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RK05s, was Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: OT: What tech toys did you get for the holidays?

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  • 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 1 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
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      > 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 2 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
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        >
        > --- 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 3 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
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          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 4 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
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            >
            > 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 5 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
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              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 6 of 20 , Dec 27, 2012
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                >
                > 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 7 of 20 , Dec 28, 2012
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                  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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