Schedule May 2007

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Wed May 02 - general,
Wed May 09 - general, Sat May 12 - 2nd Sat., - Volunteer Day
Wed May 16 - general,
Sun May 20 - 3rd Anniversary Party, Tue May 22 - Senior Docent Meeting,

Wed May 23 - general, Diagnostic Tape e-mails, Sat May 26 - 4th Sat.
Wed May 30 - general,

Wed May 02 - general

  • Present were Ron Williams (brings the jams and utensils for lunch), Joe Preston, Frank King, Allen Palmer, Robert Garner (brings the bagels), Ed Thelen

  • Allen Palmer wants the record to show that he was *not* off rocketing as rumored last week but that he was on the island of Kauai, Hawaii tanning his tummy - and was eager to raise his shirt to all unbelievers.
    There is also something about being interviewed by a representative of the U.S. Department of ATF(&E) to get some kind of rocket license. :-|

    Allen did some detail work re-assembling a PROLAY.

  • Joe Preston decided it was time to turn on the "new" 026 keypunch from Illinois.
    Joe (left)
    We remembered that there was an electrolytic capacitor in there so Ed Thelen connected his Variac and we started running up the AC voltage very slowly. (This seemed easier than using a 4 watt light bulb as a current limiter which is the more fun and dramatic in showing any re-forming of the electrolytic capacitor.)
    At about 40 volts AC, the motor started growling at us - and we "remembered" to disconnect the motor as it will overheat and smoke before having enough torque to start :-|
    After about 5 minutes of slowly ramping up the voltage, we were at 100% rated voltage and the electrolytic capacitor was still cool and happy. We disconnected the Variac, connected the motor, plugged the 026 into the building AC, and turned on the switch.
    The motor went around just fine, but we noticed the friction clutch slipping (the gears that should go round and round were going back and forth about 20 degrees) and the trouble shooting began. The manual (yes we read 'em ;-)) said that IBM # 22 grease is needed in the clutch area. Frank King remembered that # 22 grease is a silicone grease.
    "Pep Boys" said they have silicone grease - Joe says that he will get the correct stuff.

  • Apparently the efforts of last Saturday have fixed the core memory problems. All 16,000 characters are reported working correctly :-))
    The two known remaining bugs in the 1401/1406 are:
    • - An intermittent false parity error in the "A" register -

      We received the machine with that circuit disabled :-|
    • - A solid bug involving a clear storage operation when crossing 8,000 character boundary. It will make the next op code disappear - like resetting ALL the bits in the opcode even the check bit.

    Ron spent some frustrating hours chasing the above :-((

  • Frank King and Ed Thelen talked with Dag Spicer and Al Kossow about their trip to Portland, OR to see some IBM equipment. Dag showed us a list of equipment that CHM is likely interested in. Frank mentioned that many boxes were so buried and otherwise inaccessible that he could not examine their contents. Possibly during a move operation, he could permit a more complete evaluation of many of these boxes - which might be useful documents or items.

    Frank is making a list of equipment that is:
    - useful for some working Tab room display
    - useful for spares for the above.
    This will be discussed/incorporated into a list for possible truck trip by CHM to Portland.

    Frank wished to make the point that moving the very heavy IBM 407 in particular is unusually tricky business - and that he is willing to go to Portland to help assure that:
    - the oil bath does not get spilled
    - the external sheet metal is not highly stressed and deformed
    (This is no strain, as some of Frank's grandchildren are in high school there ;-))

  • And Frank King was agonizing over picker knives. Ron noticed at one point in the afternoon that Ron was the only one not using a hammer :-|

from Frank King, Thurs May 3,
Dag, the equipment I feel we would like to have for the unit record and 1401 restoration from the Wermer Collection are:
  • - 082 sorter
  • - 083 sorter
  • - the sorter card rack
  • - all other card racks
  • - All of the IBM Keypunch equipment that they have no matter what the condition. (that is most of 2 026s and a 129)
  • - The 077 collator and wiring panels and cabinets. (for the panels)
  • - The 20 drawer card files.
I think the museum should get the 407 and the 519 because it is my opinion that both of those machines are restorable.
My personal opinion is that we should look for a 402 or 403 to restore rather than a 407. But, we would still need a summary punch and that 519 looks as good as I have seen. Also as long as the 1401 is running we will always have a need to reproduce card decks.

Take a look at Ed's pictures.

This is just my opinion and I would like to hear from the other guys who will have to do the work. I will have some time tonight and tomorrow to respond to questions about the condition of the equipment etc..

Thanks, for your involvement and help in this.


from Allen Palmer, Thurs May 3,

I agree with Frank on the 082,083 etc on the list.

But even more important is the 407/402/403/519 because I believe that we have the skills to restore them. The 519 would be great to have to reproduce card decks and also to complete the 1950-1960 computer display room, the same reasons for the 402/3.

I also suggest the we strip any equipment for parts that is not really worth the cost to ship or that the museum already has & does not want an extra machine. I would strip down to the frame if the parts were worth it.

Just my thoughts. But the more 1950/60�s equipment that we restore the better.

Allen j Palmer

Wed May 09 - general

  • Present were Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Frank King, Chuck Kantmann, Joe Preston, Robert Garner, Ed Thelen. Allen Palmer made the scene briefly - but left after a tense cell phone call.

  • Joe Preston worked on the new 026 keypunch - wanted to make sure that we had access to new/re-newed ribbons. He was assured that give Ron Williams a spray can of WD-40 and all good things happen ;-))
    Ron didn't particularly disagree - and we have also gotten some ribbons from e-bay.

  • Frank King helped Bob Erickson remove the gear case from the 513 reproducing punch (which we are "evaluating". In any case we are having an "interesting" time.
    The *gears* external to the gear case all looked good, practically new. - there are other issues with broken interposers, punch dies, ...

    So we had high hopes for the internals of the gear case - inspite of the fact that there was no oil to be drained from the gear box :-| like it had about 1/8 inches of oil, the drain pipe stuck up 1/8 inch into the gear box.

  • Bob Erickson said removing the gear box would take about 2 hours.
    I couldn't believe it would take that long, but tried to be agreeable.
    The following pictures are Bob Erickson and Frank King struggling ... - for about 2 hours -

  • Ah - Off at last !!
    Frank says he can make another gasket - Not enough oil on this shaft bearing This spur gear bearing was damaged during removal, and also was dry. This spur gear had sharp teeth, wear???

  • And here is the famous Geneva Gear - responsible for starting and stopping each card 12 times so that it is stopped completely for punching each row.
    Note there are seven "teeth" on the Geneva Gear. Bob says that the gear goes around twice per card - with two of the 14 tooth cycles in the gap between cards. There is a 2 to 1 gear to provide a card complete signal to the mechanical logic. The spring and little parts in the middle are some kind of clutch mechanism, connected from a solenoid and mechanism on the outside of the gear box. Note the scoring/wear on the shaft at the top center. Not enough oil?

  • Bob says that he can put the above back together, and not leave too many parts out. :-|
    and even get the mechanical timing right !!
    If you want to place bets, I'm willing to hold the money ;-))

    Ah for modern electronic stuff - now you just go to Fry's and get something that plugs and plays.
    No oil, no fuss, no muss, and if it breaks you just throw it out - 'tain't worth fixing!!

  • Frank King and Ed Thelen met with Dag Spicer and Alex Bochannek for about 10 minutes to verify the list of material of interest in Portland, OR.

  • Ron Williams continued struggling with the memory access problem that a program in lower 4,000 characters has accessing the upper 8,000 characters - see May 2 above. A large wired OR, including some overlap logic, floats too high above -12 volts. The wired OR involves a series of emitter followers - can't figure if insufficient drive or some load like a shorted base - a puzzle.
    The logic diagrams have a hand drawn logic change in that area. Some red lettering from Germany and some penciled lettering made by our group. The logic change makes no sense. It involves a change from T to U logic that is unusual to say the least. And chasing the actual wiring is difficult - see below

  • Ron Williams and Ed Thelen briefly experimented with cleaning the dust and grime from the logic areas. The yellow back plane wirewrap wires are turning a dull gray and are hard to trace. Using and air blast can did not do much to clean the back plane - but sure made a cloud of very unpleasant dust when briefly let loose on the cards on the other side. Using the air compressor and maybe 100 psi helped but did not greatly improve the visibility/traceability of the yellow/(gray) wires. :-((

Sat May 12 - 2nd Sat - Volunteer Day

Wed May 16 - general

  • Another fun day :-)) Present were Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Allen Palmer, Frank King, Glenn Lea, Robert Garner, Ed Thelen.

  • Robert Garner had his camcorder - to record audio - of the 077 collator for the Ross Perrot computer museum in Texas.

  • Ron Williams had done some more home work, (more hand drawn schematics) and suggested that by noon the logic in the 1406 programmed memory addressing would be functional Allen Palmer decided that Ed should be in a picture :-) It turns out there is another problem yet to go :-(

  • Allen Palmer and Glenn Lea did the unromantic work of re-assembling the four 729 tape drivers. A solid wire lead of a 0.01 ufd 25 volt disc capacitor fatigued and broke. We are getting 30 new capacitors and 60 little spade lugs so that this won't happen again for 45 year ;-)

  • Steve Purdy came from Connecticut to see (in part ;-) our 1401. Steve had been active during the early 1960s with some silver exchange in Hartford CN with unit record equipment, sorters, collators, 407s, ... doing the sales, billing, manufacturing accounting - as is very eager to impart these techniques to students - as in college accounting. He was also active in converting these activities to a 1401 tape based machine. :-)) (He later managed some UNIVAC 1108 installations.)

  • Due to a large Internet gathering at the museum, we ate our bagels (thank you Robert) at a table on the north lawn. Jim Somers brought pop, chips and cookies as our normal access to these items was blocked by visitors.

    During lunch, Steve Purdy found another common thread with the 1401 group - ocean and lake sailing. I had not know that so many of our IBM crew had previously had sail boats, had cousins with sail boats, crewed sail boats, dreamed of sailing the inland passage along the southeast coast, ... .

  • Frank King decided to work on the "new" 026 key punch Robert Garner bought - from Chicago -.
    His approach is to first test the tubes. Connect a voltmeter across the card release relay. The canvas case for this voltmeter was issued by IBM. Frank says 10 out of 10 of the IBM voltmeters were worthless - you throw the voltmeter into the river and buy this (from Simpson?? RadioShack??)

  • All tubes in the 026 key punch (seven or eight depending on options) are type 25L6, a higher filament voltage version of the popular 6L6. Assure the driving 25L6 tube can conduct well enough to cause at least 75 volts, and preferably 100 volts, across the release relay. Then test the other tubes in this socket in sequence. Frank promptly found 2 tubes that were essentially dead, the filaments lit but were very "weak" and three others that were marginal (75 volts). That is a black glove on Frank's right hand - those tubes get HOT. Fortunately we had purchased 5 25L6 tubes a few years ago for another key punch. These tubes are now in the new key punch, and many functions now work :-)) Time to re-order - would you believe from e-bay ;-))

  • Museum staff (except for Jim Somers, Allison Akbay, Dave Dial) hardly ever visits us - and only then for serious purpose. Sometimes we get a "them vs. us" feeling.

    I heard a staff member say that there must be a lot of rough language in the 1401 room since we are working with machinery. I thought a bit - then decided that there is very little to none at all. I asked the IBM guys about that. They said that cursing or foul language (especially in front of a customer!!) was grounds for instant dismissal, right up through vice-presidents. This was a business, and a family oriented company.
    Apparently along with the white shirt, tie and polished shoes, a clean mouth was expected. :-|

  • Here are detailed pictures of the cosmetics of our wonderful 1403 printer. Some time the museum should decide what if anything should be done for some of the obvious external wear.
    The 1403 printer, overview Something under the hood must have broken in Germany, with this non-standard repair. More detail of the center screw
    I'm told this kind of corner damage is common due to a design weakness in the hood permitting easy misalignment during closing of the hood. Paint peeled from the paper output area. Scuffing of a rear corner

Sun May 20 - 3rd Anniversary Party - at Robert Garner's home

Sunday, May 20, 2007, Robert Garner threw a neat 3rd anniversary 1401 bring up party. (About three years ago, the treasure trove of ex-IBM CEs showed up to bring up the 1401 system :-)) Over 20 people, 4 bottles of champagne emptied :-)) Lots of interesting talk. Only two wives came, braving all the old tales and techie talkie -

and emptying Robert Garner's camera ;-))

Tue May 22 - Senior Docent Meeting

Jm Somers had forwarded Jay McCauley's proposed Seymour Cray and the Supercomputer short tour.

There was detailed discussion of scheduling, what tours/presentation can/should start/conclude when - the orderly flow of people and ideas during open hours seems "interesting"
Present not photographed: Dave Babcock, Randy Neff, Ed Thelen

- - - - - - -

Jim Somers had invited me as "Ed Thelen is planning to join us to get some feedback/input on 1401 demonstrations."

My presentation was similar to the February presentation to docents Sched2007February.html#03
  • with appended presentation to exhibit staff
  • and added comments:
  • - system quite stable, you rather expect it to work on power up
  • - availability of Dan McInnis "Diagnostic Availability Program and a likely successor which would be a switch selectable demo program.
  • - probably ready for modest demos
    Demo planning questions:
        a) length of demo?
           - currently the 1620 and PDP-1 have a 15 minute presentation
             followed by maybe 15 minutes of questions
           Is this a good length for a 1401 demo?
              A docent will likely run out of material after an hour -
        b) when the sorter comes on-line, we could fake a tabulating room
             - we have movies of a 403 grinding out billing
    Short term - next three months
       as per Jim Somers, we could use Volunteer Saturdays as Beta Test -
    Possible September schedule
       On stream as a regularly scheduled event/part of tour?
There was much talk about length - the docents seem to prefer presentations about 15 minutes in length, followed by up to 15 minutes questions.

Bill Worthington has prepared a (15 minute) punched card and unit record short tour/presentation, and would like to verbalize how unit record equipment does a pay roll or billing operation. (The data operations and data flow is much more visible and obvious than the same thing in a black box 1401. This presentation, just before a 1401 presentation, should be very informative and illuminating for visitors.) Bill would welcome a working key punch and sorter as part of his presentation.

There was considerable talk about the fragility of an 026 keypunch in the hands of unfamiliar people - in the sense of high confusion and ease of making a serious (show stopping) card jam. (The correct operation of the "FEED", "REGISTER" and "RELEASE" keys takes some familiarization.) There was a suggestion of leaving the 026 in "AutoFeed" mode - and allow the user to try a correction by pressing the "Release" key only.

Someone suggested a good workaround for the UPPERCASE limitation of the 1403 to express lower case parts of URLs.

Should there be a separate keypunch demo/event where people have time to punch their name into a card which can by utilized in the BigPrint (Banner) program. The card can be a good "take home" souvenir.

Then Tim Robinson talked about the presentation of the coming Babbage Engine - planned arrival in July. Attracting/training long term special docents, criticality of correct cranking, ...

Wed May 23 - general

I have written 1401, the Dark Side Addressing above 999 ".

I have ordered 4 25L6 s from e-bay for the key punches. They arrived today !!!

We should put the diagnostic programs on tape,
a) recommended by 1401 Diagnosing Margining
b) we might run them more often :-))
c) apparently the tests run a lot faster

(not limited by card reader speed)
We should make an instruction sheet for running the above.

Before the meeting Tuesday (above) I found the 1401 Margin Power supply that Grant had brought in. Here are some images

- - - - - - - - -

Report on Wednesday's Activities - as misunderstood from a phone call to Ron Williams
Ed Thelen had overdosed on docent 1401 presentation meeting above -

Wednesday had dressed, ..., gone to leave the house, turned around and went back to bed

  • Present were: Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Frank King, Allen Palmer, Joe Preston. Robert Garner was there with bagels and a visitor from Russia. Ron Crane brought a friend to view the action.

  • Ron Williams continues to look for missing-wires/mis-wired 1406 upper memory. (Programmed accessing of upper memory from lower memory causes next instruction to be destroyed !!) Not much progress, at least didn't go backward. Robert Garner will look on the ALDs (schematics) from Australia to see if the changes are more clear there.
    from Robert Garner
    "Ron is looking for ALD pages 42.67.01 and .02 . I didn't find either in the Australian 1401 ALDs. (That John Deans graciously copied for us.) Apparently an EC may not have been implemented in our 1406, which we believe is contained in these pages."

    Robert is contacting John in Australia to see if they have pages 42.67.xx

  • Joe Preston continued working on the "new" 026 key punch.

  • Bob Erickson, Frank King, and Joe Preston worked on the 513 summary punch. One pin that secures a worn gear seems swaged in - the can't drive it out. Next time Bob will remove a casting so the whole assembly can be brought to a press for action.

  • Allen Palmer continued re-assembling the tape drives.
    Ron Williams told Allen that a card copy to tape, and read back the tape to compare program no longer works. Ron says that Allen said it is a software bug ;-)) Ed Thelen had promised Allen that some tiny spade lugs would be present today. Will Ed Thelen have to lick the dust off the floor in penance????

- - - - - - - - -

"Diagnostic Tape" - Hot off the e-mail -

Sat May 26 - 4th Sat

  • Present were Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Frank King, Tim Coslet, Bill Flora, Dan McInnis, Ed Thelen.

  • Bob Erickson and Frank King worked to remove a pin from a gear -

  • Dan McInnis started working with the 13 card object that Ed Thelen had key punched of Dan's "Demo Assurance Program" program.
    OOPS-Ed's Error

    OH- Darn, again

    Demo Staff :-))
    Dan got his program working except for the magnetic tape commands, the 729 would not do a load tape operation.
    Dan will adapt his program to have switch selections to show off the various parts of the 1401 system.

  • We have been looking for some fluid to show the magnetic flips on magnetic tape. Basically,
    Someone found a United Nuclear magnetic fluid that sounded good. Grant Saviers ordered for us.
    - Magnetite: 3-15 % by volume
    - Oil Soluble Dispersant: 6-30 % by volume
    - Carrier Liquid: 55-91 % by volume
    But to our surprise, it looked like black ink, and has the consistency of thin black paint. By getting the light to reflect just right, you *can* see where the iron oxide magnetite has concentrated at magnetic flips - but it is not easy, and is very messy.
    Tim got these pictures, I couldn't do as well -
    I tried flushing the excess with WD-40, but that did not work out well enough to be worth it.
    Tim Coslet was able to get measurements - Inter-record gap = 0.913 inches. Nominal is 0.75, but a little to long is not serious - just little less efficient. Trailing edge of leader foil to data is 1.42 inches - likely short of nominal - but again not a likely problem.
    Dust settled in the oil during the lunch hour, and puckered up into this mess.

  • The IBM guys had a variety of memories of viewing magnetic patterns on magnetic tapes. and solutions - and solutions - Frank King remembers iron particles in carbon tet. Ron W and Bill Flora remembers a spray on can of gray particles - and others - all remembered silver material coating magnetic edges on a field of the tape's red oxide.
    I remembered silver gray particles suspended in ?carbon tet?. Slosh the tape into the fluid through the wide mouth can, and when you pulled it out you had silver/gray on the magnetic boundaries, and the tape's red oxide elsewhere - data patterns plain as day - no squinting for reflections of lumps of black on black.
    We all thought that a very thin volatile fluid is good in that the surplus drains/evaporates quickly.
    Frank King is going to make some fine steel grindings and put them in dry cleaning fluid. (We don't dare flaunt the current Carbon Tetrachloride rules - but according to popular feelings we should all be long dead !!)

  • Bob Erickson and Frank King struggled with a stuck pin connecting a gear to a shaft. I have no comment - other than being fascinated with the hammers.

    Removing side plate

    Something missing ;-))

    Plate, bearing, shaft, gear in vise

    This is not working !!
    The above effort did not work, they bent the drift trying to drive the pin. They took it next door to a drill press to drill out the pin - They started drilling it a little bit and the pin basically fell out. :-|

  • Dag Spicer came by - and we discussed possible goals and plans for picking up material from Werner's in Portland, OR. Frank would much rather have a professional mover, with proper enclosed truck, be involved. Frank can borrow a flat bed trailer from Chuck Kantmann, and tow it with his fifth wheel - but securing the heavy items especially the ?3,000 pound? 407 is a more interesting challenge. He is very willing to be in Portland for the operation, which he figures as a six day effort:
    • - Two days to gather up and drive up to Portland. Also pick up a pre-negotiated fork-lift to get the heavy equipment from the low back yard basement up and into the truck.
    • - Two days to un-bury and move the selected items onto the truck, and clean up the basement so that it doesn't look as though a tornado went through.
    • - 1.5 days to drive back and 0.5 day to unload.

Wed May 30 - general

  • Present were Ron Williams, Bob Erickson, Frank King, Allen Palmer, Joe Prescot, Robert Garner, Ed Thelen.

  • Ron Williams (left) is showing Joe Prescot and Frank King his printer ribbon re-inking fixture. Ron's receipt is 2 parts mineral spirits, 1 part #30 motor oil, sprayed "evenly" onto a ribbon. He depends upon the dried ink remaining in the used ribbon to provide the pigment. He says this works up to 3 re-inkings, and by then the fabric is shot from the pounding anyway.

  • Ron Williams gave Ed Thelen his three year review :-|

  • The tape drive did not work last Saturday. Apparently the right hand switch (which verifies that the capstan motor has extended the capstan into the tape path) was marginally adjusted did not function properly. Later Allen worked on a faulty read of C Channel. We verified that the C Channel was being written by using a solution of rubbing alcohol and fine magnetic powder from the magnetic clutches in the 729 tape units.

  • Bob Erickson (on the floor) tracing undocumented changes (red wires) in the 1406 Extended Memory Unit got lots of moral support.

  • Someone had previously taken some windings off a relay on the new keypunch, and broken a plastic restraint. Here Frank and friends are applying epoxy (the gray stuff) to stabilize the loose windings, and will apply a jury rigged plastic restraint.
    Frank and Joe found that the hold coil of a two coil relay had had failed - the identical problem we had found in Selam's keypunch. I have secured a socket and seven watt night light - Joe and Frank will do the identical fix as here.

  • The 1401 Restoration Group is getting a new staff representative. He is Alex Bochannek replacing Dag Spicer in that role. Left to right are Alex Bochannek, Dag Spicer, Robert Garner, and Bob Erickson (showing off the work on the 513 summary punch.)

  • Tim Coslet brought his mother to see where he spend his spare time ;-))

  • Ron shows a spikey pulse in the 1401 where no pulse should be. Apparently some signal is slow, and an unwanted pulse is generated. The picture shows that the spike is actually a double pulse with a total length of about 1 microsecond.

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