Front panel switches - what did they do?

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at
Tue May 24 16:52:21 CDT 2016

On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 3:28 PM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at> wrote:
> On 05/24/2016 12:15 PM, Eric Smith wrote:
>> On Tue, May 24, 2016 at 1:08 PM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at>
>> wrote:
>>> Yes, but there was a trademarked name for the process that slips
>>> my mind.  Capable of very high densities.
>> Multiwire?
> That sounds familiar!

The last COMBOARD product, for VAX BI used a similar technology from
Augat called "Unilayer" - it was a bunch of wires autorouted from the
netlist and stuck together and applied as a "mat" on each side of a
perfboard with plated-through holes and tacked down at each via/wire
junction, then small machine pin inserts were stuffed into the vias
that became the sockets.  We did it because of the 10-layer
requirements of VAX BI and the costs of spinning up such a thick board
in the early 1990s.  Augat had a VAX BI "blank" and we sent them our
layout and netlist and got back a stack of boards.  They were
expensive, but for the size of run we did, it was cheaper than the
setup costs for our own PCB, and guaranteed to be compliant in the "BI
Corner" which was essential for success.  We sold a few.  I still have
the remainder of the run.  Unless one needs a 68010 with some local
RAM and a Z8650 SIO as a VAX peripheral, they are mostly a curiosity.
I ported our HASP and 3780 products to it, but we never had any
customer demand for SNA for VAX BI, so that never happened.

So if not Multiwire, perhaps Unilayer.  They are similar but visibly


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