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EvanK
January 19th, 2014, 07:08 PM
For the past couple of years we in MARCH have been teasing people with the knowledge that we have a UNIVAC mainframe. :) It's a model 1219-B (1965 transistor system) used on Navy ships for things like radar and weapons system control.

This weekend we finally got around to taking some good pictures of it in our storage warehouse. The computer was a gift to us from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

I posted the pictures on my own domain.

Here are the five main racks: http://snarc.net/1219b/all_comp.jpg. Left to right: A/D converter (ignore the cable spools on its pallet), data recorder / IO hub, one of two identical tape drives, both CPUs. Here are three of the four IO consoles (paper tape below, TTY above): http://snarc.net/1219b/all_io.jpg. All are identical. The second tape drive and the fourth paper tape/TTY console are on on display in our museum.

Now for some close-up pictures.

1. A/D control panel: http://snarc.net/1219b/close_control.jpg.
1a. Details: http://snarc.net/1219b/close_control_detail.jpg
2. CPU: http://snarc.net/1219b/close_cpu.jpg (unfortunately both CPUs
are missing the top UNIVAC nameplates.)
3. Tape drive: http://snarc.net/1219b/close_tape.jpg
4. Data recorder and I/O hub: http://snarc.net/1219b/close_datarecorder_io.jpg
5. Paper tape / TTY console: http://snarc.net/1219b/close_io.jpg

No, we haven't tried to power it up ... it might be another few years before we get there, plus, we're missing the core memory, software, various important cables, and most of the manuals. We also don't have the electronic terminal or the line printer.

Still, it's one damn impressive-looking computer, and we're very proud to own it!

For context: each CPU weighs about 1,500 pounds. Each tape drive cabinet weighs about 1,000 pounds (you can see it has two drives inside the cabinet; each is a 7MB, 7-track tape.)

We hope to be able to take this out of storage and put it on static display at VCF East but that depends on a bunch of other factors, like whether our forklift is working, etc.....

barythrin
January 20th, 2014, 12:07 PM
Very bad ass. Thanks for the pics! There's a local poster on our austin craigslist who's also looking for anyone getting rid of any univac equipment, they'll take it off your hands for free I think.

Kidding aside, was this used by them or gifted to them (Johns Hopkins University)? I suppose there's no real chance in getting it working without the manuals or were they common enough between univac systems that some previous admins might be able to know what's what?

EvanK
January 20th, 2014, 12:17 PM
was this used by them or gifted to them (Johns Hopkins University)? I suppose there's no real chance in getting it working without the manuals or were they common enough between univac systems that some previous admins might be able to know what's what?

It was used by them for development and testing purposes.

Realistically, I doubt we'll ever "get it working" in the traditional sense. But we might be able to make the CPU flash some lights or make the tapes spin or something. On the other hand, there is a UNISYS alumni group in the Philly area, and I'm scheduled to give a presentation to them this spring. Who knows what they might know! For now we are just relieved that the computer didn't get sold for scrap.

I mean ... we love our 8-bit micros and S-100 boxes and PDP-11s and such ... but, geez, it's a freaking UNIVAC. Merely seeing one is something most people will never get to do. We can show pictures and videos and talk until we're blue in the face, but seeing this in person is priceless. It's huge, it's gray, it's metal, it's got big honkin' tape drives and blinkenlights, it's full of transistors. Did I mention it's a UNIVAC!? :)

Yes, I am excited.

Agent Orange
January 20th, 2014, 12:21 PM
Evan,

Those photos of the unit on the pallets brought back a lot of memories. I had to do a double take at the TTY, almost exactly what we had on our AN/ALM-106B ECM threat simulator back in 1974. The system was all battleship gray, like yours, and powered by the Varian 620i. Of course the mission was quite different but the resemblance is there. Hope you can find the time resources to get it up and running someday.

Chuck(G)
January 20th, 2014, 12:27 PM
How much of the 60s commercial Univac iron still exists? Any 1107s or 1108s? FASTRAND II drives?

Al Kossow
January 20th, 2014, 12:35 PM
How much of the 60s commercial Univac iron still exists?

John Bohner has most of a UNIVAC III
As far as I know no 36 bit machines up through the 1100 series survives.

UNIVAC had a scorched earth policy on old hardware.
It was taken back by them and destroyed.

Chuck(G)
January 20th, 2014, 01:47 PM
Yup, a lesson that CDC also learned too well.

Shame that--the 1107 was something of a milestone in its use of thin-film memory. I used an 1108 for a time. Variable byte size was pretty unique.

billdeg
January 20th, 2014, 07:24 PM
We may be able to get the main cpu unit up and running but we are missing the core stack. We don't have all of the peripheral cables. We have some spare parts, mostly small simple logic plug boards similar to what you would find in a pdp 8 or 8i. I bet the teletypes would work. We have a UNIVAC specialist in our group but he lives 5 hours away. Eventually we will at probably attempt some sort of restoration I am sure. Not sure if Evan plans to display some or all at VCF east.

EvanK
January 20th, 2014, 07:39 PM
Not sure if Evan plans to display some or all at VCF east.

That's a goal, but it depends on a bunch of other stuff.

Doug G
January 21st, 2014, 09:35 AM
We had Univac 1218's on our ship's NTDS system, which I think were the predecessors to using the 1219. No tapes, just the cpu cabinet and the AD/DA cabinet with all the cables running throughout the ship to the various sensors and fire control systems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNIVAC_418

I think Seymour Cray was the primary designer of these machines.

Just for the record, I was on a pair of NTDS-equipped DLG's 1968-1972

Chuck(G)
January 21st, 2014, 10:13 AM
Just to add a bit to the Univac content, I discovered a FASTRAND III in Goettingen (http://www.radiomuseum.org/museum/d/rechnermuseum-der-gwdg-goettingen/.html).

http://www.radiomuseum.org/museum/d/rechnermuseum-der-gwdg-goettingen/thumbnails/d_gwdg_univac_fastrand3.jpg

I never saw a FASTRAND III-equipped system, but did have some experience with a FASTRAND II (basically one-half of a FASTRAND III). Huge, heavy thing--must have weighed a couple of tons and would crash a head when a particularly heavy truck rolled down the street outside. The heads were moved by an ingenious combination of solenoids and levers that could activated by a simple 8421-type binary input. I think it was described in a 1960s FJCC proceedings issue.

They've also got a platter from a Bryant 4000 disk drive (CDC 6603) on display, thankfully without the leaking oil...

plz
August 8th, 2014, 05:23 PM
Does the 1219-B use 90- pin cables to connect to the I/O...?

EvanK
August 12th, 2014, 07:04 AM
Does the 1219-B use 90- pin cables to connect to the I/O...?

I'll have to check next time I am at our museum. I do recall that the cables are BIG....

billdeg
August 12th, 2014, 08:31 AM
from what I remember we do. At least we have some cables. What we were not able to rescue was some of the power cabling, it was built into the room, and we ran out of time to get some of it. The building was being condemned as of 3PM that day we just got the Univac(s) and peripherals out of there. If you could imagine 5 or 6 people with two fork lifts scrambling to get a whole truck full (the largest one I could rent without a special license). I was sick as a dog that day too. What a day.

plz
August 14th, 2014, 05:53 AM
Now that's dedication to the craft Bill and Evan. Sounds like quite a salvage op.
I was just curious if the 36-bit Univac's used similar cables as the 30-bit computing systems.
Like these: 19856
19857

EvanK
August 14th, 2014, 06:18 AM
Yes, the cables are similar.