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And the Lord said unto VCF, "He's your problem now, may I have mercy on your souls"

ATSystems

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Dec 8, 2018
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Sydney, Australia
And the Lord said unto VCF, "He's your problem now, may I have mercy on your souls"

Greetings Earthlings!

Long time lurker turned registered user Mikey reporting for duty! I keep bumping into links via google and thought it was time I started adding some signal to the noise where I could. My history is largely in stage and sound but my day job has always been IT, recently rediscovering a bunch of beige boxes stashed under my parents house from when I moved out 19 years ago swept me with a wave of nostalgia and, remembering how much cool old junk (70's era Wang terminals, "give it to that nerd kid" DEC and PDP hand-me-downs etc) I wrecked in the name of learnings, a desire to defend all the olden kit I can lay my hands on. Some sort of karmic repentance I guess. Watching a bunch of primary school kids marvel at these behemoths doing their thing at a history of computing day I recently schlepped a bunch of kit to kind of cemented my desire to preserve some of this gear as well.. For future generations of course.. Not at all for my own gratification.. No siree! :lookroun:

No really, one of them actually jumped in fear at the sound of a TRS Model II floppy drive reading. Poor little darling thought it was going to bite his hand off. Bless!

My battle fleet currently consists of;
- My first microcomputer, a TI/994a with display and disk drives
- My first XT, a Sperry 3070
- Various 386 and 486 kit that I owned and abused through my youth/early teens
- A complete IBM 5101 setup
- A complete Olivetti M24, recently saved from a junkyard (and the reason I signed on, Trixter and Valerio, heads up ;))
- An Osbourne Executive
- A bunch of Trash 80 gear including an in box Model I and Model III
- A dual processor 486, 4RU server which, till late 2017, was in production with a previous employer (honestly, I was fine taking it instead of a payout, I promise!)
- A Commodore 4096 that someone kindly crammed an 8032 mainboard into (under restoration)
- Some REAL early (1971 datestamped) NCR displays (10" and 18") who's origins I can't for the life of me identify, also under restoration

I'm also big into analogue synths and audio gear and do a bit of of repair/restoration work for cats here and there, I own some old Roland and Korg kit I'll occasionally patch together and record some ambient noise with. My analogue chops are a lot better than my digital in terms of diagnostics and troubleshooting, I have a lot to learn but I haven't managed to let the smoke out of anything I'm working on currently, so either it's already been released, or I'm doing something right :)

Look forward to shooting some chip with y'all :D
 

luckybob

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A dual processor 486, 4RU server which, till late 2017, was in production with a previous employer (honestly, I was fine taking it instead of a payout, I promise!)


ooo I'd like to see that! Next time you have it out a few pics would be much appreciated.

Also welcome!
 

ATSystems

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Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
77
Location
Sydney, Australia
Thumbs up for the Sperry -- very difficult to find. And hello to another M24 owner :)
*summoned* Thanks for popping by man, great to see you :) No kidding on the Sperry, They are indeed hard to find, and even harder to find information on. Most of the google hits come back to this very forum where members are asking for just that, some information. And here is my Olivetti, in all it's failing-to-POST-because-incontinent-battery glory. It sat in a disused bus in a junkyard for god knows how long, cleaned up rather well. It has clock, voltage appears to be everywhere it should, ROM's are being told to do their thing but nothing but a single flash on the keyboard LED's followed by rapid (~5 per second) flashing that doesn't stop till it's turned off. The CPU gets crazy hot as well. I have ordered some diagnostic gear, once it arrives you'll likely see a thread about it. I do have a spare CPU but am reluctant to drop it in until everything else checks out.

M24.jpg

What is that Sperry? Is it a portable? Not the HT XT, I think that was what it was called.
I *think* it's an 3070-02 XT. I think this because again, it seems to be rare as hell with next to no documentation on it. Needs moar retrobrite and a few new caps in its PSU, 12V rail packed it in not long after the computer day. Still runs on a fistful of bench power supplies.

20180321_190117.jpg

ooo I'd like to see that! Next time you have it out a few pics would be much appreciated. Also welcome!

I second this. I too would like to see it. and that was is being used for? And welcome.

Thank you gents. Behold! A massively proprietary Lanier.. something something digital dictation system. I was working in the mothership of one of Australia's largest pathology providers, this was a server which allowed regional labs to dial in and submit dictated pathological analysis. The modem stack was connected to the last three ports on the right out via 6 POTS dial ins via "Y" cables. Looks like COM, is definitely not COM. Just like any 40 year old company that maintains a cutting edge, highly agile fleet this was left alone for years, serving the labs till the battery on the second CPU card did what all PERFECTLY REASONABLE AND FRIENDLY old batteries do, spewed its guts out. It ran Netware and an app to manage the files, but we obviously had to wipe all that before it left the premises. I never directly administered it so I don't know how the dual card setup worked from a driver and OS perspective, but the second card didn't come back after a vinegar bath and some rewiring, so, like all of us, I am on the hunt for an identical card. Being the proprietary system it is I'm sure I have Buckley's chance, but a boy can dream.

20181212_191539.jpg 20181212_191547.jpg 20181212_191904.jpg

- Dual 486DX @50MHz, 16MB total RAM across two CPU cards.
- 500MB OS disk.
- AHA-1520 SCSI controller with a 2.1GB data drive
- Proprietary dual AUI card (still connected to a long dead DEC AUI switch)
- 3Com Etherlink III 3C509 (presumably installed when the DEC died)
- 3x proprietary DSP interface cards with a bunch of memory around them to convert the incoming data stream back to an audio file (I'm told similar cards were on the remote end to convert the other way)

To sum up;
 

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ATSystems

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Sydney, Australia
Oh, and these are the NCR displays. I need to have a hunt and see if we have a "what kit is that" thread, but you never know, someone may stumble across them here. The lower chassis of both has a slotted card cage with nothing in them and factory blanked DB25 ports, presumably for dummy terminal duties, but these only have BNC fed coax running straight to the display board, again, a factory looking build as opposed to a post-manufacture mod from the looks. Lots of dried caps and cracked condensers (!), a restore project for a later date.

20180219_233743.jpg
 

rpiguy2

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Joined
Dec 15, 2016
Messages
308
Location
New Jersey
Commodore really sold a 40 column computer with 96K of RAM? Weird. I've only ever seen 8096 models.

I mean I wouldn't put it past "whatever we have on hand" Commodore.

Oh and welcome!
 

luckybob

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umm, that's just a normal 486 sbc, not a dual-cpu.

Also, to keep a balance in the world, I'm 100% in support of giving those batteries the bird. **** those things.
 

2icebitn

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OK that is the Sperry HT PC, aka Leading Edge model M. Mitsubishi floppy drive. Rare? Likely the Sperry occurrence more then the LE. But both are. O boy here we go. Now I got the itch to reassemble my M. Its a bit on the nasty side at the moment. And was failing to boot. HD never worked. I guess someone will be interested. Beats tossing it.
 

Garrett

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Jun 28, 2014
Messages
3
Sperry PC

Sperry PC

I've still got my old Sperry PC 3070-02 that I paid big bucks for in the employee purchase program in 1986, and the invoices to prove it.

10 MB HD, jumpeer-cabled-two-board "Hi-Res" video adapter with the long-persistence phosphor CRT to deal with the interlaced 640x400x256 graphics mode, MDA and monochrome monitor, and wires soldered to ground and NMI on the CPU to provide a breakout switch for the debugger. Developing fractals and early GIF graphics on the Hi-Res, debugger running on the MDA, and software control of the power LED at the switch (!) and the border color on the hi-res to give debugging output from inside interrupt handlers. I was so happy to find FractInt and get that running on it. That was my hacking platform for ~8 years before my next box, a 486 running Linux. I don't think I've ever run across another outside of my fellow Sperry Univac guys!
 

ATSystems

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umm, that's just a normal 486 sbc, not a dual-cpu.
Yeah, that card has a single CPU, but the beastie came with two identical CPU cards, if you look closely there's an open slot behind the installed card for the second. I'll go box digging and see if I can find the second one. I was actually going to make that battery picture my avatar but thought I might be pushing my luck a little.


OK that is the Sperry HT PC, aka Leading Edge model M. Mitsubishi floppy drive. Rare? Likely the Sperry occurrence more then the LE. But both are. O boy here we go. Now I got the itch to reassemble my M. Its a bit on the nasty side at the moment. And was failing to boot. HD never worked. I guess someone will be interested. Beats tossing it.
Best as I can tell Sperry were more in the military/flight/ballistic computing game than the desktop domain, I presume it's rare because there is so little information on it; That could of course also mean it was complete rubbish. Still, I cut my DOS and BASIC teeth on it and it survived 19 years sitting under a house, it deserves a place.
Now I got the itch to reassemble my M.
Do it.
I guess someone will be interested.
*raises hand*


Commodore really sold a 40 column computer with 96K of RAM?
Nope, I'm just a potato who got the model number wrong because recent acquisition. It's a 4016, pulled out of a HAM shack at a deceased estate earlier this year. Old mate added the 8032 board and a row of keys to load up different ROMs and run RTTY functions (I guess). It also appears to have had some third party boards in it at some stage which have been removed, cut wires, non-factory screw posts etc. It's got power but not much else. And thank you sir.

20180526_233144.jpg
 

Mr. Horse

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Dec 13, 2017
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437
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USA:OHIO
Yeah, that card has a single CPU, but the beastie came with two identical CPU cards, if you look closely there's an open slot behind the installed card for the second. I'll go box digging and see if I can find the second one. I was actually going to make that battery picture my avatar but thought I might be pushing my luck a little.

It could have been dual segmented or setup for redundancy. Finding any SBC prior to a socket 5 will be hard. let alone a matching card. Hopefully you find one.
 

Trixter

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Joined
Aug 31, 2006
Messages
7,262
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Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
I've still got my old Sperry PC 3070-02 that I paid big bucks for in the employee purchase program in 1986, and the invoices to prove it.

10 MB HD, jumpeer-cabled-two-board "Hi-Res" video adapter with the long-persistence phosphor CRT to deal with the interlaced 640x400x256 graphics mode, MDA and monochrome monitor, and wires soldered to ground and NMI on the CPU to provide a breakout switch for the debugger. Developing fractals and early GIF graphics on the Hi-Res, debugger running on the MDA, and software control of the power LED at the switch (!) and the border color on the hi-res to give debugging output from inside interrupt handlers. I was so happy to find FractInt and get that running on it. That was my hacking platform for ~8 years before my next box, a 486 running Linux. I don't think I've ever run across another outside of my fellow Sperry Univac guys!

If you ever need to find a home for it, let me know. That is the final thing I'd like to add to my collection and show off at VCF festivals. That long-persistence color phosphor monitor was amazing.
 

2icebitn

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O wow I never knew that Sperry/LE card was interlaced video. I have the techanuals for all that atill, I think. If you get a chance Garrett, I'd really like to have a hex dump of the firmware. While the unit still works ... preferably :)
 
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