Data General 4/X haul from Bakersfield

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Tue Jan 18 02:30:37 2005

Oh my most definitely worth it.

Just a quick report, it's late, it's been a long day, 3 of 4 lanes
closed on return trip adding 2 hr delay, I'll inventory later.
Photos taken (in dark lab at night), will upload tomorrow.

The system was a DOE project measuring the output of a test
cooling tower, some coal burning experiment. The system is
contained in 4 fancy blue DG racks with doors and pretty blue trim
panels. Casters were left on and racks bolted to the floor of a
custom mobile trailer -- double windows, monster A/C system
(Bakersfield summer sun peels paint -- literally). Big analog
input system wired to panel bolted to the wall, cables ran out to
sensors whereeverthehelltheywere. No sun-bleached colors here! No
mouse (eg. meeces, little mammals) presence detected, no birds,
insects, or even humans for 20 years.

Consists of:

Nova 4/X, 6070 disk, two 6120/6123? vacuum column tape drives,
plus a Computer Something Inc 48 channel analog input system (with
full documentation), DG data acquisition system, DG isolated IO
system (cage, cards, docs).

Nova I think is 128K, with mapped RDOS (according to manual notes
and patch tape labels). I dont know nova4 cards by eye, will deal
with later. ALl spotlessly clean. It looks like it was turned off
around 1984/1985 and just left alone.

One brand-new-sealed-in-box cartridge for the 6070. One possibly-
new-but-could-be-bad-in-box cart, plus one in the hole, for three

Dasher RO terminal, dusty but perfect, two cases new sealed
ribbons and a box of greenbar. Too bad no keyboard! Can I add one?

Some big beige modem, with manual.

Custom software full documentation (listings, oper man,
schematics, all mans for the hdwe).

Huge set (may be multiples) of DG manuals, 90% sealed never
opened. 3-ring type (std DG) but no binders (also typical DG).
Appears to include Everything.

Two sets of DG fiche (likely software) one never opened til I
opened it; I found 2nd already opened a few minutes later :-(
WIll get out the reader in a week or two.

About a dozen "system" tapes (backups, dumps, bootable), a couple
of scratch tapes, about 8 DG patch tapes. One tape that must be a
data collect from a program run.

All doors were closed, so there's little dust inside cabinets;
about what you'd see in a system in use for a year or so. THe
trailer was well insulated and sealed, built for field use. No
surface rust of any kind anywhere.

I took even the listings scattered all over the floor
and stepped on heavily. YOu never know.

One minor mistake: the A/D system appeared to be standard telco
wiring at first, so it got dyked out. The wall panel could have
been unscrewed and taken home intact. Not really a big deal, as it
seems likely that the AD thing will be redeployed as such, and it
was just generic wiring, not DG.

THe 6070 was restrained in the rack, and for shipment I had to
remove the disk pack. I wiped off all the dust surrounding first
to minimize contamination. I even found the orig. shipping drive
dustcover! I taped the head opening shut, so the heads wouldn't
zoom out (sorry, but I didn't know what else to do; circumstances
didn't allow determining the right procedure and I've never
shipped or unpacked one) but I put it in the truk so that the head
path was perpendicular to the truck's travel eg. sideways.
Inserted dustcover and clean towel over it, heads still properly
retracted when I got home.

The bad news: the A/C has been off for 20 years! Lots of orangy
dust on the floor and rack externals. It seems more like
disintegrated plastic than clay. Bubble wrap was fully
disintegrated. Who knows what the heat did to the media. We'll

Previous owner was fine; long story he got the trailer with a lot
of other surplus goods, wanted to scrap the computer junk inside,
told it would need to be recycled. A computer-savvy friend of his
told Bruce, etc.

So now my lab is at 120% (physical) capacity, which is actually a
problem. I didn't really intend to packrat another computer (esp.
one so large). But I do like the Nova4, even if it does have a
stack pointer.

The CPU, a tape, disk will certainly fit in two racks; it might
fit in one. I assume systems like this one (random industrial
duty) have no increased value or juice "complete", so paring it
down to managable size might be in order.

I'm not in a hurry -- yet. I will want my lab back at some point!

On Wed I travel to Santa Fe (friend's 50th) (mine soon!) won't have
time to work on it til I get back.
Received on Tue Jan 18 2005 - 02:30:37 GMT

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