Quite often a thing on its own is just trash, but in combination with others it becomes part of a very cool project.
This time we are looking at a project that stagnated for years, but gets new parts added whenever I find them.
The " this is a computer"
The idea is to build a very weird, one-of-a-kind computer, probably incapable to fulfill any real word tasks other than raising an eyebrow.
I just want to be able to recreate the scene from Iron Sky where the professor looks at a smartphone and say "this is not a computer." then shows of a wall full of blinkenlights an screams..THIS ! THIS IS a computer!
So the currently hoarded parts are:
- A 1960 vintage Siemens teletype (as featured in two element14 presents episodes) that has already gained the ability to send and receive data via USB/RS232 so I could use a stomewhat standardized way to enter data and print out results (the printout would act as a display like on the earliest mainframes). Of course, printing everything that goes on in the machine is wasteful despite me having a soft spot for the sound it makes.
- I added a Tektronix CRT, that I could identify with the help of Tektronix themselves forwarding me to a german vintage Tektronix collectors' club.
The power lead is very unusual for me, but happens to be a reversed plug for American 240V systems, so it is obtainable, but I will more likely convert it to use a standard IEC connector. The crt was never sold as a standalone product but was part of a huge television signal analysis setup. I expected having to develop a bespoke graphics card to use it as I expected it to take in X-Y signals similar to an oscilloscope, but it turns out it is using composite video just fed in with a bnc connector and has the ability to take in external sync signals.
- The midi interface is just in there because it has a 3.5" floppy drive and I thought that looked cool, no real plans to use it apart form the floppy drive itself.
- The middle sections holds a z80 computer RC2014, a popular kit that you can see in the assembly stage also as an element14 presents video by Matt Eargle. (It is not the actual unit in the video but a later revision I bought from the creator at Maker faire Berlin a few years back and assembled later.)
- The bottom unit is my latest acquisition, for about € 30, I scored this rack mount drive unit from a data center. I hoped for SATA drives but turn out these are sadly Fibre channel FC-AL drives, which makes them unusable for me. Thanks to Mark Harris for identifying them for me. Does any member of our community know how to use them? But the cage and the mechanics of the case are alone worth the money. this is the perfect opportunity to make a new backplane and use the drive cages to house plugin modules.
Maybe this allows me to instead of using "the usual" z80 or 6502 for my computer make the weirdest system I could fathom, maybe a processor in TTL logic, or hacking in some weird 80s soviet tech or even build a more sophisticated system out of old intel cpus .
Any ideas? Or is it just a mounted heap of trash? let me know.