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Thread: Stunning Motorola 68000 system made by Computer System Associates USA circa 1984

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Stunning Motorola 68000 system made by Computer System Associates USA circa 1984

    Hi all,

    Well back in Feb 2014 I purchased a stunning Motorola 68000 system made by Computer System Associates (CSA), 7562 Trade Street, San Diego, CA 92121.

    It appears they are no longer in business. I have seen ads for them in some of the old 1980 period magazines. I posed this back in Feb 2014 in the Companies section, and actually in Sept the same year I got a reply from the founder of Computer System Associates. I totally missed his reply. I only noticed it yesterday when I went searching for the pic of the machine running. I have actually just started to chat with him. Mind you that 3 year lapse in seeing his reply, may make getting some data difficult as one of his associates is now now well enough to recall details I am searching for.

    Now April 2017, I am finally getting around to powering unit back up and getting pics online

    This is my unit running.



    They must have made a few units as mine has a serial number A 001396. I have seen, mentioned on this site, one other very incomplete unit that was for sale on ebay a few years back.

    The workmanship and quality of the system I got, tells me they were Perfectionists, and I cannot believe someone, somewhere, does not have documents and hopefully Source Code for the onboard CSA Firmware.

    My unit uses a Motorola MC6800ECB (educational computer board) for the CPU/ Memory and a CSA purpose built Display and Keyboard PCB (68000 00106J, Serial number B1284) mounted above it. This is covered by a hinged 'Smoked" plastic cover that is white silk screen printed with functional identifers for the various readouts.

    This Display and Keyboard PCB has a 'Serial Display Interface" daughter board (00675 S/N 1439) that has an Intel C8751H-12, that is handling the interface between the 68000 and the 20 key keyboard, the 6 rows of 7 segment displays and 4 rows of 16 leds; that display the internal states of the 68K as it runs.


    I am looking for someone that has the source code for the Display Processor on the upper PCB. It is contained in an Intel C8751H-12 micro, with a label over the Eprom window reading "Display 992-00233-1". Have tried reading it on a few Programers and get different check sums on subsequent reads. Tried burning a blank Intel C8751H-12, but no joy as it just runs 'a random code', flashing all the leds and 7 segments. I assume the security bit was set in the original CSA C8751H micro, after it had been programmed.

    CSA also have a pair of eprom on the Main 68000 board labeled PETEBUG U10 992-00220 & U11.. 992-00221.

    It seems to get repeatable reads on these with check sums for U10 being AB45 and U11 ...7A63

    Will try and upload more photo shortly.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    regards
    David Broadbent
    Melbourne, Australia
    Last edited by inotarobot; April 8th, 2017 at 07:09 PM.

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    Amazing how the time flies. I posted the original post Feb 2014, and here it is April 2017.

    And I am only now posting more pics now



    So why was it in a HP silk screened logo'd leather case ? The case certainly seems to be made to fit it perfectly.







    Notice the hardwood timber sides.

  3. #3
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    Here are more pics

    Serial number



    This one you can see the two pcb of the unit.

    Lower one is a Motorola M68000 educational computer MEX68KECB, while the upper board is the Display Board by Computer Systems Associate, USA

    It provides an amazingly detailed look at the inner working of the MEX68KECB


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    When I got this unit it had 3 different ROM sets.

    One I assume is the standard Motorola Tutor Roms



    Second is the PETEBUG which I gather is CSA's own version of a OS for the unit and allows the Display to show up





    Third is rom pair marked Silicon Software by Hunter and Ready Inc. Up till a few mins ago I had no idea on them.



    Now from MISS Google I find the following snippet

    "Silicon software: real-time program foundation 14. ... Hunter & Ready have developed the VRTX family of silicon software components which combines advanced real-time operating system functions ... Hunter & Ready, Inc. 445 Sherman Ave."

    So I guess I will now hunt down more info on this.

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    HELP needed please

    Well I CAN NOT believe this was the only one of these CSA made. Especially when you look at the quality of the Display PCB, and the Silk Screen work on the top Perspex cover.

    Q1. I am asking all here have you seen another one ??

    If so, could get still access to it ?? Would you be willing to try and see if you can get the owner to provide some information from it ? Even just photos and serial numbers, eprom sticker details, would be good.


    Q2. Do you know whom wrote the code in the Display Intel C8751H-12 micro, with a label over the Eprom window reading "Display 992-00233-1" ?????

    Recently I have been exchanging IM's with the original President/Founder, of Computer System Associates (CSA), whom believes this unit was made post him leaving CSA in 1987. He does NOT feel anyone he knew, wrote the C8751H code. Vic thinks it may have been some one from HP that could have written the Intel chips code, and this unit was made as a 68000 trainer for them. Sadly the gentleman Pete, whom wrote the 'Petebug' rom code is too ill to recall anything from that time of his working life. As I of writing this, I have to assume none of CSA's early works were saved to some external now accessible public archive.

    This chip has the security bit blown, so its near (but maybe not impossible using 'aggressive means') to take a back up of. However at this moment that is toooooo much of risk. Other way is to spend time with my Tek Prism 3000 and the logic probes and just explore and write some code myself. However I lack on thing.. TIME.

    So hence my asking all of you for help.

    regards
    David
    Last edited by inotarobot; April 16th, 2017 at 06:18 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Motorola 68000 system made by Computer System Associates USA circa 1984

    Can you post copies of the different eprom sets I have a cpu board and would like to play with.

    Thanks Tony

  8. #8

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    Hello, I am looking to get hex file copies of the different eproms that you have for the main 68000 board

    Thanks Tony

  9. #9

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    I assume this is the same CSA making Amiga accelerators...?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pt68k5 View Post
    Can you post copies of the different eprom sets I have a cpu board and would like to play with.

    Thanks Tony
    Hi Tony,

    I thought I had uploaded the eprom images to Bitsavers.org either under the Computing archive group, as code for CSA. But there not there.These would have been the eproms for the
    MEX68KECB to drive the CSA daughter board and the code of the Eprom on the CSA Display daughter board. This daughter board eprom is currently refusing to read, due to the security bit being set. However I am working to change that.

    As to the eproms for the MEX68KECB look as per the following link.
    Let me know how you go/

    regards
    David

    http://www.bitsavers.org/components/...000/MEX68KECB/

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