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Bi-Tran Six

Gturnips

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Joined
Jan 4, 2015
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2
The Bi-Tran Six was the first computer system I ever trained on followed by the KIM-1 at the State Technical Insttitute at Memphis in 1977. It would be great if you would post a picture of it for old times sakes.
 

Gturnips

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Jan 4, 2015
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2
Yes; the Bi-Tran Six was my introduction to computers followed by the KIM-1 at the State Technical Institute at Memphis in 1977. It would be great if you would post a picture of it for ols times sakes.
 

TomC

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Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
1
Oh my! What a flashback.

We had one in the laboratory at Schoolcraft College in Livonia Michigan around 1972.

TomC
 

stephen frey

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Joined
Aug 14, 2017
Messages
10
I recently became the owner of a FABRI-TEK COM-TRAN TEN. I am trying to get it working again. I downloaded the pdf manual with KDA3032 but would like to find circuit diagrams and I.C. layouts for more of the main circuit board. Probably the rest of KDA3034. Many of the I.C.s don't have their labels anymore. The one I have is I believe an early one. I.C.s have date codes of 1968 through 1971 and the serial number is CT-0002-C2. Probably from 1972. It uses the Model 422 Magnetic Core memory, Serial Number 68373. It was the property of Cincinnati Technical College back in that time frame. I have a lot of computers that I use for STEM education including a Relay Based Machine I designed and built. I think the COM-TRAN would add a lot to my demos.
 

livewire

Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
49
I recently became the owner of a FABRI-TEK COM-TRAN TEN. I am trying to get it working again. I downloaded the pdf manual with KDA3032 but would like to find circuit diagrams and I.C. layouts for more of the main circuit board. Probably the rest of KDA3034. Many of the I.C.s don't have their labels anymore. The one I have is I believe an early one. I.C.s have date codes of 1968 through 1971 and the serial number is CT-0002-C2. Probably from 1972. It uses the Model 422 Magnetic Core memory, Serial Number 68373. It was the property of Cincinnati Technical College back in that time frame. I have a lot of computers that I use for STEM education including a Relay Based Machine I designed and built. I think the COM-TRAN would add a lot to my demos.

Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it. A picture or six would be nice for old times sake. Core memory and all that stuff, if I remember correctly.
Here is a picture of our first lady from Slovenia promoting STEM education. Whooda thunkit?


170915164545-melania-trump-stem-exlarge-169.jpg
 

James0555

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Joined
May 5, 2008
Messages
102
Location
Merritt Island, Fl
valeen1959 thanks for the original post! The Bi-Tran Six was used by the USAF Air Training Command in the Instrumentation Mechanic (AFSC 317x0 [telemetry]) tech school at Lowry AFB Colorado, circa 1974. The training material and equipment were simple, but the instructors were top-notched. The computer lesson was brief, about 1 week of a 20-week course. At the time, most of the training was analog based. This short digital encounter with the Bi-Tran Six stood out and planted seeds for the future. A little while later a "personal training computer" was purchased, the $250 Kim-1. Off and running, a career was started based on the simple computer in your post. I sit here today, typing Python code with many powerful, graphical development tools, but there was nothing like learning the basics writing machine code, punching it in, and watching the lights flash! Please keep that baby running...

To bad dlarue doesn't appear active I wonder if we might have met because I also trained as an Instrumentation Mechanic at Lowery in 1974 - in fact I still basically work the same job except as a contractor at Cape Canaveral for satellite telemetry systems. Some times I use to think the Bi-Tran 6 was something I made up since there appears to be very little data on it.
 

stephen frey

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2017
Messages
10
Here are some pictures of the COM-TRAN TEN

com-tran_ten.jpg
20170811_201414.jpg
20170811_201346.jpg
20170812_142403.jpg
20170920_112909.jpg
20170823_170022.jpg
20170823_170251.jpg

The computer was stored in a barn for a long time and has needed a lot of cleaning. The third picture is of the core memory unit. The main display can be lifted on sliders for access to changing the light bulbs, raising the display for viewing and seeing the back side of the main circuit board. There are two views where you can see the main circuit board. Mostly TTL 7400 series I.C.s. I hope to get it working again. Give that about 50% chance at this point but that confidence is getting higher as I get into it more.
 

livewire

Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
49
Thank you for posting your pics! I have never seen one of these computers "in the flesh".
How many bytes of memory is in the core module?

EDIT: I think I found the answer to my question on page 45 of the CT-TEN Manual. 1024 words.
(8 bit words - so 1KB)
 
Last edited:

stephen frey

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2017
Messages
10
Yes, the core memory is 1K bytes. The machine has a 10 bit address bus. The core memory is actually the part I have the most concern about getting working. So far the only part I have powered up is the front switch panel. Most of the lights and switches work. I did that test with all the ribbon cables disconnected from the main circuit board. No power on the main circuit board yet. I now have a replacement for the original power supply to continue testing. So far the display lamps appear to be ok but I haven't tested them all yet. That is 82 #47 6 volt lamps. Most of the power used by the machine is used to light the lamps of the display. Will be pulling each I.C. and cleaning the pins and replacing them one at a time. Will be testing some of the I.C.s when they are pulled.
 

cappy2112

Experienced Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Messages
52
Location
Bay Area California
I studied Avionics when I was in the Navy. One of the schools I went to used a ComTran 10. I was shocked to see something so primitive being used to teach computer logic and progamming.
 

jeff_jonas

New Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2019
Messages
1
Page 9 shows photos and a description of Fabri-Tek

https://ia800604.us.archive.org/14/...porated_Company_Overview_and_Product_Line.pdf

BI-TRAN SIX Computer Education System
Fabri-Tek has recently introduced to the educational market
the BI-TRAN SIX Computer Education System.
The central unit of this system is a modern,
inexpensive, general-purpose computer which is designed exclusively for teaching purposes.
The BI-TRAN SIX system is used to teach the fundamentals of computer science at any grade level
from secondary schools through college, and can be used in vocational and military schools as well.
Complete course material for every grade level is available.
Peripheral equipment, also designed specifically to teach, makes the BITRAN SIX system a complete instructional laboratory.
 

Phattdad144

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Joined
Aug 19, 2010
Messages
2
Location
Lynchburg,VA
I used the bi tran six as part of a class in 1980. Then ran into it again in the air force. It was just for training on computer operation at a hardware level. You could trace signals for theory of operation. It was a base six machine. The lights on the front we're the actual registers if the cpu. All pre microprocessor.
 

dlarue

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Joined
Mar 23, 2014
Messages
2
To bad dlarue doesn't appear active I wonder if we might have met because I also trained as an Instrumentation Mechanic at Lowery in 1974 - in fact I still basically work the same job except as a contractor at Cape Canaveral for satellite telemetry systems. Some times I use to think the Bi-Tran 6 was something I made up since there appears to be very little data on it.
James0555, back online. Drop a note if you want to connect with and old Instrumentation Mechanic!
 
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