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Thread: Trivector minicomputer / Megatronics disc drives

  1. #11

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    Thanks for the info! It looks like that Diablo indeed!

    I was thinking to put the whole machine on it's back (if that fit's into the car that way)
    In this way the carriage could not come out. This to protect the fixed disk...
    But I also read in the Diablo manual that you must not turn the unit upside down.

    Maybe I can open it up somehow and lock it with a cable zip tie as Chuck mentioned.

    The man told me he bought the whole system in 1981. I've got the feeling that it was
    a bit outdated at that time... I really wonder what date codes I will find...

    Regards, Roland
    Last edited by Roland Huisman; March 21st, 2017 at 12:57 PM.
    Wanted: case for Altair 8800 in good or bad shape or even a replica.

  2. #12

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    So the Trivector Triton 3 machine turns out to be a Z80 machine. There are two Z80 CPUs on the motherboard.
    Three serial cards for two terminals and one for a printer. 64k of non paged ram. Seems to be with parity? (18 ram chips for each ram board)
    Besides some leaking capacitors the computer seems to be in an good shape. The harddisk unit needs a fair bit amount of TLC...
    The foam disintegrated. So this drive needs to be cleaned and needs new foam before it can run...

    Trivector 01.jpgTrivector 02.jpgTrivector 03.jpg

    Trivector 07.jpgTrivector 06.jpgTrivector 05.jpgTrivector 04.jpgTrivector 08.jpg

    Trivector 09.jpgTrivector 10.jpgTrivector 11.jpgTrivector 12.jpg

    The computer and the drive are made in the UK. The drive is a DRI 4000b branded but seems identical to the early mentioned Diablo series 40.
    The machine was used to store medical information from an eye specialist.
    Last edited by Roland Huisman; March 23rd, 2017 at 12:01 AM.
    Wanted: case for Altair 8800 in good or bad shape or even a replica.

  3. #13
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    What a strange footprint for those CPU boards. One wonders how the manufacturer arrived at it.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    What a strange footprint for those CPU boards. One wonders how the manufacturer arrived at it.
    Yes quite strange. The cards are not locked in the system either.
    The system unit itself doesn't have a top and bottom plate. Also strange in my opinion.
    But it has a bus system and it is an expandable computer. But if you want to call this
    system a mini computer, than you could call a S100 system a mini also...
    Wanted: case for Altair 8800 in good or bad shape or even a replica.

  5. #15
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    I see that one of the cards is labeled "Teletype". Is there any indication that the system was ever used with one?

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    I see that one of the cards is labeled "Teletype". Is there any indication that the system was ever used with one?
    There has never been a teletype on this particular machine.
    There were:
    - two Beehive DM5A terminals
    - a Qume daisy wheel printer
    - a Thally matrix printer

    I've got the whole setup complete from the previous owner.
    Here are the pictures from 1981 when the machine was new:
    2.JPG 1.JPG 3.JPG 4.JPG 5.JPG

    It seems that one printer was attached to one terminal.
    The other printer was connected directly to the computer.

    The hard disk is a DRI model 4000.
    http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/d...le-Disc-Drive/

    The drive looks like the Diablo 44B. http://74s181.blogspot.nl/2011/03/di...isk-drive.html
    But inside there are a lot differences. For example, the Diablo has an external power supply and this
    DRI an internal power supply. I wonder, did DRI just use some Diablo parts? The DRI is made in the U.K.
    The Trivector computer itself also has many parts made in the U.K.

    Edit:

    Found it. The power PCB is original Diablo...
    diablo mark.jpg

    Regards, Roland
    Last edited by Roland Huisman; March 24th, 2017 at 11:46 AM.
    Wanted: case for Altair 8800 in good or bad shape or even a replica.

  7. #17

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    So there might be something special about the Trivector machine...
    There are three sets of reset switches on the front panel which I
    didn't understood right away... Left, Right and Master...

    3 cpu controls.jpg

    But when all cards are removed you can see three CPU blocks in the system.
    The 40 pin chips are Z80 CPUs. The left and the middle of these circuits
    are built with components. The right part is left empty.

    The components are numbered L... M... and R... Hey resets Left Master and Right?

    There are three sets of 8 bus slots. The right two sets are connected to each other by
    a wire bridge between slot 16 and 17 (or between slot 15 and 16 if you count from zero)

    The left 8 bus slots are not connected to the other 16 slots. There could be a wire bridge
    placed between these bus slots as well... It seems the Left Z80 is for the left 8 slots
    and the Master Z80 is used for the right 16 slots.

    All the cards from the machine were placed in the right 16 slots. None of them in the 8 on the left.

    3 cpu circuits.jpg

    It seems the Trivector had the possibility to have 3 Z80 CPUs. I really wonder if there was
    any interaction between these CPUs... This because one is called Master...

    And also the left CPU has no cards in it's bus... If there is no interaction between the Z80 CPU's
    the left one would be completely useless in the system. So I really wonder.. What is the purpose
    of two Z80 CPU's in this machine...

    Regards, Roland
    Wanted: case for Altair 8800 in good or bad shape or even a replica.

  8. #18
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    Reminds me a bit of the Molecular Z80 systems--a Z80 card for each user, with one Master handling the I/O tasks.

    As I mentioned, the Trivector Titan system was offered as part of a laboratory (TriLab) system. I could certainly see an extra CPU or two for the purposes of real-time data acquisition.

    It is a curious system!

  9. #19
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    I used to fix the 4A's over twenty years ago. They looked nothing like that system but board layout was quite similar and also using Z80. They had external 8" floppy, tape and 8" hard drives. If I remember correctly they ran BOS. The machines where replaced by DEC PDP-11/73's also running BOS

    BOS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busine...tem_(software)

  10. #20

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    Interesting! Did you save some documentation of these machines?
    Any pictures maybe?
    Wanted: case for Altair 8800 in good or bad shape or even a replica.

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