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Thread: Data General Nova 1200

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevets01 View Post
    Nice! Was this from that typesetting business? I got a Nova clone and a TTY from that guy. Unfortunately, mine didn't come with the IO board, so I'll have to find one... somewhere.
    Nevets01, this is all very exciting to me. So, what caused you to ask if it was from a typesetting business, and might have come from a phototypesetter?

    I've only recently come to learn about DG Novas in these things...There's a nice DG Nova in this Singer Photomix 8400, which is now part of my collection:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Htb...ew?usp=sharing

    Notice no front face control panel in this one. Was yours (or Commodore Z's) extracted from such a machine? And if so, how did it come with such a beautiful front face?

    And I'm curious, has anyone else preserved one or more of these [gargantuan and VERY heavy!!!] phototypesetter machines in their entirety, as opposed stripping out the DG Nova and scrapping the rest?
    Last edited by firebirdta84; November 14th, 2020 at 10:48 PM. Reason: add specificity

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qbus View Post
    ...The Holy Grail for me is getting the paper tape version of Nova Basic, been working on that for over five years now but not much progress. Was told that when you bought a Nova the paper tape version of Basic came with it.
    Qbus
    Qbus, I assume that you're looking for a vintage 50-year-old tape with Nova Basic on it. But in the meantime, what would you think about Nova Basic being punched new/today on a paper tape for you?

    I don't think that I have the capability to do this yet, but if it would be meaningful to you, I'll keep it in mind with my Nova restoration and build project list for the next year or so...

    Best,
    AJ

  3. #13
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    That would be great, in the playroom I have facilities for reading, punching or copying paper tape. So just about any source will work within reason. Also have facilities for reading, writing and editing ROMS so I am just about state of the art for 1970
    Paper tape has a unique advantage being it can with care last forever, floppy drives are fairly durable but beyond a point the drives themselves are getting harder to find. A lot of the old first generation MFM and IDE hard drives are still around and work but that’s just the ones that were for some reason put aside and never left on for years on end and somehow the old disk packs in things like the RL and RK drives chug on, can’t say as much for a lot of the modern stuff.
    But paper tape is so simple, no media to decompose or magnetic elements to weaken or special heads to read can see that lasting forever. The only limitation is it’s not practical for large files.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebirdta84 View Post
    Nevets01, this is all very exciting to me. So, what caused you to ask if it was from a typesetting business, and might have come from a phototypesetter?

    I've only recently come to learn about DG Novas in these things...There's a nice DG Nova in this Singer Photomix 8400, which is now part of my collection:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Htb...ew?usp=sharing

    Notice no front face control panel in this one. Was yours (or Commodore Z's) extracted from such a machine? And if so, how did it come with such a beautiful front face?

    And I'm curious, has anyone else preserved one or more of these [gargantuan and VERY heavy!!!] phototypesetter machines in their entirety, as opposed stripping out the DG Nova and scrapping the rest?
    So I follow up on a lead from this very forum about a typesetter's warehouse that had closed down, and the owner was trying to sell some of the contents.
    When I got there, there were two DG Novae, and a Digital Computer Controls D-116. I ended up with the D-116, since he wanted a great deal more than I could afford for the 'genuine' Novae, as well as an ASR-33 teletype and some other odds and ends.
    As it turns out, just a couple days after I left, Glitch came and bought the entire contents of the warehouse (and believe me, it was a LOT) for a large sum of money. And Z bought his Nova off of him. The fact that he posted about a fairly obscure computer shortly after three of them had sold led me to (correctly) suspect that they had come from the same source.
    All three machines were freestanding, not in a rack or any other enclosure, when I got there. If they had been extracted, I have no way of knowing for sure or for certain.
    Now on to speculation.
    If you look closely at the I/O board that Z got with his Nova, you may notice a rather snazzy logo for a company called "CompuScan". A large nameplate from the same company is present on my Teletype. A couple hours of googling led me to the conclusion that CompuScan was a company what developed early OCR systems.
    Speculation: Z's Nova (and my Teletype, attached to it) was attached to some form of early OCR scanner at some point in its life.
    I can't say whether it was still there or not, I only had a few hours to look around, and I was considerably less savvy at that point. You would probably want to ask Glitch. If anyone has/had it, it would likely be him.
    Current favorites: IBM 5160 (EGA+Hercules+PGC, 8 floppy drives, XT-IDE), DCC D-116 (Nova 1200 clone), ASR 33 Teletype (now FULLY armed and operational! Mostly.)
    Wishlist: IBM 5161 (expansion chassis), Diablo 31/RK02/RK05 or equivalent, Data General equipment, DEC TC01 or TC08N, and the meaning of life.

  5. #15
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    So far, all my work with Rolm Military system lets me assume that they are basically repackaged Data General NOVA systems. The instruction set is the same, devices like paper tape readers and terminals are all the same addresses and instruction set and so on. The issue is now on the latest Rolm system that I just picked up has a Real Time Clock card, anyone have any idea what the address was that they used for the RTC option? Or how it was set? It has no battery so going to assume that once you turned on the system you loaded a current date and time and went on from there. Would also be a question if it keeps the date along with the time if its Y2K compliant? Not that it matters being I just want to use the clock function.

  6. #16
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    The so-called Real Time Clock on the Nova was not what we think of today as an RTC. It simply provides periodic interrupts, at 10, 100, 1000 Hz or power line frequency. The keeping of time & date has to be done in software. RTC is device number 14 (octal). You'll find a description of it operation in this document: http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/dg/DG_N...rs_Apr1971.pdf

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qbus View Post
    That would be great, in the playroom I have facilities for reading, punching or copying paper tape. So just about any source will work within reason. Also have facilities for reading, writing and editing ROMS so I am just about state of the art for 1970
    Paper tape has a unique advantage being it can with care last forever, floppy drives are fairly durable but beyond a point the drives themselves are getting harder to find. A lot of the old first generation MFM and IDE hard drives are still around and work but that’s just the ones that were for some reason put aside and never left on for years on end and somehow the old disk packs in things like the RL and RK drives chug on, can’t say as much for a lot of the modern stuff.
    But paper tape is so simple, no media to decompose or magnetic elements to weaken or special heads to read can see that lasting forever. The only limitation is it’s not practical for large files.
    OK, excellent to know. I'll keep this in mind, as I have a feeling that somehow here, I might come across this in some form. Do you know if the DG Nova at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle was running the correct version of basic? Back when the museum was open, of course. I know it was running basic, and that they loaded it from an arduino-emulator of paper tape when they needed to boot it. Likely, the same Jeff Kaylin created the "arduino-booter" who also developed the modern core memory replacement that I've shared: https://entrex480.blogspot.com/2020/...nt-for-dg.html

    I'm thinking I might be able to get my hands on their code at least, and potentially convert that back into something one of us can punch to paper tape...(which might be where THEY got the code it in the first place, who knows!) But I'm just speculating out on a bit of a limb here so far...

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nevets01 View Post
    So I follow up on a lead from this very forum about a typesetter's warehouse that had closed down, and the owner was trying to sell some of the contents.
    When I got there, there were two DG Novae, and a Digital Computer Controls D-116. I ended up with the D-116, since he wanted a great deal more than I could afford for the 'genuine' Novae, as well as an ASR-33 teletype and some other odds and ends.
    As it turns out, just a couple days after I left, Glitch came and bought the entire contents of the warehouse (and believe me, it was a LOT) for a large sum of money. And Z bought his Nova off of him. The fact that he posted about a fairly obscure computer shortly after three of them had sold led me to (correctly) suspect that they had come from the same source.
    Very good detective work here! With so few of these machines out there, it only takes a modest amount of hunting & research to put the pieces together like this. I've figured out "what when where" with other vintage stuff using the same logic. It really is a small world in many way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevets01 View Post
    All three machines were freestanding, not in a rack or any other enclosure, when I got there. If they had been extracted, I have no way of knowing for sure or for certain.
    I'm going to speculate just based on this...that they were not mounted in a singer typesetter like I showed in my pics above, simply because they had front panels. I've only recently become aware of the existance of phototypesetter equipment, because of it's connection to DG Nova/DCC-116s, and the now somewhat infamous Frenchtown NJ auction this past July.

    They of course, could have been mounted in other things yet unknown to any of us *with* their front panels, and someday, that could be fun to see!


    Quote Originally Posted by Nevets01 View Post
    Now on to speculation.
    If you look closely at the I/O board that Z got with his Nova, you may notice a rather snazzy logo for a company called "CompuScan". A large nameplate from the same company is present on my Teletype. A couple hours of googling led me to the conclusion that CompuScan was a company what developed early OCR systems.
    Speculation: Z's Nova (and my Teletype, attached to it) was attached to some form of early OCR scanner at some point in its life.
    I can't say whether it was still there or not, I only had a few hours to look around, and I was considerably less savvy at that point. You would probably want to ask Glitch. If anyone has/had it, it would likely be him.
    This is excellent speculation! OCR Scanners have hit my radar a couple of times this year. In historical documentation only, as I have yet to see one in real life...

    https://entrex480.blogspot.com/2019/...ut-80-ocr.html

    This is an example of something that, contextually, should be run by a DCC-D116, mostly because the terminals they show are for the Entrex 480 system, which I KNOW runs off a DCC-D116. Thus my most recent interest and obsession in them...and my journey to the Frenchtown, NJ Auction, but I digress..

    I will reach out to Glitch, just because now you have me curious!

    Thanks again for all this great feedback!

    Best,
    AJ

  9. #19
    Join Date
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    So by the time I found out about this, a lot of the stuff had been parted out and some of it scrapped. Apparently the original owners had been trying to work with several hobbyists and amateur radio operators for like, two years or something, and had gotten a lot of "definitely interested, will be by to pay and pick up" type of replies that resulted in no action, and had gotten tired of it.

    Most of the DG and Computer Automation stuff was connected to typesetting machines, there were two Kurzweil OCR systems but they were the later integrated packages, not the big early boxes with a full-fledged Nova attached. The Kurzweil stuff may have an OEMed Nova or Nova-compatible board in it, too. I believe they'd told me the Fairchild 2300 (TRW 130, AN/UYK-1...originally a 1950s nuclear sub satellite nav computer) was also hooked up to a typesetter.

    We ended up making a second trip up to pick up some other large things that weren't really shippable -- the remains of at least a dozen Kaypros, the guts out of two Linotron 202s that had gotten scrapped, misc. cables and other bits that had been found since the original pick-up, and a box of board scrap that had come from some of the equipment.

    I suspect CommodoreZ's Nova 1200 was indeed connected to that Teletype at one point, though the Teletype may have shared service between several computers, such as the Fairchild 2300, which also has current loop output. Don't know what the Nova 1200 in particular was doing, though.

    Here's some pictures of the stuff, unloaded in the new building (not everything is from the same lot, in the second picture):





    It pretty well filled the back of the 24-foot Mack box truck:



    There was a bunch of Sun stuff too, which was one of the big reasons I was interested in the stuff (still support it for my day-job). TangentDelta has been working on a lot of the Computer Automation Naked Mini stuff.

  10. #20
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    I talked with those people about a year or two back. Really wanted the AN/YUK-1 and for some reason that may border on brain damage I would still love to have one. Just at the time had a lot of other stuff going on and with the cost of that system at that time, think they wanted $500.00 and the distance involved driving all the way up to get it figured that would have set me back another thousand or so by the time gas, hotels and everything else was added was not able to do anything.
    Great to see it went to a good home.

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