Uses for Old Computers

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On 24 Jul 2006 12:42:56 -0700, "Too_Many_Tools"

cases. Windows interface needs minimum 486, Win98 and XP or NT start at the Pentium level.

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On Mon, 24 Jul 2006 16:51:15 -0400, clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

OmniTurn CNC lathes software runs just fine on the 386 it was written for, or anything higher.
Gunner
"I think this is because of your belief in biological Marxism. As a genetic communist you feel that noticing behavioural patterns relating to race would cause a conflict with your belief in biological Marxism." Big Pete, famous Usenet Racist
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The early Haas used 386 motherboards.
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wrote:

We have 60MHz Pentium controlling 16ft swing cnc lathes turning multi-million dollar forgings. Does that count? :-)
Rack mounting may or may not be useful depending on how many computers you want to use in the workshop. I currently have three in the workshop and will probably replace them with two rack mounted units when I either "inherit" some from work, or buy rack mount cases to put the guts of the existing ones into.
http://www.test-net.com/DSCN4817.JPG shows (bottom left) a rack mount server that I had in the garage running web sites for the wife, It's still there, but hasn't run for a while since I consolidated all of the web sites onto one machine in my new workshop. I have access to better rack mounting bits now (and better welding skills :).
Mark Rand RTFM
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    [ ... ]

    I see that you also have a Sun 6-hole "Multipack" there. What is it connected to? I'm running a full 12-holer on one of my Ultra-2 machines.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On 25 Jul 2006 05:48:38 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com (DoN. Nichols) wrote:

At the time it was connected the virtual machine server at the bottom right. I was experimenting with giving all the web sites and the FTP server their own VMS to run on... windows or linux as required. It now lives in the workshop as a home to disk storage pools for the backup server. I'm running disk pools and offsite tape rather than onsite and offsite tape pools. I've still got two lonely 6-hole packs at work and a couple of D1000 boxes. we've almost given up on significant local storage now and are using SAN for nearly all data storage for servers... just took delivery of another 11TB of disk for the SAN. When we got out first 1GB disk we couldn't believe how big it was, we'd _never_ run our of space on that monster! (it is still running on the 33MHz 68020 HP machine that we got it for :-).
I should have been in late at work tonight doing a network upgrade in the part of the factory that makes turbine blades. However Their boss got panicky about possible lost production and I got panicky about the fact that I could not remember how to interact with some of their older CNC controllers on the milling machines, so I called the exercise off. On mature reflection I realized that the controllers in question would not have even noticed the change from a flat network to a routed network with new IP addresses.... They are all DOS boxen talking NetBEUI to a local file server... They don't even know what TCP/IP is!
Mark Rand RTFM
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    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

    O.K. That sounds good -- given today's prices for disks vs high-capacity tapes. :-)

    O.K. I'll have to refresh my memory. I've got one which started as one and ended as the other (A1000/D1000). It is currently in JBOD mode rather than in serious RAID box. It may get turned into software RAID with OpenBSD on one of my boxen.
    But first, I need to get enough disks to properly populate it.

    I remember how thrilled I was to be able to afford 1GB drives for the Sun-3 machines I was running at the time. I still could see needing more on the file server -- but not *that* much more. :-)
    Now I'm looking towards resurrecting my Tektronix 6130, just to be able to read a 5.25" floppy drive. :-) (I guess that I could do it with one of the 3B1s instead, of course.

    :-)
    Panicky bosses tend to induce panic in others who normally would know better. :-)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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    Agreed!
    And that depends on the CNC package. I know that EMC (the free one (from the NIST originally) which runs on a modified real-time linux kernel will work with a slower CPU if you are driving servo motors with a Servo-To-Go card than if you are driving steppers through parallel ports. But -- if you have enough CPU -- who cares.
    Check out http://www.linuxcnc.org -- you should still find information on how fast a machine you need for what mode. You may have to download the manual to find out for the new 2.0.0 and 2.0.1 versions.

    At the moment -- the machine which is being set up as an EMC-based controller for an old Bridgeport BOSS-3, being retrofitted to servos,
    And a cute little box from "Shuttle", which runs OpenBSD, with a 2.4 GHz Celeron. Not suitable as a controller, because it has only one general purpose PCI slot, and one graphics card slot. It was made to sell to gamers, but I picked it up as they were declaring them obsolete, but I needed a nice small box to run a unix in the shop for general purpose things such as running my "threads" program (to give information for cutting threads, including converting the TPI to the pitch for programming the ancient little Compact-5/CNC lathe (5" swing, runs on a 6502 CPU (if you want to talk about obsolete)) and to run programs for saving and restoring programs (with comments on the unix side, even though there is no provision for them on the CNC machine's side, so they get stripped of as it is copied to the machine.
    Both boxes are networked to the rest of my unix boxen so I can transfer things around nicely.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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Been in a machine shop lately? Contrary to popular belief, we gave up the cold chisels and files some time ago. Our file server is a 386. It sits 6 feet away from a 10 horse vertical machining center. Been there since it was new. Still works fine. Got two more, much more modern design, computers sitting right next to it doing shop management duty. Many shops have PCs at every machine for file transfer, editing, programming and DNC. Nothing special just off the shelf PCs. When they got rid of the ball in the mouse, that was a great thing. There are no exposed electrons in a PC. Fans take the biggest hit.

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    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

    Good advice -- though if the current generation will do, keep spares of all the parts to keep that machine working. "Obsolete" doesn't matter as long as it can still do what you need. And the EMC package (based on a modified linux kernel) tends to not be as resource hungry as the typical Windows-based system. (*And* -- EMC is free. It can control either servos (with a Servo-to-Go board, and possibly others), or steppers through parallel ports. :-)

    That is one of the things which I like about the rack-mount computer chassis that I am vetting up for an EMC (linux based) controller for my Bridgeport. It has an easily removable and cleanable filter at the front (accessed from behind the locking glass front panel which protects the floppy and CD-ROM drives), and the air is pulled in through that and exhausted at the back.
    And -- the rack is also going to contain a bunch of servo amplifiers and other interface circuitry to allow the computer to read the position encoders and the overrun switches, and to control things like the analog voltage to the spindle VFD (to control spindle speed), and to switch on things like the lube pump before any axis motion, and to switch it off if it has been sitting idle too long.
    So -- if your rack mount chassis has filters for the air intake, you can even swap in faster CPU boards and such at need.
    It even has enough removable panels for I/O purposes to let me get all four 50-pin ribbon connectors out from the Servo-to-Go board (only one connector is on the card bracket, leaving three more to mount. One is in a card slot next to the board, and the other two are in a long narrow removable panel above the card brackets.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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What speed of CPU will you be using?
What type of backplane will the (passive?) motherboard be?
Your efforts are similar to mine. One of the reasons why I am trying to go with a rack mount is the flexibility of the I/O....aka "lots of slots".
Does anyone know when the switch from ISA to PCI for the motherboard occurred in relation to the evolution of the CPU (PI, PII, PIII, PIIII)?
TMT
DoN. Nichols wrote:

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On 25 Jul 2006 07:33:51 -0700, "Too_Many_Tools"

Most P2 boards had at least 1 ISA. Some P3 boards had 1 ISA,(very rare) and I have never seen an ISA on a P4.
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On Tue, 25 Jul 2006 13:57:47 -0400, the renowned clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

They're around: http://www.ibase-i.com.tw/mb820pic.htm http://www.baber.com/baber/411/soyo_sy-p4i-845pe-isa.htm http://www.avantek.co.uk/acl/mobo/p4_isa.htm
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
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On Tue, 25 Jul 2006 15:31:14 -0400, Spehro Pefhany

I'll admit I have not seen everything. You know the saying - Just when you think you've seen it all----
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Thanks for the info....
How about speeds...what were the maximum speeds for the PI, PII, PIII and P4?
Also any idea for last year of general production....say PI was last produced in year XXXX?
TMT
clare wrote:

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Do a search on Linux CNC and you may find some solutions. What is old?
Rack mount usually means server grade pc, but not always.
Too_Many_Tools wrote:

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They will work just fine with ms-dos CNC software and parralel port connection. I envy you for the rack-mounted cases :D
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