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Thread: "Computer Systems" device. What is it?

  1. #11

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    Tape makes more sense than disk.
    It does have a coax input for an external signal so parallel is unlikely. Maybe something like T1. I don't know the modulation differences used.
    Dwight

  2. #12
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    Re six bit verses eight, some of my theories were IAT2 vs. ASCII with parity or stop bits?

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    I'm going out on a limb and say it's a solid state 800BPI reel to reel tape emulator that would be used in place of an old fashioned 9 track reel to reel tape drive. We could probably get more information by taking a peak inside and getting an idea of the construction date from component date codes and seeing whether there is a processor and some kind of non-volatile memory.

    I don't believe that it is communications/serial interface related. It just doesn't have that sort of feel - no DTE/DCE settings or anything like that.

    regards,
    Mike Willegal

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwillegal View Post
    We could probably get more information by taking a peak inside and getting an idea of the construction date from component date codes and seeing whether there is a processor and some kind of non-volatile memory.
    Hi Mike,

    You can see more detailed pictures at http://vintagecomputer.ca/computer-systems-computer/ If you right click on any of the images, you can view the image by itself and see the full resolution images. The date codes are from 1971 or so.

    I appreciate everyone's input. I was going to try to power it up but didn't get around to it. I will as soon as I can.

    Note that the four ribbon cables going to the wirewrap board near the rear opening were not connects (they must have come loose during shipping) so I am being cautious as I am not sure what cable connects to what empty socket or what the exact orientation should be.

    I appreciate everyone's input.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by snuci View Post
    You can see more detailed pictures at http://vintagecomputer.ca/computer-systems-computer/ If you right click on any of the images, you can view the image by itself and see the full resolution images. The date codes are from 1971 or so.
    Per my earlier post, here's a datasheet that covers most of the "MC8xx" chips that are visible. It's all generic NAND, inverters, flip-flops, etc. Unless there are more chips hidden I don't think there's anything there that's a smoking gun as to what this thing does. (The flip-flops imply it might have some kind of "memory" for storing a sequence to be compared or clocked out or whatever, but it's at most the equivalent of a byte or two.) It's some kind of clocked state machine but definitely not a "computer" in any meaningful sense, I doubt it'll do a whole lot without being connected to something.

    I'm fond of Chuck's idea that this is a solid-state implementation of the Dumbkopf I. It's used for field calibrating the magnetoreluctance of Interocitors; dragging a full Turboencabulator out to the customer site is often impractical.

  6. #16

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    I'd not been saying it was RS232. I still think it might be a serial signal tester. There were a number of early serial communication setups for computers of that time frame. I suspect there is a missing header that would go to the terminals on the back.
    Dwight

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    It also could be a tester for a tape formatter. In the bygone days, you had tape drives, one or more formatters and controllers. Back in the day, a formatter was expensive to build, so one would typically be used for a number of drives.

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