"Tyrotek" analog computer

Bob Rosenbloom bobalan at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jan 12 10:07:39 CST 2009

Brent Hilpert wrote:
> dwight elvey wrote:
>>> From: hilpert at cs.ubc.ca
>>> I'm currently working on refurbishing a small analog computer from the
>>> mid-60's. It has the name "Tyrotek" on the front panel, in the middle of a sine
>>> wave curve. (My) web searches turn up zippo about this name (other than some
>>> guy using the word as a moniker).
>>> The only other clue to a manufacturer is "Non Linear Mfg." in the foil of the
>>> printed circuit boards. No model number, no identification plate.
>>> While it is smaller for an analog computer and appears to be intended as an
>>> educational or training unit, it is built to industrial standards, with a nice
>>> sizeable plugboard using standard IBM plugboard wires, fiberglass PCBs,
>>> discrete FET-input op-amps, etc., so it's not just some gimmicky thing.
>>> Eventually I'll have a web page for it, but right now I'm curious as to it's
>>> manufacturer origins. Just a guess, but one line of speculation I'm making is
>>> that "Non Linear Mfg." may have been the manufacturing arm of Non-Linear
>>> Systems of digital voltmeter fame, and Tyrotek was a subsidiary of, or
>>> otherwise associated, with NLS.
>> Hi
>>  Sounds intresting. I do question the date. It is more likely in the
>> 70's. You might look at some of the date codes from the parts.
>>  How many amps does it have? Can they all be configured as integrators?
>> Any special operators like multipliers? Does it have a two speed
>> integrator function like the Comdynas?
>> Dwight
> Oh, it really is mid-60's, date codes are one of the first things I look for
> on any piece of quipment. Latest date code is 6734 on a 'lytic cap,
> 66xx on some other components.
> If you were questioning the date because of my reference to op-amps,
> ("discrete FET-input op-amps"), to clarify, I mean the entire op-amp
> is discrete, not discrete FETs feeding an op-amp IC. There are no ICs
> in the unit.
> There are a total of 10 amps. 4 can be configured as integrators or summers, 4
> are just summers. 2 have associated circuitry to make them into multipliers
> or dividers, or can be used as just summers.
> I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to as the two-speed function, but
> there was an option (going by the front panel labeling and some wiring) (option
> not installed) to change the "Time Scale" for the integrators. I believe it
> changed the integrating caps for all the amps, but it's a 'global' change, not
> individually selectable per amp. 
> The unit had been languishing in my basement for a few years, on the verge of
> being thrown out. Now that I've gotten into it, it has been fun figuring out
> something 'completely different', never having worked on or with one previously.
> Of course, I don't have the manual for the thing. I've done the schematic,
> which has made it possible to figure out a lot of it.
> There's not a lot on the web about analog computers, but there are a couple of
> scans of manufacturer brochures and an article or two that are cluing me in to
> the standard practices of the time.
> It's currently in a million pieces across 3 workbenches, almost ready for
> reassembly. (Most of the nuts and screws and a few other metal parts had grown
> that white powder that develops under certain conditions on some metal
> surfaces. I've seen it on other equipment, I presume it's an oxide of the metal
> plating, although it also has the appearance of a mildew or fungus. I'm not sure
> what element the plating is. Fortunately, it's only a 'mechanical' issue, it isn't
> affecting the circuitry or contacts.)
> If you have experience with these things I may be back asking some questions in
> a while, once it's all together and functioning and I can put up some pictures.
> What can be done with it when it's functioning will be another question.
> The only built-in 'output' device is a solitary analog meter. I have my eye on
> an HP analog chart recorder buried at the radio museum, to use as an output
> recorder, but I expect it has ink issues in the way of getting it going.
> (At least the plugboard looks cool.)

One output device to use is an oscilloscope.

Here's a photo of my Comdyna generating a double-well
chaos equation:



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