road trip score: AViiON, Microdata 1600
jws at jwsss.com
Fri Nov 26 02:03:29 CST 2010
On 11/25/2010 9:58 AM, Charlie Carothers wrote:
> Because of the particular microcode, ours was called an 820. There
> seemed to be some confusion at the time about that, as ISTR it was
> sometimes referred to as an 822. It of course could become an 8xx
> where xx is most anything just by plugging in a different microcode
> board. Anyway, in the late 60's or early 70's Recognition Equipment,
> Inc. (REI) in Dallas/Irving built a number of systems with the model
> designation OCR/S-2000. The OCR/S meant Optical Character
> Reader/Sorter, and the 2000 was the maximum number of documents per
> minute that could be processed. The 820 in the OCR/S-2000 was called
> I think the SSC meaning SubSystem Controller, and it was interfaced to
> and controlled various aspects of the document transport, control
> panel, etc. This system was originally provided to the Swedish
> Post-Giro and was eventually used by the Danish, Finnish, and
> Norwegian Post-Giros as well to optically read and sort their various
> payment documents. I once knew how many of those we built in all, but
> it has been too long now. I'm pretty sure it was more than 20, which
> was a quite significant number for the company at the time. These
> were not small systems physically! I'm trying to remember how many
> sort pockets, and I'm sure at least 12, but I think actually it was
> either 18 or 24 max.
> After production stopped, some number of the 820's were surplussed and
> acquired by one of the Field Service people who gave one to me. One
> of the guys gave me several spare boards and other bits for it as
> well. The last time I tried to fire one up, which was a lot of years
> ago, it did not work and I never got around to finding out why. Now
> that I'm semi-retired maybe I'll find the time to look into it again.
> Before we did the OCR/S 2000 project some poor engineer did one with
> an 800. He actually wrote microcode to control some device. I say
> "poor" because it was before the PROM microcode board was available,
> and he had to solder/unsolder discrete diodes to "load" his code. And
> I thought loading code from punched paper tape with an ASR-33 was slow!
> The assembler for the 820 was written in Fortran IV, and I did quite a
> lot of work on that. I used to think it was really cool to tell
> someone I was going to go compile my assembler. :-)
> Charlie C.
Do you recall any of the people at Microdata you worked with. I can
name such as Max Malone, Al Weber, Chuck Canon.
The 821 firmware became the 1621, 1630, and later. I wrote and have a
Disk system we called MPS that was written at the University of
Missouri, Rolla for the 1621. We had a 5mb dynex drive, 2.5mb removable
over 2.5mb fixed which the system ran on. It was very similar to CPM,
but actually modeled after CPS on the IBM mainframe, and TSO.
I still have the software and firmware, and have an emulator I have been
working on to run the1621 code. I'd be interested if your friend with
the diode boards still has any notes or materials from the firmware project.
I have an 810 firmware in diodes. The diode boards run in both the 800
and the 1600.
As to your friend, the other thing that was interesting was that the
micro assember would not only give you the object tape out, but it would
give you a map of where to populate on the board, and a diode count if
you wanted it to.
I don't think I got the fortran cross assembler, or cross micro tools,
but there was also a simulator on which you could do some checkout, all
in fortran. The simulator on the mainframe was not interactive at the
time, and not very useful.
There was one written which ran on the 1600 that was interactive, and a
bit more useful. Sim1600.
More information about the cctech