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TI 9900 based mystery system - can you identify?

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  • B Degnan
    Herb s std bus page reminded me that I have a TI chassis I have been unable to locate documentation or for that matter identify what I have exactly. Now that
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 21, 2006
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      Herb's std bus page reminded me that I have a TI chassis I have been
      unable to locate documentation or for that matter identify what I
      have exactly. Now that there are more people in this group, maybe
      someone can help shed some light on the following. .?

      http://vintagecomputer.net/ti/TI-990-101/

      Here are the details:

      The card chassis:
      Within a Steel 4-slot Texas Instruments card chassis the size of
      a shoe box are four Texas Instruments cards manufactured in the US.
      These cards resemble a regular s-100 card but the 100 contacts are
      off center, to the left when viewing the component side with the
      100 pin side down. Printed on the chassis is Assy No. is 0994676-
      0001 and Diag No. 0394677. I do not have a power supply, but I assume
      you'd attach to terminals on the back of the chassis somehow (?).



      Inside are 4 cards.
      Two cards are similar are RAM/EPROM cards with 32K in each (8 x 4
      rows I assume = 32K?). The RAM is a mix of TMS 4045-30NL, TMS 4045-
      30, and TMS 4014NL. There are no Eproms installed, but there are
      two rows of empty slots on the card. Each card has 8 dip switches.



      The third card is labeled TM990/101 M. This appears to be a processor/modem/term
      card with a TMS 9900JL EP7840 ceramic/gold processor, and a TMS 9901NL
      chip, etc. The card has two 25 pin female connectors apparently for
      serial i/o. An earlier model's users guide:
      http://computer-refuge.org/bitsavers/ti/tm990-100/TM990-100M_usersGuide.
      pdf


      The fourth card is labeled "universal prototype board TM990/512".
      This card may be newer than the rest and has an Intel P8253 chip
      (date = '80). There is extensive wiring on the back of the card,
      it could be for a disk drive, I don't know. The card has 2 40 pin
      flat connectors.

      I am hoping someone can point me in the direction for a TM990/101
      M Users Guide or documentation about the chassis and/or individual
      components. I can post more pictures by request.

      Bill D



      -- E N D --
    • Herb Johnson
      ... Check this Web page of a TI 9900 developer: http://www.cozx.com/~dpitts/ti990.html You might ask this person which model of 990 you have. Online docs for
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 22, 2006
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        --- B Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote:
        >
        > Herb's std bus page reminded me that I have a TI chassis I have been
        > unable to locate documentation or for that matter identify what I
        > have exactly. Now that there are more people in this group, maybe
        > someone can help shed some light on the following. .?
        >
        > http://vintagecomputer.net/ti/TI-990-101/

        Check this Web page of a TI 9900 developer:

        http://www.cozx.com/~dpitts/ti990.html

        You might ask this person which model of 990 you have.

        Online docs for the 990 series seem to be at bitsavers:

        http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/ti/990/

        My recollection about some of these small TI systems, is that the CPU
        fit inside a large TI printing terminal. Of course the larger TI 9900
        systems were rack-mounted, but that was older technology than what you
        have. There does not seem to be much on the Web about the TI 990's -
        but in their time they were workhorse minicomputers.

        In a way, your TI system represents what would have happened if Intel
        and others had not produced their early microprocessors. Namely,
        minicomputer manufacturers like TI would have eventually scaled down
        their discrete-chip based minicomputers (the 9900's) into single-chip
        implementations on smaller boards; and ending up with single-board
        applications to support business solutions (point of sale, accounting,
        etc.) or manufacturing (process control, etc.) Software and support
        would have kept (and did, for the TI 990 series) those "mini-mini"
        systems too expensive for individuals or basement developers - the
        people who drove the microprocessor revolution.

        Just a speculation of course, but as history actually unfolded the
        minicomputer companies (TI, DEC, IBM) just could not see how to offer
        "micro" versions of their systems which could compete with the
        microprocessor-based systems that eventually overtook them. Even the
        IBM PC's "success" was not based on IBM legacy software but the fact
        it could run recompiled versions of then-current Intel 8080 and 8086
        based programs. To the point about the TI systems, I don't think much
        TI 990 software made it over to the 99/4 "microcomputers".

        (Note: please don't fuss with me over IBM and their PC and
        controversies around it. I'm making a point, don't bite my finger for
        pointing at it.)

        Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
        <a href="http://retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/"> web site</a>
        <a href="http://retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/"> domain mirror</a>
        my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
        if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
        "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
        S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"
      • B. Degnan
        Herb, Thanks for the links and info. Bill
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 23, 2006
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          Herb,
          Thanks for the links and info.
          Bill

          At 03:16 PM 6/22/2006 +0000, you wrote:

          --- B Degnan <billdeg@...> wrote:
          >
          > Herb's std bus page reminded me that I have a TI chassis I have been
          > unable to locate documentation or for that matter identify what I
          > have exactly. Now that there are more people in this group, maybe
          > someone can help shed some light on the following. .?
          >
          > http://vintagecomputer.net/ti/TI-990-101/

          Check this Web page of a TI 9900 developer:

          http://www.cozx.com/~dpitts/ti990.html

          You might ask this person which model of 990 you have.

          Online docs for the 990 series seem to be at bitsavers:

          http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/ti/990/

          My recollection about some of these small TI systems, is that the CPU
          fit inside a large TI printing terminal. Of course the larger TI 9900
          systems were rack-mounted, but that was older technology than what you
          have. There does not seem to be much on the Web about the TI 990's -
          but in their time they were workhorse minicomputers.

          In a way, your TI system represents what would have happened if Intel
          and others had not produced their early microprocessors. Namely,
          minicomputer manufacturers like TI would have eventually scaled down
          their discrete-chip based minicomputers (the 9900's) into single-chip
          implementations on smaller boards; and ending up with single-board
          applications to support business solutions (point of sale, accounting,
          etc.) or manufacturing (process control, etc.) Software and support
          would have kept (and did, for the TI 990 series) those "mini-mini"
          systems too expensive for individuals or basement developers - the
          people who drove the microprocessor revolution.

          Just a speculation of course, but as history actually unfolded the
          minicomputer companies (TI, DEC, IBM) just could not see how to offer
          "micro" versions of their systems which could compete with the
          microprocessor-based systems that eventually overtook them. Even the
          IBM PC's "success" was not based on IBM legacy software but the fact
          it could run recompiled versions of then-current Intel 8080 and 8086
          based programs. To the point about the TI systems, I don't think much
          TI 990 software made it over to the 99/4 "microcomputers".

          (Note: please don't fuss with me over IBM and their PC and
          controversies around it. I'm making a point, don't bite my finger for
          pointing at it.)

          Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
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