Ridge 32/330 up and running!

Josh Dersch derschjo at gmail.com
Sun Mar 29 00:16:57 CDT 2015

Hey all --

Last summer I picked up a Ridge 32/330 that became available locally.  
This is a fairly obscure early RISC machine intended to be a competitor 
to the VAX, it uses a 32-bit CPU at 12.5Mhz built from discrete 
components (spanning three large PCBs).  Mine's outfitted with 8mb of 
ECC memory, Pertec, SMD and SCSI QIC controllers, and Ethernet.

You can see some pictures of this beast at:


I got it running late last year after rebuilding the QIC tape drive and 
dealing with some intermittent failures due to a couple of low-quality 
DIP sockets.  I now have a set of dedicated 20A circuits installed in my 
basement so I can run it for longer periods of time without worrying 
about burning my house down, so I'll be running it for the next couple 
of weeks just for fun to keep the basement warm and run up my electrical 
bill :).

It's currently running RX/V 1.1 (Ridge's UNIX variant) and it's on the 
Internet (indirectly, since exposing a 25-year old UNIX directly to the 
'net seems like a bad idea).  I thought maybe some people here might be 
interested in checking it out since it's pretty obscure, if you want an 
account to play around, drop me a line and I can hook you up.  I don't 
know of any other Ridge machines out there (running or not) -- if you 
have one let me know, there's very little information out there on these 

I'll add that I'm looking for an external SMD cabinet and cabling so 
that I can image the original SMD disk that was in the Ridge when I got 
it; it looks like it contains a valid partition table, but it will not 
boot.  I didn't want to wipe it so the Ridge is currently running off of 
a spare drive -- I'd like to hook it up externally to dump an image from 
the running RX/V system.  If anyone has one to loan (preferably within 
driving distance of Seattle) let me know.

Once that's done, it's time to figure out how to get the Eagle that came 
with it running again...

And a huge thanks to Al Kossow for archiving the OS media that's on 
Bitsavers, without which this machine would be a very large boat anchor 
taking up many cubic feet in my basement.  (If anyone has any media or 
docs for this that aren't on Bitsavers, let me know -- I'm in particular 
looking for an ROS distribution on QIC media...)

- Josh

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