Sunday, June 15, 2014

Leads: Always Follow Them

So I was dragging my feet, pushing things to the back burner and off the stove, getting-around-sometime to replying to an ad on Craigslist for some old UNIX posters.  I eventually made the trip into the city and retrieved them.  They will be photographed and scanned and hopefully reconstructed for sharing online.  Another back-burner project for now.

As it often goes during a rescue run, one arrives at the topic of one's hobbies and the house full of crap one has and why sure I'd be interested in just one more item.  In this instance a relic was mentioned and the nervous chatter went in other directions and thank you for preserving history and I rushed the posters through the rain and into the ccmp-mobile for the slow highway journey home.

Later that night...I thought again about what I had heard.  Huh, well yes that is interesting but I don't recall where it was now, or with whom.  A thank-you email was drafted for the posters and oh yes, about that other thing...

The reply came quickly and I was informed that indeed, it needed a new home and soon.  So another journey began and another nervous, tangential conversation and the car is packed again and heading home.  Friends are called to help unload and examine the contents.  Research begins, photos taken.  And we arrive here, at the blog posting and photo gallery and hey look what I got:

Not much to look at but it's a Sun-1/150, or was.  The first (or second?  Was the 1/100 first?) product from Sun Microsystems, circa 1982.  There is much investigation to be done yet.  I was told that it, like nearly all Sun-1 series machines, was upgraded with a Sun-2 CPU board, making it a Sun-1/150U, in their nomenclature.  However, the ID plate shows this instead:

The model appears to be "RM-CC" but I can't turn up anything with those letters.  It could be a new badge applied after the refurb/upgrade or it could be an early model name, used before "1/150."  The serial number suggests it is an early production model but I have no idea how many Sun-1 machines were made or if the 1/100 desktop and 1/150 rack system shared serial numbering or not.

Also included (and viewable in the main picture gallery) were the Sun Workstation CRT, the Sun-1 keyboard and mouse and a Fujitsu M2284K 160MB SMD hard drive.  That would be the dead weight at the bottom of the rack with the cool transparent case.

The system was originally sold to the University of Chicago, who were an early, if not the first, purchasers of Sun computers.  Maybe it's one of these?

Oh yeah, and there was also a PDP 11/34 and RK05 drive (and NIB pack) in the deal.  Not bad for an afterthought.

So far, the CRT appears to be non-op.  It hums a bit and there is static present on the CRT glass (as in crackling when you touch it) but I see no light from it.  The Sun-1 powers on and the CPU board displays a pattern on its status LEDs.  I pulled out the color card, thinking it may re-enable the mono video on the CPU board but either that did not happen or the monitor is indeed dead.  I will haul out a serial term and a color monitor with correct BNC adapter (R/G/B/Sync) soon and test again.

I'll do another post when I have the cards inventoried and, with luck, some more in on this guy's origins.