Doesn't seem conducive to a particularly high refresh rate...
they are essentially the guts of a video terminal on a CRU card
Doesn't seem conducive to a particularly high refresh rate...
I always wanted a 990 but didn't get a chance at one until recently when I lucked into a Business System 300, which seems to be basically a 990/10A with an integrated disk controller built into a terminal enclosure. It came with no peripherals, of course, so now I'm hunting for a keyboard and a WD500 or WD800 mass storage system as well as any documentation/software I can find. The system looks to be maxed out to 512K memory and with all optional I/O, and even more interestingly has a "PBIC" card in place of the usual 2/4-port terminal card they were offered with, it seems like it might be some sort of CRU buffer card to allow the machine to interface to an external expansion chassis, but I've never found any mention of it anywhere as an option.
Other than the hardware, if anyone has any information or even just commentary on these machines I'd love to hear about it! They seem like a killer system for a space-constrained mini enthusiast, but there isn't much out there on them aside from a couple documents on Bitsavers and some product announcements in InfoWorld/Computerworld and the like.
That one it is, I stumbled upon it while looking for one of those TravelMate portable VT clones and when I saw that configuration label on the back I went for it. I asked the seller if he knew of anything else for it that might be coming up, didn't think to ask if he'd already sold it! I'll definitely keep an eye out for a 931/940 keyboard then, thank you for that. Wonder if I could get any information out of the seller as far as the origin of this particular machine, too. I've found a couple articles mentioning Ace Hardware had standardized on the Business System line and used quite a few for point-of-sale and inventory management.Sounds like the one in SC I was watching on Ebay. Unfortunately for me I was unable to buy at the time. Glad somebody here got it, though, and it's not going to be scrapped!
The keyboard from a 931 terminal is the same, I'm told. Maybe also one from a 940 (which looks like an S300, same case, I think.) Those are really scarce, though.
The seller also had a couple of 990 chassis, one populated, with a couple of TPBI boards that I could see, and a WD800. Those sold several months ago, however. Not sure which CPU set was actually in it.
I feel a bit silly about it all now, I couldn't find any mention of this board option in the S300A documentation I had and was doing a bit of reading into the more traditional rackmounted 990s at the same time, so I figured it was this system's equivalent of the CRU buffer boards that let you attach additional expansion chassis. Never thought to just pay attention to the name of the storage bus and put 2 and 2 together...There is a PBI interface built-in on the S300, so you don't actually need the add-in PBI interface
You're right, and I believe it has 512K installed, I came across an announcement for the S300A in I think Computerworld that touted the 1M capacity bump and most of the older articles I could find only mention up to 512K.If yours is indeed the SC machine I've mentioned, it has 3 of them installed, so you may have as much as 1024K. Not sure on that, one document lists 512K max on the 300, 1024K on the 300A.
Interesting proposition. I was curious to see if it was possible to emulate one of these drives until I could get a real one, it seems like it would be a challenge a bit above my pay grade but maybe still worth pursuing given how uncommon the drives must be nowadays.Unfortunately I don't see any reference to a SCSI interface for the S300. Maybe there was a 3rd party one. It does look like it might not be too difficult to interface PBI (or PBUS, for Peripheral Bus) to SCSI. It's a differential 8-bit bus with 7 control lines. Otherwise you're limited to finding a PBUS device like a WD800 or WD800A. The latter would be preferred as it uses 5-1/4 drives (ST506). The 800 uses 8". The smaller drives are likely easier to find, and maybe lasted better.
That sounds like a good idea. As it starts getting warmer I will definitely want to disassemble this machine to clean out the decades' worth of dust caked inside (that poor intake fan has got to be on its last leg) and that sounds like a good opportunity to do that. I might be dropping back in the thread around then if I need some assistance, I haven't done a ROM dump on a system before.A rom dump would be of great help to ongoing emulation and development efforts, if you're able. Ask if you need any guidance on that. Plenty of people here more qualified than I who can answer questions there.
That sounds like a good idea. As it starts getting warmer I will definitely want to disassemble this machine to clean out the decades' worth of dust caked inside (that poor intake fan has got to be on its last leg) and that sounds like a good opportunity to do that. I might be dropping back in the thread around then if I need some assistance, I haven't done a ROM dump on a system before.
Thank you for all of the information, it's quite helpful! I'm hoping to eventually restore this machine into something I can hang on to for a long while, with all of those development options I could probably have quite a bit of fun with it.
Right now I have a working system I pulled from one of my clients. It's taking up room that I don't have. I would really like to find a new home for it. system consists of: 990 A13 chassis, 990/12 AU, 990/12 SMI, Cache 2MB, 4) CI403. It had a 990/SCSI and Mass Storage II,PRI,MS100,CT, but could switch out for TPBI and WD800, or FLEX controller with SCSI HD. Could add 10x board or remove CI403's. If anyone is interested let me know. I would want to go through it to make sure all the CI403 ports are working and test whatever HD option wanted to make sure everything is working correctly. Could add 924+ Terminal And Keyboards.
Manuals that I have on hand right now: WD800/WD800A Mass Storage System - installation and operation, Field Maintenance. Model F 880 Magnetic Tape Transport Vol 1 Operation and maintenance. Model 990A13 Chassis Maintenance Manual General Description. Four-Channel Asynchronous Communications Interfaces (CI403/CI404) installation and operation. Model 990/10A Computer General Description. ROM Loaders User's Guide. Error reporting and Recovery Manual DX10 operating System Volume VI. DX10 3780/2780 Emulator Release 4 User's Guide. DX10 Online Diagnostics and System log Analysis Task User's Guide. DX10 Online Diagnostics Self-Study Guide for Operators. Model 810 Printer operating instructions. Video Display Terminal user's guide. Microgate 931 User's Guide. Model 924 Video display terminal User's Guide. Model 931 Video Display terminal general description. 928 to 931 Conversion Kit pamphlet. Model 830 and 835 Printers Technical Reference Manual, Operators Manual. TenX99 Reference Manual.
More to come.
I'm interested in getting the info out to folks, so any help would be appreciated.
I recently acquired, from multiple sources, two /10s (one empty chassis), a number of spare boards (probably enough to make the second /10 a complete machine), an FD1000, a WD800, and a couple DX10-related QIC tapes (in the standards-based CT60 format, though I believe the QIC in my WD800 uses the earlier non-standards-based format). At some point I may find the time to make them work, and will probably look to part with one of the chassis at that time. I would probably be interested in a SCSI host adapter if one were to be offered.
I used to consult for Royal Air Maroc on their Boeing 727-200 simulator (now decommissioned). I have one page from one of those incredibly expensive industry reports here (PDF). It shows just how varied the host systems were - the company that made that simulator (CAE) lists VAX, SEL, Sigma, and SDS hosts, just on that one page. The Royal Air Maroc simulator used a TI 980 as the host (with racks and racks of D/A, A/D and binary I/O cards) and a Varian 76 for visuals.I worked for a company that used some 990 stuff in the early '80s. Kind of an odd duck. Much preferred DEC stuff at the time, and wound up helping them migrate to PDP-11s. The 990/12 I played with needed 3 phase power, ran dx10, had a DS50, 1600 bpi tape, and a fixed/removable disk cartridge drive (DS10?), and I don't know how many of those bizarre 911 VDTs. I stuck a 990/5 board on the TIline to handle synchronous serial communications. Two years of that stuff was plenty for me (really? 288 byte ADUs?).
Finally had some down time to get more manuals. add to the list: Western Automation Acumen 301/301+ User's Manual. TI WD800 Trim Kit. TI Model 810 Printer Maintenance Manual Vol I and II. TI DX10 Application Programming Guide Vol. III, Vol. V. TI Link Editor Reference Manual. TI Model 990 Computer 990/10 and 990/12 Assembly language Reference Manual. TI Model 990 Computer DX10 Operating system Release 3 System Design Document. Northwestern Digital CI-808 Hardware Installation Manual. TI Model 990 Computer Assembly Language Programming Card. Wyse-325/es Programmer's Guide. TI The TTL Data Book for Design Engineers. TI TTL Logic Standard TTL, Schottky, Low-Power Schottky Data Book. TI Interface Circuits Data Book Data Acquisition and Conversion, Display Drivers, Line Drivers/Receivers, Peripheral Drivers/Actuators, Memory Interface, Speech Synthesis.
I found some other books such as RCA receiving Tube Manual and alot of Motorola books(early 80's) which might fit better in a different area of the forum.
I used to consult for Royal Air Maroc on their Boeing 727-200 simulator (now decommissioned). I have one page from one of those incredibly expensive industry reports here (PDF). It shows just how varied the host systems were - the company that made that simulator (CAE) lists VAX, SEL, Sigma, and SDS hosts, just on that one page. The Royal Air Maroc simulator used a TI 980 as the host (with racks and racks of D/A, A/D and binary I/O cards) and a Varian 76 for visuals.
One of the benefits of consulting there was the stack of red carbon paper (anyone remember those) airplane tickets that said "OPEN/OPEN" (any flight, any destination, any airline) that they gave out.