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IBM 7552 Industrial Computer

NeXT

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Oct 22, 2008
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Kamloops, BC, Canada
I made a thread on this a bajillion years ago and it seems The Internet adopted my photos as the reference images for the 7552.

[slaps "As Seen on LGR" sticker here]

The fact that it seems nobody has gone and taken better photos beyond what I took on the carpeted floor of my first apartment is getting a little irritating so while I had my storage unit inverted I was able to reach into the time capsule and pull the box out as I had left it a decade ago.

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So what is it? This is an IBM system that was intended to run at least PC-DOS for datalogging and handling of data for automation/control in rugged environments. It has a built in ten second "uninterruptible" power supply and intelligent fan and thermal monitoring. It is designed to be wallmounted or rackmounted depending on the hardware kit you are using. It can also be floor standing if you purchased the floor kit which raises it off the floor to allow for proper airflow.

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While a keyboard port is present on the front (and the underside) a video card is not included and the machine under normal conditions does not expect you to run with either. This is great because that's not a standard keyboard DIN, the IBM keyboard is grey, mechanical and WHY OF COURSE THERE'S A BUNCH OF CLOWNS WANTING HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS FOR IT.

*ahem*
Anyways. The keyboard isn't the only thing about this rackmount PC that's special. Everything is.

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My particular system came with the diagnostic software in 3.5 and 5,25" media, the IBM Communications SubSystem (it seems mainly a dedicated process development environment working down at the assembly level), an IBM 33F9735 magnetic card reader and an IBM 33F9701 barcode scanner, whose rubber strain relief has become a black goopy mess in the bag. There were no keys and seeing how I got a barcode scanner and card reader, a terminal of some sort this was probably attached to is also missing.

It's not just a PC/XT/AT in a fancy case like IBM's other desktop and rackmount industrial PC's. It feels an awful lot like a PS/2 model 60 that is now in modular form, not all of the MCA bus is on the backplane and everything is now weird in its own particular way from the chip package for the RAM to the IBM 3.5" hard drive being a more traditional 2-cable ST506 interface (I've personally only seen IBM's 3.5" drives in this style as ESDI/MCA HDB). It's not even entirely PC Compatible, according to the internet. While you can change the system configuration by adding a variety of modules (which are not hot swappable), some expected address points for items such as the keyboard have moved around and the backplane does not carry all of the standard lines for the ISA bus. Oh right, so It's also MCA and an ISA hybrid machine. The whole machine is kinda nutty and you can read all about this here - https://www.ardent-tool.com/7552/Architecture.html

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TerryKing

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Topsham, Vermont USA
Wow.. Gave one away at least 15 years ago... I LIKED the 7531 . I was the "IBM Industrial Computer Coordinator" (among other jobs) at an IBM Semiconductor factory site. Major dogfights over these Industrial versions VS things like PS-2 model 80's... And then there was blood over "Industrial Networking Strategy" Had two production lines running Token Ring. Worked Fine For Them. But corporate guys wanted MAP. Anybody remember Manufacturing Automation Protocol. Always In The Future a year or so. I needed to build a factory NOW. I finally told the strategy guy at IBM Headquarters not to phone me any more unless he had a Strategy which I could widely INSTALL within 6 Months. Ummm.. never heard from him again.

But the dark Gray Industrial KEYBOARDs were GREAT!! I am typing on one RIGHT NOW that I have used on many computers (A DELL now) since, Um.. 1992. So.. 30 years now. Love it.

OK a Photo... You're supposed to be able to tell someone's age by looking at their hands :) Your Guess?

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NeXT

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There was a discussion on one of the boards the other day about a rather strange looking IBM terminal that was later identified as an IBM 7527-002 Data Collection Terminal. The particular one had been on ebay for a while and at $500 no wonder. It did however also suggest I look at another terminal, the 7527-001. This one had a smaller screen, but also had a magnetic card reader.

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My observation is the mounting bracket on the card reader is extremely similar to the card reader I received with the 7552. Furthermore there's a photo elsewhere of an IBM 7525 Data Collection Terminal (smaller size and integrated card reader) and it has (what appears to be) the barcode wand I received with the 7552 as well.

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Both also seem to connect these peripherals through the 9 pin ports on the back.
My hypothesis is that this is one of the terminals my machine was attached to somehow. Specifically how, I have no idea. There's no documentation I can find for the 752x terminals so far and the terminal above is a gamble at $60usd shipped for what might end up to be a pretty display piece if I am wrong.

What I can also find is that it is neither a 3270 or 5250 compatible terminal. In fact I don't know what interface it uses at all. Ardent-tool however lists a variety of support packages for it, all of which are under the IBM Plant Floor series of products which list the 7552 as a supported machine.

https://ardent-tool.com/complex/191-196.txt said:
DATA COLLECTION EDITION (TM):
Data Collector 1.1 5601 299
5250 & MAPICS Data Services 1.1 5601 398
3270 & COPICS Data Services 1.1 5601 399
Data Collection Controller/2 1.0 5756 144
Data Collector for Distributed Automation Edition 1.0 5756 145
7527 Extended Terminal Services 1.0 5756 146

Edited: Further searching finds a photo of the IBM 7525 in the same press photo as the 7552 in this brochure for the Plant Floor.

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It alludes that connectivity was possible through ARTIC cards. I have one for RS-232, but it's MCA and as we saw above my system is not equipped for Microchannel. For ISA I'd have to track down another card somewhere.
 
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bear

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I am not sure the ARTIC card was available for ISA, it'd be the predecessor, the "Multiprotocol Adapter", also known as the RIC. It has an 80186 (or 80188?) instead of the i960. ISTR there was maybe a binder for that board among the other stuff with the 7552.
 

ardent-blue

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Messages
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I am not sure the ARTIC card was available for ISA, it'd be the predecessor, the "Multiprotocol Adapter", also known as the RIC. It has an 80186 (or 80188?) instead of the i960. ISTR there was maybe a binder for that board among the other stuff with the 7552.
IBM ARTIC Co-processor Cards for ISA Computers on Internet Archive

186-185 IBM 7552 INDUSTRIAL COMPUTER announcement letter
The following optional special features are also supported.
For descriptions of the features see Product Announcement 186-157,
dated August 19, 1986, announcing the IBM Realtime Interface
Co-Processor.
Feature
Feature Number
IBM Real Time Interface
Co-Processor (128Kb) #6050*
IBM Real Time Interface
Co-Processor (512Kb) #6160*
IBM Real Time Co-Processor
Interface Boards:

RS-232 #6051
V35 #6053
RS-422 #6064
20 MA Current Loop #6066
IBM Real Time Interface
Co-Processor Memory Expansion:

128Kb #6055
512Kb #6161
IBM Real Time Interface
Co-Processor Cables:

RS-232C Direct Attach #6056
RS-232C Modem Attach #6057
CCITT V.35 Interface #6061
 
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NeXT

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ISTR there was maybe a binder for that board among the other stuff with the 7552
There was not. There is multiple copies of the Communications Subsystem but no additional documentation I can find in the box referring to any additional boards, really.
 

NeXT

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Well the 7527 arrived and I have good news and bad news. I'll follow-up with photos later while I do testing.
Good news is that it survived being shipped in the wrong size box, the 5 pin DIN plug is actually a lot less intimidating (three pins used, two of which are ground and the third according to the back of the unit wants 26vDC, 500ma at 13W) and it's clean.

Bad news is something NASTY happened to the main communications interface. Something (probably lightning if it wasn't some building wiring fault) put a fairly large voltage on the line. At a glance we have a pair of smoked traces, two exploded surge supression diodes and a cratered differential transceiver. No blown fuses and the main EMI chokes don't appear to be open but there's clearly a rail shorted either from said blown parts, a shorted tantalum or we have more damage hiding somewhere, so I'll have to pull the cremated components and retest. Hopefully the damage stopped in the communications protection circuit.

The other good news is that the ARTIC card has arrived at a PO box (albeit a day after I checked on it) and while I was at VCF West I located the external multiport breakout for it. Frankly for the card and break-out I'm working blind but at the prices I found them at it was even better than the 7527.
 
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NeXT

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Okay, so here we go.

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And the damage itself as it seems form the first picture is limited to just the RS-422/485 interface. It will probably work after the diodes and transceiver are replaced and the traces are fixed. The MAXIM driver might also need to be changed but I got spares.

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So my theory is that the 7552 IPL's into either DOS or OS/2 and loads the microcode environment into the ARTIC card, that then allows multiple terminals to connect to it over RS-485 and this terminal when attached queries the ARTIC, requests its bootloader and can then be initialized by the 7552's running terminal management application.
 
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