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So what the heck did I just pick up?

commodorejohn

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Ran into this at the electronics-surplus store just down the way from my workplace and grabbed it on the cheap. I don't actually know what it is, but the labels on the switches make it look a hell of a lot like a 16-bit general-purpose computer of some kind. Despite the claims of being "microprocessor-controlled," I looked at every board inside the thing and couldn't spot anything that looked like a 16-bit or even 8-bit CPU. Genuinely curious what this is, but I can't find much on it online - the name pops up in a few archived documents, but Bitsavers doesn't have anything for the company. Though the design is attributed to Stanley Kubota and Edward Corby - looks like Mr. Kubota still has an online presence here, so I'll have to drop them a line...

Anybody heard of or encountered one of these before?

whatsit-front.jpg

whatsit-back.jpg
 

commodorejohn

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It is a programmable digital signal generator.

I had a 648 at one time, I've scanned the manual
will put it up under http://bitsavers.org/test_equipment/interfaceTechnology
Someone needs to keep a running tally of the times someone here or on cctech asks for documentation and mentions "oh, it's not on Bitsavers..." and Al goes "oh, hang on, I actually have that scanned, it just hasn't been uploaded yet" ;)

So if the two models are roughly analogous (other than the one being IEEE-488 while the other is RS-432,) it's a sort of a proto-DSP thing: small, fast programs operating on a constant stream of input/output. Interesting...
 

commodorejohn

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Yeah, if nothing else I can always cannibalize it for a nice chassis/front panel if I ever get around to, say, that TMS-99105 project I've had on the back burner forever...though I'll wait and see what I can find out about this first.
 

oldmicros

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Thanks for posting this! Several years ago I picked up a cool looking bare front panel. Always wondered what it was from. Now I know!

I re-purposed it to control a PDP-8 implementation using an IM6100. It had 32K of extended memory, a TTY port, RX8 controller (via an SD card.)

At that time I had it pretty much working. It would pass all the Maindecs and would boot OS/8.

I planned on simplifying the circuit to eliminate some IC's but never got around to it. May be time to dust it off!
 

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commodorejohn

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Oh, neat :) Do you have any notes on the front-panel schematic/functions?

Interestingly, although mine, like yours, only has 12 LEDs for the address display, there are traces and holes for another four. There's empty slots in the backplane, as well, so I imagine it was possible or at least planned to have an upgraded memory capacity...

whatsit-interior.jpg
 
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oldmicros

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Looks like quite a bit of circuitry inside that! Mostly LS TTL, I guess. The panel is the same - LS TTL.

I do have rough drawings of the panel around somewhere - just have to dig them up!

I do remember the all the Input Register switches were connected to S-R latches (LS279s, I think.) The Input Register leds were tied to the S-R outputs.
I used that as my switch register.

I did some surgery to make things work with my computer circuit but it was all pretty simple stuff.
 

commodorejohn

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Yeah...roughly edu-guessing, the backplane appears to be for I/O and a set of similar boards that I assume are the data memory, while the two large boards on the lefthand side (the one is below the visible one on top) are probably the CPU and the instruction memory (the bottom board has a bunch of connections to the front panel, while the top board only connects to the bottom board and one of the I/O boards...)
 
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