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31811Re: anyone seen this old computer?

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  • s100doctor
    Jul 30, 2013
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      --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Molloy <awmolloy@...> wrote:
      >
      > I found this old computer at a surplus electronics place. It has a
      > Altair-like front switch panel. The date codes inside make me think it
      > might be from 1986, although it screams 1970s.
      >
      > I looked at the boards and didn't see a processor chip. Maybe that
      > particular board is missing?
      >
      > The style of the front panel is somewhat similar to the PCM-12 shown
      > in Nadeau's Collectible Microcomputers book.
      >
      > https://picasaweb.google.com/116301133577350947031/ComputerProductsInc?authuser=0&feat=directlink
      >
      > Andy
      >

      The front panel looks like any number of minicomputer or microcomputer "binary" front panels. I kind of agree with your analysis: it's something more often done in the 1970's, but the chips are dated 1983, 1984.

      My guess is that it's some kind of debugging or development tool, produced as a small product line by that company on the nameplate. They may have produced it for several years through the early 80's, hence the date of the chips. The PC boards look professional, the fact the backplane is hand-wired does not make it "homebrew". It's not Multibus.

      All kinds of companies produced small run products of this sort into the 1980's: before microprocessors this was the only way to make small and specialized control systems or debugging tools for them. This one was not built for control, it was built to test and debug; as far as the pictures show. It would take chip-level reverse engineering to see if it's complete enough to "run", and to see if it happens to "support" some microprocessor. It might be 8080/Z80 like, might not - more work needed.

      herb johnson
      retrotechnology.com
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