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Thread: Elektronika DVK-3, a Soviet PDP-11 clone micro

  1. #1

    Default Elektronika DVK-3, a Soviet PDP-11 clone micro

    Hello Comrades

    A while back, I contacted Mihail via the email address shared in this old "For Sale" post http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthrea...-PCs-available . Anyway, I guess the closest domestic thing to it is the DEC PRO 325 & 350. After probably 2 months back and forth of figuring out if it works, how it works, what comes with it, what can I do with it, how much it all costs, and how to pack it so it doesn't get destroyed, I finally took the bait and got one. Its 150-lb crate arrived at the corner of my front yard last Tuesday, leaving me to haul it up nothing but hills with my hydraulic lift cart.

    Here are some pictures:

    cdek-crate.jpg
    The huge crate

    DVK-3-box.jpg
    Original packing materials (even the styrofoam)

    DVK-3.jpg
    The computer

    DVK-3-docs.jpg
    Physical documentation

    I haven't had a chance to power it on (or even really rip it open yet), and am still thinking of the best way to get it the 220V (+22, -33) @ 50Hz it needs (or if it can live with 60Hz). It has a CEE 7 or GOST 7396 style plug on its power cable, and a separate input for ground. I was thinking of getting a 120VAC -> 12VDC converter, and then another 12VDC -> 220VAC @ 50Hz converter. However, one of my friends suggested that a cheap 220VAC converter might only serve up square waves, which has a slight chance of aggravating a power supply expecting sines. Also, there's been discussion as to whether the two CEE 7 plug pins are supposed to be hot & neutral, or two split-phase hot lines. I'll really have to open it up and take more photos.

    Anyway, Mihail has shared with me a PDP-11 emulator configured as a DVK-3, even more digital documentation, and even a forum post about an SD card FDD emulator. The ST-412 hard drive made it through customs, but not the floppy disks, because they were concerned that encrypted data might live on the floppies, though no one had a way to test it. My best bet for now is probably to load things to it over a serial connection.

    I'm glad this deal went down so well and that the artifact didn't take any cosmetic damage in shipping. I was especially worried about the CRT, as one I ordered once got broken coming from just California, but Mihail hand-made a really strong crate to protect everything and preserve the original packaging, so now I have...this wonderful piece of eye candy for now.

  2. #2
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    Lovely system. So how much lighter is it than the Pro 350?

  3. #3

    Default

    60 Hz power should probably be just fine. It is in most cases as long as the equipment being powered doesn't need a particular frequency to run at its intended speed, i.e. certain types of motors. Transformers tend to work just as well if not better at higher frequencies, within reasonable limits at least. People run 50/60 Hz gear at 400 Hz in the aviation and aerospace industries all the time without issue. Running 60 Hz equipment at 50 Hz has been known to be a problem though, but only for the rare things that run right on the edge of stability, i.e. poorly designed stuff.

  4. #4

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    Nice!

    Looking at the pics Mihail posted earlier, you've got a setup with CPU board that's capable of running UNIX (the 1201.03), a "MX" floppy controller (part number 7.102.617 silkscreened on the board) and color graphics board. Getting floppies written is going to be a fun exercise -- the controller is nothing like a PC one, but luckily, HxC supports its format -- http://torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewt...hp?f=19&t=1384

    There are forums you may find useful -- http://zx-pk.ru/forums/66-dvk-uknts.html for starters.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by krebizfan View Post
    Lovely system. So how much lighter is it than the Pro 350?
    I've never picked up a Pro 350, but I estimate this guy weighs about 30 lbs. The monitor is as deep as the whole system, and while the CRT screen isn't much bigger than my outstretched hand (as figured from Mihail's pictures), the bezel is enormous, making for a much larger monitor than I expected. (Edit: I wanted to also say that the computer is about 16" wide, 18" tall, and 20" deep.)

    Quote Originally Posted by shattered View Post
    the controller is nothing like a PC one, but luckily, HxC supports its format
    Great! That's useful information, and I have an HxC controller. Now to find disk images and the correct power. I figured 60Hz would be fine based on what I've been reading as well, as long as the monitor doesn't generate its sync signal off the AC or something like that.
    Last edited by mrcity; September 10th, 2017 at 10:30 AM. Reason: Adding dimensions

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcity View Post
    Great! That's useful information, and I have an HxC controller. Now to find disk images and the correct power. I figured 60Hz would be fine based on what I've been reading as well, as long as the monitor doesn't generate its sync signal off the AC or something like that.
    Monitors don't have a choice, they have to sync to the video signal. I've never seen the video signal timing derived from the AC frequency but I suppose stranger things have happened. The Commodore 64 uses the AC frequency to generate the TOD clock. Fortunately very, very few programs (I know of only one) actually use that clock.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcity View Post
    Great! That's useful information, and I have an HxC controller. Now to find disk images and the correct power. I figured 60Hz would be fine based on what I've been reading as well, as long as the monitor doesn't generate its sync signal off the AC or something like that.
    Check the board set just to be sure -- there was another, PC-compatible, controller as well.

  8. #8

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    I finally have the computer disassembled all the way. Here are my findings on the power supply and the board set:

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/OTygMNFjGZHzplRF3 - Power supply (including a video toward the end, covering every angle)
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/cTFki2yPs8VyjJQF2 - Board set

    And if any of you can read Russian, here are forums with documentation for the power supply: Forum 1 and Forum 2 I'm going to peruse these with someone who knows a thing or two about power supplies just to make sure I don't blow anything up on the first pass.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcity View Post
    I finally have the computer disassembled all the way. Here are my findings on the power supply and the board set:
    That seems to be a pretty weird memory layout on the board with the CPU (КМ1801ВМ3) - there are 4 rows of 11 64K chips (КР565РУ5). One of the other boards (with 3 blue headers) has a more normal arrangement of 2 rows of 9 КР565РУ5. Unfortunately, I can't make out the part numbers on some of the other white ceramic parts (low resolution / contrast).

    I've powered some other Soviet stuff (mostly Elektronika 7 clocks) with a Goldsource STU-300. That model (300W, supposedly) seems to be discontinued, but other STU models still seem to be available.

  10. #10

    Default

    Hi ! I think I can help. I have friends here, who work with these DVK retrocomputers - so called "REtrocomputer_Club of people who like Soviet/Eastern Block machines " - they can make a controller to boot DVK3 from a modern SD card)

    here are my pictures of that place in 2012 -

    https://imgur.com/a/dZYbE

    and some collectors also... I'm going to buy a DVK3m, too.... )

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