The perils of classic hardware doing important things

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ClassicHasClass
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The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:20 pm

Since 1999 I have had a IIci as a NetBSD server, named thule. When I had only dialup in my apartment and the Apple Network Server was co-loed at my old University job, it handled all my local Unix tasks and acted as a file server. When I got DSL and moved the ANS into the apartment, it still ran the internal network DNS and classic AppleTalk tasks. Its uptime has only been interrupted by periodically blowing a cap on a cache card, which is why I ended up just pulling the cache card because it didn't have to be fast, just up.

Today the network was abnormally slow, even for internal resources, so I went into the server room expecting to find the switch had freaked out or something. But no, it was thule, unable to stay powered on. I shut it off and replaced the power supply, but that wasn't the problem, so I replaced the logic board with a freshly recapped spare I had just for this sort of emergency. It booted, much to my relief, and after nearly ten minutes to check its 128MB of RAM and fsck the disk, it was back in action.

Here's to fifteen more years of service.
smit happens.

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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby josehill » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:20 am

I salute you, sir!

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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby Trippynet » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:33 am

There's something so fulfilling about using an old piece of hardware that many would have dumped for a genuinely useful purpose still. Nice one, and thanks for sharing!
Systems in use:
:Indigo2IMP: - Nitrogen: R10000 195MHz CPU, 384MB RAM, SolidIMPACT Graphics, 36GB 15k HDD & 300GB 10k HDD, 100Mb/s NIC, New/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.22
:Fuel: - Lithium: R14000 600MHz CPU, 4GB RAM, V10 Graphics, 72GB 15k HDD & 300GB 10k HDD, 1Gb/s NIC, New/quiet fans, IRIX 6.5.30
Other system in storage: :O2: R5000 200MHz, 224MB RAM, 72GB 15k HDD, PSU fan mod, IRIX 6.5.30

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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:51 pm

Now to get another spare board ... :D
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby guardian452 » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:30 pm

Or repair the old one :twisted:

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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:17 pm

That's happening too. It probably just needs to be recapped. Mac hardware from their early surface mount days was notorious for this.
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby hamei » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:46 pm

ClassicHasClass wrote:Mac hardware from their early surface mount days was notorious for this.

Did your parents bitch about circuit boards, too ? We had Zeniths teevees for years because they were wired while everyone else went cheapo. Can't repair a circuit board like you can wires :P

In fact, the early stuff going into space all had to be wired, too. No circuit boards allowed ...
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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby ClassicHasClass » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:33 am

No, but mostly because my dad got out of mathematics early and went into veterinary medicine. :D
smit happens.

:Fuel: bigred, 900MHz R16K, 4GB RAM, V12 DCD, 6.5.30
:Indy: indy, 150MHz R4400SC, 256MB RAM, XL24, 6.5.10
:Indigo2IMP: purplehaze, 175MHz R10000, Solid IMPACT
probably posted from Image bruce, Quad 2.5GHz PowerPC 970MP, 16GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.11
plus IBM POWER6 p520 * Apple Network Server 500 * RDI PrecisionBook * BeBox * Solbourne S3000 * Commodore 128 * many more...

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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby R-ten-K » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:57 am

hamei wrote:In fact, the early stuff going into space all had to be wired, too. No circuit boards allowed ...


:lol:
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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby robespierre » Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:09 pm

I think that's right... at the Computer History Museum there's a display of the control module from a Minuteman rocket, it's a huge wire loom that fills a 4' wide airframe. I think they had to invent glass epoxy laminates (CEM-3 etc) to come up with a circuit board that was reliable enough for the Apollo program.
PCBs were harder to repair than point-to-point as long as they used through-hole technology. surface mount made a huge improvement to reliability and rework (and assembly!) is much easier with the correct tools.
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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby R-ten-K » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:15 pm

I was just laughing because I assumed hamei must have his own definition of what a "circuit board" is. Since his comment seemed to imply "circuit boards" and "wiring" being two antonym concepts, as if circuit components were just wired together and that was that...

In any case, most of the early aerospace was wired (and yes, using circuit boards) because that was the contemporary technology. The requirements of the aerospace sector were a big pusher of the PCB/SMT tech in the middle/late 60s, interestingly enough.
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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby hamei » Sun Sep 07, 2014 6:58 am

R-ten-K wrote:I was just laughing because I assumed hamei must have his own definition of what a "circuit board" is. Since his comment seemed to imply "circuit boards" and "wiring" being two antonym concepts, as if circuit components were just wired together and that was that...

Umm, yes ....

Now that we're well into the twenty-first century it's common to drop the "printed" off "circuit boards" because most people understand that you aren't talking about pieces of phenolic with standoffs rivetted to them to fasten the components that have wires soldered between their terminals, like a 1936 RCA.

But it was a good try :P

In any case, most of the early aerospace was wired (and yes, using circuit boards) because that was the contemporary technology.

Not from what I have been told. I had nc machines from 1963 and earlier that were all printed circuits so wire-wrap was not "state of the art" in the late sixties, but my friend from JPL had lots of bad stuff to say about elderly printed circuits. They were not reliable in space. Beyond the physical problems, they outgassed. And the connectors were a big problem. Even fastening them down caused failures. They went with wired components for reliabilty, because printed circuits did not do the job.

But Classy's house is more likely to break off and fall into the ocean than charge off into space :mrgreen:
I spent a fortune on booze, birds, and fast cars ... the rest I just squandered

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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby pentium » Sun Sep 07, 2014 8:12 am

Vancouver's SkyTrain system has been upgraded at least twice in almost 30 years but at last check it was running on three IBM Industrial Computers and OS/2. Quite a large upgrade considering originally they ran something like a VAX 11 or DECsystem but don't want to know the black magic needed to port the SEL Trac control software.4 While the computers themselves have never failed to a point where there was a major shutdown a lot of the infrastructure it connects to has and last month the lone connection between the computers and repeaters went down in the biggest failure in the history of the system, stopping everything dead for hours. The next five hours can best be described with the following photoshop and "OH MY GOD".

snap3.png


People have been screaming for a complete upgrade ever since but at $20 million, good luck seeing that for a while.
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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby hamei » Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:22 pm

^ 20 million ? pffft :roll: Oracle could do it for a mere 200 mil and the system still wouldn't work !

Ain't the Private Sector grand ?


If I were Hongcouver, I'd be afraid. Very afraid. After they upgrade this system with COTS Dell boxes and new wiring hand-made by pygmies in Botswana (it's our fiduciary responsibility to save money and bring the consumers better value !), all running Windows Vista (it was on sale), the upgrade won't go six weeks between total burndowns :P
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Re: The perils of classic hardware doing important things

Unread postby commodorejohn » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:36 pm

I'd trust a VTech kiddie "computer" for embedded control applications before I'd trust anything running a modern, commodity desktop OS, I'll tell you that much.
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