Air conditioning working, progress on the ICL 2966 and punch card sorting
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A rather damp weekend still resulted in over 1000 visitors to the museum.
Server area air conditioning
After Kevin M contacted the air con suppliers were were given instruction on how to get the old outside condenser unit fitted to the newer inside unit. Peter V and Jo spent most of the morning in the pouring rain (with umbrella help from John S) doing the modifications to the wiring and pipework - not the ideal conditions for electrical work! The first task was to remove a 2 inch metal adapter from the outside unit so the new connector on the inside unit would fit. After much effort by Jo and Peter and several screwdrivers, the part was finally removed (which came off with a lot of force due to the gas pressure). Once removed it was possible to fit the pipework successfully without losing any gas. The next job involved a complete rewire of the connectors on both inside and outside units, but after a hour this was completed and the mains and sensor cable from the inside unit was finally connected to the outside unit. We then had to wait 2 hours for the gas to settle in the system, but after the wait the unit started up successfully and was blowing cold air. Well done Peter V and Jo (and thanks to John S for keeping us dryish).
Pete H has spent the past few weeks working on the ICL disk drives. After the success with two of the units a few weeks back (and a successful head load on one of the drives - a major achievement) he has managed to get 2 more drives powered up and running. He still has some work to get them to the same fully working state as the first two but this is still a major step forward in the restoration of the system. It is hoped that the Fujitsu engineers who visited before Christmas will be able to return and start work on the 2nd (of 5) cabinets. Keep up the good work Pete.
Equipment moving again
Now that the air conditioning is working we have given the go ahead for Bex (our display fitters) to start preparation work on the new packet switching gallery. Most of the volunteers spent Saturday clearing out the main room and corridors where the new gallery will be located. This involved moving a lot of old equipment and shelving out of the way which we managed to complete before close of play. Bex will then be in next week to block off the server area and start interior building work to expand one of the doorways.
The first 40 column punch card machine is working
Graham has spent the past 2 weeks cleaning and restoring a 40 column punch card sorter that arrived from Liverpool a few weeks ago. He has made excellent progress and was able to demonstrate the now shiny machine feeding cards during the week. It's not quite sorting them as that mechanism still needs more work but it just shows the dedication our volunteers have in bringing to life equipment that was last used over 40 years ago. Well done Graham, we all look forward to a further demo and hopefully a video for all to see.