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Identifying some things

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  • Kyle Owen
    I came across a Unibus card for a PDP-8/E, though I don t know its purpose. My online searches have resulted in no (even close) matches. The handles on the
    Message 1 of 12 , May 1, 2013
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      I came across a Unibus card for a PDP-8/E, though I don't know its purpose. My online searches have resulted in no (even close) matches. The handles on the card say Y006, and the card itself says "G101 Display Bd. for PDP 8E" on the solder side. Judging from the empty sockets and two sets of three pads with no components populated (yet with remnants of solder on the pads), I'd say this card is missing some things. I have a feeling there were two ten-turn pots on the board judging from the placement of those pads. Any ideas? I'm not (yet) a DEC collector, but I hope to be soon.

      Secondly, I found a mechanical analog computer that belongs to the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at my university. Any ideas as to what it is, exactly? It seems to have been partially parted out, but most of it still remains. Part of the case is missing, and some screws/nuts also seem to be absent. I think I also spotted some cut wires. I couldn't really dig up any further info on what its purpose was.

      I uploaded an album here: http://imgur.com/a/d0iCD

      Thanks,

      Kyle
    • Dave McGuire
      ... That would be Omnibus. Omnibus is the bus that PDP-8/e computer use. Unibus is used by some PDP-11s, some VAXen, and some PDP-10 family machines. No
      Message 2 of 12 , May 1, 2013
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        On 05/01/2013 06:58 PM, Kyle Owen wrote:
        > I came across a Unibus card for a PDP-8/E,

        That would be Omnibus. Omnibus is the bus that PDP-8/e computer use.
        Unibus is used by some PDP-11s, some VAXen, and some PDP-10 family
        machines. No PDP-8 computers ever used Unibus.

        > though I don't know its
        > purpose. My online searches have resulted in no (even close) matches.
        > The handles on the card say Y006, and the card itself says "G101 Display
        > Bd. for PDP 8E" on the solder side. Judging from the empty sockets and
        > two sets of three pads with no components populated (yet with remnants
        > of solder on the pads), I'd say this card is missing some things. I have
        > a feeling there were two ten-turn pots on the board judging from the
        > placement of those pads. Any ideas? I'm not (yet) a DEC collector, but I
        > hope to be soon.

        How delightfully odd! I don't think I've EVER seen a Y (yellow)
        series module. I'll dig around a bit and see what it might be.

        > Secondly, I found a mechanical analog computer that belongs to the
        > Electrical and Computer Engineering department at my university. Any
        > ideas as to what it is, exactly? It seems to have been partially parted
        > out, but most of it still remains. Part of the case is missing, and some
        > screws/nuts also seem to be absent. I think I also spotted some cut
        > wires. I couldn't really dig up any further info on what its purpose was.
        >
        > I uploaded an album here: http://imgur.com/a/d0iCD

        LOVE that mechanical beast!

        -Dave

        --
        Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
        New Kensington, PA
      • Cory Smelosky
        ... If only there were QBus micropdp-10s made by DEC. ;) ... Now that s an interesting machine!
        Message 3 of 12 , May 1, 2013
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          On 1 May 2013, at 19:05, "Dave McGuire" <Mcguire@...> wrote:

          >
          > On 05/01/2013 06:58 PM, Kyle Owen wrote:
          >> I came across a Unibus card for a PDP-8/E,
          >
          > That would be Omnibus. Omnibus is the bus that PDP-8/e computer use.
          > Unibus is used by some PDP-11s, some VAXen, and some PDP-10 family
          > machines. No PDP-8 computers ever used Unibus.

          If only there were QBus micropdp-10s made by DEC. ;)

          >
          >> though I don't know its
          >> purpose. My online searches have resulted in no (even close) matches.
          >> The handles on the card say Y006, and the card itself says "G101 Display
          >> Bd. for PDP 8E" on the solder side. Judging from the empty sockets and
          >> two sets of three pads with no components populated (yet with remnants
          >> of solder on the pads), I'd say this card is missing some things. I have
          >> a feeling there were two ten-turn pots on the board judging from the
          >> placement of those pads. Any ideas? I'm not (yet) a DEC collector, but I
          >> hope to be soon.
          >
          > How delightfully odd! I don't think I've EVER seen a Y (yellow)
          > series module. I'll dig around a bit and see what it might be.
          >
          >> Secondly, I found a mechanical analog computer that belongs to the
          >> Electrical and Computer Engineering department at my university. Any
          >> ideas as to what it is, exactly? It seems to have been partially parted
          >> out, but most of it still remains. Part of the case is missing, and some
          >> screws/nuts also seem to be absent. I think I also spotted some cut
          >> wires. I couldn't really dig up any further info on what its purpose was.
          >>
          >> I uploaded an album here: http://imgur.com/a/d0iCD
          >

          Now that's an interesting machine!

          > LOVE that mechanical beast!
          >
          > -Dave
          >
          > --
          > Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
          > New Kensington, PA
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Kyle Owen
          On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 6:05 PM, Dave McGuire wrote: That would be Omnibus. Omnibus is the bus that PDP-8/e computer use. ... Ahh, I
          Message 4 of 12 , May 1, 2013
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            On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 6:05 PM, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:

            That would be Omnibus. Omnibus is the bus that PDP-8/e computer use.
            Unibus is used by some PDP-11s, some VAXen, and some PDP-10 family
            machines. No PDP-8 computers ever used Unibus.

            Ahh, I told you I wasn't a DEC person...yet! :) Slowly learning, I'd say. Things might get a little interesting this summer, even in a couple of weeks. More on this later! (and no, I didn't get the LINC-8, haha)
             
            How delightfully odd! I don't think I've EVER seen a Y (yellow)
            series module. I'll dig around a bit and see what it might be.

            Now if you haven't seen one, you've really got my curiosity piqued now. I'm hoping Mr. Gesswein will chime in too. 

            LOVE that mechanical beast!

            I do too. I intend to pursue at least a Masters while I'm here, so maybe I'll get a chance to tinker with it. There are a few other beasts in the "dungeon" (that's really what they call it!) that need to be revived. I'm afraid I've not been successful thus far at convincing the authority that we need an interactive display in the building. I've got enough stuff to provide, from antique vacuum cleaners, telephones, cameras, typewriters, fans, computers...you get the idea!

            Kyle
          • Cory Smelosky
            ... Now I m half-interested in creating a TELEX network over modern technology with real hardware. ;) ... -- Cory Smelosky http://gewt.net/ Personal stuff
            Message 5 of 12 , May 1, 2013
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              On Wed, 2 May 2013, Kyle Owen wrote:

              >
              >
              > On Wed, May 1, 2013 at 6:05 PM, Dave McGuire <Mcguire@...> wrote:
              > That would be Omnibus. Omnibus is the bus that PDP-8/e computer use.
              > Unibus is used by some PDP-11s, some VAXen, and some PDP-10 family
              > machines. No PDP-8 computers ever used Unibus.
              >
              >
              > Ahh, I told you I wasn't a DEC person...yet! :) Slowly learning, I'd say. Things might get a little interesting this summer, even in a couple of weeks. More on this
              > later! (and no, I didn't get the LINC-8, haha)
              >  
              > How delightfully odd! I don't think I've EVER seen a Y (yellow)
              > series module. I'll dig around a bit and see what it might be.
              >
              >
              > Now if you haven't seen one, you've really got my curiosity piqued now. I'm hoping Mr. Gesswein will chime in too. 
              >
              > LOVE that mechanical beast!
              >
              >
              > I do too. I intend to pursue at least a Masters while I'm here, so maybe I'll get a chance to tinker with it. There are a few other beasts in the "dungeon" (that's
              > really what they call it!) that need to be revived. I'm afraid I've not been successful thus far at convincing the authority that we need an interactive display in
              > the building. I've got enough stuff to provide, from antique vacuum cleaners, telephones, cameras, typewriters, fans, computers...you get the idea!
              >

              Now I'm half-interested in creating a TELEX network over modern technology
              with real hardware. ;)

              > Kyle
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >

              --
              Cory Smelosky
              http://gewt.net/ Personal stuff
              http://gimme-sympathy.org Experiments
            • Stephen L
              Hi Kyle, Fascinating finds! Regarding the electromechanical beast, my (vague) theory would be that it is a multiple function generator. The wheels appear to be
              Message 6 of 12 , May 2, 2013
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                Hi Kyle,

                Fascinating finds!

                Regarding the electromechanical beast, my (vague) theory would be that
                it is a multiple function generator. The wheels appear to be shaped to
                create functions. The position of a sensor arm riding on the outer edge
                of each wheel might drive a precision pot, yielding an analog function.
                The input to the function is provided by the motor controlling the
                position of the wheels. That could either be a function of time or
                perhaps servo-controlled to a voltage value.

                The overall unit could have been used with an analog computer or perhaps
                to drive laboratory equipment for some specific purpose. Back in the
                days of vacuum tube analog computers for example, multiplying and trig
                functions could be done by using servo-controlled potentiometers.

                --- All interpretations of your beast are just speculation on my part,
                of course.
                -------------------------

                Regarding the G101 board, my first thought was that is might be for the
                VC8-E point plot display system. I see from Dave Gesswein's site though,
                that the controller boards for that are M869 and M885. So that at least
                eliminates a possibility, anyway.

                Steve L.
              • Kyle Owen
                ... Quite possible! I think there s certainly enough stuff there to interface it to another machine, as you mentioned. The black bezel at the top seems to be
                Message 7 of 12 , May 2, 2013
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                  On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 11:53 AM, Stephen L <steve@...> wrote:

                  Regarding the electromechanical beast, my (vague) theory would be that
                  it is a multiple function generator. The wheels appear to be shaped to
                  create functions. The position of a sensor arm riding on the outer edge
                  of each wheel might drive a precision pot, yielding an analog function.
                  The input to the function is provided by the motor controlling the
                  position of the wheels. That could either be a function of time or
                  perhaps servo-controlled to a voltage value.

                  The overall unit could have been used with an analog computer or perhaps
                  to drive laboratory equipment for some specific purpose. Back in the
                  days of vacuum tube analog computers for example, multiplying and trig
                  functions could be done by using servo-controlled potentiometers.

                  Quite possible! I think there's certainly enough stuff there to interface it to another machine, as you mentioned. The black bezel at the top seems to be an incandescent light-guide display, but I haven't looked at it enough in detail to confirm. The lack of controls on it definitely hints that it was interfaced to something else, though. 

                  I'm going to talk to one of the older professors around here to see if he remembers where it came from. Another guy mentioned he vaguely remembers it coming from NASA and may have been used to simulate flight and what not, probably in the 1950s. 

                  Regarding the G101 board, my first thought was that is might be for the
                  VC8-E point plot display system. I see from Dave Gesswein's site though,
                  that the controller boards for that are M869 and M885. So that at least
                  eliminates a possibility, anyway.

                  Yeah, I was thinking something along the lines of that, but after an hour of searching, I've still yet to see another yellow-series board. Pretty odd!

                  Kyle
                • David Gesswein
                  ... I didn t find much either. This posting indicated DEC used yellow for custom stuff.
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 2, 2013
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                    On Wed, May 01, 2013 at 05:58:25PM -0500, Kyle Owen wrote:
                    > I came across a Unibus card for a PDP-8/E, though I don't know its purpose.
                    > My online searches have resulted in no (even close) matches. The handles on
                    > the card say Y006, and the card itself says "G101 Display Bd. for PDP 8E"
                    > on the solder side. Judging from the empty sockets and two sets of three
                    > pads with no components populated (yet with remnants of solder on the
                    > pads), I'd say this card is missing some things. I have a feeling there
                    > were two ten-turn pots on the board judging from the placement of those
                    > pads. Any ideas? I'm not (yet) a DEC collector, but I hope to be soon.
                    >
                    I didn't find much either. This posting indicated DEC used yellow for
                    custom stuff.

                    https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/alt.folklore.computers/kr9dUiemlvA

                    Does the back of the handles say digital equipment?
                  • Kyle Owen
                    ... https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/alt.folklore.computers/kr9dUiemlvA ... Yes, it does. Quite an interesting find, then. I may take some
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 2, 2013
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                      On May 2, 2013 8:42 PM, "David Gesswein" <djg@...> wrote:

                      >
                      > I didn't find much either. This posting indicated DEC used yellow for
                      > custom stuff.
                      >
                      > https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/alt.folklore.computers/kr9dUiemlvA
                      >
                      > Does the back of the handles say digital equipment?
                      >

                      Yes, it does. Quite an interesting find, then. I may take some time to capture the schematic. I'd love to know what it did.

                      Kyle

                    • Dave McGuire
                      ... It s all 7400-series TTL, right? That shouldn t be too tough to do. I d be very interested to know what it was for as well. -Dave -- Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 2, 2013
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                        On 05/02/2013 11:16 PM, Kyle Owen wrote:
                        >> I didn't find much either. This posting indicated DEC used yellow for
                        >> custom stuff.
                        >
                        > https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/alt.folklore.computers/kr9dUiemlvA
                        >>
                        >> Does the back of the handles say digital equipment?
                        >
                        > Yes, it does. Quite an interesting find, then. I may take some time to
                        > capture the schematic. I'd love to know what it did.

                        It's all 7400-series TTL, right? That shouldn't be too tough to do. I'd
                        be very interested to know what it was for as well.

                        -Dave

                        --
                        Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                        New Kensington, PA
                      • s100doctor
                        ... Chase this reference down: S. Pardee, Rosenfeld, Dowd G101 - a remote time share terminal with graphic output capabilities IEEE transactions on
                        Message 11 of 12 , May 7, 2013
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                          --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, Kyle Owen <kylevowen@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > I came across a Unibus card for a PDP-8/E, though I don't know its purpose.
                          > My online searches have resulted in no (even close) matches. The handles on
                          > the card say Y006, and the card itself says "G101 Display Bd. for PDP 8E"
                          > on the solder side.

                          Chase this reference down:

                          S. Pardee, Rosenfeld, Dowd "G101 - a remote time share terminal with graphic output capabilities" IEEE transactions on computers, Vol C-20, no. 8, Aug 1971, page 878. You'll need an engineering university library or an IEEE membership.

                          Herb
                        • s100doctor
                          ... I concur with Stephen s observations. Kyle, if you send me detailed photos of ONE of the 20 modules or assemblies - ONE disk thingy and the mechanics that
                          Message 12 of 12 , May 7, 2013
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                            > On Thu, May 2, 2013 at 11:53 AM, Stephen L <steve@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > Regarding the electromechanical beast, my (vague) theory would be that
                            > > it is a multiple function generator.

                            I concur with Stephen's observations. Kyle, if you send me detailed photos of ONE of the 20 modules or assemblies - ONE disk thingy and the mechanics that are in contact with it - then I can be more informative. The photos will be needed documentation anyway. Photos of the labels on pots and motor and any power-supply parts, may well date the assembly.

                            The charming thing about this item, is that it's very likely you can "decode" the information content. To a first order, you'd rotate the shaft assembly and "read out" the potentiometers. Manual rotation and a digital ohmmeter could do that, in a tedious way. Then a spreadsheet of those values (and interpolation) could simulate actual operation.

                            The next step would be to operate the motor, however that's driven; and to digitize the analog outputs. In fact....the pots could drive 555 timers and directly produce a frequency proportional to value! All of that would be a fun project, and be a nice display.

                            HErb Johnson
                            retrotechnology.com
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