IBM 1401 Restoration ProjectAttendees:
Meeting #5, June 4, 2004
Summary by R. Garner
Sharon Brunzel Mike Cheponis Mary Cicalese Tim Coslet Mike Falarski Bill Flora Robert Garner Jack Grogan Ted Johston Chuck Kantmann Frank King Glenn Lea Allen Palmer Dick Perkins Grant Saviers Dag Spicer Kirsten Tashev Ed Thelen Ron Williams
- Introduction of the new, retired-from-IBM volunteers
- 50-Hz power status (including UPS option)
- Bring-up plan discussion
- Organization of unit restoration teams (w/ separate meeting times)
- Accessioning activities
- Web site status
- The recent outpouring of ~15 retired, local IBM'ers who maintained 1401's as Customer Engineers, Field Engineers, or Technicians is an auspicious start for our restoration project! The response to the "An IBM 1401 Needs Help" ad in the May & June San Jose IBM Retirement Club Newsletters and a San Jose Quarter Century Club (QCC) bulletin has been fantastic. Special thanks go to Walt Cole, Retirement Club Newsletter editor, Jack Grogan, and Bill McDonnal. Photos, biographies and 1401-era backgrounds of each new 1401-era team member were distributed and are online at project web site address (below).
- Grant summarized the status on the 50-Hz conversion issue. His opinion is that we could get a smaller 6050 Hz converter sized for a subset of the entire max name-plate load (i.e., 1401/2/3 @ 4.5 kVA instead of everything at 13 kVA), so we could bring subunits up at 50-Hz, and then, later, possibly re-engineer them to run at 60-Hz. (Note that a 729 tape nameplate is 1.6 kVA each.). He also indicated he may just purchase the $500 motor generator set that is available.
- > R. Garner - Explore procuring a 6050 Hz, 3-phase solid-state "inverter" rated at 4.5 kVA for the core of the system. (One question: Motor startup load?)
- > Grant - Look for a 2nd quote on a direct-coupled motor-generator set.
- Mike Falarski reported that the UPS representatives (from MGE) stated that they are not willing to convert our current UPS installation to 50-Hz operation.
- Regarding the system bring-up plan, we agreed to break the project into four, concurrent mini-projects, each focused on a major subsystem. Each subsystem has a lead, who will be responsible for bringing together their sub-team, writing a bring-up plan for that sub-unit, and arranging meeting times, etc.. Each lead will be issued a museum access badge (after a short training session on the facilities). We will also maintain the overall group meeting too. The subunit leads are:
- 1401 CPU - Ron Williams, (408) 269-1281,
- 1402 Reader/Punch - Bill Flora, billflora+comcast.net
- 1403 Printer - Frank King, kingcc+attglobal.net
- 729 Tape Unit - Allen Palmer, aj.palmer+mindspring.com
- > Robert - Coordinate a time for facilities/access class by Mike Falarski.
- Other bring-up items discussed included:
- Whether to share the PDP-1 Restoration Lab space for subunit bring up (such as the 729 tape drive). Decision was NO (tool/test equipment sharing conflicts, etc.)
- The fact that the Museum does not supply test equipment, scopes, etc..
- The need to wear gloves when handling the visible surfaces of the artifacts to prevent skin acids from (eventually) degrading the surfaces. (Touching and handling of internal components is OK.) There was some spirited discussion on the Museum's policy to not clean externally visible surfaces. (It was noted that this unit was stored in a garage for ~15 years.)
- Approaches to initialize core main memory in the CPU. Will the 1402 card reader be up before or after the CPU itself? Mike Cheponis related how a laptop is used to read/write memory on the PDP-1. When the 1402 is up, will need a punched card stock.
- All of the documentation will be photocopied, punched cards, and reel-to-reel tapes will need to be duplicated for day-to-day handling and use. Two copies will be made of the documentation: One master on acid-free, archived paper, and a second master, itself for making additional-use copies. Mary is looking for volunteers to help with the photo copying! Originals will also be scanned, of course.
- Mike Cheponis noted that, even though the Liebert had been repaired, the server room is still noisy as a place to work and light levels are low. Mike Falarski suggested that the Liebert could be turned off as necessary (while units are un-powered, of course.)
- > Mike Falarski - Verify if overhead lights in server room need maintenance. Also, is humidity (and temp) within range and monitored?
- Kirsten & Dag noted that the Museum's collection of 1401 documents had been placed in a single cubicle for easy access. Sharon and Mary are ready to begin inventory of the project's 1401 documentation. (Although the new accessioning framework, DBTextWorks, may not be ready yet.) . Mary offered to ask Allison Akbay to give a class on the proper handling of computer system artifacts.
- > Mary - Organize a class by Allison on sensible handling of computer artifacts.
- Frank King suggested a meeting to begin to get a handle on what all came with the system (cables, spares, cards, tapes, etc.). Inventory meeting scheduled for Friday, June 11th, 9 - noon. Mary will be there to help with inventory.
- Ed Thelen volunteered to start a 1401 project web site, now up at:
- > Dag - Move the 1401 web site to Museum's site. (Use wiki server too?)
- Before the meeting started (and afterwards), Robert Garner, Frank King, Chuck Kantmann, Jack Grogan, & Tim Coslet moved the 1401 cables to under the raised floor to move them out of the way. (The server room floor surface will be cleaned by the weekend volunteer crew.)
- Next meeting scheduled for Weds, June 16th, 11-1pm. (Selection criteria: Morning times, to avoid rush hour in the afternoon, and over lunch, as some folks still have full-time jobs. Sub-unit teams will be free to establish their own, convenient work hours.)
Return to main page