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Thread: Honeywell 200 resurrection

  1. #41
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    Sep 2012
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    Kent, England
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    I finally got around to setting up the website http://www.honeypi.org.uk/ although there's only a couple of pages on it so far. For the time being if you have any comments about it, especially about my amateur attempt at website authoring, please post them here. When I make a significant update to the website I'll mention it here again.

    On the hardware front I've been nursing forty year old PSUs back to life and adapting them to provide all the voltages needed by the core memory logic. Once that's done we can start testing the core memories themselves and find out whether the project is viable. It'll be a lot more viable when the weather gets warmer here.

    Somebody told me that many surplus machines from the Honeywell 200/1200/2200 range were bought up by EUR Systems in Mechanicsburg PA and cannibalised for spare parts for their own machines, which they were still using in year 2000. I wonder what happened to them after that, but the fossil hunt will have to wait as we have enough parts to play with for the time being.
    Rob - http://www.honeypi.org.uk
    The Internet is a winch to get your project off the ground ... but always have a parachute handy.

  2. Default

    Nice site! Please keep the project going.

  3. #43
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    Mar 2013
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    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
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    The link on this page to the Programmer's Reference manual is actually a duplicate link to the logic guide: http://www.honeypi.org.uk/links.htm

    Do you have a copy of the PDF for the Programmer's Reference manual?

    I was going to write an emulator using a Raspberry Pi. I know the goal is a total reconstruction, but being able to write EasyCoder and get things up and running from a software point of view would be a good parallel task.

  4. #44

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    Brilliant project! (Mentioned now in the new-fangled gplus, here and here)
    Cheers
    Ed

  5. #45
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    Sep 2012
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    Mea culpa -- That's Latin of course, allegedly a dead language but not as dead as Easycoder. I've corrected the incorrect link now, so you should find it's okay if you refresh the page in your browser. Thanks for telling me and also the "omg" in the Retro Computing forum. I get that feeling myself quite frequently but it's just a matter of taking things a step at a time and so far we haven't found a reason why we can't succeed -- eventually. So far all that I've produced is the smell of ancient grime burning off of long disused equipment which is experiencing electricity again.

    I did explain the reference to Pi that confused you on my website, that the project may be irrational and never end just like Pi, a fatalistic mathematical joke. Although you are contemplating an emulator on the Raspberry Pi our intention is to use an Arduino ATMEGA2560 with an interface to a PC to run tests on the partly completed hardware, but in fact the ATMEGA2560 could easily emulate the H200 and run the control panel all by itself.

    I have an incomplete and primitive PC-based H200 cross-assembler, emulator and memory dump programme written in C++ for Borland C++4, itself now virtually vintage software as I bought the Borland package eighteen years ago and still use it. I wrote the software as disposable code just to test my Pi Factory Easycoder programme, but if it's of any interest I could make it available on the website.

    I was intending to put the details of the Pi Factory algorithm on the website soon anyway as it is just a mathematical approach to the calculation of Pi designed to work on the simplest form of computer, not even needing multiplication or division capability, which the most basic H200 didn't have. I'll try to add it to the website in the next few days. As it is progressive, outputting digits as soon as they are available, there is no predetermined number of decimal places to which it will run. It just stops when the whole of the available memory is full of partially completed calculations and it can't add any more. That means that it gets slower as it progresses as well, so it is an interesting test of both how fast a particular computer runs it and also how far. It is so undemanding that it could probably be programmed into any of the vintage machines covered in this forum, which might give rise to some interesting comparisons. Of course the original Honeywell 200 only had to deal with one comparison to sell successfully from the outset and the result of that comparison is history.
    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. #46
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClausB View Post
    ... 1000 logic boards? Wow. How many gates per board? ...
    I finally compiled an inventory of the ICs in my stockpile of Honeywell logic boards. There are over 5400 ICs which provide in total approximately 5000 AND-OR gates, 3000 AND-OR-NOT gates and 1000 flip-flops. That should be enough to build a small computer, certainly something more than a PDP8. Perhaps someone has some statistics on the number of gates in early computers. I just wonder how many of the ICs will have to be transplanted onto new PCBs before we've finished. I have a PCB manufacturer with wave soldering equipment interested in the project, so perhaps we'll need his help eventually, but is there such a thing as wave unsoldering equipment?
    Last edited by RobS; March 17th, 2013 at 06:16 AM. Reason: typo
    Rob - http://www.honeypi.org.uk
    The Internet is a winch to get your project off the ground ... but always have a parachute handy.

  7. #47
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    Sep 2012
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    As promised my website now contains this page The Pi Factory which describes the demonstration programme. The Easycoder version with its manic optimisations is shown but there is also a saner version in C++ to assist understanding of the mathematical process used. The source code for that is included in case anyone wants to try something similar on another computer.
    Rob - http://www.honeypi.org.uk
    The Internet is a winch to get your project off the ground ... but always have a parachute handy.

  8. #48
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    Dec 2004
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    your Honeywell 200 resurrection project is great, I am working on building a pdp8 straight 8!

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Toronto ON Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobS View Post
    ... is there such a thing as wave unsoldering equipment?
    Yes, although it's usually called a blow torch

    If the pins aren't bent and the boards are small enough you can also try putting them upside down into a toaster oven set on broil; a good tap and everything falls out.
    Last edited by MikeS; April 10th, 2013 at 11:36 AM.

  10. #50
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    Dec 2005
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    Toronto ON Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by rorypoole View Post
    your Honeywell 200 resurrection project is great, I am working on building a pdp8 straight 8!
    You guys are both nuts, but more power to ya!!! Am enjoying following your progress so far.

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