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Lambda Physik TRS 80 Model 1 scan control unit model 580

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  • B Degnan
    I read about this on cctalk and picked up from ebay last week...a scan control unit model 580 by Lambda Physik of Germany. It uses a TRS 80 model 1 as the
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 22 7:25 PM
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      I read about this on cctalk and picked up from ebay last week...a
      scan control unit model 580 by Lambda Physik of Germany. It uses a
      TRS 80 model 1 as the main computer, and the scan control unit is
      attached to the expansion port, kind of like a stringy floppy. I
      have not yet determined for sure, or if there is a SYSTEM command

      SYSTEM [return]

      */nnnnn (where nnnnn = a memory location where the ROM of the scan
      control unit is activated ??)

      Anyway, it's orange.

      I have a CBM 8296 that was adapted to serve as a particle sizer of
      some kind. I think control equipment with a vintage computer as the
      heart of the unit is especially interesting.

      So...what do you think this thing was used for?

      http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=410

      (link includes link to lots of pictures..note the card cage inside)

      Bill
    • Dan Roganti
      ... That s very interesting. I guess it s hard to find a manual for this. Taking a quick look at the front panel shows it has some Digital to Analog controls
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 22 10:22 PM
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        On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 10:25 PM, B Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote:
        I read about this on cctalk and picked up from ebay last week...a
        scan control unit model 580 by Lambda Physik of Germany.  It uses a
        TRS 80 model 1 as the main computer, and the scan control unit is
        attached to the expansion port, kind of like a stringy floppy.  I
        have not yet determined for sure, or if there is a SYSTEM command


        That's very interesting. I guess it's hard to find a manual for this. Taking a quick look at the front panel shows it has some Digital to Analog controls which output via the bnc connectors, probably to a motor controller, to spin some contraption in a lab experiment - possibly even adjust the intensity of some device, maybe the laser power. I notice some other outputs that provide a pulse signal with some variable adjustments, possible to trigger some mechanism and predetermined intervals, again for some lab experiment. Hopefully  you can find some more info online somewhere.

        =Dan
      • Christian R. Fandt
        Ahhh, yes. Something from a field I ve long thought interesting, laser optics. Predates by a bit my work with laser interferometry in linear metrology in the
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 26 5:54 AM
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          Ahhh, yes. Something from a field I've long thought interesting, laser
          optics. Predates by a bit my work with laser interferometry in linear
          metrology in the past. We didn't need equipment this complex for our work
          though. Very foggy memories of the commercially available hardware from
          then, unfortunately.

          Possibly used to tune the wavelength of some type of laser judging from the
          apparent positioning functions on the right hand panel. The electronics
          inside the attractive orange enclosure probably controls a micropositioning
          stage upon which an etalon is mounted. An etalon is an optical
          interferometer and an interferometer is an instrument used to measure
          distance, for example, through use of, in this case, interference patterns
          of light. Therefore, tiny distances. The etalon is inserted into the laser
          beam and the angle positioned such that the desired spectral output is
          obtained. If my estimations are correct from looking at the pictures, the
          system is part of an adjustable optical filter used in an extremely high
          resolution measuring system. Maybe for semiconductor manufacturing when
          submicron positioning accuracies are very important to have.

          Maybe an engineer or technician who worked at a semiconductor fab facility
          back in the days when the instrument was new could fill in more info on
          such equipment. Or an optical engineer who specialized in laser measurement
          systems more complex than I did? Back in those days early versions of laser
          lithography were being used for semiconductor mask making or even for
          direct photolithography of higher density integrated circuit chips. Man,
          you're causing me to dig through my memories --- which is a good exercise
          for older people :-)

          Then again, it could have been used in a company that was a fiber optic
          manufacturer or user and the thing could have been used as an instrument
          that would measure spectral performance of optical fibers, lens systems,
          transmitters, and/or receivers. Interesting to speculate on this. Certainly
          not something found everyday nowadays and is indeed an interesting use for
          a consumer-grade computer in a very high tech application.

          That brings to mind the distinct probability this is not a completely
          Lambda Physik-made system, but a one-off made by a well-staffed optical lab
          or even a university research/teaching lab. I'd be able to figure that out
          if I lived close by to Bill and could study the thing myself. I know
          German/European electronic and mechanical construction technique rather
          well. However, the photos show a bunch of homebrew wiring and one or more
          homemade circuit boards inside that pretty orange cabinet which pushes my
          thinking to the non-commercially made side.

          I recall Lambda Physik was a rather classy company not prone to use, um,
          cheap stuff. So, the builder had the L-P hardware at hand and then probably
          asked themselves: "Lessee, pay $20,000 or so for a computer system that
          can be used to control this thing or pay around $1000 or so?" The intended
          result could have been approximately the same between the two choices, so
          which do you figure might be chosen? ;-)

          Nevertheless, this equipment is a good example of integrating a
          then-contemporary commercially available computer system into an industrial
          type piece of equipment that is dedicated to just do something in the end.
          A type of "embedded" computing, so to speak.

          Polish it up, neaten the wiring and stuff, and treat it as an interesting
          piece of technical history. Check for an embedded custom ROM (if this
          machine had facilities for one) and see if you can come up with some
          commands. Maybe dump the contents and rummage around for something that
          makes sense. My two EPSON HX-20s used with British-made Taylor-Hobson
          metrology devices have embedded ROMs. They are used to cause the machine to
          seamlessly come up into measuring mode all ready to go and handle
          measurements taken. Wish I had those measuring machines too....

          Regards,
          Chris F.

          Upon the date 10:25 PM 3/22/2011, B Degnan said something like:
          >I read about this on cctalk and picked up from ebay last week...a
          >scan control unit model 580 by Lambda Physik of Germany. It uses a
          >TRS 80 model 1 as the main computer, and the scan control unit is
          >attached to the expansion port, kind of like a stringy floppy. I
          >have not yet determined for sure, or if there is a SYSTEM command
          >
          >SYSTEM [return]
          >
          >*/nnnnn (where nnnnn = a memory location where the ROM of the scan
          >control unit is activated ??)
          >
          >Anyway, it's orange.
          >
          >I have a CBM 8296 that was adapted to serve as a particle sizer of
          >some kind. I think control equipment with a vintage computer as the
          >heart of the unit is especially interesting.
          >
          >So...what do you think this thing was used for?
          >
          >http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=410
          >
          >(link includes link to lots of pictures..note the card cage inside)
          >
          >Bill
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >------------------------------------
          >
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          =======================================================
          Christian R. and Beverly J. Fandt
          31 Houston Avenue Electronic/Electrical Historian
          Jamestown, New York Phone: +716-488-1722
          14701-2627 USA email: cfandt@...
          Members of Antique Wireless Association
          URL: http://www.antiquewireless.org/
        • B. Degnan
          Christian. I am located in the Wilmington, Delaware area. Thanks for the info. I have alot of laser stuff too, but I gave a lot of it away to Herb Johnson a
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 26 7:31 AM
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            Christian.
            I am located in the Wilmington, Delaware area. Thanks for the info. I
            have alot of laser stuff too, but I gave a lot of it away to Herb Johnson
            a few years ago. He would probably have more ideas about the Lambda unit.

            Bill Degnan

            -------- Original Message --------
            > From: "Christian R. Fandt" <cfandt@...>
            > Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2011 8:54 AM
            > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Lambda Physik TRS 80 Model 1 scan control
            unit model 580
            >
            > Ahhh, yes. Something from a field I've long thought interesting, laser
            > optics. Predates by a bit my work with laser interferometry in linear
            > metrology in the past. We didn't need equipment this complex for our work

            > though. Very foggy memories of the commercially available hardware from
            > then, unfortunately.
            >
            > Possibly used to tune the wavelength of some type of laser judging from
            the
            > apparent positioning functions on the right hand panel. The electronics
            > inside the attractive orange enclosure probably controls a
            micropositioning
            > stage upon which an etalon is mounted. An etalon is an optical
            > interferometer and an interferometer is an instrument used to measure
            > distance, for example, through use of, in this case, interference
            patterns
            > of light. Therefore, tiny distances. The etalon is inserted into the
            laser
            > beam and the angle positioned such that the desired spectral output is
            > obtained. If my estimations are correct from looking at the pictures, the

            > system is part of an adjustable optical filter used in an extremely high

            > resolution measuring system. Maybe for semiconductor manufacturing when
            > submicron positioning accuracies are very important to have.
            >
            > Maybe an engineer or technician who worked at a semiconductor fab
            facility
            > back in the days when the instrument was new could fill in more info on
            > such equipment. Or an optical engineer who specialized in laser
            measurement
            > systems more complex than I did? Back in those days early versions of
            laser
            > lithography were being used for semiconductor mask making or even for
            > direct photolithography of higher density integrated circuit chips. Man,

            > you're causing me to dig through my memories --- which is a good exercise

            > for older people :-)
            >
            > Then again, it could have been used in a company that was a fiber optic
            > manufacturer or user and the thing could have been used as an instrument

            > that would measure spectral performance of optical fibers, lens systems,

            > transmitters, and/or receivers. Interesting to speculate on this.
            Certainly
            > not something found everyday nowadays and is indeed an interesting use
            for
            > a consumer-grade computer in a very high tech application.
            >
            > That brings to mind the distinct probability this is not a completely
            > Lambda Physik-made system, but a one-off made by a well-staffed optical
            lab
            > or even a university research/teaching lab. I'd be able to figure that
            out
            > if I lived close by to Bill and could study the thing myself. I know
            > German/European electronic and mechanical construction technique rather
            > well. However, the photos show a bunch of homebrew wiring and one or more

            > homemade circuit boards inside that pretty orange cabinet which pushes my

            > thinking to the non-commercially made side.
            >
            > I recall Lambda Physik was a rather classy company not prone to use, um,

            > cheap stuff. So, the builder had the L-P hardware at hand and then
            probably
            > asked themselves: "Lessee, pay $20,000 or so for a computer system that

            > can be used to control this thing or pay around $1000 or so?" The
            intended
            > result could have been approximately the same between the two choices, so

            > which do you figure might be chosen? ;-)
            >
            > Nevertheless, this equipment is a good example of integrating a
            > then-contemporary commercially available computer system into an
            industrial
            > type piece of equipment that is dedicated to just do something in the
            end.
            > A type of "embedded" computing, so to speak.
            >
            > Polish it up, neaten the wiring and stuff, and treat it as an interesting

            > piece of technical history. Check for an embedded custom ROM (if this
            > machine had facilities for one) and see if you can come up with some
            > commands. Maybe dump the contents and rummage around for something that
            > makes sense. My two EPSON HX-20s used with British-made Taylor-Hobson
            > metrology devices have embedded ROMs. They are used to cause the machine
            to
            > seamlessly come up into measuring mode all ready to go and handle
            > measurements taken. Wish I had those measuring machines too....
            >
            > Regards,
            > Chris F.
            >
            > Upon the date 10:25 PM 3/22/2011, B Degnan said something like:
            > >I read about this on cctalk and picked up from ebay last week...a
            > >scan control unit model 580 by Lambda Physik of Germany. It uses a
            > >TRS 80 model 1 as the main computer, and the scan control unit is
            > >attached to the expansion port, kind of like a stringy floppy. I
            > >have not yet determined for sure, or if there is a SYSTEM command
            > >
            > >SYSTEM [return]
            > >
            > >*/nnnnn (where nnnnn = a memory location where the ROM of the scan
            > >control unit is activated ??)
            > >
            > >Anyway, it's orange.
            > >
            > >I have a CBM 8296 that was adapted to serve as a particle sizer of
            > >some kind. I think control equipment with a vintage computer as the
            > >heart of the unit is especially interesting.
            > >
            > >So...what do you think this thing was used for?
            > >
            > >http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=410
            > >
            > >(link includes link to lots of pictures..note the card cage inside)
            > >
            > >Bill
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >------------------------------------
            > >
            > >Yahoo! Groups Links
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > =======================================================
            > Christian R. and Beverly J. Fandt
            > 31 Houston Avenue Electronic/Electrical Historian
            > Jamestown, New York Phone: +716-488-1722
            > 14701-2627 USA email: cfandt@...
            > Members of Antique Wireless Association
            > URL: http://www.antiquewireless.org/
            >
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
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