Rolm Computers: 1602, 1602A, 1602B, 1666, MSExx (was Data General Nova Star Trek)

Sean Caron scaron at
Thu Apr 28 19:45:04 CDT 2016

On Thu, 28 Apr 2016, Erik Baigar wrote:

> On Wed, 27 Apr 2016, Sean Caron wrote:
>> I don't have any ROLM computers (not that I wouldn't love one) but I am 
>> proud to say that I have a complete ROLM SCBX 8000. I've tried to take some 
>> pictures and compile some information on my personal site:
> Wow, that is a lot of PCBs to handle the telephone stuff!
> Thanks for sharing the pictures - also interesting to see,
> that they used a Z80 in there but never used microprocessors
> in their MIL computers (even the later ones!)...
> As a project you could design a VoIP PCB for the SCBX  ;-)
>   Erik.

You're welcome! Mine is actually a relatively small example. It has 84 
PCBs in total across six shelves and two conjoined racks with a little 
disk and control panel between them.

If you've seen a picture of a lowboy PDP 11/60 ... I always use that as 
something to relate the general dimensions. The ROLM is maybe a little 
taller. I need to post some pictures of the complete system and rack.

I would love to get the ROLM running someday and get it hooked up to a 
VoIP network... Another hobby of mine is collecting PBX systems and 
telephones and I've already done this for a Definity as well as a Nortel 
M1 and I have no doubt that the same could be done for the CBX [1].

The CBX (eventually) supported DS1 interfaces ... which would IMO be the 
coolest way to connect the CBX to a media gateway ... but one day once I 
get the PBX running, I should be able to get it routing calls again with 
something like a Cisco box acting as an external media gateway ... while 
designing a media gateway to sit on the ROLMbus would be a heck of a 
project ;)

I find the design of the CBX really interesting. IMO, their appearance 
belies that ROLM was a computer vendor first a a phone equipment maker 
second. Not in a perjorative sense, just stylistically. Comparing them 
against boards from WECo/ATT/Lucent/Avaya, Nortel and Harris.




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