I have three AlphaServer 2100 systems in storage in the UK
(Oxfordshire). The storage, however, is due to be demolished (soon, but
no fixed date).
I won't have room to store these three systems, so if anyone would be
interested in offering them a home, then please get in touch!
I can probably get some pictures in the next day or two.
These systems were SMP Alphas and could sport as many as 4 CPUs. I'm not
sure of the configuration of these systems but I can probably find that
They have not been run since ~2003 so they may be in need of some TLC.
OTOH they are not rusted to death so you have a chance of getting them
back to life.
Just so you know what you might be dealing with these systems are about:
700mm H x 430mm W x 810mm L.
I can't find the weight in any of my references right now but they are
very heavy. Three people can move them up a slight slope with some
effort but you would not successfully lift it into a car (assuming that
it would fit). I'm planning to dismantle them to move them (i.e. remove
PSU/PSUs etc. until they are light enough to move). A tail-lift would
probably be the sane way to go (and is, indeed, how they got to their
I'm hoping that someone can step forward and offer one or more of these
machines a new home. Please contact me off-list (once you're sure you
understand what you are getting into :-)).
antonio at acarlini.com
The recent discussion on BSC protocol prompted me to dig out my Microvax 3100
with DSH32 synchronous serial interface. It had been idle in storage for
several years and it wouldn't power up, only giving a brief flash on the
diagnostic LEDs and a quick twitch of the fans. There was a slight smell, like
the stale air that comes out of a deflating tyre.
I took out the H7821 power supply and found that five identical brown 1800uF 25V
electrolytic capacitors on the output side had leaked.
The SCSI disk enclosure where the machine's system disk lives required several
power cycles to get it to run at all and it died as soon as the disk tried to
spin up. It turned out to also contain a H7821 power supply which had a
similar issue with the same five brown capacitors, although not as extensive
as in the main unit.
I found a second disk enclosure which had seen little use and grabbed the power
supply out of that to put in the MicroVAX. It worked well enough to test with
but there was a ring of goo around the bottom of one of the brown capacitors
which was worst affected in the other units. Time to order a batch of
replacement capacitors and figure out what else has been damaged. While it is
not the worst I have seen, access to these power supplies for repairs is quite
difficult and it is really difficult to debug them safely while they are
running with the cover off :-(
If anyone has anything with H7821 power supplies in them, I suggest checking
on these capacitors. If anything with these power supplies is in storage, I
suggest ensuring it is stored the normal way up as this should limit the
ability of the goo to escape and spread around the power supply.
And there I was thought I was being safe enough by removing the nicad battery
packs some years ago...
> From: Mattis Lind
> Thanks Noel for sorting this out.
Eh, de nada. But thank you.
>> I wonder if the ucode in the two versions is identical? The uROM chip
>> numbers should give it, (if they are the same on both versions, albeit
>> in different locations on the board), but I have yet to check. Does
>> anyone happen to know?
OK, so the situation here is pretty complicated. To start with / make things
worse, that CPU uses lots of PROMs. Lots and lots and lots and lots of PROMs.
For the data paths board (M7260), both major versions appear to contain the
same PROMs (going by the DEC part numbers), but the chip location (Exx)
numbers are all different.
For the control board (M7261), the C, E ('early' version) and F ('late'
version) etch revisions each contain mostly the same PROMs, but apparently
with slight differences between the sets of PROMs in each (as reflected in
different DEC part numbers). For details see:
to which I have just added all the gory details.
As to getting the contents of all of them dumped in machine-readable form -
>> on the earlier version (prints for that version are in the GT40 prints
It turns out that I have hard-copy prints for the "C" etch revision of the
M7261, which do not yet appear to be online; the GT40 prints have the "E"
I will scan the pages for that revision of the board, and put them up 'soon'.
(I'm not doing the whole print set, it's about 1" thick, and most of them are
for other things anyway, like MM11-L memory, etc.)
Does anyone have a collection of Intel Developers' Insight CD-ROMs in
physical form or as images? The only physical CD-ROMs I have are a two
disk set from February 1998. I don't know what time period these were
available. Maybe mid or late 1990s to early 2000s? They have a variety
of information on them such as datasheets and manuals that might not
always be easy to find online anywhere anymore.
As one example of something that I was recently unable to find online
anywhere is a copy of either of these, which might have been available
on some of the Intel Developers' Insight CD-ROMs:
297372 16-Mbit Flash Product Family User?s Manual
297508 FLASHBuilder Design Resource Tool
Those are mentioned in various Intel flash memory datasheets and
databooks from around the 1995 timeframe.
The February 1998 CD-ROMs contain a copy of the Intel Flash
SOFTWAREBuilder, which appears to be related to but different from the
Have one filed in somewhere with all the s-100 boards... now I have a reason to dig it out! Yes... memories of Wirt's projects!
On Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Bill Degnan via cctalk <billdegnan at gmail.com; cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
Very interesting Stan.
Thank you for sharing this info
On Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 2:43 AM Stan Sieler via cctalk <
cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> Some years back, I was asking if anyone had information about the speech
> developed for the Altair 8080 by Wirt Atmar of AICS (in New Mexico).
> No "hits".
> Most places on the web claimed the Computalker was first, given the date as
> 1976 or 1977.
> (Earlier speech synthesizes existed, but they were external boxes that one
> interfaced to,
> or were standalone (often with a large/weird keyboard).)
> Today, I stumbled over a fairly bad OCR of Byte magazine from August, 1976
> It has two articles about speech synthesizers for S-100 bus systems.
> The first is by the Computalker people, who say:
> At the time this article
> goes to press, a synthesizer
> module incorporating several
> detail refinements and im-
> provements over the circuits
> of this article is being de-
> veloped by the author and
> A detailed user's
> guide will be supplied with the
> Computalker module
> Note the future tense!
> The second is by Wirt Atmar, whose product *was already shipping*.
> Near the end of his Byte article, Wirt lists currently available products:
> At the present time, two speech synthesizers
> are both commercially available and affordable by
> the hobbyist.
> One is the Votrax produced by:
> Vocal Interface Division
> Federal Screw Works
> 500 Stephenson Dr
> Troy Ml 48084
> Price, approximately $2,000
> Interfacing: Parallel or Serial (RS-232)
> The second is the Model 1000 manufactured by:
> Ai Cybernetic Systems
> PO Box 4691
> University Park NM 88003
> Price, $425
> Wirt had told me (twenty years ago or so) that he thought his was the first
> for microcomputers (e.g., a user installed card, not an external box).
> Now, I'm sure ... but it was realllly close!
> Wirt demonstrated his product at the earlier MITS World Altair Computer
> tion, where it won first prize.
> He advertised it poorly/infrequently, since it was mostly a side business.
> And, that shows, since history doesn't remember it.
So, DEC part numbers (xx-yyyyy-zz) have a system where the 'xx' says what
_kind_ of part it is; e.g. bootstrap PROMs are all 23-xxxxx-yy. I seem to
recall reading at some point something which listed all the xx- codes, and
what they meant - but now I can't find it. A Web search didn't turn it up, and
it's not in the 1974 'engineering handbook'?
Does anyone recall seeing it, and if so, where?
Obviously, I could look through a bunch of print sets, and reconstruct it
(e.g. 90- seems to mean mounting hardware - nuts and bolts, etc) but I'd
rather not put the time and energy into reconstructing the wheel, unless
there's no other way.
As some people here are aware, I have spent probably too much time this summer
hacking on J. David Bryan's excellent Classic HP 3000 simulator and trying to
build up the ultimate classic 1980s HP 3000 system (virtually speaking).
I started with the MPE V/R KIT that's widely available and expanded that into a
5x120MB HP 7925 disc system and configured things like the system directory
size and all the system tables to make a fully functional multi-user server.
I then set about collecting as much old MPE software as I could find, which
included Keven Miller's collection of the old Contributed Software Library tapes
which were conveniently available in SIMH format. This is a huge trove of cool
stuff including most of the classic mini/mainframe games (Dungeon, Warp,
Advent, etc., etc.) and even a little game called DRAGONS that was written in
1980 by a guy named Bruce Nesmith when he was in college and he used it
to get a job at TSR and went on to write parts of many classic D&D products
and eventually landed at Bethesda where among other things he was the
lead designer for another little game called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I was
able to track Bruce down and give him a copy of the system with his 40 year
old game running on it. The CSL tapes also include other amazing goodies
that people developed and gave away over the years, including a FORTH and
LISP, as well as most of the system and utility programs that people used to
run their 3000 shops. It's quite fun to explore.
I was curious how far we could push the 3000 simulator, so I hacked all
the memory bank registers to be six bits instead of four bits, and we
now have a simulated HP 3000 Series III that supports 8MB of memory, 4x
more than any physical system ever did. I started trying to do the same thing
for giant disc drives, but MPE turned out to have too much knowledge of
what the supported disc models look like to make it practical. Bummer.
Since I met my first HP 3000 in 1980 (40 years ago this month), people would
talk about what was probably the most rare and exotic HP software subsystem
ever produced, APL\3000. APL on the 3000 was a project started at HP Labs
in Palo Alto in the early 1970s. They were likely motivated by the success IBM
was having with mainframe APL timesharing services. This would be the first
full APL implementation on a "small" (non-mainframe) computer. It would be the
first APL with a compiler (and a byte-code virtual machine to execute the
compiled code), it would include an additional new language APLGOL (APL
with ALGOL like structured control statements), and it managed to support
APL workspaces of unlimited size through a clever set of system CPU
microcode extensions that provided a flat 32-bit addressing capability (on
a 16-bit machine where every other language was limited to a 64KB data
Because APL required these extra special CPU instructions that you got as
a set of ROM chips when you bought the $15,000 APL\3000, and because
APL ultimately failed as a product (another story in itself) and thus HP never
implemented these instructions on their later HP 3000 models, I never saw
it run on a real HP 3000, but over the years we talked about wouldn't it be
cool to find a way to get APL running again.
With assistance and moral support from Stan Sieler and Frank McConnell
and others, I was ultimately able to reverse-engineer the behavior of the
undocumented ten magic APL CPU instructions needed to get it to run and
implement them as part of the MPE unimplemented instruction trap and now
APL\3000 runs again for the first time in ~35 years. Somewhat ironically, this
implementation method could have been used back in 1980 as I didn't
actually end up changing the hardware simulation code at all, and it should
also run (if a bit slowly) on any physical classic architecture 3000.
So that was cool and all, but what is APL without all the weird overstruck
characters and whatnot? APL\3000 supports the use of plain ASCII terminals
through blecherous trigraphs like "QD for the APL quad character, but this
is hardly satisfying. So the quest was on to find a solution. Back in 1976 when
APL\3000 was released, there was a companion HP terminal in the 264x line,
the HP 2641A APL Display Station, which was basically an HP 2645A with
special firmware and APL character set ROMs that supported all the APL
special characters as well as overstrikes (the terminal would take X<backspace>Y
and lookup to see if it had a character to represent Y overstriking X and if
so it would show that on the display, and if that got transmitted to the host it
would convert it back into the original three character overstriking sequence).
I briefly looked into the idea of hacking QCTerm or Putty or something, but
then I found out from Curious Chris that an HP 2645A emulator already existed
in the MAME emulator system! Since the '41 is basically just a '45 with modified
firmware, and Bitsavers had both the character set ROMs as well as the
firmware ROMs from a '41, this sounded like it might be easy! There was a snag
however in that the firmware ROM images that were allegedly from a '41 turned
out to actually be from an ordinary '45. But we did have the character sets and
one of the ROMs from the second CTL PCA. I put out a call on the Vintage HP
list to see if anyone might possibly have a lead on an actual HP 2641A, and
Kyle Owen responded that not only did he have one he could also dump the
ROMs for us. So a few days and a few hacks to F. Ulivi's MAME hp2645 driver
later we now have a functioning MAME HP 2641A terminal emulation, so you
can experience APL\3000 in all its original glory. I bundled up a somewhat
stripped down MAME along with my turnkey 3000 setup so both emulated HP
terminals are just a couple clicks away.
So that's how I spent my summer vacation (who am I kidding, it's pretty much all
vacation these days). It has been a lot of fun revisiting all this old
3000 stuff as
well as the numerous people I talked to along the way including some of those
who were around at APL\3000's birth (before my time). It was rather a lot of
work so I'd like to feel it might be useful to someone in the future
who is digging
into this part of history. Because of all the usual reasons, I don't
plan on hosting
it permanently until and unless we maybe someday get the licensing worked out
(the 50th anniversary of the HP 3000 will be in a couple years so maybe people
will get interested again then) but I will offer it up here to my
history nuts if you want to help ensure that it doesn't vanish if I
get run over by a
bus or something :)
This is a simulated HP 3000 Series III (circa 1980) running MPE V/R (circa 1986)
with 8MB of memory, all the language subsystems (APL, BASIC, BASICOMP, RPG,
FORTRAN (66), SPL, PASCAL, COBOL (68), COBOL II (74)), 20 years of users group
contributed software, many classic historical computer games, etc. Software
archaeologists can get lost in here for years. Oh, and thanks to Dave
HP 2000 Timesharing BASIC contributed library is even included (kinda sorta
converted to MPE BASIC) for good measure. This is a streamlined turnkey edition
that's ready to run out of the box with no assembly required (all
batteries are included).
Currently, I only provide executables for Windows (sorry) but am in
the process of
getting the 3000 simulator changes (for large memory support) and the new MAME
hp2641 driver back upstream. Instructions and further details can be
found in the
README.txt hint book for this adventure. 94MB Google Drive link:
P.S. I'm giving a talk on the history of APL\3000 and its resurrection
to the ACM APLBUG
group in a couple weeks. If anyone is interested I can provide more
details when I have
I'm using a HP 200LX to connect to a cc:Mail installation, with a null
modem cable. It has worked better before, but now I don't seem to be
able to connect at all. This is the output from the router, when
trying to connect from the 200LX:
| C:\CCMAIL\Router>C:\CCMAIL\Router\NTROUTER.EXE C:\CCDATA MODEM/PBX COM1 DIAGNOSTICS/F LOG/C:\CCMAIL\Router\ROUTER.LOG
| cc:Mail NT ROUTER Version 6.10.00.4
| Copyright (c) 1986, 1997 by cc:Mail, Inc. [...]
| Press Esc to terminate cc:Mail ROUTER program.
| Waiting to receive messages...
| 23/12/20 13:53:33 Answering call... 2 8 3a 74 68 8 2a 55 22 52 23
| 7d 18 80 from ~????`???f???????? ?`. Data connection not requested.
| 23/12/20 13:53:49 Ending connection.
| Waiting to receive messages...
| 23/12/20 13:53:55 Answering call... 2 8 3a 74 68 8 2a 55 22 52 23
| 7d 18 Data connection lost.
| 23/12/20 13:54:36 Ending connection.
| Waiting to receive messages...
The log files are empty. There are no other error messages anywhere
that I can see.
Anybody recognises anything? Any ideas about things I can try?
Here is the modem file:
| NULL MODEM=1
And another thing is that I only seem to be able to get a response at
1200 baud (the router default) by not specifying a speed when starting
the router. If I add the speed to the command line (the first line
above), any speed, (and the corresponding setting on the Palmtop) then
there is no connection at all.
It has worked better earlier. I managed to connect at 9600, but that
was a different PC. I am not aware of having changed anything relevant
on either PC or Palmtop.
Any help appreciated.
This was a long day. Went over to the house and started working on
getting the Perqs out of the basement. I've been moving smaller stuff to
make room and it was time.
First up was a Perq1 chassis that just had the big disk drive in it,
side and rear panels. I figured it was lightest and after taking off the
sides and top was able to lift it and carry it up steps. Still heavy and
bulky, but it made room and a path to get to the second one.
The second one was a mess but a lot heavier: It still had the card cage
in it and I was not going to be able to lift. So I figured out how to
take the sides, top, front, back, and bottom (pounds are made of ounces)
and then spottted the screws that hold the card cage and power supply in
the box. Bless the people at perq, those two screws out and you can lift
the cage out the side of the box.
The card cage without cards (took them out to lighten) was heavy but I
got it up the steps. Then with a herculean amount of effort I managed to
carry the rest of the box up, followed by the sides, top, front, back,
and bottom plates.
There are still two more Perqs down there. They have heavier front
plates (I was able to take them off) with real shielding. They were
different designs, so they were not Perq1s and they are not the same as
Question: Are there any pictures of other types of Perqs?
Unfortunately they are still buried under old Sun gear and a Vaxserver
of some sort. So I'll have to think about those, but they will need to
come apart as well.
Question: Do the card cages and stuff come off the later Perqs as well?
Also got two different types of keyboards that say Perq, and a monitor
that looks like a big fat white Vetrex and says Three Rivers.
Question: What does a Perq mouse look like?
At least this stuff will not be junked. I'll take pictures and such
tomorrow and throw a tarp over everything tonight because I'm too tired
to get it out of the truck.
I swore off high-mass hobbies for a reason....