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  1. #1

    Default Powertran Cortex

    Anyone else on the forum have a Cortex? I just got one and I don't have a lot of information on it yet.

    For those wondering why it is in the TI section, it uses a TMS9995 microprocessor and all of the ancillary support chips are TI as well, even the disk controller (which I am still trying to acquire, as the disk subsystem components were not installed on the machine I got).

  2. #2

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    I do, mine's missing the memory map chip, but I'm still trying to find out if that was an option, and also hoping to need some other silicon to put together a worthwhile order for spares. It has however got the disk drive bits in place.
    I lusted after one of these after seeing the articles published in ETI (Electronics Today (International!)) all the schematics (and construction details - it was a kit) are available as PDFs online (I can email you them if you send me a PM). from rusty memory I'm not sure that it wasn't a "Transam" design, so it may share some design heritage with the equally obscure "Wren Executive" also Alasdair McRae-Birch (who still exists) may have had someting to do with it. but I don't know for sure.
    "Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" (BANG )

  3. #3

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    I have all of the documentation that was on Oldcomputers--along with a couple of additional pages that came with mine that weren't in the Oldcomputers archive. As of this morning, I also have the 220 page manual for CORTEX BASIC. A friend of mine in Germany sent it to me when I asked about the machines yesterday on one of the Yahoo groups. He also has one, though his needs a new power supply. Like mine, it does not have the disk subsystem installed. Reading the manuals, I didn't see a way to actually FORMAT or SAVE to the disks listed. Everything was based on booting a program from the disk (which should be in IBM3270 Format?) .

    I understand your long-term lusting after one of these--I've been trying to get my hands on one since around 1988, though the hunt only became continuous in the last ten years or so. . .do you need the BASIC manual?

  4. #4

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    I have a frontal cortex, does that count?

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksarul View Post
    I understand your long-term lusting after one of these--I've been trying to get my hands on one since around 1988, though the hunt only became continuous in the last ten years or so. . .do you need the BASIC manual?
    I'd love the basic manual. pdf, I presume (!) if it isn't, it's probably as cheap to get it scanned, as it is to get it photocopied (and a lot cheaper to post) it's probably worth sending a copy to "old computers.com" .| "bitsavers" for archiving too. I was going to peek the rom for keywords had it not existed.

    Funny about the disk system possibly not being fully supported, looking at the original article it's "glossed over" a bit I wonder if the code was never properly written - or if they ran out of rom! In 1982 disks were still a minority interest.

    The chap in Germany should be able to rebuild the power supply fairly easily. Even if the transformer's gone away he could replace it with a standard 12-0-12 toroidal one, and wind on the winding for the 5V. It'll probably only be about 20 turns of thickish (about 1mm^2) wire
    I suppose if the supply is missing completely, a little pc one would do the job with the power control wire shorted to ground to turn it on.

    It was way in advance of anything available to the mere mortal at the time!
    "Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" (BANG )

  6. #6

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    The manual version I have is in the form of 220 pages of GIF images. I've been converting them to an editable text document, but the going is slow because the copy I have is relatively bad, so the OCR software needs a lot of help to turn it into something useful. I've finished the first 10% or so of the manual in the last week or so. It is still a lot faster than typing it in manually. I will send you a soft copy as soon as I'm finished with the conversion. If you need it sooner, I can send you the raw GIF images.

    I'll let my friend in on your idea with the power supply. Many thanks!

  7. #7

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    sounds like a labour of love!
    Have you considered running a spell checker through it first? (Or is that the way you're doing it anyway) Usually quicker than manually reading & correcting.
    I wonder how many Cortices there are still out there? you've probably got half a week's work per existent machine.
    We owe you!
    "Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" (BANG )

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ksarul View Post
    Anyone else on the forum have a Cortex? I just got one and I don't have a lot of information on it yet..


    I used to have one I built in the early 80s. Unfortunately after many years of it sitting in my damp garage it got so rusted I ended up throwing it away

    It was a superb machine for its day, sadly not a lot of software for it. A situation I find myself in now with my Amiga systems.

    If any of you have the game CBlocks, a tetris clone for the Cortex, it was me that wrote it BTW !

    I do still somewhere have all my manuals, plus designs for an Eprom programmer I made for the E-bus.

    Going to using hard drive based machines seemed a bit of a backward step after I was used to everything being loaded in from Eproms on my Cortex.

    Great to here there are people still using the Cortex and actually have heard of them. When I searched the net a few years ago no links came up for Powertran Cortex.

    Brings back memories, the Cortex was my pride and joy for many years.


    Bill.


    PS. I should also have all the Cortex User Group newsletters still around somewhere.
    Last edited by BillEaves; March 11th, 2011 at 03:18 AM. Reason: Added info

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    South Florida, USA
    Posts
    130

    Default

    Hi Bill,

    Welcome to our Cortex Forum!

    Glad we could stir up some fond memories. Anything you can add to our documentation collection would be greatly appreciated. We are missing one or two Newsletters, so please take a look at the Whtech FTP site and see if you have the missing ones (or anything else you have and we don't!).

    Thanks!

  10. #10

    Default

    Just seen on EBAY.....

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    set of PCBs.

    Please, somebody else buy them!
    "Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone" (BANG )

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