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Thread: Honeywell 200 resurrection

  1. #101

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    "... so a few more years won't affect it much." Hahaha yes, indeed

    Aaargh my pal has had to come back to the uk early, so I'm afraid that we've missed the boat, erm plane. He lands at Heathrow tomorrow morning. Sorry about that. However, he goes over there twice a year ish .... usually to places on the east coast Could it be a good idea for you to progress locating the control panel in the meantime, ready for his next trip some time next year? He lives in Aldershot, but travels a lot in the south, with just rare trips up here to the north, when he invariably overnights at my place.

    Regrettably, the only thing that I still have from those days is a short strip of mag tape with the data visible! It was taken from a damaged portion of tape that had been chopped from the beginning a 1200 ft reel. One of the Honeywell engineers developed it with magnetic mud, much to my astonishment and excitement. It seemed magic at the time. I sellotaped it onto the reverse (blank) side of an 80 column punched card, with both to be saved for posterity. I'll dig it out and then post a photo of it.
    Last edited by KevP; November 14th, 2015 at 01:31 PM. Reason: to correct typos

  2. #102

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    Rather than read thru all of this thread I'll be direct. How is the project coming? I was an Technical Engineer for Honeywell for 16 years starting in 1978 working out of Orange County California. That is what they called us instead of just repairmen. I cut my teeth on the 200 and all of it's peripherals. Later on I worked on the 2000 series stuff. When I left I was working on the level 6 stuff and It's very first personal computer they put out which was built by Zenith. It was an old XT pc with 57 screws on it's lid. It was sold to the military so it had to be secure.
    Last edited by Hot Rod Ron; December 16th, 2015 at 10:49 AM.

  3. #103

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    Your project brings back some wonderful memories. I worked on an H1015 in Vancouver, Canada between 1974 and 1979. The attached photo is me in 1974 working as an operator. Later I moved into programming using cobol and easycoder.


    The 1015 had 96k CORE memory (approx 10feet long), 5 tape drives, 2 disk drives, a card punch/reader and a paper tape reader/punch. The console was simplified compared to your rendition due to the presence of a typewriter style input console. I still remember the card boot cmd sequence (m/rdr-r1) and many of the easycoder op codes. The tape sorts were entertaining to watch!

    The only info I could find on the 1015 is: http://alegion63.tripod.com/bob/id6.html I am pretty sure those removeable disk drive platters were 20MB, not the 2 or 3MB mentioned in the link.

    Best of luck with your project!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by martik777; February 8th, 2016 at 06:24 AM.

  4. #104
    Join Date
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    I am also sure those are 20Mb. We had some on our H3200. I think we had 9 drives but only 8 could be online at any time. There was an extra drive on the string so you could change disks and then flip a switch to make the drive available.
    Dave
    G4UGM

    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Kent, England
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    Hi guys,

    I'm still lurking around although the project isn't moving much at present. I'm just trying to clear other things up so that I can get back to it soon.

    My company worked its way right through the Honeywell product line over the years, so I've been around quite a few models but moved further from the hardware and even software during my career. In fact at one stage I worked in a team where we insisted that nobody could even mention computer systems as we were trying to get people to do pure business analysis and even the business staff tended to think in terms of the computer systems that they already had instead of what they really needed.

    I remember the machines with the removable disk packs though. Someone left a couple of packs with all the accounting files on the top of a machine cabinet overnight and during a storm rain dripped through the ceiling into the convenient funnels in the top. In the morning the accounting files were goldfish bowls because the bottom of the disk cases were so well sealed by the rubber surrounds. We had backups of course but the disks were a write-off. I still have the platters from them in my garage.

    I've been distracted from the project by something else totally bizarre that has happened in connection with it over the last five years. It seems that somehow my brain got confused about my plans to build a computer from the past many years later and built inside my head a computer that, to put it simply, processed data from the future in the past. It even used a feature of my demonstration Easycoder programme to do it. I suppose if it is possible to emulate an H200 on a PC then it is possible to emulate a quantum computer in one's mind, even if that seems ridiculous. It's taken me five years to work out why I abandoned my work on the H200 to write a science fiction novel and apparently that's the answer. I don't understand quantum computing but apparently the output can appear before the input has been fed in if I'm right. That's all a bit like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, knowing the answer but having no idea what the question was. Anyway, I've now set out the whole story on my new website www.menstemporum.uk so that I can get on with my slightly more conventional life. If you visit it you'll see just how much the H200 project was tangled up in it. It's all pretty paranormal though and even I'm unsure what it was about. Apparently my mind is just as capable of spending time in the future as in the past.
    Rob - http://www.honeypi.org.uk
    The Internet is a winch to get your project off the ground ... but always have a parachute handy.

  6. #106
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobS View Post
    ... apparently the output can appear before the input has been fed in if I'm right. That's all a bit like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, knowing the answer but having no idea what the question was.
    Sounds a little like Asimov's famous classic short story 'The Endochronic properties of resublimated Thiotimoline' in which he describes a chemical substance that dissolves before the water is added, written in the form of a pseudo-scientific research paper.
    There was a followup story 'Thiotimoline to the Stars' in which it was used for a spaceship warp drive. Great stories from an SF master, read them both many years ago now.

    Steve.

  7. #107

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    Hi Rob,

    I have had a lingering interest in building a virtual H2040, having had some experience with that in the mid 70's. Before I embark on such a project, I wanted to know what sorts of software there might be. I'm not sure of the relationship between the 200 and 2000 series, although I know they are very close. I was hoping there might be something like OS/2000 out there, but almost any software might make it worthwhile. Even with some documentation on the OS/monitor I might be able to emulate it.

  8. #108

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    Hi All,

    I have modeled (most of) a 2000-series machine core and have tested most of the instructions (only one peripheral so far, the Line Printer in a crude form). From what I read in the documentation, the series 2000 should be completely upward compatible - although I suspect some things like OS or Monitor might not tolerate the differences.

    I am now trying to run the Pi-calculation program MACHIN and running into difficulty. It is crashing due to what appears to be a missing word-mark, the affected LCA instruction ends up overwriting the program. It is taking some time to get my head into the programming style, especially since I spent the last 30 years UN-learning self-modifying programs! One of the things I'm wondering is if this program was ever run on real hardware - I gather it may have been written in modern times and thus did not originate from an original HW200 program.

    Also, are there any other HW200/2000 programs out there? Ideally, in electronic form (I was able to extract code from the PDF Easycoder listing, for example). But anything that might help verify/debug the virtual machine would help.

    Also, any pictures and documentation on the front panel and console would be nice, for when I start to build the GUI.

  9. #109

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    I was able to fix enough bugs to get MACHIN to run, so now it's on to other testing. Working on a simple assembler, unless there is a copy/listing of Easycoder out there.

  10. #110

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    I've made a fair amount of progress, using a simple/crude Easycoder mimic. I've even been testing the virtual H2000 interrupt and relocate/protect mechanisms and have a simple monitor program to launch other programs in protected/relocated mode (and process their violation interrupts). Of course, both the virtual H2000 and my assembler code are based on my (flawed) understanding/interpretation of the "Models 2040 Through 2070 Programmers' Reference Manual", which is very complete but still leaves some questions and requires multiple passes in order to collect the key bits of info on a given subject. I can't confirm if this is an accurate virtualization.

    So, any code out there that I can look at would help fill in blanks. MACHIN was very helpful but does not use a broad set of instructions or features.

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