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Thread: TC02 Controller board - for TU55? opinions?

  1. #1
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    Default TC02 Controller board - for TU55? opinions?

    TC02 on eBay evidently NOS from Chas. Lasner: opinions?

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/DEC-vintage...oAAOSwY1Bevbdr

  2. #2
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    I doubt they'll get any bids for it.

    And it's a controller *without* a drive.

    Maybe at 1/10th of that price, they might get some bids...

  3. #3
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    It's an aspirational price.

  4. #4
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    Charles donated a TC02 to the RICM for the PDP-9 project. I repaired it and added three TU55 drives, and now the PDP-9 will boot and run the ADSS operating system.

    Charles sent me a copy of the receipt when he bought the two TC02s. He paid less than $1,000 for the TC02s and a pile of other DEC equipment. He purchased the equipment 35 years ago so we would have to add inflation to the purchase cost.

    The $12,000 minimum bid is the original price from DEC. Since the TC02 has an 18-bit bus interface it would be a lot of work to modify it to work on a 12-bit system like the PDP-8. The TC02 should work on a PDP-7, PDP-9, or PDP-15. The PDP-7 and PDP-15 have their own DECtape controllers, so it is unlikely that it would be useful for anything other than a PDP-9. I think that it is unlikely that anyone would bid on it if they didn't have a PDP-9, and most of the PDP-9s that I know of already have TC02 controllers. It would be nice to have a spare controller at the RICM, but even at 1/10th of the minimum bid to would be too much. It will be interesting to see if anyone eventually makes an offer for it.
    Member of the Rhode Island Computer Museum
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by m_thompson View Post
    Charles donated a TC02 to the RICM for the PDP-9 project. I repaired it and added three TU55 drives, and now the PDP-9 will boot and run the ADSS operating system.

    Charles sent me a copy of the receipt when he bought the two TC02s. He paid less than $1,000 for the TC02s and a pile of other DEC equipment. He purchased the equipment 35 years ago so we would have to add inflation to the purchase cost.

    The $12,000 minimum bid is the original price from DEC. Since the TC02 has an 18-bit bus interface it would be a lot of work to modify it to work on a 12-bit system like the PDP-8. The TC02 should work on a PDP-7, PDP-9, or PDP-15. The PDP-7 and PDP-15 have their own DECtape controllers, so it is unlikely that it would be useful for anything other than a PDP-9. I think that it is unlikely that anyone would bid on it if they didn't have a PDP-9, and most of the PDP-9s that I know of already have TC02 controllers. It would be nice to have a spare controller at the RICM, but even at 1/10th of the minimum bid to would be too much. It will be interesting to see if anyone eventually makes an offer for it.
    This guy is STILL trying to sell his PDP-8/s at an astronomical price (US$26.5K) for at least a couple of years now. No downward movement in price at all.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/PDP-8-S-Ser...kAAOSw1fJa~I5s

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK6DN View Post
    This guy is STILL trying to sell his PDP-8/s at an astronomical price (US$26.5K) for at least a couple of years now.
    You can make an offer...
    Member of the Rhode Island Computer Museum
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  7. #7
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    Ya I was aware it'd only be good for a PDP-9, of which like maybe 10 are known left?

    I've also been seeing that 8/s for a long time - I think it's been dropped from $47,000 down to "only" 26K? LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by firedome View Post
    Ya I was aware it'd only be good for a PDP-9, of which like maybe 10 are known left?
    10 that I know of. There was an 11th in a stable in Australia that was left behind during a PDP-8 rescue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by m_thompson View Post
    10 that I know of. There was an 11th in a stable in Australia that was left behind during a PDP-8 rescue.
    That's not quite the full story and as that could be interpreted as a 'took the chaff and left the wheat' statement, I will elaborate on what happened.

    In February/March 2016 there was a posting on cctalk about some DEC equipment being offered for collection located in the countryside of an adjoining state to where I live. The small set of accompanying photos were dark and poor quality and no-one who had seen the photos positively identified what was there. The back of a BA11 cabinet could be made out, not much more. The other photos showed unknown racks of plant equipment covered in thick layers of dust and dirt.
    A phone call to the vendor of the gear frustratingly did not reveal any extra detail, except the new owner wanted the stuff GONE asap.

    The ACMS (located less than 120 miles away from the location) were on the same mailing list and as I understand it, were not able to organise a trip to view the equipment. As an organisation they do a great job with extremely limited financial, space and manpower resources, sadly nothing approaching the scale and resources of overseas computer museums who can and do strip-mine foreign collections. But I won't go into that.

    I considered a chance on being able to collect a BA11 and unknown what else, so I took time off work and drove the interstate 1000+ mile round trip to see what was available. I had limited time to get there and back, being a day's driving each way. I didn't stay in motels, just slept in the drivers seat of my ute at roadside highway truck stops there and back and dined at that chain of fine Scottish restaurants in the larger towns along the way.

    The equipment was in a large two-storey horse stable built during Australia's colonial era, part of an estate recently acquired by a new owner. Everything inside had to go, and by everything I mean tonnes of stuff, not just old computer gear. The barn was dark, no lighting. I had a torch and my mobile with me. I also had gloves and mask as well.

    So, since I was just one man with a ute and a toolkit I set to work getting to what I could access more easily, the rebadged PDP-11/15, BA11 expansion, ME11 memory expansion, Digitronics paper tape reader. These were sandwiched in one bay of a massive Foxboro rack, not at all like the petite-in-comparison DEC H960. The ME11 at the bottom of the rack had layers of mud inside it when I looked at it back home, the farm estate was on a floodplain next to a river and the stables had obviously flooded an unknown number of times over the decades and perhaps centuries, as it was of that age.
    I was with the feeling that whatever I could not take back, other much closer-by interested parties would be doing so afterwards - when they had the time and resources.

    After taking a lot of hours to get the above gear unracked (I was not allowed to have the rack slides!) and loaded on the ute, I turned my attention to the other stuff, further in the back of the stables. There were no doors on the ground floor of the stables but it was still very dark and musty. There were several racks al all had the appearance of plant equipment. Indeed the one I could get to, with its front facing outwards, had a DEC A/D converter at the top. I managed to get that out and loaded. The A/D rack had numerous other small A series flipchips but none (to me) recognisable DEC chassis.

    One of the other cabinets that had obviously been unloaded and placed in there first was facing a wall and looked like an industrial cabinet with old car door-style handles on gate-fold panels, so naturally I assumed it was the front of the unit. There were flip chips in it but no paper tape reader, front console, operator table or really anything I could distinguish that looked any different from the A/D equipment.

    I grabbed what I could manage, apart from the FOX 2 mentioned above, a loose box of Flip Chips (PDP-9), PDP-9 manuals and print set, PDP-11/15 print set, Honeywell print set, 11/05 print set, all the paper tape I could find in just a fraction of the cubic metres of a collection of moving boxes up in the loft that I got to open. The computer-related docs were mixed in with plant docs so it required sifting. As I was unloading the boxes onto the floor of the loft and finding PDP-9-related docs I had a feeling "wonder where that went to". There was more, way more, than I had time or space for on that trip.

    As I only had my mobile for photos, its battery soon went flat after the flash drained it. Only after I got home and posted the photos I had managed to take, it was identified as a PDP-9.

    So I immediately emailed the ACMS on 5/3/16 and in strong words urged them to get up there and look into it. I was asked in reply if there was anything still useful at the site after my visit to which I replied QUOTE "You freakin' well betcha there is!!!!!!" and QUOTE "It is imperative those boxes are all examined" and QUOTE "better make it sooner than later or it could be gone to the tip!". I left it there at that point. In retrospect a phone call instead of emails would perhaps have been WAY better, to convey the urgency, to my chagrin.

    No-one's really to blame, here, just lost opportunity and I am thankful for what I did save, a FOX 2 PDP-11/15 the machine that ran the fire prevention system at the steelworks oxygen plant through the 1970s. The (Foxboro-labelled) PDP-11/15 print set I brought back doesn't seem to be online and may be the only one left, for all I know (it's on my scanning to-do list).
    So that is the story.

  10. #10
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    And you rescued some PDP-9 software paper tapes that we believe are the only existing copies.
    Member of the Rhode Island Computer Museum
    http://www.ricomputermuseum.org

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