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Thread: QBUS 68000 Board

  1. #1

    Default QBUS 68000 Board

    I was given this QBUS board today but have googled it and cannot find any info on it.

    It is a 68000 based board with memory, Eproms & I/O.

    Would like to know what it was used for and if it would be compatible with any PDP11 Qbus cards.

    Here's some pics:-








  2. #2
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    I know exactly what that board is... it is a Dowty SBD-B or SBD+ QBUS and/or serial graphics card.

    The black connectors are for serial ports and the grey connector contains the RGB and synch. signals.

    Somewhere I have the documentation I think if you want it. I also have the graphics protocol and some software (having written a device driver for the SBD+ in the past).

    Dave

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by daver2 View Post
    I know exactly what that board is... it is a Dowty SBD-B or SBD+ QBUS and/or serial graphics card.

    The black connectors are for serial ports and the grey connector contains the RGB and synch. signals.

    Somewhere I have the documentation I think if you want it. I also have the graphics protocol and some software (having written a device driver for the SBD+ in the past).

    Dave
    Thanks, I would never have guessed that it was for RGB graphics.
    If you come across the documentation/software etc then that would be great thanks.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hah, that's neat. Was the 68000 intended for accelerated video operations and the card was a framebuffer for a VAX, or something like that?
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
    Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600
    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  5. #5
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    In my industry (the CEGB - Central Electricity Generating Board) we used them a lot in power station control rooms for displaying graphical images to the control room operator.

    With the OP living in Derby, I suspect the unit he has came out of a power station refurbishment in the area (Ratcliffe?).

    The card(s) were used in a QBUS PDP-11...

    The software was a bespoke language used within the power industry called CUTLASS. A former language (written in the South West Region of the CEGB) called SWEPSPEED was also used in some power stations.

    The PDP processor parcelled up a series of commands to the graphical card and passed them in a memory block to the card. The card then DMA'd the information from the memory block to draw the graphical representation of the commands specified. Alternatively, the commands can be sent over a serial link to the card (albeitly much slower).

    If I remember correctly, the main use of the card by the original manufacturer was in air traffic control applications.

    I am (slowly) trying to get the source code and documentation released for SWEPSPEED (it is like an embedded multitasking, real-time BASIC - but I will get told off by some of my ex-colleagues for likening SWEPSPEED to BASIC!). Next stop, the legal department...

    Dave
    Last edited by daver2; September 26th, 2017 at 11:37 PM.

  6. #6

    Default

    Very interesting...
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
    Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/HS-80/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/M1, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Emax HD/Proteus-2, Casio CZ-5000, Moog Satellite, Sequential Circuits Prophet-600
    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Silver Spring, MD, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daver2 View Post
    I know exactly what that board is... it is a Dowty SBD-B or SBD+ QBUS and/or serial graphics card.

    The black connectors are for serial ports and the grey connector contains the RGB and synch. signals.

    Somewhere I have the documentation I think if you want it. I also have the graphics protocol and some software (having written a device driver for the SBD+ in the past).

    Dave
    I have one of these as well. I doped out the board-purpose and connectors to be as you described from the included chip-set, but then laid it aside for future exploration. I, too, would *very*much* appreciate obtaining more documentation :-}.

    Since my module made it overseas (I'm not located in the UK) ATC certainly sounds like an reasonable explanation. No CEGB 'round here!

  8. #8
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    I will 'start the hunt' for the documentation...

    I have a colleague who should have the documentation to hand as we are making an emulator for these devices as the OEM went to the wall.

    Dave

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by daver2 View Post
    I will 'start the hunt' for the documentation...

    With the OP living in Derby, I suspect the unit he has came out of a power station refurbishment in the area (Ratcliffe?).

    Dave
    Close. The card came from a spinning rig at Rolls-Royce.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Silver Spring, MD, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by daver2 View Post
    I will 'start the hunt' for the documentation...

    I have a colleague who should have the documentation to hand as we are making an emulator for these devices as the OEM went to the wall.

    Dave
    That's absolutely grand (the documentation). The wall, well that's entirely another matter :-{.

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