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View Full Version : Old nut building a DG Nova 3



firedome
June 5th, 2014, 07:13 AM
Hi vintage computer folks, I worked mostly on DEC PDPs and later IBM MFs (3033,3083 &c) in the 70s. I started construction on a vintage PDP-11 buildup but poor health last year forced its sale. Matters have improved somewhat so now am considering tackling another project. Some buddies were using a DG Nova at the time I was using DECs for BioPhysical research, and recently came across some parts of a Nova 3 circa '73/4, front panel and some I/O boards, and considering building it if the parts can be found. At the moment in need of a chassis box and backplane to start...any advice and help would be very much appreciated, thanks... Roger A. in Endicott NY

Marty
June 15th, 2014, 05:10 AM
Hi All;
Firedome, Contact Bruce Ray of WildHare Computers.. He may have or know of something..

THANK YOU Marty

NF6X
June 15th, 2014, 07:42 AM
I second the motion to contact Bruce for help. He has already been quite helpful to me in bringing up my Nova 3.

Also, Roger has expressed interest in my Nova 3, and I think there's a pretty good chance that he'll end up owning it once I finish exploring it and (hopefully) retrieving the data on its hard drive. ;)

I'm discovering that the Nova isn't as well documented online as other machines, and you really need the documentation because of things like DG's habit of expecting the installer to wire-wrap unmarked white wires between an unmarked paddle board and the unmarked backplane when installing peripherals. Even the scanned original documentation I've read is pretty obscure. I'll try to make sure that a few more tidbits of knowledge end up online by the time I'm done with the machine so that future Nova Noobs can google up at least a few details.

Marty
June 15th, 2014, 12:09 PM
Hi All;
If You feel energetic enough, the Backplane can be build from 100 pin sockets, two of them to a slot and for power an old PC Power Supply.. I have done that, the Backplane part for testing purposes, and on my Eclipse S 130, I am thinking of using a PC power supply for it, since the origional one went Bad.. After years of service.. I have this thing about Power Supplies going Bad on me..
Depending on what Boards you have you would need 6 to 8, 100 pin sockets to make up a minimal machine,, one for CPU, one for memory, and one for I/O, and if you wanted another for anything extra.. But, that would be enough to see what condition your various boards and Front Panel are in.. I made a four board backplane using the 100 pin sockets and lots of wirewrap wire..
THANK YOU Marty

firedome
June 19th, 2014, 11:23 AM
Good tips guys... and good to know some improvisation can be done. I've also found parts and documentation to be thin on the ground for DGs, certainly compared to PDPs. Some guy in MN has had a Nova 4, or major parts thereof, for sale for some time... tempting, but the chance of actually getting it to function, given what's included, seems problematic at best.

Marty
June 19th, 2014, 11:33 AM
Hi All;
FireDome, Nova 4's are Quite different than Nova 3's..
And it all depends, what All do You have for Your Nova 3..
And what all Does He have for His Nova 4..
There is very little that are interchangeable, mostly I/O.. Such as TTY Controller Board and such..
Also, after posting, it seems like You only check on what is posted once a day, I would suggest some more often, especially after posting something.. Give us time to respond to you and then You can respond back to us..
But, maybe its your schedule, so I will butt out..

THANK YOU Marty

firedome
June 20th, 2014, 04:44 PM
I realize Nova 4 is quite a different animal.
As far as posting turnaround, we're spread pretty thin, and 1/day is best I can manage many days, if that, my apologies. We travel between NY & northern VT frequently, and we opt for no internet up in the North Country, and we seem to always have a full plate when we get home.

Big rumour up there right now is that the IBM Essex Junction plant will be sold to Global Foundries... lots of panic among IBM friends/acquaintances.

Marty
June 20th, 2014, 05:01 PM
Hi All;
FireDome, Ok, on the posting..
"" Big rumour up there right now is that the IBM Essex Junction plant will be sold to Global Foundries... lots of panic among IBM friends/acquaintances. ""
I am not at all familiar with anything IBM, So I take it from what You are saying, that it is a Bad thing..

THANK YOU Marty

firedome
June 21st, 2014, 01:23 PM
IBM is in the process of selling their entire Microelectronics Division (ie chipmaking), with ramifications far beyond IBM itself and it's employees. Fishkill and Essex Junction are allegedly to be sold to GlobalFoundries, a consortium of chip and computer makers including AMD, Hitachi, Samsung, IBM itself and others. The IBM Essex plant is the largest private employer in Vermont, a state with very small population and relatively little manufacturing, so it will be a huge loss if closed. GF specializes in 200 and 300mm wafers, as do IBM's plants, which in the past have made the PowerPC and now makes many other OEM computer, gaming, and custom chips, for IBM itself as well as many others. GF's Malta NY plant is located mid-way between the 2 IBM plants and since IBM is now rapidly shedding hardware mfr-ing to concentrate on services and software it makes sense. Only hardware left will be supercomputer/mainframe in-house. IBM started here in Endicott with their original plants (4), school, and headquarters, under Watson Sr., so in both places we live any IBM news is followed closely. We have many IBM friends, family, and retirees in both locales, so it's a very big deal indeed, it could even potentially impact the local real estate market in N VT.
BTW our daughter lives in Denver (Highlands).