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Thread: Intel/Signetics 3000 Series Bit Slice home brew

  1. #1
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    Default Intel/Signetics 3000 Series Bit Slice home brew

    While in college in the late 70's I bought an evaluation kit from Signetics for the Series 3000 bitslice components. I wired a 16 bit design up, hoping to eventually create a pdp 11 like computer for myself since a real pdp 11 was pretty darn expensive at the time. Unfortunately the only thing I had time to get it to do was a simple counting program in rom that displayed out through some 7 segment displays. I read the paper from CMU where they had had done such a pdp 11 emulator using 3000 microcode.

    Did any other computers get made with these?

    I just found my wirewrap board. All the 3002s are there, but strangely the 3001 is missing. Sheesh, I wonder where it went. 40 years is a long time to remember what I did with it.
    These were of the ceramic white/gold type.
    They ran pretty warm, I figured I could heat my room with it, even in the Upper Peninsula.

  2. #2

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    The sequencer was really a tough one to write code for. All kinds of row and column jumps. It always reminded me of playing chess or checkers. Each move dominated the next move possibilities. The 2900 series bit slice were much friendlier. I tutpect that is why they were more popular. Intel used the 3000 series for their multibus disk controllers, at least for floppies. I don't know what was used for the hard disk.
    They were two board sets so only one board had the 3000 series parts.
    If you find some old Intel multibus boards, you may find enough to put things back to operational again.
    Dwight

  3. #3
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    HI Dwight,
    I found the 3001, plugged into some antistatic foam, along with what might be the proms that I might have burned for the test program. Sheesh I'm such a hoarder, I also found my electronics stuff I was playing with in high school.

  4. #4
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    Found another Signetics 3001, then I remembered they came as kits for an 8 bit computer and I had bought 2 kits to make a 16 bit computer. Also found the Signetics "Introducing the 3000" manual.

  5. #5
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by dluck View Post
    Found another Signetics 3001, then I remembered they came as kits for an 8 bit computer and I had bought 2 kits to make a 16 bit computer. Also found the Signetics "Introducing the 3000" manual.
    I'd think you only need the one 3001 with doubling the 3002's.
    Dwight

  7. #7
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    Thanks Al for the Signetics 8080 emulator docs.
    Dwight - ya, only one 3001 is needed in the system. So one of them was never plugged in. I just kept it as a spare.
    I also found the Intel programming manual for the 3000 series.
    To add to my stash of Series 3000 stuff, I went ahead an ordered one of the 3002 tester boards from cpushack.com. Not only am I hoarder but I'm a masochist as well.
    Sheesh, after rereading the CMU-11 paper and the other 3000 docs, I now remember why I decided to shelve that project. I decided it was just going to take too much time to fully implement something beyond the prototyping stage as I really wanted to get out of college and start making some money. Plus, I had access to all the high powered computers I could want by then in 1979.
    Still, those white ceramic chips with gold tops and leads are so cool looking.

  8. #8

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    Programming the 3001 is the trick. It is like playing a game of chess or checkers. You have to determine how to get from point A to point B in the address map. You have to determine what each address in the ROMs will do to the address or the various control bits. There was one guy at Intel that could do this well. A fellow named Luis Bolardow ( sp?). He and I didn't always get along well but I had great respect for his abilities. He did the coding for the 2 board floppy controllers.
    is this Dale we are talking to? If so, Hi Dale!!
    Dwight

  9. #9
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    ya, its me dale. hi dwight. I remember hand assembling and burning roms for the test program. I don't remember if I used the 82s parts or if I used some other eprom parts and ran it at a pretty slow clockrate. I don't think I had carry look ahead wired in. I think I wanted to save the 82s parts since they were one time use only. Alas for now I need to put this project back on the shelf until I get some other projects done.
    cheers
    dale

  10. #10

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    You should reconfigure for the newer flash memory. Many are fast enough to run better than that fused one shot ROMs.
    Dwight

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