DAS9100 does anyone still remember it


Brian
 

Hi all , anyone remembering this beast , did you ever have trouble with the tape drive . Mine has just eaten 3 DC100A cassettes . Did anyone ever replace the tape drive with anything ekse , say a USB stick or an SD card .
If I ever get the drive to work does anyone still have Pnemonic tapes , interested in tapes for 8080,Z80 and 6800
many thanks for any help here

Brian


Dan G
 

Hi Brian,

I have a DAS 9129 with the tape drive option.

The DC-100 tapes use an elastic tape tension band internal to the cartridge to transfer motion from the drive
capstan to the two tape reels. This elastic band does not age well. If you are very lucky, the band gets so brittle that
it snaps or disintegrates before it gets a chance to move the tape at all. In the less lucky case, the change in
band elasticity will cause the two tape reels to move out of sync, leading to data loss and terrible tape damage.

I am also interested in the DAS 9100 mnemonic tapes, as I would like to preserve and archive their contents.
Once the information is extracted, it can be uploaded to the DAS mainframe reliably and safely via RS-232 or GPIB.
If anyone has these old tapes, then PLEASE, PLEASE, don't just put them in the tape drive and hope for the best:
doing so at this point will likely destroy them!

dan


Brian
 

Hi Dan , fortunately from the point of view of history the only tapes damaged were ones I had set up as I did not get any of the pnemonic tapes when I purchased the DAS . The tapes seem to have had the elastic band broken but I have no idea how to repair that .I had heard that it was possible to send the info via RS232 or GPIB but do not have any written information showing how its done , the manauls are not very clear or I dont have the one manual that actually says how to do it . The only purpose mentioned in the manuals I have for those 2 ports is for the master/slave connection of 2 DAS's .

I would love to know the commands needed to send the info via either RS232 or GPIB ports , a slight preference for GPIB here . Can you also retrieve the same info using those ports or even the displayed data ? . Keeping an old laptop as part of the kit is no problem , I have USB to GPIB adapters .
I also have a DAS9129 and apart from the tape drive it all works perfectly , have you ever tried connecting an external colour monitor , internally it has signals for red,yellow and green but the pin header for external display only has signals for red and green ???
I also have a PMA100 with PM101 (GP module) and PM105 (Z80 module) again no tapes

Brian

On Friday, 3 April 2020, 15:26:30 BST, Dan G <dgajanovic@sympatico.ca> wrote:

Hi Brian,

I have a DAS 9129 with the tape drive option.

The DC-100 tapes use an elastic tape tension band internal to the cartridge to transfer motion from the drive
capstan to the two tape reels. This elastic band does not age well. If you are very lucky, the band gets so brittle that
it snaps or disintegrates before it gets a chance to move the tape at all. In the less lucky case, the change in
band elasticity will cause the two tape reels to move out of sync, leading to data loss and terrible tape damage.

I am also interested in the DAS 9100 mnemonic tapes, as I would like to preserve and archive their contents.
Once the information is extracted, it can be uploaded to the DAS mainframe reliably and safely via RS-232 or GPIB.
If anyone has these old tapes, then PLEASE, PLEASE, don't just put them in the tape drive and hope for the best:
doing so at this point will likely destroy them!

dan


 

On Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 04:26 PM, Dan G wrote:


The DC-100 tapes use an elastic tape tension band internal to the cartridge to
transfer motion from the drive
capstan to the two tape reels. This elastic band does not age well. If you are
very lucky, the band gets so brittle that
it snaps or disintegrates before it gets a chance to move the tape at all. In
the less lucky case, the change in
band elasticity will cause the two tape reels to move out of sync, leading to
data loss and terrible tape damage.
Groups.io's hpseries80 group has discussed these tape cartridges and presents solutions for replacing the elastic band.
Drives like the one in the DAS 9100 were used in HP85- HP9845 -like programmable calculators and computers.

Raymond


Brian
 

Hi Raymond , thanks for that tip I'll have a look at that as the tape in the cartridge has not actually been damaged -- yet
Brian

On Friday, 3 April 2020, 16:19:37 BST, Raymond Domp Frank <hewpatek@gmail.com> wrote:

On Fri, Apr  3, 2020 at 04:26 PM, Dan G wrote:


The DC-100 tapes use an elastic tape tension band internal to the cartridge to
transfer motion from the drive
capstan to the two tape reels. This elastic band does not age well. If you are
very lucky, the band gets so brittle that
it snaps or disintegrates before it gets a chance to move the tape at all. In
the less lucky case, the change in
band elasticity will cause the two tape reels to move out of sync, leading to
data loss and terrible tape damage.
Groups.io's hpseries80 group has discussed these tape cartridges and presents solutions for replacing the elastic band.
Drives like the one in the DAS 9100 were used in HP85- HP9845 -like programmable calculators and computers.

Raymond


 

On Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 03:03 PM, Brian wrote:


Mine has just eaten 3 DC100A cassettes
Brian,
Are you aware that very often, the polyurethane capstan covering material in these drives has crumbled or - worse - changed into a sticky chewing gum-like mass? That could explain how your drive ate the tapes.

Raymond


Brian
 

Hi Raymond , I checked the capstan as I have had that problem on very old pc tape drives , the capstan roller is ok . When I looked at the cartridges I thought at first that it had reached the end of the tape and broken it but thats not the case , it never went that far before the elastic band broke .I have been try on facebook to find that hpseries80 group you mentioned but a search does not find it ?

Brian

On Friday, 3 April 2020, 16:48:12 BST, Raymond Domp Frank <hewpatek@gmail.com> wrote:

On Fri, Apr  3, 2020 at 03:03 PM, Brian wrote:


Mine has just eaten 3 DC100A cassettes
Brian,
Are you aware that very often, the polyurethane capstan covering material in these drives has crumbled or - worse - changed into a sticky chewing gum-like mass? That could explain how your drive ate the tapes.

Raymond


Brian
 

Hi Raymond , I found the group on groups.io and I have also found the articles covering the DC100A cartridges , many thanks for that .
Brian

On Friday, 3 April 2020, 16:48:12 BST, Raymond Domp Frank <hewpatek@gmail.com> wrote:

On Fri, Apr  3, 2020 at 03:03 PM, Brian wrote:


Mine has just eaten 3 DC100A cassettes
Brian,
Are you aware that very often, the polyurethane capstan covering material in these drives has crumbled or - worse - changed into a sticky chewing gum-like mass? That could explain how your drive ate the tapes.

Raymond


Dan G
 

Hi Brian,

The capstan roller on my tape drive is also ok. This sounds like a common problem on the HP drives
(I've never had one), but it looks like Tektronix may have used a more stable material.

Regarding data transfer via RS-232 and GPIB: I had looked into this a number of years ago, but now
I will have to dig up my old notes and files. I'm afraid I've never tried connecting an external display.

The main power supply board of my DAS is currently under repair (it "works", but there are huge
undamped oscillations in the main transformer, and I don't want to run it in this condition for any
length of time). Once I've put the mainframe back together again, and I've found my old notes, I'll do
some data transfer tests and let you know.

dan


Brian
 

Hi Dan , I'll be most grateful for any information regarding use of the RS232 or GPIB ports for data transfer . I have only the one DAS so my hope is purely to be able to save setups and pnemonic files somewhere safer than on the tape drive , unless I can get that sorted . I think I will find it much easier to regenerate pnemonic files using a pc with a full-screen editor rather than the 24line x 80 DAS screen . Being able to transfer them to the DAS via one of the ports will be great and if they can also be saved on tape by that process even better .I have re-read a section of one of my manuals and the impression is gives is that you can control the DAS by comands sent through one or the other port but rhere is no mention of data transfer , an example was that you can tell it to load or save data to the tape drive but no mention of sending it elsewhere via one of the ports .
Brian

On Friday, 3 April 2020, 17:41:01 BST, Dan G <dgajanovic@sympatico.ca> wrote:

Hi Brian,

The capstan roller on my tape drive is also ok. This sounds like a common problem on the HP drives
(I've never had one), but it looks like Tektronix may have used a more stable material.

Regarding data transfer via RS-232 and GPIB: I had looked into this a number of years ago, but now
I will have to dig up my old notes and files. I'm afraid I've never tried connecting an external display.

The main power supply board of my DAS is currently under repair (it "works", but there are huge
undamped oscillations in the main transformer, and I don't want to run it in this condition for any
length of time). Once I've put the mainframe back together again, and I've found my old notes, I'll do
some data transfer tests and let you know.

dan


Arie de Muijnck
 

On 2020-04-03 17:55, Brian via groups.io wrote:


I have been try on facebook to find that hpseries80 group you mentioned
but a search does not find it ?
https://groups.io/g/hpseries80

Arie



A Rhodes
 

I have a bit of experience with GPIB interfacing recently. I had a project creating a stand alone device to download DSO captures from my 2440.

It talks to the scope and saves the displayed traces to an SD card via on-screen menus, similar to what the 2402 did.

I also have some experience with the 2402 itself.

What exactly do you need to do?


Brian
 

Hi , I have some experience taking waveform data via GPIB from my 7D20 and also interfacing with my TDS744 and TDS420A . The main problem with the DAS9100 is that none of the manuals I have actually say that taking any data wether it be set-ups or any displayed data is possible , the manuals only talk about connecting to DAS's together or just control of one via either interface.This is really a question for someone that has been able to do this with a DAS9100  , I think , as no commands are mentioned that will do what I hope to be able to do .
Brian

On Saturday, 4 April 2020, 15:08:51 BST, A Rhodes <rhodes@comcast.net> wrote:

I have a bit of experience with GPIB interfacing recently.  I had a project creating a stand alone device to download DSO captures from my 2440.

It talks to the scope and saves the displayed traces to an SD card via on-screen menus, similar to what the 2402 did.

I also have some experience with the 2402 itself.

What exactly do you need to do?


Dan G
 

Hi Brian,

I believe that the information you are looking for is contained in section 12 (GPIB Programming)
of the DAS 9100 Series Operator's Manual. A PDF is available in bitsavers.org's Test Equipment Archive,
as well as our TekWiki (w140.com).

In particular, I think you will be interested in the ACQMEM command to transfer the acquisition
memory to your computer, as well as the MNEMONICS command to transfer the Define Mnemonics
menu setup to and from the DAS mainframe.

As far as I know, DAS 9100 uses the RS-232 port as a poor man's GPIB interface, so these commands
should work over RS-232 as well, though I have not tested this myself.

According to the Tektronix 1985 catalog, Tek used to offer a suite of UNIX software tools (91DVV),
with source code (!), for generating test patterns and transferring data to and from the DAS.

Incidentally, I still have a working VAX system, so if someone has these old tapes gathering dust,
I would love to get a chance to preserve and archive them.


dan


Brian
 

Hi Dan , I will re-read that section of the manual . When I read it before I got the impression that all the mnemonics command did was read the data from the tape in the drive and acqmem again involved the tape drive . There was no mention of the form the data would take or needed to be . I will set the system up and try via GPIB to see what happens - if I have enough time tomorrow . I will let you know what I find .
Thank you for taking the time to help .
Brian

On Saturday, 4 April 2020, 19:39:19 BST, Dan G <dgajanovic@sympatico.ca> wrote:

Hi Brian,

I believe that the information you are looking for is contained in section 12 (GPIB Programming)
of the DAS 9100 Series Operator's Manual. A PDF is available in bitsavers.org's Test Equipment Archive,
as well as our TekWiki (w140.com).

In particular, I think you will be interested in the ACQMEM command to transfer the acquisition
memory to your computer, as well as the MNEMONICS command to transfer the Define Mnemonics
menu setup to and from the DAS mainframe.

As far as I know, DAS 9100 uses the RS-232 port as a poor man's GPIB interface, so these commands
should work over RS-232 as well, though I have not tested this myself.

According to the Tektronix 1985 catalog, Tek used to offer a suite of UNIX software tools (91DVV),
with source code (!), for generating test patterns and transferring data to and from the DAS.

Incidentally, I still have a working VAX system, so if someone has these old tapes gathering dust,
I would love to get a chance to preserve and archive them.


dan


Brian
 

Hi Dan ,as a result of your last message I have looked elsewhere for a user manual for the DAS , bitsavers were a good choice . The copy I had was incomplete , section 12 was only about 25% complete .
I can report some success with GPIB , communication is established and I have been able to write to the screen and read from the screen using VB6 and a Prologix look-alike usb to GPIB adapter. Using the save status command ALL? , a great deal of data is returned , I cannot decipher it as its binary data and also compressed , but it looks as though its possible to do what I had hoped , in which case I will dedicate an old laptop to be part of the kit and I can then preserve any setup/mnemonic files on a CD
Reading the section it says that for one of the fields used in the DEFINE mnemonics menu Binary data needs to be sent -- a bit of a pain in VB so far . I did note that it said HEX at the top of the column but entering data from GPIB it did not write to the first character space "0000" sent was shown as "X000" , from the keyboard all characters were written ok .

Once that is working , I plan to produce mnemonic files for 8080 and 6800 cpu's . I have a Z80 pod but I am not sure how to produce a file with more than 256 entries which a Z80 would need -- TEK obviously did it somehow but its not written down anywhere I have seen . Its possible to produce multiple mnemonic tables but they all share the 256 possible entries according to the text -- I assume thats the limit of storage space withing the DAS .


Brian

On Saturday, 4 April 2020, 19:39:19 BST, Dan G <dgajanovic@sympatico.ca> wrote:

Hi Brian,

I believe that the information you are looking for is contained in section 12 (GPIB Programming)
of the DAS 9100 Series Operator's Manual. A PDF is available in bitsavers.org's Test Equipment Archive,
as well as our TekWiki (w140.com).

In particular, I think you will be interested in the ACQMEM command to transfer the acquisition
memory to your computer, as well as the MNEMONICS command to transfer the Define Mnemonics
menu setup to and from the DAS mainframe.

As far as I know, DAS 9100 uses the RS-232 port as a poor man's GPIB interface, so these commands
should work over RS-232 as well, though I have not tested this myself.

According to the Tektronix 1985 catalog, Tek used to offer a suite of UNIX software tools (91DVV),
with source code (!), for generating test patterns and transferring data to and from the DAS.

Incidentally, I still have a working VAX system, so if someone has these old tapes gathering dust,
I would love to get a chance to preserve and archive them.


dan


Dan G
 

Hi Brian,

Glad to hear that you were able to make progress on data transfer via the GPIB bus.

It looks like Tektronix designed a very reliable tape drive for the DAS9100, which has now,
unfortunately, far outlived any reliable tape cartridges. Even if one were to somehow get
freshly minted elastic bands for these old tapes that match the performance and reliability
of the originals, there is still the issue of the magnetic coating having become fragile with age
and prone to flaking off from the tape carrier.

An additional benefit of the GPIB transfer mode is that you will be able to easily share your
disassembly mnemonic tables with others. In theory, you should be able to get close
to re-creating the mnemonic tape contents from first principles.

I just looked at section 7 (Define Mnemonics Menu) of the DAS 9100 Operator's Manual PDF,
and noticed that the contents are far shorter and more limited compared to what I have on
paper (29 pages instead of 11). The version I have specifically talks about microprocessor
disassembly, and how to build a nested table structure with multiple mnemonic tables.

I could not find this version of section 7 online, so I will scan my copy and upload it to
TekWiki in the next few days.

Regarding your earlier question about external color monitors, I assume you have the
Option 6 I/O board, which provides color video output. Mine is Option 2, which only has
monochrome video output, so I cannot test this myself. However, note that the DAS only
generates three distinct colors: red, green and yellow. While the internal special-purpose
CRT has separate guns for red, green and yellow phosphors, an external monitor can produce
yellow by mixing red and green, so only two color signals are needed.
I expect that it should be easy to connect the Option 6 color video output to the
TTL-level input of a Commodore 1084 monitor or similar, but, again, I cannot test this
personally.


dan


Brian
 

Hi Dan , nice to hear from you . I hope you are well and avoiding this virus .
I was surprised at how easy it seemed using GPIB with the DAS , mush easier than with some early instruments .
The damaged tapes that I have all have the broken elastic bands , the tape itself is quite undamaged , no sign of flaking oxide . I had a bad case of that with some old audio tapes .
I am very interested in your 29 pages of section 7 as I only have the 11 pages in my operator manual , it might open further possibilities with mnemonic files , all of which I will be quite happy to share with those interested and naturally will welcome any helpful suggestions .

I am starting to write a VB6 program that will allow limited control and data sending and retrieval via GPIB but I am not a VB programming expert by any means . Byte oriented binary data handling seems a bit awkward in VB and might take a while before it is working .
My GPIB interface is a USB to GPIB design from the internet that looks like the Prologix device and shares a subset of the same command set , so it should work with that device although I cannot say for certain as I dont have access to one , I can supply a link to the source of the device that I am using if it is needed , it is based on a PIC18F2550 .

The first mnemonic files I am likely to produce will be either 6800 or 8080 . If you know anyone with hands on experience of the PMA100 and knows if there is anything subtle that needs to be done to make it work , I would be pleased to know what it is . As far as I can tell the PMA itself just seems to be buffering and organising the data from the probes as there is no firmware inside , just a couple of 'PALs' in the logic . The PM105 for the Z80 has firmware as does the PM101 GP module but I dont know how it gets involved in operation -- the manuals I have for the PM modules only refer to operation with the 7D20 scope plugin . I dont know how relevant that information will be .
I will not let the PM issue slow things down .
I do have option 6 in my DAS and I had decided to try an LCD monitor to see what the display was like and if it was useful to have a bigger display -- have to see what the difference is with added BLUE or without .
I will keep in touch with progress

best regardsBrian Skilton

On Saturday, 11 April 2020, 00:02:54 BST, Dan G <dgajanovic@sympatico.ca> wrote:

Hi Brian,

Glad to hear that you were able to make progress on data transfer via the GPIB bus.

It looks like Tektronix designed a very reliable tape drive for the DAS9100, which has now,
unfortunately, far outlived any reliable tape cartridges. Even if one were to somehow get
freshly minted elastic bands for these old tapes that match the performance and reliability
of the originals, there is still the issue of the magnetic coating having become fragile with age
and prone to flaking off from the tape carrier.

An additional benefit of the GPIB transfer mode is that you will be able to easily share your
disassembly mnemonic tables with others. In theory, you should be able to get close
to re-creating the mnemonic tape contents from first principles.

I just looked at section 7 (Define Mnemonics Menu) of the DAS 9100 Operator's Manual PDF,
and noticed that the contents are far shorter and more limited compared to what I have on
paper (29 pages instead of 11). The version I have specifically talks about microprocessor
disassembly, and how to build a nested table structure with multiple mnemonic tables.

I could not find this version of section 7 online, so I will scan my copy and upload it to
TekWiki in the next few days.

Regarding your earlier question about external color monitors, I assume you have the
Option 6 I/O board, which provides color video output. Mine is Option 2, which only has
monochrome video output, so I cannot test this myself. However, note that the DAS only
generates three distinct colors: red, green and yellow. While the internal special-purpose
CRT has separate guns for red, green and yellow phosphors, an external monitor can produce
yellow by mixing red and green, so only two color signals are needed.
I expect that it should be easy to connect the Option 6 color video output to the
TTL-level input of a Commodore 1084 monitor or similar, but, again, I cannot test this
personally.


dan


Brian
 

Dan , a miss-type in my mail -- 7D20 should be 7D02

Brian

On Saturday, 11 April 2020, 00:02:54 BST, Dan G <dgajanovic@sympatico.ca> wrote:

Hi Brian,

Glad to hear that you were able to make progress on data transfer via the GPIB bus.

It looks like Tektronix designed a very reliable tape drive for the DAS9100, which has now,
unfortunately, far outlived any reliable tape cartridges. Even if one were to somehow get
freshly minted elastic bands for these old tapes that match the performance and reliability
of the originals, there is still the issue of the magnetic coating having become fragile with age
and prone to flaking off from the tape carrier.

An additional benefit of the GPIB transfer mode is that you will be able to easily share your
disassembly mnemonic tables with others. In theory, you should be able to get close
to re-creating the mnemonic tape contents from first principles.

I just looked at section 7 (Define Mnemonics Menu) of the DAS 9100 Operator's Manual PDF,
and noticed that the contents are far shorter and more limited compared to what I have on
paper (29 pages instead of 11). The version I have specifically talks about microprocessor
disassembly, and how to build a nested table structure with multiple mnemonic tables.

I could not find this version of section 7 online, so I will scan my copy and upload it to
TekWiki in the next few days.

Regarding your earlier question about external color monitors, I assume you have the
Option 6 I/O board, which provides color video output. Mine is Option 2, which only has
monochrome video output, so I cannot test this myself. However, note that the DAS only
generates three distinct colors: red, green and yellow. While the internal special-purpose
CRT has separate guns for red, green and yellow phosphors, an external monitor can produce
yellow by mixing red and green, so only two color signals are needed.
I expect that it should be easy to connect the Option 6 color video output to the
TTL-level input of a Commodore 1084 monitor or similar, but, again, I cannot test this
personally.


dan


Dan G
 

On Fri, Apr 10, 2020 at 07:02 PM, Dan G wrote:

I could not find this version of section 7 online, so I will scan my copy and
upload it to TekWiki in the next few days.
The new version of the DAS 9100 Operator's Manual Section 7 is now
available on the TekWiki. The major change is the addition of the
Table Definition sub-menu (accessed by holding SHIFT while pressing
the DEFINE MNEMONICS key). This seems to be a significant new feature
that was added to the DAS firmware at some point, and makes it possible
to disassemble arbitrary and rather complicated instruction sets.

My guess is that this feature was probably not present in early firmware
versions, though I do not know when it was first added. I can confirm that
v1.09 firmware has the new sub-menu.

Happy disassembling!

dan