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Minicomputer Restoration Hanging In The Balance



[David Lovett] also known as Usagi Electric has actually invested the last a number of months studying a Centurion minicomputer from 1980. His most current upgrade exposes that the restoration has hit several snags, and also bootstrapping this old blue monster is mosting likely to be a difficulty.

When we last signed in on this job, [David] had actually constructed a homebrew ROM viewers to backup important information kept numerous of the minicomputer’s ROM chips. Ever since, the bright side is that the Centurion is revealing indications of life. Penetrating the Information Establish All set pin on the default RS232 serial port exposes a stream of information, most likely originating from the ‘CPU6’ board.

Sadly, that’s where the bright side ends. Including an incurable to the serial port disturbs this stream of information, and also no info seems sent out or gotten from any one of the 3 terminals examined. To make issues worse, both of the large disk drives showed up to have actually experienced disastrous head accidents at some time in the 1990s, ruining the Centurion os and also most likely various other vital information at the same time. Stained air filters were the most likely wrongdoers, with proof revealing that annual upkeep had actually been neglected. While a minimum of among the drives can be fixed with brand-new plates, the initial os is entirely shed.

Luckily, a previous worker of Centurion had the ability to offer a wide range of undocumented info that substantially helped in understanding the minicomputer’s private parts. Extremely, they were likewise able to offer a senior prom Diagnostic board for the Centurion system. Not just might this board run a battery of examinations, it might likewise bootstrap the system with TOS (Examination Os), a simplistic memory screen kept on the card’s Senior proms. While the analysis card itself requires repair work, there’s currently the least possibility that [David] can utilize TOS as the starting factor for composing brand-new software application for the Centurion.

We truly can not wait to see what occurs following with this job. We have actually covered some extremely unique classic computer system repairs in the past, such as menstruation Diablo drive from an uncommon Xerox Alto, as well as the fragile power-up treatment for an initial Apple 1.

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