Schedule July 2007

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Wed July 04 - general,
Wed July 11 - general, Sat July 14 - 2nd Sat. - Volunteer Day
Wed July 18 - general,
Wed July 25 - general, Sat July 28 - 4th Sat.

E-mail received:

Van Snyder DFT 5310, ... -

Karl Bleher backplane power cracks -

Allison Akbay Werner, Oregon shipment -

Wed July 04 - general

Ron Williams will be there - so its an official work day ;-))

  • Present were: Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Judith Haemmerle, Ed Thelen. The building was otherwise empty.

  • Ed Thelen was in Tuesday - and the newly patched Multiple Big Print demo program had a strange bug, the text that this version stored away in core for reuse on for multiple guest printouts was getting overlayed if there was more than 4000 characters of text.

    I called Ron telling him of this bug, and he said there was still a problem involving the 8,000 memory boundary. Unfortunately, this did not exactly fit my bug as I started pouring text starting 3,000 up, and got a roll-over of the index register (X3=3,999) at memory location 7,000.

  • So today Ron (and a reluctant me ;-) continued to trouble shoot the 8,000 boundary problem. Ron had noted that at particular locations, moving characters down from say 8201, 8200, ... except as shown in Ron working paper, the next address was 199 instead of 8119. But at other address boundaries, the machine did just fine, as shown 8101, 8100, 8099, 8098. OK what was the machine trying to tell us??? I figured that the 8K bank and the 2 hundreds bit has a problem subtracting :-))

  • Ron said "right, and I think the problem is on this page" and soon guided my hand to the gate at the right of the paper clip. :-)) - With Ron around, life is so simple :-)))
    Note the red lines which Ron had already drawn tracing the problem - looks easy :-|

  • Well, OK - now the hard part! What is the text in the box? and what is the meaning of the text???
    We tease each other who owns Ron's magnifying equipment, two magnifying glasses. But now is the time to try to make out the hazy text. (The "originals" we received weren't any better. I had taken great pains to adjust the reproducing machine for best quality working copies for us to work with.)

  • The text you and I are interested in:
    "01" of the "01AC" means first 1401 cabinet,
    "A" of the "01AC" means top box,
    "8" of the "8E17" (it is not a "B") means 8th gate
    "E" of the "8E17" means column E, counting from hinge out

    - - (note empty A column)
    "17" of the "8E17" (a 7 not a 1, it slants) is card, counting down

  • The left image shows the inputs, there was no change in the output of the defective card. This is the card we used to replace the no output gate And here is the good output of the replacement card.

  • And Ron can now do a Storage Scan with out getting alarms :-)) Being continuously reset by this handy tooth pick :-)) And Tim Coslet has another (CJWF) card to fix - this one looks easy :-))
    See how easy it is???

  • Taking a break from the 1401, we now turn to Bob Erickson and Judith Haemmerle working on the 513 reproducing (and summary) punch. Bob and Judith had re-assembled the gear box, and hand cranked the machine. It did not work correctly - so the gear box cover comes off - again. Behind the Geneva gear, Bob found one of the clutch springs had been damaged :-(( I'm not sure I have the story correct, but there was a question in the re-assembly about the position of one of the cams while trying to get it all together. and something about a pivot adjustment to be done through a hole in one of the gears?
    I have no idea if/how Bob "fixed?" the spring. Ron Williams said that Orchard Supply has a good stock of springs - but the did not make a trip.

  • Here is (Bob's) copy of the IBM 514 Summary Punch - the physical punch mechanism is apparently identical with our 513. Looks as though I should make a shop copy !! and the outside of the gear case

  • E-mailed to me later - here is the "last shot of the day". The gear box cover has been reinstalled - again - and hopefully the machine will/does hand crank over just fine. That big selenoid operated the clutch (inside the gear box

  • Back to the 1401 - the repair of the strange 8,000 decrement problem did not fix the newly patched Multiple Big Print demo problem :-(( Darn, not our lucky day.

    Ron said that when you add or subtract something from an X Register, the X Register has to have a word mark in the high order position, as that is the B-Operand. (I had assumed that a word mark in either A or B operands terminated the operation.) So Ron helped me experiment. I put in a little three instruction through the front panel - I won't say how long to took to get my 10 thumbs working correctly.

    After some experimentation, we found that Ron was correct :-((
    Ya know, It just ain't fair !!

    So I patched the patched Multiple Big Print demo program to place word marks in the high characters of the X-Registers - but the roll-over problem in the program did not go away.
    The program works just fine if there are less than 4,000 characters of text - including blank lines and spaces.

Wed July 11 - general

  • Present were Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Judith Haemmerle , Joe Preston, Glenn Lea, Robert Garner.
    The following report is from Ron Williams

  • 1401, there is a temporary "short/open" in/near the 01B2 gate - Ron figures the cable/paddle area. The symptom is that when you run diagnostic tests and physically rotate the gate (even just a little), the diagnostic test will do unexpected things. Normal vibration and manipulating the cabling doesn't cause a problem.

  • 720 Mod V Tape, sick "A" bits. The previously reported failure to stop tape seems solved.

  • On the 513 reproducing punch, Bob Erickson, Judith Haemmerle, Glenn Lea unmounted the motor generator, ...

  • The third KeyPunch motor is still overheating - the output stacker just above it gets noticably warm, the motor itself gets too hot to handle. Joe Preston worked on the/a friction clutch - now adjusted to minimum, he also found a bearing not too good, ...

  • Ron Williams wrote a little program to test Ed's suspected wrap-around of indexing at 4,000 characters. He started with index at 3950, indexing by 10, moving data, for or over 4000 indexing boundary - The machine seems to function correctly. Ed will re-examine his program :-|

Saturday July 14 - 2nd Saturday - Volunteer day - free food

  • Present were Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Allen Palmer, Judith Haemmerle, Tim Coslet, Ed Thelen, and Rafael Skodlar who had dropped off our team list. Mattthias Goerner (on his way to study Computer Science at Berkeley in the fall) joined us for the day. Mike Cheponis joined us about 3:00.

  • Allen got right to work on the 729 tape problem. This is Allen with the scope he used while fixing 729s in the old days. (A year or so ago we had to replace a transformer in it - )

  • There seemed to be at least two problems involved with the tape system or interface:
    First a problem that popped up and then disappeared, was that
    - card images copied from the card reader to magnetic tape
    - then read back from tape to the print buffer
    (got that?) appeared on the printer to have lots of leading blanks

    Just how can this happen? Allen insisted the blanks were not on the tape -
    and that he was not sending leading blanks back from the tape units analog amplifiers.
    and Ron couldn't figure how he was padding leading blanks into the printer buffer.

    Then the problem vanished - poof -

  • Back to the original tape problem - some translation, cross coupling, ... of the A bit to/from tape.
    - we punched up some cards with numbers and letters not containing the A bit
    - examined the resulting printouts
    As Allen left for the day, he said that if we left the tape drive in it's current condition, we would not have any trouble
    - The tape drive was in the turned off condition !!
    - Don't you think Allen deserves the teasing we give him?
    - Of course, he gives as good as he gets ;-))

  • Matthais Goerner (our student from Germany) seems very interest in all aspects of computing. After he visited with other team members, I introduced him to the 026 keypunch. That guy is quick. He was interested in the printing function of the print head, and quickly deduced the general form of the layout of the print plate. A real "quick study" :-))

  • Ron Williams introduced Matthais to our current worry - If gate 01B2 (see Wed July 11) is more than half way open, then the handle lifted vertically just 1 cm - any program (even a branch to itself) running in the 1401 will halt in an illegal state - no Storage Address Register (STAR) is selected and the memory fetch is invalid - causing a Machine Check.

    Of course, one can say "don't open that gate". But of course, most of us have been bitten by "Murphy's Law" (Things will fail at the most inconvienent time!! Preferably during a VIP demo or a payroll run.) We want to get to the root of this thing before it gets to us!!
    Here is Matthais Goerner going after the problem. "We" were aware that relaxing the support rods would cause the problem, but Matthais started to worry about the hinge area where the wires were routed into the gate. There is considerable stress/flexture at this hinge.

  • And in the mean time !!
    Bob Erickson, Judith Haemmerle, and Rafael Skodlar were reassembling the 513 reproducing punch - again. Here is Rafael doing some microsurgical prying while Bob (almost unseen) is trying to reassemble part of the frame assembly. Note the precision steel prybar ;-)) and supporting 2x4s. Serious complexity - how about working on your car's automatic transmission?

  • Allen split about 3:00 claiming a number of "Honey-Dews". But he wanted the record to show that he did indeed "log" a previous problem. He had found this little-bitty contact broken in some great big plug, and replaced the contact with one from some spare plug. Details added ;-))

  • Mike Cheponis talked with Ed about transistor failures, types, types vs. usage, ... We found Ron Williams' logs detailing much of the above - Mike will study. Mike also proposed that SMS board testing by automated using a PC via the very common 115 kilobit/sec serial port. Mike felt that this port will be accessable for a long time - and that the interface is simple. He says all operating systems support this port in a simple manner.

  • Tim Coslet talked with Ed about transistors, history, sensitivity to faults. He said that during the 1620 restoration only about 10 to 15 transistors were replaced. We wondered if the difference in our experience was the moist storage rusting the casings breaking the hermetic seal?

    Tim mentioned the unpassivated junction edges of the older construction techniques. Like the alloy type used so much in our machine had a exposed ?base/emmiter/collector? junctions that could easily get contaminated.

  • Its been a long busy day - note the IBM wall clock. Bob Erickson, Judith Haemmerle, and Rafael are still struggling with the 513 in the back corner. Ron Williams and Tim Coslet (Seated) have been struggling with the 1401 and repairing SMS cards respectively. Mike Cheponis has come in. After some rowdy comments about putting contact juice on the contacts, we see our little theater. Matthais is explaining to Mike what little we know about the flexure problem. (They were soon trying jumpers to see if that would help.)

Wed July 18 - general

Wed July 25 - general

  • Present were Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Joe Preston, Judith Haemmerle and Robert Garner.
    This report is from Ron Williams

  • Much of the morning was spent with power off and Robert Garner videotaping Bob Erickson talking about the 077 Collator.

  • Much of the afternoon was spent helping Allison Akbay unpack and identify objects trucked in from Portland, OR, from the Werner house.

  • Our sole "working" 729 tape drive seems quite unreliable and full of quirks.
    • - Sometimes you have to roll the window up and down several times to get the tape drive "Ready"
    • - The reel release button takes a while to take effect. Somebody will depress it and nothing releases. Then somebody else says "let me try it" and about then the thing works. Van Snyder had that happen to him also.

Received from Van Snyder, Monday July 23, 2007 - DFT 5310, ... -
On Thu, 2007-07-19 at 23:48 -0700, Mike Cheponis wrote:
> > Do you recall which diag(s) was(were) running?
> Van would know best; 5310, 5320, and 5330 ?

5300 and 5310 are the programs that write the other diagnostic programs
and their detail cards to tape.  I had put 3100, 3110 and 3130 behind
5300 and 5310, so the tape had 5310, 3100, 3110 and 3130 on it.  I just
picked 3100, 3110 and 3130 at random because they were handy and didn't
test the card reader or tapes.

5300 writes 5310 and the other programs and their detail records on

5310 is a loader that is the first record on the tape.  It decides which
programs to run.  If switch F is off, it runs all of the programs whose
ID in 73-76 of the first card (the one with A in column 80) are
different from 1273-1276 (S73-S76).  With switch F on, it runs only the
program whose ID matches.

I keypunched 5300 and 5310 from the listings in volume 2 of the
diagnostic notebooks.  I left these, wrapped in a scrap listing, in the
diagnostics box behind the power converter.  I double- and triple-
checked them, but it wouldn't hurt to check them again.  I also
keypunched the one-card program listed in the 5310 write-up that loads
26-80 into 1226-1280.  Load this program (using start-reset, load) when
the tape loader stops with 1369 in I-star.  It copies 26-80 into
1226-1280 and then branches to 1369.  This is handy for setting stuff,
including the ID of the program (not) to be run.  Many of the
diagnostics want parameters in the 1250-1280 area.  Look in the book for
each one.  In particular, essentially all of them want "1" at 1252 (S52)
to print the heading card that identifies the test.

I tried to get the diagnostics on the tape to print the heading by
putting 1 in 1252, and to print correct results by turning on switch C,
but didn't get any output.  I should have tried things out by running
from decks, too.  Anyway, I ran out of time when Mike had to leave for
the airport.

I also keypunched an 8k dump program from Germany, which I left on the
wheeled cart between the 1401 and the power converter, atop a tray of
other programs.  It's also wrapped in a scrap listing.  Behind it are a
blank card, and two cards that I translated from German to English.  If
you leave them in the deck when you run it, it will report that switch A
is off no matter whether if's on.  I haven't studied it enough to know
how easily it could be converted to dump 16k.  I also have another dump
program that I didn't keypunch.  I don't know what size memory it dumps.

I've attached my disassemblies of 5300 and 5310.

I put a bug in the ears of Ed and Joe: Connect a PC serial port to the
punch mechanism in a keypunch.  I mentioned this to Mike, who as it
turns out was already planning such a thing with his 029.  It wouldn't
be anywhere near as fast as using a connection between PC and the TAU or
SIO and punching decks using the 1402, but it would be a lot faster (and
more accurate) than punching by hand.	

From Karl Bleher (Sindelfingen, Germany) July 24, 2007 - backplane power cracks -
Hello Robert, 

Subject: Your report of Wednesday 11.07. errors when touch the gate 01B2.

Close to the end of our system debug of our 1401 system in 1992,
we have been irritated by sporadically errors if we touch the TAU gate. 
The error could be forced by a touch to the gate and to the voltage and 
ground pins in the gate.

So I take a closer look to the power rails 

The result was shocking. There has been cracks between the powerpins 
on the SMS card sockets and solderpoints at the voltage and ground rails, 
which could be seen by a good magnifyingglass.

How to fix it ?

Resolder was not possible, because of the wiring passing by.
The only reasonable way seems to be wire wrap.

I put wirewrap chains on top of the powerrails on all TAU gate.

After this timeconsuming procedure was done, the system operats stable, 
even by manipulate the gate.

This has been done by colleagues maintaining the system to
nearly all gates.

Good luck !


From Allison Akbay (CHM Registrar) - to Frank King - July 25, 2007 - Werner, Oregon shipment -
Ron Williams, Bob Ericson, Joe Preston, Judith Haemmerle and I went through the Oregon shipment today. I needed help identifying everything so that I can send the tax receipt to the donor and I wanted to make sure that members of the 1401 team knew what was in the shipment. There were five boxes of materials that we inventoried which have been added to the attached excel spreadsheet inventory. [html version]

The 1401 team members requested that the following materials be transferred to be used in restorations:

  • All small plug boards
  • 024 keypunch base
  • Card weights (2)
  • Punch card storage cabinets (2) they currently contain cards which may or may not be useful to the 1401 team
  • Punch card sorting rack
  • IBM 519 Electric Document Originating Machine
  • IBM 085 collator
  • IBM 077 Collator

The team requests that the following documents be made available to the team as soon as possible:

  • IBM 519 Electric Document Originating Machine wiring diagrams (located inside machine)
  • Manual IBM number A24-1010-1 (title page missing, located in box 2)
  • IBM 514 manual and wiring diagrams (located in Box 3)
  • IBM 077 manual (located in Box 3)

In addition, when passing the machines given to the Museum by the Museum of American Heritage the team members mentioned they would also like to know the feasibility of having the IBM 403 from that collection transferred for use in restorations.

Ron, Bob, Joe, and Judith thank you for your help and please let me know if any of the above is incorrect. If the list of items you would like transferred to restorations is correct please use the forms provided by Alex and Dag to officially request the transfer. This might seem buearocratic but using the form will make sure that everyone who needs to know is told in writing so that a decision can be made by the curatorial staff and the machine official transferred out of the permanent collection and into the study collection.

Thank you again for your help.

Sat July 28 - 4th Sat

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