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So what the heck did I just pick up? (weird ISA card)

commodorejohn

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Ran into this in the thrift store today and for the couple bucks they were asking I couldn't resist snagging it. It came in a "VL Laboratories" box and the label on the card identifies it as a VL-111 Rev. C, but Google isn't turning up much on that, and there's no documentation in the box. It's got an 80C188, a Xilinx FPGA, 32KB of RAM, an 8-bit DAC, and three 82C55 PPIs, plus logic, EEPROMs, and what looks like a variety of analog components. The jacks on the back are an RJ-11 and two stereo phono jacks in a non-standard size (larger than 3.5mm but smaller than 1/4".) Absolutely no idea what this is for - anybody here have any ideas?
 

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commodorejohn

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I dunno, could be (the box does say that VL Labs is a division of "Halcyon Communications,") but the pictures I'm pulling up for T1 jacks show mono plugs while the cables included with the card are stereo...?
 

kyodai

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Just guessing here, but it could be some kinda answering machine or "phone computer" card, stuff you'd use in a calling center or so...
 

lowen

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Looks to me like a T1 trunk interface card, probably for an interactive voice response (IVR) system or a PBX. The bantam jack pair (NOT the same thing as a headphone plug; TRS most likely although TS (what you're calling 'mono') have been used in pairs before) is a dead giveaway. But analog trunks can be on 8 position modular jacks and have a bantam pair, too, especially specialty circuits like an RJ-31X. Could even be a 56K digital circuit (DDS 56K or Switched56) or ISDN card; both are delivered on variants of RJ-48 (DS1/T1 delivered on RJ-48C or RJ-48X, depending upon the need or desire for a loopback shorting bar; DDS 56K/Switched56 delivered on the keyed RJ-48S, although some CSU/DSU equipment connectors are unkeyed, and ISDN is on RJ-49C. Probably not a four-line RJ-61X, since there is only one bantam pair.

Most likely it is a T1 interface; I have a couple of Adtran CSU/DSU (TSU) here that have the bantam pair for troubleshooting purposes, to connect something like a T-BERD up as a tap.

At one time such a card would have been worth a lot of money; not so much in today's VoIP world.
 

PhilipA

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I'd say probably a T1 interface for a PRI, given the RJ jack along with the twin-jack- we had a similar card in our Talking Clock computer that had a T1 feeding it from the phone switch, 23 people could listen to the time at once!

...that ran OS/2 Warp. Sadly that machine quit a few years after it was decommissioned, was a P1/75. We've plenty of old random stuff like that laying around, agree with the above.


--Phil
 

HoJoPo

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I do think that's the only 8 bit T1 interface I've seen. I didn't think a 5150 or 5160 would be that much use as a router or as a voice response system...
 

lowen

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I do think that's the only 8 bit T1 interface I've seen. I didn't think a 5150 or 5160 would be that much use as a router or as a voice response system...

DS1 only needs 1.544Mb/s of bandwidth. A data-only T1 card for the XT bust has existed, and I have seen one. I have a 16-bit data-only T1/DS1 card (a Sangoma FT1), but not an 8-bit. Many IVR system cards were 8-bit, such as the Dialogic D41/D. Any IVR prompts would be uploaded into the card's DSP RAM as part of the card init, and then the card would do all of the work, with the PC only needing to take care of logging what the caller's choices were.

A PC or and XT would work fine, since all the audio processing is handled by the DSP chips on the card. This particular one looks like an older unit; I have a few NMS multiport T1/DS1 channelized trunking cards here that can be true trunk interfaces or IVR interfaces.

For a DS1, it's not that hard to break out the 24 DS0's (for robbed-bit signalling; PRI of course needs the 23 B channels plus the one D channel, each of which is carried on a DS0) and do the 8-bit 8ksps (64kb/s symbol rate) PCM work in the DSP hardware. The bandwidth requirements on the bus (and the PC) are minimal.
 
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