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Powertran Cortex

nige the hippy

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2006
Messages
1,282
Location
Luton UK
By all means pop a copy on the above site, but Bitsavers is THE place. The more places the merrier, and there are sick looneys out there who like hacking/wrecking archives.
It's quite a bit of work doing the scanning etc, I was trying to get a sheet feeding scanner sorted, but they seem to go at a premium on ebay. I have heaved a sigh of relief that the 3-foot-thick pile of dec & cdc manuals I have are already in the public domain.
Thanks to the comments so far I feel confident enough to check out the psu and then hit the on switch without fitting the memory mapper. however as usual, my weekend evaporated!
 

tms9995

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
132
Location
South Florida, USA
Both sites sound good. Bitsavers seems more appropriate, but looking at their general requirements, it seems they cater for true mini/mainframe computers rather than a home micro with a 'mini' cpu. Thoughts before I jump through the hoops of bothering them?

The whtech site Ksarul talks about looks good too since there is a lot of TI stuff on there, but still waiting to see if it's possible to use that site. Ksarul?

In any case, first I have to build up my collection of pdf's and binaries, but need to be sure I have a good place to share it before I put the effort in!

Nige: With regards to the sheet feeder/scanner, all we have is a Brother MFC-490CW scanner/fax/printer and it cost about $99, which isn't a lot...
 

Ksarul

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Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
447
I've got an upload account on WHTech, so if you get the data to me, I can put it up there for you. Alternatively, you can ask the owner for one of your own--he usually grants them immediately to people he's seen in the community before, though he might ask you a few more questions since you're new to him.
 

tms9995

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
132
Location
South Florida, USA
Thanks Ksarul, I'll just send you the stuff. I brand new to this so wouldn't want to insult someone for an account when they don't know me from Adam! Once I get some scans etc., I'll let you know and we'll take it from there. I'll upload to others when I get it all together.
 

tms9995

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
132
Location
South Florida, USA
Wow - awesome job with the Cortex Power Basic manual. I haven't looked at that for years (mine's still in the UK) and certainly brings back some memories! I will make an effort to get the emulator tidied up and posted (not that much to do) as you can apply this manual right away!

Just found out my cheap scanner slows down considerably after you shove more that about 25 pages through it. I guess it has to cool down...
 

Ksarul

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
447
Many thanks--I ran it through an OCR program and then edited it to make sure no errors crept into the resulting document. . .
 

nige the hippy

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Apr 7, 2006
Messages
1,282
Location
Luton UK
:D

Many many thanks Ksarul, the dialect looks a little strange. I probably would run into a few unfathomable walls in the first few lines without it.
 

Tony Rowell

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2009
Messages
25
Hi there

Hi there

Hi everyone, I was a pleasantly surprise to find this forum with such recent activity about the Cortex.

I was one of the developers of the Cortex along with Jim Gill, Neil Quarmby, Colin Hinson and Ian White so I can fill you in on a lot of the history behind the Cortex and info on both the hardware and the software.

I still have 2 of the machines up in the loft somewhere although they haven't been powered up for a few years.
 

Ksarul

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
447
Do you possibly have a datasheet/the compete function pin-out for the 74LS2001 used on the E-Bus interface? Information on that one seems to be completely lacking on the net or anywhere else. I haven't even been able to find a source for the E-Bus System Design Handbook (MP402) from TI. One source in Poland apparently still has some of the chips, but I haven't been able to confirm that yet. If they do have any, they are likely the last source on Earth with any quantities of them. . .

And thank you for dropping in here--information on the Cortex is always useful, and any data you can provide on its background is invaluable! Right now, the sum of what I have are the articles from ETI that appeared in NOV 1982, DEC 1982, JAN 1983, FEB 1983, JUN 1984, AUG 1984, and SEP 1985. I also have the construction manual from Powertran (for the minimal setup without any options) and the POWER BASIC manual (which I converted to an editable PDF from a series of GIF images). Any additional documentation (with or without the associated software) would be greatly appreciated.

I'm in the process of trying to build the options into my Cortex. I have acquired a number of the TMS9909 and TMS9911 ICs to work on the disk system, but the E-Bus has been a hard nut to crack into. With enough data, I may have to try and reverse-engineer it in VHDL and roll my own. . .

I do have the E-Bus patent description with the internal logic and timing, but not where the signaling should go (some of it will become obvious from tracing signals on the Cortex, but not all--as that is my next planned attack vector).
 

Ksarul

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
447
TMS9995, one of your earlier comments reminded me of something I haven't thought of in ages. Marinchip Systems also built a TMS9900 board for the S-100 bus. I was looking for one of those for a long time but never did encounter anyone who'd ever heard of it or them. Thanks for the reminder. . .one more vintage 9900-family system for me to track down. :)
 

chuckcmagee

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
1,992
Location
Nevada
How did that smily get in my post? It was supposed to be V9938. Like I said, I'm new...

If you happen to type an 8 immediately followed by a ) it shows up as a 8)

I just add an extra stupid space between the 8 and the )

like V9938 )
 

tms9995

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
132
Location
South Florida, USA
Hi everyone, I was a pleasantly surprise to find this forum with such recent activity about the Cortex.

I was one of the developers of the Cortex along with Jim Gill, Neil Quarmby, Colin Hinson and Ian White so I can fill you in on a lot of the history behind the Cortex and info on both the hardware and the software.

I still have 2 of the machines up in the loft somewhere although they haven't been powered up for a few years.


Hi Tony, thanks for stopping by! I would love to hear what you know about this machine. Most of my knowledge is from the User Group that was around at the time, plus the usual 'reverse engineering' that goes on whilst you got your head burried in the datasheets! It would certainly be refreshing to get some insight from someone who was on the inside.
 

Tony Rowell

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2009
Messages
25
E-Bus system design

E-Bus system design

I don't remember anything about the LS2001 off the top of my head but I'll have a look around to see what I can find, it is quite possible that it never actually existed.
I do however have a copy of the e-bus system design book (MP402) in my hand at the moment, it's about 1cm thick so a lot of copying.
 

tms9995

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
132
Location
South Florida, USA
Do you possibly have a datasheet/the compete function pin-out for the 74LS2001 used on the E-Bus interface? Information on that one seems to be completely lacking on the net or anywhere else. I haven't even been able to find a source for the E-Bus System Design Handbook (MP402) from TI. One source in Poland apparently still has some of the chips, but I haven't been able to confirm that yet. If they do have any, they are likely the last source on Earth with any quantities of them. . .

And thank you for dropping in here--information on the Cortex is always useful, and any data you can provide on its background is invaluable! Right now, the sum of what I have are the articles from ETI that appeared in NOV 1982, DEC 1982, JAN 1983, FEB 1983, JUN 1984, AUG 1984, and SEP 1985. I also have the construction manual from Powertran (for the minimal setup without any options) and the POWER BASIC manual (which I converted to an editable PDF from a series of GIF images). Any additional documentation (with or without the associated software) would be greatly appreciated.

I'm in the process of trying to build the options into my Cortex. I have acquired a number of the TMS9909 and TMS9911 ICs to work on the disk system, but the E-Bus has been a hard nut to crack into. With enough data, I may have to try and reverse-engineer it in VHDL and roll my own. . .

I do have the E-Bus patent description with the internal logic and timing, but not where the signaling should go (some of it will become obvious from tracing signals on the Cortex, but not all--as that is my next planned attack vector).


We'll see what Tony has to say, but it is my understanding that the 74LS2001 was essentially just a made up name for a gate array to control the E-Bus arbitration and timing. I have never known of one to exist. I guess the intent was to develop all these intelligent multi-processor peripherals for the Cortex, so a sophisticated expansion bus was added to the design but it was never really utilised in that way. So, there was a simple circuit built onto a header board that plugged into the infamous U89 socket (I have the details) that basically allowed the Cortex to drive the E-Bus as a simple expansion bus, without permanently locking up waiting for a Bus Grant signal.
 

tms9995

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
132
Location
South Florida, USA
TMS9995, one of your earlier comments reminded me of something I haven't thought of in ages. Marinchip Systems also built a TMS9900 board for the S-100 bus. I was looking for one of those for a long time but never did encounter anyone who'd ever heard of it or them. Thanks for the reminder. . .one more vintage 9900-family system for me to track down. :)

Yeah, that was the system MDEX and the first version of AutoCAD was designed on/for. In one of my first comments, I didn't mean to imply the Cortex was used for this purpose.

I have been scanning for over a week now and have been encountering some quality issues etc. using the cheap scanner. However, my better half has a big networked Ricoh copier/scanner at her office :D. I have, er, given it a 'trial run' late at night and it does a very good job scanning to my laptop, so I am re-doing everything which will take some time, but will be worth it in the end.

So far I have done the entire ROM Source Listing (582 pages!), MDEX Assembler, MDEX System Generation, MDEX Debug and CDOS 1.1.

Also, the emulator is about ready for deployment. I'm just finishing up emulating the 9909 Format command. I don't pretend to be an award winning Windows programmer, so please excuse it's presentation. It works very well, but it's kind of light on the bells and whistles...
 

Tony Rowell

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2009
Messages
25
Ebus cards definitely existed, the bus was one that TI used for a range of eurocard sized boards and the cortex just used that bus as a means of expansion. All of the cards I remember had discrete logic for the bus arbitration & control, I think the LS2001 was a number allocated for a gate array that never came to fruition.
 
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