Date   

9830 progress

Lee A. White
 

As an update to the 9830/9866 project:
 
I have now found some new fuse holder caps - so I am OK on that issue.
 
I have obtained the missing key cap for the numeric keypad "," - so OK on that issue.
 
I have exercised the intermittent keys rubbing them back and forth while pressing on them to polish the contacts as much as possible.
All of them now seem to be working OK, but only time will really tell.
I now only absolutely require one key switch to replace the one with a broken shaft, but a couple of spares would be really good considering......
 
All the other issues I mentioned in my last update post still remain open.
 
 
Lee


Re: 9830 parts

Lee A. White
 

Rik
 
At 70, I am always in a hurry - but usually moving somewhat slowly.
I would be glad to hear what you have, whenever you can get around to it.
 
I am also now looking for a copy of the self diagnostic program tape, or even better yet the factory test tape.
 
Seems like there are quite a few of the 9845s around, but not nearly so many 9830s.
Any guess as to how many 9830s survive?
How rare are these things?
 
I know there are electronic manuals but printed manuals would be nice too.
 
 
Lee

From: Rik Bos
Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2018 2:15 PM
Subject: [VintHPcom] 9830 parts


Lee,


About the romboards you Tony Duell has made some replacements (kludged he said). Some times the display segments appear on eBay not cheap but available.

-Rik




On Sat, Jul 7, 2018 at 9:03 PM +0200, "Rik Bos" <hp-fix@...> wrote:

Lee,

This is the best place I think, although the HPCC also is a good place to get information.(HPCC.org)
If you're not in a hurry I can lookup what I have when I am back from my vacation. I think I should have a key cap for the rest I'll have to look.


-Rik




On Sat, Jul 7, 2018 at 8:19 PM +0200, "Lee A. White" <web2464p@...> wrote:

I now have my 9830A up and running, along with the 9866A & B printers.
I have rebuilt the tape deck and can save and load programs too.
I am now looking for some miscellaneous parts.

 

 
Fuse holder cap is broken.

 
A few Cherry key switches are broken/intermittent and the key cap for the "," key on the numeric key pad is missing.

 
The keyboard bezel is broken in the corner - not bad but it shows.

 
One display chip has a dot out - left column second dot up from bottom.
It is usable as is but if some one has a good replacement display chip or board.........

 
The rear case bumpers have disintegrated on both the calculator and the printer.
Has anyone made an attempt to 3D print replacements?

 
The pullout error code sheet is broken......

 
A second memory board would be very nice too.
Has anyone come up with a modern replacement board using current memory?

 
I need matrix operations and string variables ROMs.
Has anyone made an add on ROM replacement board that uses Eproms?
Can you easily load a bin file into memory and get it done that way?

 
Finally, an interface cable would be nice. 
I would like to get it to talk to the 9845s I will be working on next.

 
Is there a better place to go for 9830 parts and help?

 

 
Lee

 

 



9830 parts

 


Lee,


About the romboards you Tony Duell has made some replacements (kludged he said). Some times the display segments appear on eBay not cheap but available.

-Rik




On Sat, Jul 7, 2018 at 9:03 PM +0200, "Rik Bos" <hp-fix@...> wrote:

Lee,

This is the best place I think, although the HPCC also is a good place to get information.(HPCC.org)
If you're not in a hurry I can lookup what I have when I am back from my vacation. I think I should have a key cap for the rest I'll have to look.


-Rik




On Sat, Jul 7, 2018 at 8:19 PM +0200, "Lee A. White" <web2464p@...> wrote:

I now have my 9830A up and running, along with the 9866A & B printers.
I have rebuilt the tape deck and can save and load programs too.
I am now looking for some miscellaneous parts.
 
 
Fuse holder cap is broken.
 
A few Cherry key switches are broken/intermittent and the key cap for the "," key on the numeric key pad is missing.
 
The keyboard bezel is broken in the corner - not bad but it shows.
 
One display chip has a dot out - left column second dot up from bottom.
It is usable as is but if some one has a good replacement display chip or board.........
 
The rear case bumpers have disintegrated on both the calculator and the printer.
Has anyone made an attempt to 3D print replacements?
 
The pullout error code sheet is broken......
 
A second memory board would be very nice too.
Has anyone come up with a modern replacement board using current memory?
 
I need matrix operations and string variables ROMs.
Has anyone made an add on ROM replacement board that uses Eproms?
Can you easily load a bin file into memory and get it done that way?
 
Finally, an interface cable would be nice. 
I would like to get it to talk to the 9845s I will be working on next.
 
Is there a better place to go for 9830 parts and help?
 
 
Lee
 
 



Re: 9830 parts

 

Lee,

This is the best place I think, although the HPCC also is a good place to get information.(HPCC.org)
If you're not in a hurry I can lookup what I have when I am back from my vacation. I think I should have a key cap for the rest I'll have to look.


-Rik




On Sat, Jul 7, 2018 at 8:19 PM +0200, "Lee A. White" <web2464p@...> wrote:

I now have my 9830A up and running, along with the 9866A & B printers.
I have rebuilt the tape deck and can save and load programs too.
I am now looking for some miscellaneous parts.
 
 
Fuse holder cap is broken.
 
A few Cherry key switches are broken/intermittent and the key cap for the "," key on the numeric key pad is missing.
 
The keyboard bezel is broken in the corner - not bad but it shows.
 
One display chip has a dot out - left column second dot up from bottom.
It is usable as is but if some one has a good replacement display chip or board.........
 
The rear case bumpers have disintegrated on both the calculator and the printer.
Has anyone made an attempt to 3D print replacements?
 
The pullout error code sheet is broken......
 
A second memory board would be very nice too.
Has anyone come up with a modern replacement board using current memory?
 
I need matrix operations and string variables ROMs.
Has anyone made an add on ROM replacement board that uses Eproms?
Can you easily load a bin file into memory and get it done that way?
 
Finally, an interface cable would be nice. 
I would like to get it to talk to the 9845s I will be working on next.
 
Is there a better place to go for 9830 parts and help?
 
 
Lee
 
 


9830 parts

Lee A. White
 

I now have my 9830A up and running, along with the 9866A & B printers.
I have rebuilt the tape deck and can save and load programs too.
I am now looking for some miscellaneous parts.
 
 
Fuse holder cap is broken.
 
A few Cherry key switches are broken/intermittent and the key cap for the "," key on the numeric key pad is missing.
 
The keyboard bezel is broken in the corner - not bad but it shows.
 
One display chip has a dot out - left column second dot up from bottom.
It is usable as is but if some one has a good replacement display chip or board.........
 
The rear case bumpers have disintegrated on both the calculator and the printer.
Has anyone made an attempt to 3D print replacements?
 
The pullout error code sheet is broken......
 
A second memory board would be very nice too.
Has anyone come up with a modern replacement board using current memory?
 
I need matrix operations and string variables ROMs.
Has anyone made an add on ROM replacement board that uses Eproms?
Can you easily load a bin file into memory and get it done that way?
 
Finally, an interface cable would be nice. 
I would like to get it to talk to the 9845s I will be working on next.
 
Is there a better place to go for 9830 parts and help?
 
 
Lee
 
 


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

Ansgar
 

Thanks Francois.

To be precise, functional details of the light pen are included in the 98770A Service Manual, and in the December 1980 issue of the HP Journal.

-Ansgar


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

François Lanciault
 

Yes, the patent and the article in the HP journal explain everything. Both are available from Ansgar site HP9845.net.

Francois

Le 5 juil. 2018 12:56 AM, "Lee A. White" <web2464p@...> a écrit :
Ansgar
 
Now I have many more questions than answers. This does not sound like anything I recall being discussed when I was there. They must have come up with an entirely different approach. I will be very interested to discover the path they took in overcoming the obstacles and how they ended up actually doing it.
 
Is the pen a single point light intensity sensor detecting the amplitude and timing of the light pulse coming from the area of the screen at which it is pointed, or is it capturing a multi pixel image of the area it is pointed at, looking for and locking on to the image of the cursor within that visual field, and then tracking that image's relative movement?
 
Is the location of the cursor in the pen's viewing field being detected and the cursor moved to center it in that field?
 
What happens when the light pen is held away from the screen and the angle of the pen is changed? Does the cursor move to the new point at which the cursor is aimed?
 
It is gong to take a much more detailed explanation for me to understand it. Is there a detailed theory of operation write up some where, or a patent in English?
 
Lee

From: Ansgar
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2018 10:41 PM
Subject: Re: [VintHPcom] Found - 9845 Light Pen

It works pixel accurate due to the concept of moving a tracked cursor. In fact, the principle behind is not that far away to a computer mouse. With a mouse, you move a cursor with the relative movement measured against the surface of the table. With the 9845 light pen, a cursor is moved with the movement across the screen. Once you get close enough to the screen (which is about two or three inches), the beam detection locks in and the cursor has its starting position. You control the position of the cursor by the movement of the light pen, even from a distance of one or two inches from the surface of the screen, so that neither exact absolute position error nor parallax error really become an issue. The fine resolution of the detection light pen circuit is high enough to reliably control pixelwise move of the cursor. The cursor marks the position on the screen which is used as the source for gathering positioning data, not the absolute position of the tip of the light pen. The cursor at the same time works as a light source, which is available also on dark parts of the screen.

The light pen can also be used as a direct positioning device without a cursor, however the results are not as accurate and reliable as in combination with a cursor. That mode is used e.g. for picking a menu field. In fact the light pen is very sensitive and returns position data even on dark areas as long as the monitor is being switched on (there is always a signal), but it is less reliable.

-Ansgar


HP 260 available in Norway #VintageHPComputers

David Collins
 

I received this email at the HPmuseum.net site today - if anyone is interested in a 260, please contact Harald directly. 

Hi

 

I have some old HP 260  from  about 1985 .  I guess best thing to do is just 

to scrap it. 

 

But If you have any other idas please inform me. 

 

Regards

Harald Wibye

Norway
hswibye@...


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

Lee A. White
 

Ansgar
 
Now I have many more questions than answers. This does not sound like anything I recall being discussed when I was there. They must have come up with an entirely different approach. I will be very interested to discover the path they took in overcoming the obstacles and how they ended up actually doing it.
 
Is the pen a single point light intensity sensor detecting the amplitude and timing of the light pulse coming from the area of the screen at which it is pointed, or is it capturing a multi pixel image of the area it is pointed at, looking for and locking on to the image of the cursor within that visual field, and then tracking that image's relative movement?
 
Is the location of the cursor in the pen's viewing field being detected and the cursor moved to center it in that field?
 
What happens when the light pen is held away from the screen and the angle of the pen is changed? Does the cursor move to the new point at which the cursor is aimed?
 
It is gong to take a much more detailed explanation for me to understand it. Is there a detailed theory of operation write up some where, or a patent in English?
 
Lee

From: Ansgar
Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2018 10:41 PM
Subject: Re: [VintHPcom] Found - 9845 Light Pen

It works pixel accurate due to the concept of moving a tracked cursor. In fact, the principle behind is not that far away to a computer mouse. With a mouse, you move a cursor with the relative movement measured against the surface of the table. With the 9845 light pen, a cursor is moved with the movement across the screen. Once you get close enough to the screen (which is about two or three inches), the beam detection locks in and the cursor has its starting position. You control the position of the cursor by the movement of the light pen, even from a distance of one or two inches from the surface of the screen, so that neither exact absolute position error nor parallax error really become an issue. The fine resolution of the detection light pen circuit is high enough to reliably control pixelwise move of the cursor. The cursor marks the position on the screen which is used as the source for gathering positioning data, not the absolute position of the tip of the light pen. The cursor at the same time works as a light source, which is available also on dark parts of the screen.

The light pen can also be used as a direct positioning device without a cursor, however the results are not as accurate and reliable as in combination with a cursor. That mode is used e.g. for picking a menu field. In fact the light pen is very sensitive and returns position data even on dark areas as long as the monitor is being switched on (there is always a signal), but it is less reliable.

-Ansgar


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

Ansgar
 

It works pixel accurate due to the concept of moving a tracked cursor. In fact, the principle behind is not that far away to a computer mouse. With a mouse, you move a cursor with the relative movement measured against the surface of the table. With the 9845 light pen, a cursor is moved with the movement across the screen. Once you get close enough to the screen (which is about two or three inches), the beam detection locks in and the cursor has its starting position. You control the position of the cursor by the movement of the light pen, even from a distance of one or two inches from the surface of the screen, so that neither exact absolute position error nor parallax error really become an issue. The fine resolution of the detection light pen circuit is high enough to reliably control pixelwise move of the cursor. The cursor marks the position on the screen which is used as the source for gathering positioning data, not the absolute position of the tip of the light pen. The cursor at the same time works as a light source, which is available also on dark parts of the screen.

The light pen can also be used as a direct positioning device without a cursor, however the results are not as accurate and reliable as in combination with a cursor. That mode is used e.g. for picking a menu field. In fact the light pen is very sensitive and returns position data even on dark areas as long as the monitor is being switched on (there is always a signal), but it is less reliable.

-Ansgar


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

Lee A. White
 

Francois
 
No, I did not work on the design of the light pen so my ability to help you is very limited. That project was done after I left HP, but it was under consideration while I was still there. As I vaguely recall, the main issue was how to find the location of the pen when the screen area under it was dark. One would think it would be an easy task to find where a lighted pixel is by measuring light output vs time at the pen tip and then relating that to the beam location, but finding the location of the pen tip when the pixels at that location are not lit up is a whole different problem. Then too, the face glass of the CRT is pretty thick and the anti glare film and the extra glass laminated panel on top of that make it even thicker. It is a fair distance from the probe tip to the phosphors and that caused concerns about parallax errors. Would the angle the probe was held at be a problem too? I seem to recall that there were also some concerns about phosphor persistence for lit up pixels as well, but it is all very very vague after all those years and I would not put much credence in my recollections.
 
I also seem to recall a discussion about having a uniform background light gray screen so that all pixels would be lit while probe location was being determined, but that might meant giving up the ability to make a truly dark area on the screen. Then there was a thought about interleaving a background screen with the image screen lighting up the entire screen after every so many scans and letting the eye integrate it out. There were also discussions about using some kind of an electromagnet field detection scheme but again, what do you do when the beam is off and there is no beam current? Some one suggested maybe making a clear digitizer to put over the screen. Early stages of projects were like that, lots of ideas were kicked around until one was chosen as worth pursuing. Then, some one would go out and try to make a proof of concept demonstrator - usually a vey crude one at that - but one that would show how it might be doable and that would point out the problems in attempting to do it. It will be interesting to see how they resolved all these issues and to see how they actually did it in the production version. 
 
I have never used one either, so any one care to comment on how well it actually worked?
 
Lee 

Sent: Wednesday, July 04, 2018 5:55 PM
Subject: Re: [VintHPcom] Found - 9845 Light Pen

Hi Lee,

Interesting read indeed. I am a ME that works in the antenna group of a company that makes satellite and satellite components. So I know what you are talking about! Did you designed the 9845 light pen body ?

François


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

François Lanciault
 

Hi Lee,

Interesting read indeed. I am a ME that works in the antenna group of a company that makes satellite and satellite components. So I know what you are talking about! Did you designed the 9845 light pen body ?

François


Re: Some HP CPD history - from one point of view

Ansgar
 

Wow. You write the true foreword to "The HP Way" which was missing in the original publication :-)

Some of the principles in fact have made their way into today's companies.

Too bad the "inhouse" ROMs for the 9845 are lost. Though with today's knowledge you can write new ones if you like. I wrote some kind of monitor program for the 9845 which utilizes unused space in the system test ROM, so that you have some kind of interactive shell with a prompt, and you can display/alter memory, load/save/start data or machine language programs to/from any memory block, launch system tests and so on, even can be used as a boot loader when one of the keys is latched during start-up, so you may load some other program or OS from tape or disk directly into system RAM and jump to an execution address to hand over control, instead of starting into BASIC, or use a remote terminal connection via HP-IB to control input and output from outside, can be pretty useful if display and/or keyboard is dysfunctional.

-Ansgar


Re: Some HP CPD history - from one point of view

Lee A. White
 

My sincerest thanks to all of you for your kind comments about the mechanical design of the 9845. At the time I understood fully how advanced this machine was going to be. I am pretty sure every one of the project engineers walked out of the meeting where they got their assignments with the same thought - now just how the hell am I supposed to do that! We knew this machine was going to advance the state of the art in calculators (desk top computers). We ere aware that if we succeeded we would set a new standard and leave all the competition far behind., and we were driven by the challenge to get it done. It never really occurred to me then or since that this machine would have such an impact on those who would actually use it. That it would be a new tool and that it would enable others to do other great things in their own disciplines because it existed for then to use do those great things with. That thought is priceless. I thank you all for making that clear. It is a new perspective.
 
 
 
So far as the hierarchy and MEs being somewhat under appreciated - it was just how it was. HP was an electronics company and EEs ruled. As a physicist first, I saw myself as at least their equal, so I never got my nose out of joint too much. Generally speaking you were treated well except when it came to spending money.  It was a bit irritating to see a EE ask for and get God awful expensive state of the art equipment without any hesitation or any need to explain, and then have to beg for an electric  drill and some drill bits. EEs had work benches full of equipment to do their work. MEs had to go down the hall to the other end of a very long building, down the stairs and over to the machine shop, fill out a work order, and then wait until the shop got around to doing it! The shop's main objective was producing production parts and maintaining production machinery and tooling. Design engineers could wait. It was difficult to meet impossible project schedules when that was your only option. We ask for but never got a work area with a bench and a vise and a bench grinder and maybe a drill press and a band saw. That would have cost less than one good scope, but it never happened. I had all of those at home, so I often took work home and did it there. I was a pretty good machinist myself and with time I was granted access to the shop's machines. When one was open, I could go use it and do my own work.
 
Why would a physicist/engineer go down to the shop and do machinist work? Well, it was something of a product of the HP culture. HP had a Management By Objectives culture (MBO - per management guru Peter Drucker - he wrote the book - literally!). You were expected to sit down with your supervisor, set and agree to objectives, go do the work necessary to meet them, and come back in a month and report on your progress against those objectives. On my first day at work this system was laid out and I was told quite bluntly "and that progress report is supposed to be just that - a report on your progress - not a search for it." And that "Progress is not a list of all the problems you found and all the excuses for why you did not get it done! It is a report of HOW YOU SOLVED THEM AND OVER CAME THEM!" My boss made it clear that this was a results oriented culture and that I would be judged on the results I achieved, not on the difficulty of getting them or the effort I had put into trying. It was also made clear that being late on a drawing because drafting was "backed up" was not an acceptable excuse either. That was an anticipatable occurrence and if a drawing was critical - it was my job to know the backlog in drafting and get it turned in ahead of time or to make arrangements before the fact to get expedited handling. Understandable reasons for failure were not acceptable substitutions for progress. So, if you needed parts now - not when the shop could get around to it - you rolled up your sleeves and made them yourself. Some guys even had bed rolls under their work benches so they could get a quick nap when pulling several all nighters in a row. If you were in the critical path, you did what ever it took. Not because you were afraid of getting fired, but because you did not want to let your buddies down and because you were compelled to prove to yourself that you were up to anything they could throw at you. Your boss didn't have to drive you, the schedule drove you and you drove yourself.
 
It wasn't all work and no play. When you were on schedule and things were going well, you could take an afternoon off and go soaring because the weather was good that day. On rare days when weather was poor and cloud ceilings were low and there was no ice in them, you knew who the instrument rated pilots were because they were all gone - all up flying in ACTUAL INSTRUMENT WEATHER. On the first day of hunting season - it was Colorado after all - there were lots of empty chairs. It was that kind of a place. Work hours were flexible too. Everyone was expected to be there during certain core hours, but arrival and lunch and departure times were flexible within bounds. There were no time clocks, you were expected to be responsible. If you were good enough to work there, you were good enough to trust. So, they did not keep track of how many rolls of tape or pliers, or whatever you checked out of stores - you were trusted. There was no trash on the floors or graffiti on the rest rooms walls either - HP did not hire that kind of person.
 
They did hire the kind of engineer who had lots of interests and who did "private projects". In fact, you were encouraged to do them and HP provided parts to do them with. Lab stores were not locked and no one watched over it. You could go get whatever you needed whenever you needed it. Well, to a point. At one time there was a sign on the lab stores parts cabinets requesting that all engineers limit their withdrawals of static ram chips for "personal projects" to 4 KB per year! Sounds like nothing today but back then you could put an operating system and tiny basic in about 1.2 KB and have the rest for user program space. That was a lot of video memory too at a time when the 9830's 32 character alpha numeric display was better than most computers could muster. One EE designed and had the machine shop make a bicycle pump that also served as the top member of the bicycle frame saving weight on his mountain bike. A couple of EEs were using machine shop lathes and mills after hours to make parts for their BD-5 home built aircraft projects. There were a few extreme stereo projects too. I was given permission and even encouragement to build (and keep) a 9830B and a 9866B from scrap parts and to get replacement chips from lab stores to do it with - if I did the electronic trouble shooting myself! Later, I was given permission to have a set of what were called "in house ROMs". These were NMOS ROMs processed through the Loveland chip fab by an engineer one wafer at a time. These ROMs were used to develop the software for the 9830 and you could do pretty much anything with them, including examining ROM code and resetting the operating system boundary to incorporate new command code in the interpreter itself. They were tightly controlled. I believe I still have those ROMs. I would guess that there was probably a similar set of ROMs for the 9845 that would allow access to and control of both processors and all memory. HP was big on continuing education too - on keeping engineers fresh and current. You were expected to take a continuing education course of some sort that was relevant to your job every year, and your boss was expected to insure that you did - or he was not meeting his objectives! HP had a Video Tape room where you could take courses from Stanford, and there were in house courses and seminars on a pretty regular basis - often by pretty big name presenters. There were even a couple offered at a hotel in the mountains near by - NICE. It was a great place for an engineer to work and to be, but you had to make progress against your objectives so you had something to report each month.
 
One point is worth mentioning here - failure was not generally punished - unless it was endemic or due to lack of attention or effort. HP expected the impossible and failing to get it on the first try was expected. In fact, I was told on several occasions that if I got it all right the first time they were not asking for enough and I was not being aggressive enough in giving them everything even remotely possible. What was expected was that you exercised good technical judgment and good personal effort and that you persisted until you did succeed. Stupid approaches or half hearted attempts were not going to be well received, but that is not the kind of thing an HPite would do anyway. If he did, he was going to suffer terribly at the hands of his coworkers in the next design review meeting. And that was really for his own good because at some point there was going to be a program review and he and his project team was going to have to stand up in front of and be grilled by Hewlett and Packard and Oliver and they did not suffer fools kindly.
 
HP had lots of little perks too, Christmas parties and gifts for employees children, clubs for this and that hobby, and a ranch in the mountains with free cabins and a summer employee and family picnic with good food and pony rides and games and live entertainment at the ranch. One summer, the end of the picnic was shadowed by a terrible thunderstorm - a record one in fact - that dumped record amounts of rain on a rocky canyon - something like 8 inches in an hour if I recall correctly. Rock does not absorb water so it all drained down into the Big Thompson Canyon - where the road to the ranch was - right about the time the picnic was ending. The road was clogged with normal traffic to/from the Rocky Mountain National Park at Estes Park and with all the extra HP picnic traffic too . A wall of water rushed down the canyon reaching something like 60 feet and more in places. Over 130 people were killed, many were stranded clinging to sheer rock cliffs over a hundred  feet high, or stranded on what little was left of the road in some high places. Some of us saw the danger and left early escaping the flood waters. I and my family made it out about 10 or 15 minutes before the water did, but many hundreds of people were stranded, road washed out, cliffs un-climbable, and a river raging below! I went in with the rescue teams because I had spent many hours fishing and canoeing and kayaking in the canyon and I knew it well, and I had the gear - the wet suit and helmet and life preserver - and the ability to get in the raging white water and swim across to the other side. I swam with ropes that I could anchor to the other side and that the climbing team could then set up and use to get across to the other side of the raging river at the washed out areas. Climbing the wet cliffs was just too dangerous, but even that was our only option at a couple of points - so we did it. The river wasn't too safe either - tons of debris and washed down timber snags and floating logs and propane tanks that leaked and would hiss and some times explode, and the occasional current driven rolling boulder the size of a car. We spent two days helping survivors and retrieving bodies and body parts. Fortunately, I did not find anyone I knew, or the missing baby. When the weather finally lifted a bit, the Army sent in Chinook helicopters to pull us out. When we got out at the marshalling area - there were the HP engineers. They went to the lab, grabbed a bunch of 9830's and printers and a disk drive, went to the marshalling area, set up the computers, and wrote software and created data bases with names and addresses and phone numbers and relatives names and etc for all the missing and all the accounted for. As I understand it - They were not told to do it and they did not have permission to do it - they just saw it needed to be done and they did it. That is the kind of person that worked for HP. They were not only the best engineers I ever worked with, they were the best people too. At those picnics, the bosses served the food to the employees - and that included the founders too. Hewlett buttered my ear of corn and Packard handed me my steak. When they told you the story about Hewlett and Packard wrestling a line of port-a-potties across the field at the ranch during the picnic - because they thought the toilets were too close to the food lines and needed to be moved - they were telling you about the HP way - and the culture you were joining.
 
Another element of the culture was celebrating successes - the release party. When a new product design was completed and was release into and accepted by production, the lab had a big party! Project over - time for a good time. Big grills were rolled out on the patio area and food prepared, several trucks rolled up with chips and buns and condiments and etc, and another with kegs and taps. Yep - beer - right there on company property and on company time. It was party time! Everyone celebrated. I mean everyone - not just the project team.
 
Now, when you put a bunch of high powered guys in a small - close to nothing actually - town pretty far from every where and with little to do in the way of entertainment, they are going to get up to something - like practical jokes. There were the normal things, like gluing the telephone handset into the cradle and then calling some one. When they try to answer they pick up the whole phone. Or removing the microphone element from the telephone handset and then calling them. The guys working on the 9845 switching power supply were dealing with an oscillation that caused a hissing sound for a second or two followed by a big bang from an explosion and venting of the electrolytic capacitors. The smell was really God awful - and it went through the whole lab, so every one was a little irritated. It happened without warning and those guys got a little jumpy, especially since they were usually leaning over it when it blew. So, one guy walked up behind them while they were bent over working intently, made a good replica of the hissing sound, then slammed a book down on a bench top. The PS guys jumped a foot in the air and every one had a good laugh. We had cans of circuit cooler - a spray can filled with refrigerant used to cool chips when looking for intermittent components or testing for thermal drift. One guy thought it would be cute to see what would happen if you put some of the circuit cooler refrigerant in a piece of surgical tube and tied a tight knot in each end. Just how big would it get. Answer - about 6 inches in diameter - and then it blows - like a big popped balloon. So, when his buddy was intently working on a problem at his desk, but had to get up for a restroom trip - it seemed like a good opportunity and one of these refrigerant filled rubber tubes found its way into the buddy's desk drawer. The buddy returned and got back to work, only to be interrupted by a minor explosion in his desk drawer. Probably the most creative trick I saw was when a another guy took the little squeeze bottle full of water that every EE had and used to wet the sponges in their soldering stations and squeezed a little water from it and up into the tip of it, then froze it solid with a squirt from a can of circuit cooler. This guy then unscrewed the top, added some circuit cooler to the bottle and screwed the top back on. The evaporating circuit cooler pressurized the bottle. He then pointed the water bottle at the spot where the engineer would be when talking on the phone, walked back to his own desk, and called the victim. After a while talking on the phone, the ice in the tip thawed and the pressurized squeeze bottle started squirting water on the victim - all on its own apparently! The victim just sat there staring at it and getting squirted and probably wondering - what the heck? About that time management put out the word that this kind of thing needed to stop - and it did.
 
So, that is my recollection of how it was back then, clouded a bit by passing years I am sure - but still reasonably accurate. I am sure others had a somewhat different experience.
 
So why did I leave?
 
1)  After completing the entire management development program at HP and after consistently receiving very high performance evaluations, I was told that it would likely be a very long time before I could expect to advance into management at HP as a ME. I was being pressured to return to school and get a MSEE. They generously offered me a transfer to California, guaranteed admission to Stanford's graduate school, and a job in HP Labs working on E-beam etch of microcircuits. Sounds great until you hear that about that time HP had decided that microcircuits were not their business and had decided that they would exit that activity. Seemed to me like a dead end to go into semiconductor process development at HP under those circumstances. HP had put a little no-name spinoff group from Stanford's semiconductor development lab into business by teaching them how to build NMOS rams (1103's) and giving them HPs designs (and later, micro processors too) and then buying enough volume from them to make them a financial success. That company is named Intel! Ironic - given what happened to HP-CPD.
 
2) I had spent much of the prior 9 years of my life attending college - much of it while also working one or more jobs to pay for - and going back to college at Stanford while also working full time once again did not seem like a real good idea. I had a family and I needed a professional life AND a private life.
 
3) HP was an electronics company and no ME was ever going to be center stage there - I did not like that aspect. I wanted to be a part of the core activity.
 
So I left for a management job with a huge pay increase. I spent the rest of my career looking for another HP - never finding anything like it again. The only consolation is that the HP I knew also vanished.
 

Lee 

From: Precaud
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2018 8:46 AM
Subject: Re: [VintHPcom] Found - 9845 Light Pen

Wow, great story, Lee. Thanks for sharing it, and for your great work. Besides being functionally appropriate, the design layout of the 9845 resonates with something in the unconscious, like a  first glimpse of an emerging archetype. Of all the computers of that era, the 9845 *looks like* what it should be. Accomplished through the marriage of imagination and solid engineering.

I live in a town (Santa Fe, NM) that, for as long as I've been here. celebrates the artist and the creative process. While that is a good thing, their definitions of "artist" and "creative process" are very narrow, confined almost exclusively to the classical visual arts; painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, etc. What consistently passes by them unappreciated is the creation of entirely new classes of objects as they emerge and find their place in our world. To me, this is where the *real* creativity exists. It's too bad our culture does not choose its heroes from this type of person.

I will arrange with François for the delivery of the pen to him.

I have been informed off-list that the light pen is a rare bird and I should price it appropriately. I would appreciate some input.

I am on a "glide-path" into retirement, and will most likely be relocating to a smaller residence at some point. My son, who one day be left with all of this stuff I've collected, has made it very clear that he doesn't want to deal with it, and I need to pare it down. And so I am using this process to compact not only my inventory, but also my electronics test bench, which is populated almost entirely by instruments made prior to 1990. While they are all functionally superb, best-in-class at the time, some of them need to be replaced with modern, more compact equivalents. That's what I'll be using the funds for.

  John


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

Precaud
 

Wow, great story, Lee. Thanks for sharing it, and for your great work. Besides being functionally appropriate, the design layout of the 9845 resonates with something in the unconscious, like a  first glimpse of an emerging archetype. Of all the computers of that era, the 9845 *looks like* what it should be. Accomplished through the marriage of imagination and solid engineering.

I live in a town (Santa Fe, NM) that, for as long as I've been here. celebrates the artist and the creative process. While that is a good thing, their definitions of "artist" and "creative process" are very narrow, confined almost exclusively to the classical visual arts; painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, etc. What consistently passes by them unappreciated is the creation of entirely new classes of objects as they emerge and find their place in our world. To me, this is where the *real* creativity exists. It's too bad our culture does not choose its heroes from this type of person.

I will arrange with François for the delivery of the pen to him.

I have been informed off-list that the light pen is a rare bird and I should price it appropriately. I would appreciate some input.

I am on a "glide-path" into retirement, and will most likely be relocating to a smaller residence at some point. My son, who one day be left with all of this stuff I've collected, has made it very clear that he doesn't want to deal with it, and I need to pare it down. And so I am using this process to compact not only my inventory, but also my electronics test bench, which is populated almost entirely by instruments made prior to 1990. While they are all functionally superb, best-in-class at the time, some of them need to be replaced with modern, more compact equivalents. That's what I'll be using the funds for.

  John


Re: Memories of EEs and MEs

Martin Hepperle
 

Hi all,

just as a heads up for all depressed MEs: as an outsider I am under the impression that the work of the hardware designers and mechanical engineers was also highly valued at HP.

I always enjoy reading about the mechanical design and packaging of HP products in the HP Journal. Most articles also have a section about the mechanical design or manufacturing.

In fact, the design of HP devices (from calculators over PCs to printers) was always outstanding and (in most cases) pleasing. A good design must combine form and function, which is not easy to accomplish.  There are many so called "designer" things on the market which are extremely poor designs.

Look at the HP-HIL mouse (not as ergonomic as it could be, but a unique style which could go into an art museum) or the HIL keyboards with their soft but still clear response which I miss today. The pocket calculators are legend and their keyboards unsurpassed due to their clever mechanical design. Or the HP Vectra PC line, or ...

Martin


Re: HP 98261 BASIC 2.0 ROM board

Martin Hepperle
 

Sven,

thank you for the files.  I wanted to look into the binaries and it took me a while to figure out the split over the ROMs

As this might be useful for others I add the following tables:

98603 - 98603_800xx BASIC 4.0, 1985
      # ROM pairs (32KB each)
      # hi  lo      hi   lo
      # 01 - 05     09 - 13
      # 02 - 06     10 - 14
      # 03 - 07     11 - 15
      # 04 - 08     12 - 16

98603 - ux - BASIC 5.1, 1988
      # ROM pairs (64KB each)
      # hi   lo
      #  1 -  9
      #  2 - 10
      #  3 - 11
      #  4 - 12
      #  5 - 13
      #  6 - 14
      #  7 - 15
      #  8 - 16

I also wrote simple de-interlacing scripts in Python to obtain an ASCII dump of the combined ROMs which I can make available.

Martin


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

François Lanciault
 

Thank Lee. The community will hopefully benefit from this (if I can do my part of the job)

I will return the light pen when asked for or as soon as the replacement is functional whichever comes first. I will obviously post every progress on this board.

Best regards,
François


On Jul 2, 2018, at 19:05, Lee A. White <web2464p@...> wrote:

John
 
Over-riding my own lust for tech toys and HP ones in particular and admitting to being occupied at the moment with trying to determine exactly what I have just received and then trying to make what I have operational, I think it is in the best interests of the group as a whole that Francois have access to the light pen now. I am willing to cooperate fully in making that happen some how. I would hope that it can lead to everyone understanding the little bugger and to every one who wants a light pen having at least a replica that does work. I would like to have the light pen at some point, but when is not important. If you agree, you should plan on sending it directly to him now. Given that I don't know anyone here personally or even know where they are located, some details will have to be put together. It is probably best that you and Francois work out those details together. Let me know how you want to proceed.
 
My first impression is that this is a great group. I hope that I will be well received and welcome here.
 
And, if you really want to hear an old man ramble on about what he did back when and what it was like to be at HP Loveland CPD at that magic time, I can do some of that too.
 
 
Lee

From: Precaud
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2018 8:21 AM
Subject: Re: [VintHPcom] Found - 9845 Light Pen

Hi François,

Lee was the first speak so I have to honor that. Perhaps you can coordinate with him? If he approves, you could be an intermediary in the process.

  John


This would be the cartoon to which you refer, Lee

Steve Leibson
 

Hi Lee,

Thanks for the added history lesson. You are correct, the HP culture celebrated EEs and relegated a lot of ME work to the background. I don't recall interacting with you at HP in the 1970s (sorry if that's a memory failure), but I did interact a lot with four other MEs in Loveland. First was Jerry Nichols, the ME on my first project, the HP 9878A I/O expander. His role was documented here: http://www.hp9825.com/html/i_o_expander.html.

The second ME was my good friend Larry Brown, who was the ME on the HP 9874A glass digitizer. Larry sat next to me in the Peripherals and I/O section of the lab. He and I worked together to create a one-off tester for the digitizer's exotic glass platen. Larry's work on the 9874A is covered in the 9874A article in the December, 1978 issue of HP Journal.

Larry also encouraged me to date the third HP ME that I met, Patricia Cochran. She worked for LID down the hall and later, the pcb shop. I married her and am still married to her. Meanwhile, Larry Brown left HP, eventually joined Dell Computers, became independently wealthy, and vanished from the InterWeb.

The fourth ME was Walt Perdue, who worked with me on the bulletproof, mirror-polished, die-cast zinc I/O case for the HP 98034B I/O card. He passed away in San Diego several years ago.

I pulled the 9845A cartoon you referenced from my HP9825.com site:


Improved Ventilation


Drawn by CPD engineer and cartoonist-in-residence Rand Renfroe.

--Steve




On 7/2/2018 6:54 PM, Lee A. White wrote:
I was a physicist and a mechanical engineer with significant interest and education and experience in electronics and instrumentation and computers and software when I interviewed with HP. I was initially hired by HP Loveland to investigate and resolve reliability and production related problems with the 9810, 20, 21, 30, and 66 product lines. The employment offer included the promise of a design engineering position on the next product design cycle for the replacement for the 9830/66 - the 9845.
 
The 9830 was suffering unacceptably high failures rates for multilayer boards - particularly the memory boards. All products were suffering from poor workmanship in soldering with blow holes and cold solder joints prevalent. The 9830 had display chip intensity variations that looked terrible when those chips were placed side by side in the 32 character long display. The 9866 printer had similar dot intensity variations from character to character across a page. There was only one source and one color for the thermal print paper. Keyboard switches were problematic, key caps were falling off at one point, and there were a number of other assembly problems that were impeding production rates and causing misses in production schedules. I became an advisor to other HP division on multi layer PCB production and solderability, conducted seminars, and rewrote part of the IPCA600B printed circuit workmanship standards. I am proud to had helped to make the 9830 a reliable machine and multilayer boards a reasonable design option.  I had resolved those production issues by the time the 9845 program was initiated and as promised I was moved into the design group to work on QWERT - as the 9845 was code named.
 
I was assigned to Gary Egan's group under the supervision of Ray Cozzens. Key assignments were the integration of the computer, the display monitor, and the printer into one desk top machine; the mechanical design of the printer (but not the print head itself); the cooling of and the thermal management of the entire machine including the power supply; design for shock and vibration integrity and environmental testing; over all reliability assessment and failure rate determination and warranty cost estimation; and manufacturability in general. I came up with the overall configuration of a monitor up on towers, easily removable, a printer under, dual fans in the rear, and a dual cooling fan system that sucks - instead of blows. The final cosmetic design of the case was done primarily by an industrial designer from corporate on temporary assignment to our group, and the actual case parts design was done by another ME in our group, but the over all configuration and look came from me. That dual fan system was memorialized in a cartoon due to the fact that the first version was - well - pretty noisy to put it nicely.  So, I spent a lot of time in the recording studio at Loveland - yes HP had one - doing noise tests to get it quieted down. Air flow testing presented challenges too, pitot static probes, hot wire anemometers, thermocouple grids, propeller air speed meters - nothing gave reliable and repeatable results. Ultimately, it was done with a sophisticated home brew instrumentation package - a very long tube made from dry cleaner bags taped together and a stop watch to determine time required to fill it. Component temperature monitoring got interesting when the department secretary (a very attractive lady to say the least) stepped in front of the IR camera we were using - interesting hot spots! Thermal print paper tracking (it was a pretty high resolution graphics printer - straight lines were a necessity) showed significant problems when lots of dots were printed on one side and few on the other. Thermal paper works by melting a wax coating and allowing two pigment chemicals to mix and react and create a dot. When you shut off the print head heat that creates the dots and the wax solidifies, it sort of glues itself to the print head. The paper drive system has to break that paper loose from the print head. That is where the staccato snapping noise of a thermal printer comes from. When you do that in an unbalanced way across a page, the paper wants to swerve toward the side with the most printed dots destroying tracking and making curvy lines in the process. The power supply was reportedly the highest power density supply ever made by HP, and cooling that power supply was indeed a challenge - and it had to be done quietly too. 
 
Prior calculator cases were made from aluminum extrusions and castings and sheet steel - good shielding and strong but heavy. The 9845 case was molded from a new plastic - a foamed Noryl from GE as I recall. That brought in a new problem - shielding. A new metal spray process had to be developed and proven. I did not do it, but that print head design was pretty amazing too. At a time when a 2-1/2 inch wafer was pretty big - that monolithic print head was 8 inches wide! None of this mechanical stuff was very routine handbook engineering. Think about how big and how heavy a 9866 is. Now imagine being in a meeting and being told your assignment is to shrink that printer and stick it inside a desk top calculator about the size of a 9830/66 - and oh by the way, you need to put a monitor on top of it too - exactly where the printer usually goes - and the paper has to be easy loading and self feeding too, and we want twice as many dots and graphics too - and be able to blacken the page, and it has to be real quiet! Yeah - right - and you want to be in production in how many eons?
 
Now, when ever I read about computers all I ever read about is how brilliant and wonderful all the EEs were. No doubt, they were all that and more. However - NO ONE EVER EVEN MENTIONS THE MEs - the guys who kept it all together under shock and vibration, got it all crammed into the little itty bitty box, forced air to circulate in what little volume was left (EEs tend to think every little nook and cranny is just a dandy place for another component), made it pretty to look at, light enough to move, quiet enough to live with, shielded enough not to radiate EMI-RFI, and kept it from melting! Not to mention making it something the factory could actually build. So, raise one for the MEs some time.
 
Lee
 
 
 
 
 
 

From: Precaud
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2018 8:15 AM
Subject: Re: [VintHPcom] Found - 9845 Light Pen

Hi Lee,

Thanks for your contribution to this amazing machine, what part did you work on? Looks like you're first to speak for the light pen. I'm guessing you'll coordinate with other members on the reconstruction?

As to stories, I bought a 9845T in 2000, and then traded it in on the bit-slice with fast mono top within a year (HP had very liberal tradein policies back then). My girlfriend and friends thought I was crazy borrowing over 20 grand, to buy a *what*? I still have that unit and it still works fine. It is the most productive and reliable engineering tool I ever owned. 16 years of daily use, often 24/7, and not a single thing ever went wrong with it! It only gets booted up a couple times a year now.

The bit-slice was a godsend. It did an FFT in Basic faster than the original unit did running Frank Key's FFT binary. (I never figured out how to make binaries, but did a lot of assembler programming, mostly I/O related.)

Along the way I picked up spares of anything 45-related, so I have lots of stuff to go through. I'm pretty sure most of the BUC printouts were thrown out already, but I'll have another look. I'm in slim-down mode, so a lot of this stuff has to find a new home.

Cheers.

-- 
Steve Leibson

Phone (Cell): 408-910-5992
Phone (Home): 408-292-4930


Please feel free to link to me on LinkedIn


History site: www.hp9825.com


Re: Found - 9845 Light Pen

Jack Rubin
 

And of course, I should have suggested that Dyke hook up with _Steve_ to do a page at hp9825.com. Sorry, too much excitement about the amount of new old info that has shown up over the last couple of weeks.

Jack

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