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Powertran Cortex

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    Originally posted by Jim Hearne View Post
    Ok, so what is NOS, all I can find on the net is that is "Network Operating System" but that seems rather later than the cortex.

    Thanks,

    Jim
    TX NOS is, I think Stephen said, the port of the DX10 O/S running on TI's range of minis. If they got this running on the Marinchip system, then I guess the 5.25" disks labelled "NOS" are the same thing ported to the PP95 with lots of RAM and the hard disk? We'll expect you to find out Jim!

    Stuart.
    Last edited by Stuart; April 25, 2013, 07:20 AM.

    Comment


      Originally posted by Jim Hearne View Post
      Ok, so what is NOS, all I can find on the net is that is "Network Operating System" but that seems rather later than the cortex.

      Thanks,

      Jim
      You correct in that's what it stands for. My understanding is that it is the bigger brother of MDEX, or put the other way round, MDEX is a cut down version of NOS. If you take a look at the MDEX USer Guide, there are a few references to it, in the System Calls section for instance. Not sure about the 'Network' aspect of it, but at the very least I believe it's multi-tasking.

      I'm not aware of any connection to DX10, as that would imply MDEX is a cut down version of DX10. Maybe it is?!

      Comment


        Originally posted by tms9995 View Post
        You correct in that's what it stands for. My understanding is that it is the bigger brother of MDEX, or put the other way round, MDEX is a cut down version of NOS. If you take a look at the MDEX USer Guide, there are a few references to it, in the System Calls section for instance. Not sure about the 'Network' aspect of it, but at the very least I believe it's multi-tasking.

        I'm not aware of any connection to DX10, as that would imply MDEX is a cut down version of DX10. Maybe it is?!
        A bit more info below from some notes that Stephen gave me. So looks like we have three O/S's, in order of increasing functionality: MDEX, NOS, TXNOS?

        (Jim F also said something earlier about the WD SASI card for the PP95)

        ======

        Marinchip M9900

        This is the enormous box with two 8 inch drives. It worked when last switched on, but has not been run
        for about 15 years. Before you switch it on I recommend that
        1) You remove all the S100 cards
        2) Waggle all the socketed chips to break any corrosion we had to do this occasionally anyway.
        3) Clean the edge connectors a rubber is good
        4) Reinsert the cards

        If you have a Variac (variable mains transformer), it would be a good idea to use it to bring the mains
        voltage up slowly on the PSU. Thus enables you to detect problems before they are fatal, and allows
        electrolytic capacitors to recover. I'm sure that Google will find you a lot more information on bringing
        up old computers.

        All the software on the box of 8 discs was set up to use the Televideo 920 terminal.

        The MDEX is standard. There's a second 64k RAM card in the box and a copy of NOS (Network
        Operating System) on the floppies.

        If you see references to TXNOS, this is a version of TI's DX10 operating system or API added to NOS.
        It got as far as running some of the DX10 software, including TI's Pascal compiler, which was then the
        bee's knees for TMS9900 development.

        Powertran Cortex

        The MDEX port for this box was done on the Marinchip M9900. I remember very little of the hardware.
        And I suspect that some of the hardware was scavenged to use with the PP95.

        PP95

        There's a little documentation. As far as I remember, this came from a Swedish of Finnish company. It's
        basically the Cortex circuitry on an industrial-grade PCB and in a proper enclosure.

        The E-bus is populated with another 64kb and a controller for a Western Digital SASI card. SASI was
        precursor of SCSI. The hard disc is 5Mb or 10Mb unit and I remember that power up was critical it
        could be that the E-bus had to be powered first, but I really do not remember.

        Comment


          I have a variac, in fact I have 2 if you want to borrow one for a while, as Stephen says, all these systems should be powered up as slowly as possible (slowly increasing the mains voltage), ideally over several hours.

          I don't want to cause disputes already but I don't think the WD card for the PP95 hard disc is SASI.
          The Shugart 612S hard drive is standard MFM (11mb) and the interface between the WD card and the outside world is just 8 memory mapped I/O ports, at least according to the WD datasheet.
          The control signals are nothing like SASI and SCSI that I can find, certainly there's no drive id's or anything like that.
          It's possible the commands for the control are related to SASI but i'm sure the hardware isn't.

          I expect the hard drive system has to be powered up first as the WD card has to be reset by an external source before it will do anything.

          Jim

          Comment


            Jim, the reason I mentioned SASI, is that every SASI controller I have ever seen is nothing more than a bunch of buffers, like what we have here for the PP95. All of them interfaced to a WD1002 which was attached to a standard MFM drive. I have a complete set up at my house using that system for a TI-99/4A. The system would accept a 5, 10, or 15 MB MFM drive, nothing larger. SASI was pretty easy to interface because of it's simplicity--and it later evolved into the SCSI-1 standard.

            And I consider it refreshing that we have the opportunity to hash out these things, as none of us had access to surviving Hard-Disk systems for our Cortices! Please continue the discussion, as you may tease out useful details that none of the rest of us have thought of.
            Enter My Mind At Your Own Risk!

            Comment


              Hi Jim,
              I think I have solved this mystery.
              What I think you have is a WD1002-SHD which indeed has a 50 pin SASI interface.
              What the PP95 is using is a WD1002-HDO which has a 40 pin host interface which seems to be intended to almost directly interface with a micro, I think on the PP95 the e-bus card just buffering the data and address bus, doing address decoding and maybe wait states.

              WD1002-SHD manual http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/p...ualAug1984.pdf
              WD1002-HDO manual http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stut...nual_Jul83.pdf

              Jim

              Comment


                You may have it, Jim. This will definitely allow us to work forward here. Now I'll just have to track down some more of these old WD controllers to target when I try to populate one of the bare E-BUS boards!
                Enter My Mind At Your Own Risk!

                Comment


                  PP95 Software

                  An update on the PP95 software, as written in the PP95 manual. I assume this lot will work on the Cortex as well? It also explains exactly what NOS is ...

                  MDEX (Marinchip Disk Executive)

                  The Marinchip Disk Executive is an operating system package for computers based around TI's TMS 99xx series of microprocessors. It has been in world-wide use since 1978 and many users will need no software other than that supplied with MDEX.

                  MDEX consists of a disk operating system core, a text editor, a full relocating assembler, a linker, a debug monitor, diagnostics, and utilities. In addition to these items a disk BASIC is provided, as is a complete text formatting (word processor) package.

                  The assembler and linker provide full assembly language programming support for the TMS 9995.

                  NOS (Network Operating System)

                  NOS is the big brother of MDEX - this operating system can be configured for multi-user operation, spooled printers, memory files and all the other buzz goodies that are only just beginning to appear on other operating systems, but have been running solidly under NOS for some time. A professional operating system at a very reasonable price.

                  PASCAL

                  A version of PASCAL (Per Brinch Hansen'd Secuential(sic) Pascal) that compiles to pseudocode which executes under the regular operating system.

                  QBASIC

                  A BASIC compiler rather than an interpreter, so it is fast. QBASIC is source code compatible with the popular C-BASIC II for CP/M systems. Programs which run too slowly under CP/M can be transferred to the PP95, recompiled, and then run at higher speed.

                  FORTH

                  A completely new implementation is being developed that will allow the PP95 to be used to develop software for other processors.

                  META

                  META - ever fancied writing a compiler? This is the tool that lets you do it. Feed in the grammar, rules, and code-generation methods of your language into META, and out pops a compiler for that language.

                  SPL

                  A system programming language similar to C and BCPL. CP/M and IBM file transfer utilities - copy software from 8" CP/M format or IBM format disk to and from Marinchip operating system. Note that at least one 8" disk drive is required for these. This way files can be transported to other computers.

                  WINDOW

                  A full screen editor for serious use with many facilities.

                  Comment


                    Meta sounds like fun, write your own programming language.

                    Is there much in the way of Schematics and/or pcb's layouts ?, especially for the E-bus boards.
                    I guess some of it might be on the disks though I'm not sure schematics and pcb layouts would have been done on a computer back that, very early days for that sort of thing.

                    Jim

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by Jim Hearne View Post
                      Meta sounds like fun, write your own programming language.

                      Is there much in the way of Schematics and/or pcb's layouts ?, especially for the E-bus boards.
                      I guess some of it might be on the disks though I'm not sure schematics and pcb layouts would have been done on a computer back that, very early days for that sort of thing.

                      Jim
                      More schematics and PCB layouts than you can shake a solder sucker at. Compiling a list at the moment.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Stuart View Post
                        An update on the PP95 software, as written in the PP95 manual. I assume this lot will work on the Cortex as well? It also explains exactly what NOS is ...

                        MDEX (Marinchip Disk Executive)

                        The Marinchip Disk Executive is an operating system package for computers based around TI's TMS 99xx series of microprocessors. It has been in world-wide use since 1978 and many users will need no software other than that supplied with MDEX.

                        MDEX consists of a disk operating system core, a text editor, a full relocating assembler, a linker, a debug monitor, diagnostics, and utilities. In addition to these items a disk BASIC is provided, as is a complete text formatting (word processor) package.

                        The assembler and linker provide full assembly language programming support for the TMS 9995.

                        NOS (Network Operating System)

                        NOS is the big brother of MDEX - this operating system can be configured for multi-user operation, spooled printers, memory files and all the other buzz goodies that are only just beginning to appear on other operating systems, but have been running solidly under NOS for some time. A professional operating system at a very reasonable price.

                        PASCAL

                        A version of PASCAL (Per Brinch Hansen'd Secuential(sic) Pascal) that compiles to pseudocode which executes under the regular operating system.

                        QBASIC

                        A BASIC compiler rather than an interpreter, so it is fast. QBASIC is source code compatible with the popular C-BASIC II for CP/M systems. Programs which run too slowly under CP/M can be transferred to the PP95, recompiled, and then run at higher speed.

                        FORTH

                        A completely new implementation is being developed that will allow the PP95 to be used to develop software for other processors.

                        META

                        META - ever fancied writing a compiler? This is the tool that lets you do it. Feed in the grammar, rules, and code-generation methods of your language into META, and out pops a compiler for that language.

                        SPL

                        A system programming language similar to C and BCPL. CP/M and IBM file transfer utilities - copy software from 8" CP/M format or IBM format disk to and from Marinchip operating system. Note that at least one 8" disk drive is required for these. This way files can be transported to other computers.

                        WINDOW

                        A full screen editor for serious use with many facilities.

                        Yes they all do work on a standard Cortex running MDEX. Like I said before, I did a "Hello World!" for each of them and an accompanying README explaining how to edit, compile and run them. These are in the MDEX disks on the website.

                        The only one I couldn't salvage for Meta. Also the manual for this was rather sketchy and incomplete.

                        Two versions of Window are provided to cover 40 and 80 column operation.

                        Dave.

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by Stuart View Post
                          The assembler and linker provide full assembly language programming support for the TMS 9995.
                          That's interesting because the assembler that's part of the Cortex MDEX doesn't recognise the additional TMS 9995 instructions.

                          Comment


                            There a pair of TMS9995 on Ebay UK at the moment.
                            http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/230970688697

                            Jim

                            Comment


                              On an MPE flyer ...

                              "WORD PROCESSOR by David Hunter. 13.00 only on disk. Make your Cortex do some real work! Includes word wrap, right hand justification, works with either CENTRONICS or RS232 printers."

                              So did you make enough money to retire on Dave?

                              Comment


                                MPE Documentation and Paperwork

                                MPE Stuff - Documentation and Paperwork.zip

                                List of documentation and paperwork retrieved from MPE attached, as a zipped Word file. Have included a column of where I think each item should go - happy to receive requests to redirect!

                                Hopefully over time we can get things scanned in and uploaded onto the web for others.

                                Stuart.

                                Comment

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