ISO: Documentation for a Northern Scientific NS-600

Josh Dersch derschjo at
Fri Jan 27 01:07:32 CST 2017

On 1/26/17 7:02 PM, Brent Hilpert wrote:

> On 2017-Jan-26, at 1:48 PM, Josh Dersch wrote:
>> Hi all --
>> Went spelunking in a hoarder's basement this morning (long story) and came
>> out with a few interesting items, including a Northern Scientific NS-600.
>>  From what I can tell it's from the late 60s and is capable of storing and
>> analyzing digital data (and can display it on a tiny scope display).
>> There isn't any real documentation out there, just a few research papers
>> here and there noting its use in various experiments.  Anyone have anything
>> on this?
> Here's a catalog page and pic of the Northern Scientific NS-544 from 1967/8, I wonder if the NS-600 might be a subsequent model:
> This is billed as a Digital Memory Oscilloscope.
> It sounds like a contemporary of and very similar to the HP5480 Digital Signal Analyser I have, from the same era.
> The NS-544 and HP5480 are basically precursors to the modern DSO, but rather than being intended as a general purpose scope (too slow and too expensive),
> they had modes and were targeted for applications that could benefit from the digitisation and (numerical) storage and manipulation of the signal.
> They could do things like signal averaging and very-slow-signal capture. The HP-5480 had a mode which which would produce histograms of pulse rates (think nuclear decay rates).
> So they contain AD converters, digital memory (core can be expected as Bill mentioned, if it's from the late 60s, that's what's in my HP5480), adder/ALU, and a whack of hardwired logic to control it all.
> Pic of the front panel controls would be interesting and might help categorize it.

Here are some pics (front panel pic is img_0110).  It definitely has 
core memory in it (which makes sense, like you and Bill said).  It's 
filthy on the outside but pretty clean inside... if I could figure out 
how to interface it and use it it might be fun to play with...

- Josh

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