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Thread: PD32 NS32016 computer

  1. #1
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    Default PD32 NS32016 computer

    Does anyone remember or have experience with this early computer designed to run Unix? AKA "Public Domain 32000" by Dave Rand and George Scolaro

    It is called the PD32 and uses an NS32016 chipset. It was described in MICRO CORNUCOPIA, #32, Oct-Nov 1986, magazine

    https://archive.org/download/bitsave...a_32_Oct86.pdf

    The full article is available on the internet with schematics and description of the software. It runs as a coprocessor on either CP/M or IBM PC/XT clones. For the former, the circuit can be placed in an 8 bit PC/XT ISA slot.

    Has anyone seen this board? Built it or used it?

    I believe it is related, possibly an open source predecessor, to the Definicon DSI-32 coprocessor board for the PC/XT (8 bit ISA slot). There were are two articles in Byte Magazine in August-September 1985.
    Last edited by lynchaj; July 17th, 2017 at 04:42 AM.

  2. #2
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    I don't mean to be challenge your work or objectives, however what is the point in designing a +5V PTH home-brew logic board for a CPU that is extinct outside of an FPGA core? If you are going the later route, make it easier and shove all that logic into the FPGA and use a commodity eval board.
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

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    All the parts for the PD32 are still available commercially (Quest, etc. ) and also ebay. It appears to be a relatively simple low cost design which would plug into any PC/XT or PC/AT ISA slot. The main chips are the NS32016 CPU, NS32082 MMU, NS32081 FPU, NS32201 TCU, NS32202 ICU, and the DP8419 DRAM controller. All it needs is a PCB to revive this public domain project.

    I am sure you could use an FPGA and I think Udo (http://www.cpu-ns32k.net/) already did an FPGA PC532 replacement.

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    Ah I didn't realize there was NOS of the 016s. I thought most of the NS chips went the way of the doo-doo bird like the 532.
    "Good engineers keep thick authoritative books on their shelf. Not for their own reference, but to throw at people who ask stupid questions; hoping a small fragment of knowledge will osmotically transfer with each cranial impact." - Me

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    I am thinking to re-implement the design "AS IS" per the 1986 article. It was advertised to run official Unix System V although I think it could realistically run Minix. The Bruce Culbertson NS32016 board had a Minix port for it and it was a very similar design so I think it would be a good starting point. Only 2MB of DRAM really limits the options though.

    Here are some photos and related files http://ftp.berklix.org/~dlr/pd32/

    Who is interested in building a "Public Domain 32000" ISA board if it were produced in small hobbyist quantities?
    Last edited by lynchaj; July 18th, 2017 at 04:19 AM.

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    Does anyone have a GENIX distribution/binaries/sources ? It's a National Semiconductor's UNIX port to the Series 32000.

    AFAIK, early GENIX was 4.1BSD port, later GENIX 3/4 was a UNIX System V Release 2 and Release 3 port.

    http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/p...0_dataBook.pdf
    http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/p...s_Databook.pdf
    http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/p...000_NSC800.pdf
    (Tools and Software sections)

  7. #7
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    Hi
    Thanks to Dave Rand (one of the original authors) I have recreated the PD32 in KiCAD. There is a schematic and PCB layout. If you are interested in a PD32 revival let me know. If we can get 4-5 people to build the board then I can order prototype boards. They are full size PC/XT (12"x4") PCBs.

  8. #8
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    Interesting PC Mag issue about "Scienstific coprocessors" for early PC
    PC Mag 14 Apr 1987
    "Changing the rules of the game"
    page 208
    https://books.google.ru/books?id=Jr7...page&q&f=false
    DSI-32 and similar boards

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    I may have a backup of Genix, but there are probably some errors in it (unreadable floppies). PM me if you're curious and I'll have a look.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by alecv View Post
    Does anyone have a GENIX distribution/binaries/sources ?
    check
    http://bitsavers.org/bits/AmericanInformationSystems
    and
    http://bitsavers.org/bits/OpusSystems

    after 12:30 PDT today

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