Excercising vintage items - was: Commodore 8010 IEEE-488 Acoustic Modem ?

From: Ethan Dicks <dickset_at_amanda.spole.gov>
Date: Thu Oct 21 01:23:57 2004

On Wed, Oct 20, 2004 at 09:30:28PM -0400, Dave Dunfield wrote:
> I have to admit - I do not have a burning desire to connect to anything
> at 300 bps --- But I do have a burning desire to see it work.

Understandable. If you really need a serial port, there are faster items
out there... but AFAIK, at the moment, that's the fastest you have...
> These are a questions that seems to have different answers from different
> collectors:
> - To use or not to use
> - To fix or not to fix
> - To power-up or not to power-up

I'm in the use, fix-as-necessary, and don't worry about powering up
equipment I expect to be good (reforming ancient caps is a different
problem). If I can't fix it, I probably shouldn't own it.
> Whats the point of storing all this stuff unless people can actually
> experience it - otherwise, why not just keep a pile of pictures.

Very much agreed... might as well only do emulation.
> In this case, I think it would be "cool" to be able to demonstrate a PET
> connected through the 8010 IEEE modem to my Hayes S-100 modem (also a 103 type)
> in an Altair running a BBS system - This would show how it really worked!
> - but I don't expect anyone to actually want to use such a setup for any
> other purpose.

Sure. I even have a couple of devices that are handy for that - Telephone
C.O. simulators... I have one that I used to make and sell - the ComBox(R)
(really... (R)... no :-) It's more than 10 years old, so it's even on-topic
even when not used to hook up classic gear.

It's an i8049-based box with two RJ11s, lights and buttons. By dialling
different numbers, you can simulate a regular call, PBX-outgoing, half-
connections, missing ring, etc. It was really handy when I was writing
autodialer software for our VAXBI HASP product (V.24?)

You would literally take an analog phone, plug it in, then cradle the handset
in your acoustic couple - plug a hardware or acoustic coupler in the 'B' port,
and feed the calling end a couple of digits to dial, and *bringggg* - a

I also have a 4-line model we picked up during product research to see what
features were being pushed by the competition. I could literally have my
own private phone network at home for classic machines that are strictly
modem based.

> Curious to know what others do with the vintage equipment you have stashed
> away in basement/garage etc.

Mostly I play. Like you, I rotate through stuff, whatever is currently
interesting to me. Before I left home to come down here for a year, I
spent a bunch of time working on my PDP-8/e - all hardware diagnosis and
repair (if I just wanted to run OS/8 programs, I'd either use simh or
fire up my SBC6120, which I do often). At the moment, the -8/e now has
a stable PSU (the breaker wouldn't stay latched - a mechanical, not
electrical fault - it got smacked *hard* before I got it), and I was
diagnosing some CPU fault that was so deep that the front panel didn't
do a whole lot, no matter what you frobbed. I was about to pull out the
board extenders, O-scope, and ancient HP logic analyzer when it was time
to start packing. Over the last year, I have been shopping for parts;
just this week I picked up an M8330 to replace my M833 (newer ECOed
version of same board) for $9.99! (opening bid, no competition) I'm
glad I did - I got scooped recently on a complete KK8E w/EAE.

The ultimate reason for fiddling with all of this is to eventually fire
up an RK8E I got several years ago in a swap, and use _that_ to eventually
read an RK05F-16 pack I got in 1984. I have *no* idea what may be on it,
and I'll love it when I can finally read it out.

The other thing I do with vintage equipment is show-and-tell. Mostly at
home with friends, but I have hauled an -8/L, w/rack, w/ASR-33 to a
local convention for a computer exhibit (along with lots of C= equipment)
Unfortunately, some bastard, most likely a hotel employee (or someone
with a lockpick, since it was after hours from a padlocked room) walked off
with my Dell P-133 laptop with about two weeks of recent Open Source
work on it. The show was a success - losing two wireless cards and a
fully tricked out Linux laptop was a real bite.


Ethan Dicks, A-130-S      Current South Pole Weather at 21-Oct-2004 02:50 Z
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Ethan.Dicks_at_amanda.spole.gov     http://penguincentral.com/penguincentral.html
Received on Thu Oct 21 2004 - 01:23:57 BST

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