Help identifying Mystery CDC Terminal...

Brent Hilpert hilpert at
Sat Feb 16 15:37:31 CST 2008

Josh Dersch wrote:
> Hey all --
> Picked up an old dumb terminal (and I feel secure in calling this one
> "old") today at Re-PC in Tukwila, WA (I'm starting to really dig this
> place...).  It's a CDC, labeled on the back as a "Display Terminal" (go
> figure), Equip. Id #CC5A5-A, Series Code 2, Part #15551800.  I haven't
> been able to find any information on this beast at all on the 'net.
> I've put up some pictures here:
>  (Haven't had a chance
> to clean it up yet, so it's kinda smudgy...)
> My favorite thing about this terminal is the huge, backlit buttons on
> the front for Power, etc... very cool :).  I've powered it up after
> giving it a check-out, and it appears to work fine. I haven't hooked it
> up to a serial line yet, but that's coming... maybe Linux has a termcap
> entry for this thing? :)
> Opening it up reveals repair tags with dates in 1974.  There are four
> PCBs mounted inside, connected by a ton of ribbon connectors (there's no
> backplane to speak of).  Looks like it's all TTL, though I haven't taken
> the boards out to investigate.  Not sure I want to disturb them :).
> Anyone know anything about this thing?  What's it capable of?  What was
> it originally connected to?

Well, it looks just like the surplus one we acquired in my high school
electronics lab ca 1977, and which we connected up as the console to a Motorola
MEK 6800 board. I got to take it home over one summer, wrote some (manually
assembled) cassette-tape storage routines for it.

If it's the same as the one I recall playing with, it was a fairly 'typical'
remote (note the CTS indicator) time-sharing terminal of the early 70's: RS232
with modem control lines, printer port, may have been upper-case only - don't
remember for certain.

..pull the boards and check the date codes and technology of the ICs. Nice
find, IMHO, those random-logic pre-microproc CRT terminals are getting pretty
rare, most of them were scrapped by the late 70's/early 80's.

(If I may make a general request to people when putting up photos like this,
resizing them if possible (they're all near to 2MB), down to something sensible
for casual perusal/download would be helpful to some.)

(.. I like the big old "No. 6 Ignitor" dry cells in the background, haven't
seen any of those since the 60's.)

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