The 2966 asks for its first program, the BBC Micro returns to the classroom and other news
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Things are certainly on the up with major progress on the 2966, good feedback from recent educational and business group visits and a new gallery is almost ready...
ICL 2966 is alive and (sort of) kicking
After the trials, tribulations and frustrations of the past few weeks we are really excited about the recent progress on the DCU. Delwyn searched through all the spares again and found some replacement boards which, together with some he has fixed resulted in the DCU finally completing it's self-test cycle and requesting the boot code from a peripheral. Nice work Delwyn, and you can see a more detailed report on the projects page.
The BBC Micro rules the classroom once again
As part of a new group of educational workshops we are putting together, and with generous help from Doug Abrams, Head of Computing at Ousedale School, our first guinea pigs class of students took part in the 'BBC Micro programming', 'Moore's Law investigations' and 'PDP8 machine code programming' sessions. What was different, and we believe unique, was each session used some of the original systems as part of the workshop. This included 8 BBC Micros, floppy disks and Microvitec monitors for the BBC programming session, many examples of processors and systems for the Moore's Law session and 2 working PDP 8 computers where programs were entered into the system using front panel switches. Together with a tour of the museum where examples of many of the systems can be seen and working resulted in a really enjoyable day for everyone involved. Thanks must go to all involved for making the event such a success.
Elliott 803 news
The Elliott 803 has been working very reliably over the past few weeks and Peter O has been making steady progress on designing and building a PIC based interface board to simulate a paper tape reader, punch and teleprinter. The aim is to enable programs to be loaded from a PC instead of using the tape reader, and being able to see the results from the punch on a PC screen. After a bit of software debugging and a few hardware mods to overcome some unusual signal levels he has the basics of the system running. He still needs to build an Elliott interface board to fit into the PTS (Paper Tape Station) as we don't have a suitable interface in the system.
Harwell / WITCH restoration
Tony F, Joe and others continue to make progress on the power supply systems and relays. More details can be found on the Projects page.
The new gallery is almost complete
After nearly 6 months of planning, designing and lots of techie stuff, we are very close to completing an exciting new gallery. With just a few more things to finish off and test, we should be good to go for a formal opening and with it a lot more of the museum will be open to the public. More details will be available soon.
Round-up of other activities
Work continues on revamping the Electronic Office with John S and Michelle finalising the design and making a start with the decorating and painting.
Our new shop is taking shape with Barney completing the wall and woodwork painting. The tables & chairs, bookshelves and assorted vending machines should be with us in the next few weeks. Still plenty to do but things are starting to come together.
IRIS Air Traffic Control system has been performing well since Peter V fixed the RDI problem. Fingers crossed it continues that way.
The 'Scientific' gallery recently opened on a temporary basis has another new name.... we are now calling it the 'Restoration' gallery due to the number of systems that are or will be worked on in the comming months/years. The idea now is to allow visitors to see the restoration activities as they occur (at a safe distance of course) as it is likely to be some time before we finalise the exhibits and get them working. Currently restoration activities include fixing lots of BBC Micros and a IBM RS6000 base graphics system.
General visitor numbers are still well above last years figures, and the number of educational visits and private parties visiting is very encouraging.
We have had a number of new volunteers joining the museum in the past few months, so the trustees and existing volunteers would like to welcome them to the team. The trustees would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers, sponsors and visitors to the museum for the huge effort and support they have given over the past year. The only drawback is we need to find a bigger room for the Xmas party!