmp mailing list. Their huge members list of extremely knowledgeable old IT people would likely start a thread that could last for months. :^)


February 17th, 2006, 11:32 PM
No doubt, WOW. In the pics there is one called serial. Is that some kind of homemade serial port? I can see myself spending months determining what each thing did and then seeing what I could hook it up to for output. Is the diagram on the lid for the complete machine? Does it look hand drawn or printed? I couldn't tell from the picture. If it's printed it might have been from some kit plans from back then that somebody built it from.

I have a crazy idea. Why not compare that schematic to the ones that we KNOW that could have been mail ordered back then? I know of the KIM-3, Altair had something, and I know there were a few others but I can't remember. I bet it goes back farther than that, though. Try looking at some online vax diagrams. Vax, right? I dunno, the vicodin's kicking.

February 20th, 2006, 01:23 PM
I think that the schematic is hand drawn. I cant tell if it was photocopied, enlarged and then traced, or if it was just hand drawn to begin with. The schematic shows only 1/3 of the entire unit. There are a total of 12 rows of vaccuum bulb lights on the unit, and the shcematic shows 4 of them. The picture labeled "serial" is only labeled that, because it was a picture of the serial number on the light. I dont know where to find info about any VAX schematics or any older ones online. And, I've not heard of the classiccmp mailing list, and do not know where to find it. If you could provide a link, that'd be helpful. (I'll try a google search on it...) If you would like more pictures, I'll try to get them for you.


Micom 2000
February 20th, 2006, 02:16 PM
Here are the archives


You could check it out there and there's a link to give you more info.

Be advised tho that if you subscribe expect 100+ msgs a day. If you subscribe you can request the digest format which cuts down the traffic a bit.

You could subsribe and then follow the archives, but that would prevent timely response if that was important to you.

I joined it early-on around 97 and then stopped following it about 5 years ago because it was strongly mini-centric and I was spending too much time filtering thru threads which were of little interest to me. While I am a "lurker" I now usually simply delete the several digests a day which still allows me to post should I find something interesting.(Sorry Jay). I suspect that's similar to many other non-active members. I had suggested that the list be sub-divided into mini and micro sections several times to more or less general opposition. I find this site much less frenetic and comfortable. Eric and Terry , as well as the CP/M guru Allison, I believe were/are members.

However there is no doubt that it is the definitive classic comp sites and there is usually someone who might have even been part of developing the computer you're interested in. It's extremely inadvisable however to ask about MSDos boxes under penalty of being flamed. :^)


March 3rd, 2006, 09:53 PM
It looks like more than one of the various maintnence test boxes I used bsck in the 60's, none of which worked very well---that is they didn't help much The schematic looks a lot like a relay diagram.
Good Luck and have fun