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Powertran Cortex

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    Check my next post Jim.

    Originally posted by Jim Hearne View Post
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]12931[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]12932[/ATTACH]

    Now all I need is something that runs on the E-bus to test it with.

    Jim

    Comment


      Oooohhhh! Stuart is building the suspense nicely!
      Enter My Mind At Your Own Risk!

      Comment


        Originally posted by Ksarul View Post
        Oooohhhh! Stuart is building the suspense nicely!
        Hmmm ... shall I send the next message before I go to bed?

        Comment


          "I see wonderful things" said Howard Carter of Tutankhamun's tomb. And so it was again with Stephen Pelc's dining room table this afternoon. Big thanks to Stephen for giving this equipment to "the community". Stephen is keen that it should go to people who are willing and able to get it running and use it.

          Stephen is happy to answer questions about what the equipment and software is, and its history. I suggest we sort out what we have then put our collective heads together to compile a list of questions.

          I've given each system a quick clean, and put a brief description of what we have below, with photos. I will go through the boxes of documentation and disks over the next week or two and publish a list. Any questions I can help with in the meantime, fire away.

          So let's start with something we're all familiar with.


          *********************************
          *** Standard Powertran Cortex ***
          *********************************

          A standard Cortex in the mk. 1 case.

          The TMS9995, 9911 and 4500 are missing - but they're fairly cheap on ebay.

          The TMX9909 is fitted. Hurray! (Incidentally, Stephen thinks at least one production run of the TMS9909 (with an "S") was made as he remembers seeing at least one of them. Ditto with the 74LS2001 - they definitely did exist.)

          Has the E-bus components fitted, but no E-bus controller IC.

          The floppies were removed years ago for use elsewhere.

          PCB needs a good cleanup - some corrosion on chip legs etc.

          I'm going to keep hold of this one - for the time being at least. (One of the PP95 keyboards will hopefully work with the Cortex board I built up from the bare PCB, so I might be able to get a full working system that way.)

          Photos:

          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0263.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0264.JPG


          ************
          *** PP95 ***
          ************

          Look at this photo: do those four LEDs look familiar?

          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0267.JPG

          This is a PP95 system, from Sweden (or thereabouts) and used in a paper mill. This is basically an industrial Cortex by a company called Peter Peterson (hence the "PP" in the name?). The circuit is to the Cortex design, but a different motherboard (marked CAD-PRINT A/S, P10CPU/PFA) which includes an integrated double-width E-bus backplane on one side. Have the full documents, including circuit diagram. Mounted in what I think is some sort of modular 19" rack.

          Has a TMX9909 fitted, plus a small plug-in module "floppy data separator unit" which looks the same as that published in Issue 10 of the user group newsletter. Has twin 5.25" floppies fitted.

          Where I think the E-bus controller goes is a small circuit on Veroboard with a 74LS74 and 74LS04. Looks like one of published E-bus controller replacement circuits?

          Switch mode power supply.

          All ICs except the 40-pins and EPROMs ar soldered direct to the PCB.

          Uses an external keyboard, with a keyboard connector on the front panel. Have two keyboards for it. These have the Cortex layout and the circuit again looks like the Cortex design but on a PCB by CAD-PRINT A/S, with the same AY-5-2376 keyboard decoder chip. Also has an additional row of function buttons(?) along the top.

          Two E-bus boards are fitted:

          (1) A memory board, MPE DRAM Rev. B, with 16 off 4264 DRAMs (128 Kbyte total?).

          (2) An MPE FD/WD floppy/Winchester interface board, which in turn is connected to a Western Digital controller board (main chips WD1014CL, WD1010PL, WD1015CL), which connects to an external Winchester drive (Shugart Associates model 612S, 10 MB?).

          This system is up for grabs (but I want to hang on to one of the keyboards). Will need some TLC but it appears complete. Quite heavy so shipping won't be cheap. Not sure what mains voltages the PSU will accept. Most ICs soldered direct to circuit board, making any fault-finding required more difficult.

          Photos:

          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0267.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0269.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0268.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0270.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0272.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0273.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0274.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0265.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0266.JPG (keyboards before and after cleaning!)
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0271.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0275.JPG


          *******************
          *** E-bus Cards ***
          *******************

          Have some E-bus cards:

          -- 4 off bare MPE FD/WD Iss. A boards (as used in the PP95 system). Most ICs seem to be address decoding and buffers.

          -- 1 off populated MPE FD/WD Iss. A board (with some components and hard wiring on the back).

          -- 2 off MPE 9950 CPU-E TMS9995 Iss. 2 processor boards. Most chips missing, but one has 2 PALs fitted (address decoding?). I think we have docs for these boards.

          -- 1 off MPE 9950 CPU-E TMS9995 Iss. 3 processor board. All chips fitted. Forth EPROM. Two flying leads for RS-232 connections. 8K RAM, 8K ROM.

          -- 1 off bare MPE 9950 CPU-E TMS9995 Iss. 3 processor board.

          -- 1 of Texas Instruments TM990/E150 board with TMS9981 processor fitted. EPROM, RAM, serial interface. Looks complete, and would probably work standalone if you connect a power supply to it. I've got a 1-page description in a TI handbook.

          -- 1 off dual TMS9901 board by MPE.

          -- 1 off 10-position E-bus backplane, made by SEF Gmbh.

          I'll suggest that the last two items go to Jim Hearne, if he wants them, for testing his E-bus replacement module. The other bits are up for grabs.

          Photo:

          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0276.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0283.JPG


          **********************
          *** 5.25" Floppies ***
          **********************

          Box of ~100+ 5.25" floppies for the Cortex. MDEX, Forth, NOS, loads of stuff. Will catalogue the disk labels in due course. There's also an audio cassette labelled "Load Format", which may have been the solution to the chicken-and-egg problem of "how do you format a floppy without a floppy to load the formatter from".

          Also got a proper TI TMS9909 manual - might have some info we don't have elsewhere. I'll scan this then I need to return it to Stephen.

          Photo:

          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0277.JPG


          ***********************
          *** Marinchip M9900 ***
          ***********************

          Yes, the Marinchip M9900. Possibly the last one surviving anywhere. So this is an S-100 backplane, in a huge great case, with twin 8" floppies, the mother of all transformers and electrolytic capacitors, and fans.

          Five S-100 boards:

          -- Marinchip M9900 processor board.

          -- 2 off Marinchip 64K memory boards.

          -- Dual floppy disk controller.

          -- Dual RS-232 interface.

          Loads of documentation, including original stuff from Marinchip with circuit diagrams.

          Can't get the boards out for a decent photo. A bit of corrosion I suspect on the backplane connectors, and I don't want to force them. Needs stripping down and I suspect a squirt of switch contact cleaner will do the job. There are some pics of the two Marinchip boards on the web - these appear to be the same.

          Have a box of 100-ish 8" floppies with MDEX, NOS, Forth and other stuff. Stephen also included a sealed box of new floppies and a 8" floppy cleaning disk.

          Also comes with a serial terminal that was used with it. With manual.

          This will be going to Dave Hunter, if he still wants it and will pay for shipping. Dave is probably the most knowledgeable person about this system and is probably the best person to get it running again and make sense of the software. Needs some cleaning and TLC. Stephen suggested that the mains power supply voltage is brought up slowly using a variac due to the age of the big electrolytics, otherwise there could be a big bang, puff of smoke, and capacitor juice everywhere!

          Photos:

          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0281.JPG (there's a very solid top cover as well)
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0282.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0279.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0280.JPG
          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0278.JPG
          Last edited by Stuart; April 23, 2013, 10:24 AM.

          Comment


            Wow, that's some collection.
            I still need to read your post several more times.
            Yes please, I would certainly like the "1 off dual TMS9901 board by MPE. and 1 off 10-position E-bus backplane, made by SEF Gmbh.", also, 1 of the "4 off bare MPE FD/WD boards (as used in the PP95 system). Most ICs seem to be address decoding and buffers" if possible.
            I still have some MFM/RLL and ESDI drives so maybe I can add a hard drive to my Cortex.

            I wouldn't mind looking after the PP95 system (I can collect it) for a little while for closer analysis and documenting, long term i'd probably pass it onto somebody else due to lack of space.

            I've suitable eprom programmers for reading all the Eproms and a scanner with sheet feeder for scanning documentation.

            Better get on with some work now,

            Many thanks,

            Jim
            Last edited by Jim Hearne; April 23, 2013, 12:18 AM.

            Comment


              I have 4 spare 74LS2001 replacement PCB's spare, if anybody wants one, either the bare board or assembled then please let me know.
              Obviously I've not tested it yet but thanks to Stuart that may happen sooner than I thought.
              Cost would parts cost price plus shipping only, I'm not interested in making any money from them.

              Jim

              Comment


                Originally posted by Jim Hearne View Post
                I have 4 spare 74LS2001 replacement PCB's spare, if anybody wants one, either the bare board or assembled then please let me know.
                Obviously I've not tested it yet but thanks to Stuart that may happen sooner than I thought.
                Cost would parts cost price plus shipping only, I'm not interested in making any money from them.

                Jim
                I'll raise my hand for one if I may.

                I was rather hoping you might want to take the PP95 - one less thing to ship! It also has the E-bus memory board which you can use to help test your 74LS2001 replacement. I'll sort out what docs and disks belong with it, then give you a shout to arrange transport - I can bring up to you, or you can collect from me.

                Stuart.

                Comment


                  Hi Stuart,
                  Happy to collect when you are ready.
                  I'll certainly swap a complete 74LS2001 board for the PP95 !
                  I think I have some full height 5.25" drives which would fit your Mk1 Cortex drive bays but they will only be 40 track, not even certain if they will be double sided, they are from the original IBM XT.

                  Jim

                  Comment


                    Stuart, I'd like one of each of these if they are still available:

                    -- 4 off bare MPE FD/WD boards (as used in the PP95 system). Most ICs seem to be address decoding and buffers.

                    -- 2 off MPE 9950 CPU-E TMS9995 processor boards. Most chips missing, but one has 2 PALs fitted (address decoding?). I think we have docs for these boards.

                    Also, on the MPE Board with the dual 9901s--it is described in one of the Electronics Today articles. It should also have two Joystick ports on it. I could really use a nice picture of the bottom of the board, as I have a layout done that should allow it to be cloned, but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything important (the layout for the top side was in the article, and I sussed out the rest but it is always good to have confirmation).

                    I may have a 720K half-height as a spare around here too, Stuart.

                    Jim
                    Enter My Mind At Your Own Risk!

                    Comment


                      I've just found the full manual (inc schematics) for the Western Digital WD1002-HDO board.

                      http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stut...nual_Jul83.pdf

                      It looks like the MPE board just gives it a buffered I/O port.

                      [Added] WD did a whole series of WD1002 boards, the rest have the PC ISA bus but I wonder how similar they are to the WD1002-HDO, maybe one could be hacked up to talk to the Cortex, I'm sure I still have some of the PC versions.
                      This covers all the parts I think http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stut...s_Handbook.pdf

                      Jim
                      Last edited by Jim Hearne; April 23, 2013, 04:03 AM.

                      Comment


                        Wow, this is some really great stuff.

                        I would be very interested in trying to resurrect as much of the software as possible. Particularly, NOS would be very an interesting project and a superb contribution to the 'suite' that's been put together so far. Be time consuming though...

                        I would love the M9900 due to it's significance in my life (well that's just my opinion of course!) and I suspect I would need to use it as a foundation for some of the software restoration. Getting it going would be quite the task, but some of the equipment I work with is older than this system(!), so massive linear power supplies and 8" drives along their associated spares are within easy reach.

                        I suppose when the time comes that I've rescued as much as possible, my ultimate goal would be upgrade my emulator (or create another) with the features/functionality of the M9900. Then, if he's up for it, I would like to pass the hardware on to Jim F as he's obviously been after one of these for as long as I've had a Cortex in my life. At least it would be the right side of the Pond if/when the time comes!

                        Dave.

                        Comment


                          An update to the hardware list, and comments on things so far.

                          ----------

                          Found a few more bits of hardware in with some documentation. I've added it to the original hardware list above, and is:

                          -- 1 off populated MPE FD/WD Iss. A board (with some components and hard wiring on the back).

                          -- 1 off MPE 9950 CPU-E TMS9995 Iss. 3 processor board. All chips fitted. Forth EPROM. Two flying leads for RS-232 connections. 8K RAM, 8K ROM.

                          -- 1 off bare MPE 9950 CPU-E TMS9995 Iss. 3 processor board.

                          Photo: http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0283.JPG

                          I'll give Jim F first refusal on the TMS9995 board, since he showed interest in the earlier one. Looks like we have full documentation, plus the PAL programming terms.

                          ----------

                          The MPE FD/WD boards - if they are just buffers and decoding, they might be a useful basis for an IDE interface, which is little more than a memory mapped port. I've got one on my TM990 system along with a disk operating system which is patched into Cortex BASIC and lets you save/load programs. Should port across to the Cortex easily.

                          ----------

                          Jim H - your sheet fed scanner - is it labour intensive to use, or can you just start it going and wander off? Lots of the documentation is individual sheets of fan fold paper which might scan easily. [I can also scan through the MFD printer at work - I'll have to investigate it properly.]

                          ----------

                          Floppy drives for the Mk 1 Cortex. Thanks for the offers of drive for this. I've actually got a pair of drives that I got for my 4A that should work with this. Both a double-sided, but on one, one head is faulty and it will only work single-sided (fortunately the working head is that fitted to normal single-sided drives). I've just got a pair of cased 1/2 height ex-BBC Micro drives to use with my Cortex board and 4A.

                          ----------

                          The board with the dual 9901s is in one of the ETI articles says Jim F. I thought I recognised it! Jim, there are front and back photos below. If you need them under different lighting conditions to be able to see the traces, let me know.

                          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0285.JPG
                          http://stuartconnerdownloads.me.uk/~...f/DSCF0286.JPG

                          Stuart.

                          Comment


                            "Jim H - your sheet fed scanner - is it labour intensive to use, or can you just start it going and wander off? Lots of the documentation is individual sheets of fan fold paper which might scan easily. [I can also scan through the MFD printer at work - I'll have to investigate it properly."

                            You can load up about 100 pages A4 and then leave it.
                            It will scan double sided but it's actually quicker to scan all of one side, then all of the other side and use a program to merge the pages, I use a program that handles all that and saves as a PDF.

                            Jim

                            Comment


                              I've got a GAL programmer and various GAL's as well.
                              It's quite a while since I played with them, can you read from them to copy one ?

                              Jim

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Jim Hearne View Post
                                I've got a GAL programmer and various GAL's as well.
                                It's quite a while since I played with them, can you read from them to copy one ?

                                Jim
                                It's been my experience that the small scale devices can be copied. The larger scale CPLD's usually include a Security Bit where the device reads as blank but functions as designed. With these, the only course of action is to erase them to use them again. However, given the vintage and size of these devices, they should be OK.

                                Dave.

                                Comment

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