View Full Version : Who knows much about the Nova 4?

July 22nd, 2014, 07:16 AM
I'm being egged on to buy what looks to be a Nova 4 and another mysterious chassis and a disk drive in a rack on ebay. I guess why the heck not since PDP-8 machines are no longer affordable.

The two declined offers were in 2012, so it's been there for a long time. (http://www.ebay.com/itm/120902892591?autorefresh=true)

I asked for more info about it and all I could get was that there was a pack in the drive and the front panel(s) were included, just not pictured. No additional info regarding documentation or anything. :|
Going to be honest here. I'm a DEC person. Spent the last 15 years being told they were the only common name in minicomputers and everyone else was pretty uncommon. At $650 though for a CPU and disk drive it's already more than half what any similar PDP-8 would cost but still, is this auction for two computers for one? It's hard to tell what that second chassis is without the front panels. I can find next to no information or detailed photos of the Nova 4 (or a nova 3 without the front panel installed, just in case that what it is) so as far as I can say it's an expansion chassis. Also, the only details I could find for the disk drive was that its fragile. Nothing regarding the rarity of packs or parts.
Is it even worth it at all? I mean, it's been sitting at $650 for two years and nobody has pulled the trigger. The only catch I could find was that it was local pickup only (and if there is anyone in Minnesota who would like to help save it if necessary, please chime in ;) ). If I decided to bite not only would I need to find a local person to get it but said person would have to pull it out of the rack, strap it to a skid and freight it north (a place where I'm told Novas are (were?) common as dirt but I've never seen one).

July 22nd, 2014, 09:48 AM
Hi All;
Next, I can't say if it is worth the money, since I got all of my machines Years ago for alot less !! That being said..
It is NOT a Nova 3 and most likely it is a Nova 4, but depending on the Boards in it, it could be an Eclipse, but that is Very, Very Doubtful, the Chassis is the same.. and the Blue Switches suggest Nova 4..


July 22nd, 2014, 11:49 AM
About all I know about the Nova 4 is that it is the same CPU hardware (different microcode) as the Eclipse S140, and that neither had a "lights and switches" type front panel. My experience with Data General stuff was an evening porting some FORTRAN code to an Eclipse under AOS, and a few days with MV4000 and MV8000 machines under AOS/VS.

I suggest you play with the SIMH Nova emulator and see if it appeals to you at all before you buy it. I don't know what software is available, aside from the RDOS 7.5 kit at http://simh.trailing-edge.com/software.html, but you can find out as part of your research.

July 22nd, 2014, 06:22 PM
Thanks you guys. I'll do a little more research.

July 27th, 2014, 07:13 AM
There is some detailed info about that model at Carl's DG Nova 4 (http://users.rcn.com/crfriend/museum/machines/Nova4.html) page.


August 2nd, 2014, 08:12 AM
I don't know about Nova 4, but here's the tiny bit I can tell you based on my Nova 3:

The white box on top of the hard drive is a hard drive air filter. The air filter installs in the bottom of the hard drive chassis, secured by two sliding metal tabs and two rubber straps.

There should be a shipping bracket inside the hard drive which should be engaged before moving it around to keep the heads retracted. It's necessary to take of the top sheet metal of the hard drive, remove the bracket, turn it 180 degrees, and re-install it.