Care and feeding of some Lisp machines (TI Explorer and Xerox Star)

Michael Engel engel at
Mon Sep 14 08:35:50 CDT 2020


for a planned exhibition, I am thinking of restoring two of the machines 
to working state again that are in storage here for decades:

- A TI Explorer ("Sperry" labeled)
- A Xerox Star (no idea if ours actually ran Interlisp or one of the 
other OSes for the Star/Dandelion)

There is "sen´s dandelion restoration blog" at 
(which seems to be very helpful to test the power supply) and, of 
course, lots of documents and software on bitsavers. I have quite a bit 
of experience with TI1500 machines, so the Explorer feels rather 
familiar, but I have never worked with Xerox machines before.

Before I start to disassemble and test the machines, I would be 
interested to hear about specific problems you might have experienced 
bringing up one of these two machines, preferably those on the 
unexpected side.

Some things I could not find so far are the mouse and the console cable 
for the Explorer. It seems that the mouse is related to MouseSystems 
optical mice used on older Sun/SGI systems (but the interface might be 
different?). The fiber optics cable for the display (TI part number 
2233200 according to the field service manual) might be another problem 
- if you know any details about this, I would be very interested...

Another thing that is also missing is the mouse pad for the three button 
optical Xerox mouse. Is it possible that an optical mouse pad for 
Sun/SGI machines is compatible?

Best wishes,

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