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Re: [midatlanticretro] OT: What tech toys did you get for the holidays?

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  • David Comley
    ... This year s loot was good. I got the rest of the parts for my SBC6120/FP6120 kit. I may try to assemble it over New Year. Still need to figure out the big
    Message 1 of 20 , Dec 26, 2012
      On Dec 25, 2012, at 11:01 PM, evan@... wrote:

       

      Here's a fun discussion subject: what tech gadgets did everyone get for (name your winter celebration)?

      This year's loot was good.

      I got the rest of the parts for my SBC6120/FP6120 kit. I may try to assemble it over New Year. Still need to figure out the big mating connector that goes betwixt the boards.

      Also got a ton of Meccano, mostly gears and brass parts, and a Kodak Rainbow Vest Pocket camera made in 1931.

      -David


    • Mike Loewen
      I didn t get any tech toys, but did spend some time working on my 1984 vintage Morrow MD11. The commonly available master disk images are set up for a Morrow
      Message 2 of 20 , Dec 26, 2012
        I didn't get any tech toys, but did spend some time working on my 1984
        vintage Morrow MD11. The commonly available master disk images are set up
        for a Morrow terminal, and the setup utilities don't display correctly on
        my terminal emulator (VT100). Through some arcane image file
        manipulation, I got the INIT.COM and TERMINAL.DAT files copied onto the
        first master disk, and configured it for a VT100. Amazingly, the hard
        drive is still functional, and I loaded CP/M 3.0 along with several
        applications.

        The Micro Decision MD11 was one of a series of hard drive-equipped
        systems of various sizes, including the MD5, MD16 and MD34. They all had
        128KB RAM on a single main board with a 4MHz Z80A, and ran CP/M 3.0. The
        bundled software included:

        NewWord (word processor)
        SuperCalc (spreadsheet)
        MBASIC-80
        Personal Pearl (database)
        Quest (bookkeeper)
        Correct-It (spell checker)
        PILOT (menu/scripting language)
        Backfield (backup/restore)

        The MD11 is housed in an unfortunate beige box, but is still
        interesting. Here's a picture of a complete system:

        http://maben.homeip.net/static/S100/morrow/photos/Morrow%20Micro%20Decision%20MD11%20another.jpg

        I only have the CPU unit.


        Mike Loewen mloewen@...
        Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
      • Stephen L
        As I stretched to go running on the morning of Dec. 20th, I caught sight of a large box on the porch, outside the window. OMG, the DEC RK05 hard drive had
        Message 3 of 20 , Dec 26, 2012
          As I stretched to go running on the morning of Dec. 20th, I caught sight of a large box on the porch, outside the window. OMG, the DEC RK05 hard drive had arrived. All 110-lbs of it! Having just restored a PDP-8/M, I decided to take the plunge and get a disk drive system for it, as a Christmas goodie.

          There is much work to do before I can think about booting OS/8, though. Vacuumed it out and noticed that the foam seals will need to be replaced, along with other things. Have acquired two of the three cards of the RK8E disk controller set for the PDP8 but M7105 is still missing. Also have to build some replacements for the H851 top connector blocks which DEC used to make connections between boards in a set.

          Need a disk cartridge (RK05K) for it. Those are hard-sectored, with different numbers of sectors for the PDP8 and PDP11. Have only found PDP11 type, so far. However, I have an idea for an RK05 mod, which will give it soft-sector capability and make it possible to use either type cartridge with it. Will be going ahead with that.

          Ah, just love playing with new toys, after Christmas :)

          Steve L.
          http://www.tronola.com/
        • joshbensadon
          ... Very cool! I guess I was lucky, my terminal only had a dirty brightness pot. It also needs a screen glass job, but it s not so bad, so I ll hold off for
          Message 4 of 20 , Dec 26, 2012
            > I treated myself to a completely non-functional ADM-3 terminal. It's a load


            Very cool! I guess I was lucky, my terminal only had a dirty brightness pot. It also needs a screen glass job, but it's not so bad, so I'll hold off for now.

            :)
          • Kyle Owen
            ... Lucky indeed! The screen restoration is really easy. Stinky, but easy. I would recommend my method of hot glue to glue the glass plate onto the CRT, since
            Message 5 of 20 , Dec 26, 2012
              On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM, joshbensadon <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
               

              > I treated myself to a completely non-functional ADM-3 terminal. It's a load

              Very cool! I guess I was lucky, my terminal only had a dirty brightness pot. It also needs a screen glass job, but it's not so bad, so I'll hold off for now.

              :)

               
              Lucky indeed! The screen restoration is really easy. Stinky, but easy. I would recommend my method of hot glue to glue the glass plate onto the CRT, since you can get the original spacing correct such that reassembly doesn't leave a large gap between the case and the glass. That is, if you do have plans to get around to it at all. 

              Odd thing; I bought what was advertised as an ADM-3A, and when it arrived, it turns out it's just an old -3. I guess that means no cursor commands or lowercase for me. :(
            • Dave McGuire
              ... This is great stuff. :-) One of my 8/e systems has an RK05 on it. (well, two, but one needs a rebuild) RK05s are a very good match for OS/8. I have a
              Message 6 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
                On 12/26/2012 04:17 PM, Stephen L wrote:
                > As I stretched to go running on the morning of Dec. 20th, I caught
                > sight of a large box on the porch, outside the window. OMG, the DEC
                > RK05 hard drive had arrived. All 110-lbs of it! Having just restored
                > a PDP-8/M, I decided to take the plunge and get a disk drive system
                > for it, as a Christmas goodie.
                >
                > There is much work to do before I can think about booting OS/8,
                > though. Vacuumed it out and noticed that the foam seals will need to
                > be replaced, along with other things. Have acquired two of the three
                > cards of the RK8E disk controller set for the PDP8 but M7105 is still
                > missing. Also have to build some replacements for the H851 top
                > connector blocks which DEC used to make connections between boards in
                > a set.
                >
                > Need a disk cartridge (RK05K) for it. Those are hard-sectored, with
                > different numbers of sectors for the PDP8 and PDP11. Have only found
                > PDP11 type, so far. However, I have an idea for an RK05 mod, which
                > will give it soft-sector capability and make it possible to use
                > either type cartridge with it. Will be going ahead with that.
                >
                > Ah, just love playing with new toys, after Christmas :)

                This is great stuff. :-) One of my 8/e systems has an RK05 on it.
                (well, two, but one needs a rebuild) RK05s are a very good match for OS/8.

                I have a friend who may have some RK8E spares. I will ask him.

                I like your idea of soft-sectorizing the RK05. That would be
                fantastic, as the 16-sector packs are very hard to find. 12-sector (for
                PDP-11s) are far more common.

                -Dave

                --
                Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                New Kensington, PA
              • Stephen L
                ... So I snapped up a few of those, which has reduced the need for the soft-sectoring mod. I still might pursue that, though, since others have expressed
                Message 7 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
                  > This is great stuff. :-) One of my 8/e systems has an RK05 on it.
                  > (well, two, but one needs a rebuild) RK05s are a very good match for OS/8.

                  --- Thanks for the kind reply, Dave. My dream is to recreate the the PDP-8 system I used back in school, circa 1974. Would love to hear the good old "tink, tink" of disk access again, after 38-years. Back then, after struggling for weeks with the minimal paper-tape based PDP-8 system upstairs upstairs in the EE lab, I had discovered the maxed out PDP-8/RK05 etc., down in the controls lab. That "tink, tink" of programs loading instantly, was the sweetest thing I'd ever heard :)

                  > I have a friend who may have some RK8E spares. I will ask him.

                  --- Please let me know what he says. Will be happy to pay full market value for the M7105 board!

                  > I like your idea of soft-sectorizing the RK05. That would be
                  > fantastic, as the 16-sector packs are very hard to find. 12-sector (for PDP-11s) are far more common.

                  --- Thanks. Yes, I had been beating the bushes, trying to find packs for the PDP-8, without success. Then late yesterday, I spoke with some kind folks at Athana.com. Seems that they used to make them and still have 200, 16-sector cartridges in stock. They are "new," which is great. However, that means that they sell for $150 (singly), which is more than the refurb cartridges one sees on the market. Still, it's nice to find the 16-sector ones at all, let alone "new" ones.

                  So I snapped up a few of those, which has reduced the need for the soft-sectoring mod. I still might pursue that, though, since others have expressed interest. The mod isn't that big a deal, really. The idea is to work from the index pulse, which occurs once/revolution. A PLL multiplies that up 16X in frequency, to get the sector pulses, which would be substituted for the hard-detected ones. It should pretty much drop right in.
                • B. Degnan
                  ... the PDP-8, without success. Then late yesterday, I spoke with some kind folks at Athana.com. Seems that they used to make them and still have 200,
                  Message 8 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
                    >
                    > --- Thanks. Yes, I had been beating the bushes, trying to find packs for
                    the PDP-8, without success. Then late yesterday, I spoke with some kind
                    folks at Athana.com. Seems that they used to make them and still have 200,
                    16-sector cartridges in stock. They are "new," which is great. However,
                    that means that they sell for $150 (singly), which is more than the refurb
                    cartridges one sees on the market. Still, it's nice to find the 16-sector
                    ones at all, let alone "new" ones.
                    >

                    I agree it's worth it. Do you really want to risk your RK05s on unknown
                    status disk packs?

                    > So I snapped up a few of those, which has reduced the need for the
                    soft-sectoring mod. I still might pursue that, though, since others have
                    expressed interest. The mod isn't that big a deal, really. The idea is to
                    work from the index pulse, which occurs once/revolution. A PLL multiplies
                    that up 16X in frequency, to get the sector pulses, which would be
                    substituted for the hard-detected ones. It should pretty much drop right
                    in.
                    >

                    Fortunately I have 4 RK05's for my 8e (two original packs, and copies of
                    the two). I wish I had spares for you, but I would be happy to make you a
                    boot disk if you send me your new pack. I have the system set up and ready
                    to go, I am in Landenberg, PA.

                    BIll
                  • Stephen L
                    Hi Bill, ... Athana said that some of their staff is out for the holidays, so the disks won t ship until next week. There s a week transit from CA and perhaps
                    Message 9 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
                      Hi Bill,

                      > Fortunately I have 4 RK05's for my 8e (two original packs, and
                      > copies of the two). I wish I had spares for you, but I would be
                      > happy to make you a boot disk if you send me your new pack. I have
                      > the system set up and ready to go, I am in Landenberg, PA.

                      --- Awesome systems! Geez, I would really appreciate that. It would save a major hassle in trying to build OS/8 from paper tape images. Prior to that, having a known good disk to read would also facilitate drive/controller hardware debugging. I won't have an alignment cart, so this drive might not initially align with your tracks. However, I'm optimistic that I can work out a way to align to those tracks.

                      Athana said that some of their staff is out for the holidays, so the disks won't ship until next week. There's a week transit from CA and perhaps a couple days to PA, so it might be Jan. 15th before I can get it to you.

                      There's plenty of work to do here, refurbishing the RK05, making H851-type top connectors and such, not to mention finding an M7105. All good fun. Love playing with the toys :)

                      Thanks, Steve

                      PS: I'm still looking for a second RK05 drive, in case you hear of any available.
                    • B. Degnan
                      ... Correction - I have 4 disk packs for my two RK05 s. They re set up in tandem as drive 0 and 1. http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=314 ... a
                      Message 10 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
                        >
                        > Hi Bill,
                        >
                        > > Fortunately I have 4 RK05's for my 8e (two original packs, and
                        > > copies of the two). I wish I had spares for you, but I would be
                        > > happy to make you a boot disk if you send me your new pack. I have
                        > > the system set up and ready to go, I am in Landenberg, PA.

                        Correction - I have 4 disk packs for my two RK05's. They're set up in
                        tandem as drive 0 and 1.
                        http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=314


                        >
                        > --- Awesome systems! Geez, I would really appreciate that. It would save
                        a major hassle in trying to build OS/8 from paper tape images. Prior to
                        that, having a known good disk to read would also facilitate
                        drive/controller hardware debugging. I won't have an alignment cart, so
                        this drive might not initially align with your tracks. However, I'm
                        optimistic that I can work out a way to align to those tracks.
                        >
                        > Athana said that some of their staff is out for the holidays, so the
                        disks won't ship until next week. There's a week transit from CA and
                        perhaps a couple days to PA, so it might be Jan. 15th before I can get it
                        to you.

                        OK. I ordered a few too, why not.

                        Bill
                      • David Gesswein
                        ... If you think the head alignment is off I d start with a new pack and try formating in then running the standalone diagnostics. That way the alignment won t
                        Message 11 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
                          On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 12:28:30AM -0000, Stephen L wrote:
                          > Hi Bill,
                          >
                          > > Fortunately I have 4 RK05's for my 8e (two original packs, and
                          > > copies of the two). I wish I had spares for you, but I would be
                          > > happy to make you a boot disk if you send me your new pack. I have
                          > > the system set up and ready to go, I am in Landenberg, PA.
                          >
                          > --- Awesome systems! Geez, I would really appreciate that. It would save
                          > a major hassle in trying to build OS/8 from paper tape images. Prior to
                          > that, having a known good disk to read would also
                          > facilitate drive/controller hardware debugging. I won't have an
                          > alignment cart, so this drive might not initially align with your tracks.
                          > However, I'm optimistic that I can work out a way to align to those tracks.
                          >
                          If you think the head alignment is off I'd start with a new pack and
                          try formating in then running the standalone diagnostics. That way
                          the alignment won't matter. Then try a pack with known good contents.
                          The head alignment seems pretty stable so you should be ok as long as
                          you didn't have to disassemble anything on the positioner. My drives
                          exchanged packs fine and when I checked with my alignment pack they
                          weren't that far off. Certain hardware faults can also prevent reading of a
                          good pack but work fine on a self formatted pack. I had a counter fail
                          that set one of the track header delays wrong that caused that symptom.

                          If you hadn't noticed the drive has a battery pack to retract the heads
                          when power is lost. It's normally bad if the drive has been sitting
                          around.

                          FYI: I have software that will dump and restore pack contents to a
                          PC.
                          http://www.pdp8online.com/ftp/software/dumprest/
                          and images here
                          http://www.pdp8online.com/images/index.shtml
                        • B. Degnan
                          ... Dave - Assuming my battery pack is long dead, if it s there at all, are they prone to leakage and cause damage - should I attend to this immediately? Bill
                          Message 12 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
                            >
                            > If you hadn't noticed the drive has a battery pack to retract the heads
                            > when power is lost. It's normally bad if the drive has been sitting
                            > around.
                            >

                            Dave - Assuming my battery pack is long dead, if it's there at all, are
                            they prone to leakage and cause damage - should I attend to this
                            immediately?

                            Bill
                          • Stephen L
                            Hi Dave, ... get to that point. Need to reform/checkout/fix the power supplies and deal with the decaying foam. The foam collar between the blower and the card
                            Message 13 of 20 , Dec 28, 2012
                              Hi Dave,

                              > If you think the head alignment is off I'd start with a new pack and
                              > try formating in then running the standalone diagnostics. That way
                              > the alignment won't matter. Then try a pack with known good contents.

                              --- Sounds like a good plan. Of course, there is a lot of work to do to get to that point. Need to reform/checkout/fix the power supplies and deal with the decaying foam. The foam collar between the blower and the card cage is mostly gone. The prefilter and holder are gone...

                              > The head alignment seems pretty stable so you should be ok as long as
                              > you didn't have to disassemble anything on the positioner. My drives
                              > exchanged packs fine and when I checked with my alignment pack they
                              > weren't that far off.

                              --- That's very encouraging :)

                              > If you hadn't noticed the drive has a battery pack to retract the heads
                              > when power is lost. It's normally bad if the drive has been sitting
                              > around.

                              --- Yeah, I've been giving that the hairy eyeball, trying to think of a better solution. Will probably just replace it, though.

                              > FYI: I have software that will dump and restore pack contents to a PC.

                              --- Thanks. That will be very useful for a backup, until I can acquire another RK05. Bill has kindly offered to write an OS/8 image on a disk pack, to get me started.

                              Love your site, by the way. Awed by all you've done.

                              Steve L.
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