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Other TI 99 Chip Hardware?


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#1 x24b OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 19, 2017 3:41 PM

Just thought I'd ask...

Does anyone know other products that ran the 9900 family of chips?

 

For instance, I worked at Bell+Howell Phillipsburg Division as a repair Technician fixing their giant mail inserting machines. They had the TMS 9995 chip on the main controller board running the real-time hardware. It was a circus of electric motors, driving cams and chains that pushed paper statements (and stacks of your checks for banks) down the guide, vacuum pump for sucking up envelope flaps and the envelope, electric eyes that told the CPU paper had arrived in certain areas, lick the envelope with a wet brush triggered by a solenoid, driving shafts with individual cams that operated arms that pulled z-folded paper onto the track, all the time talking with an Italian paper feeder and cutting machine called a FIMA and one or more Pitney Bose mail stamping machines.

Whew!

 

It was glorious!

I always wanted to do a data dump off that thing and read the code.

 

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#2 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 20, 2017 4:03 AM

Several 9900-family computers and devices were out there: The TI-99/4, TI-99/4A, TI 99/8, Tomy Tutor, Tomy Pyuuta, Tomy Pyuuta Jr., Tomy Pyuuta Mk II, the Powertran Cortex, the Marinchip S9900, guidance systems in a few missile families, and the TI-990 series of computers.



#3 mizapf ONLINE  

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Posted Sat May 20, 2017 6:18 AM

Also some arcade machines used the 9980A or the 9995.



#4 Meddler OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 1:37 AM

Whilst working on a Channel Tunnel contract (Rail Tunnel between England and France) I discovered that the processor controlling the signalling interpretation was our close friend the TMS9905. These units were fully climatically tested and are presumably still in daily use.

The parts were becoming obsolete at the time and so I spent a lot of time fixing new units using any parts that could be found where-as, I was told, initial production units using fresh parts from TI all worked first time. My personal experience is that TI components where top-notch and my preference over any other manufacturer...and TI became complacent too, getting caught for not testing full space-worthyness, presumably as they knew it was not really necessary.


Edited by Meddler, Mon May 22, 2017 1:40 AM.


#5 x24b OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 9:43 AM

Whilst working on a Channel Tunnel contract (Rail Tunnel between England and France) I discovered that the processor controlling the signalling interpretation was our close friend the TMS9905. These units were fully climatically tested and are presumably still in daily use.

The parts were becoming obsolete at the time and so I spent a lot of time fixing new units using any parts that could be found where-as, I was told, initial production units using fresh parts from TI all worked first time. My personal experience is that TI components where top-notch and my preference over any other manufacturer...and TI became complacent too, getting caught for not testing full space-worthyness, presumably as they knew it was not really necessary.

Very interesting. Thanks. Our mail inserting machines never had issues at the CPU level on the board. They seemed to work all day, everyday pumping out 4,000 stuffed, sealed, weighed and metered envelopes an hour. However, occasionally an I/O chip connecting the board to the noisy mechanical monster would blow and let the magic smoke out. As we all know, if you let the smoke out of a chip it no longer works. They would de-cap themselves quite nicely.

 

"Signal Interpretation" meaning rail-switches, or signals? Or was it data on train position, ticket sales, or even tea inventory? Any way, it was our little CPU doing real work in the real world.



#6 slinkeey OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 11:46 AM

It appears that Otis may have used the TMS9900 for elevator controls.

https://www.google.c...1001829A1?cl=en

https://www.linkedin...ssan/10/5b2/b55

#7 mizapf ONLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 12:48 PM

According to our collection in MAME:

 

Computers:

TI-99 family, Powertran Cortex, Tomy Tutor / Pyuuta

 

Arcade:

Universal: Cosmic Guerilla / Cosmic Alien / Magical Spot / Magical Spot II / Devil Zone  (TMS9980A)

JPM: MPS1/2 (TMS9995)

JPM: System 80 Hardware (TMS9995)

JPM: S.R.U (Stepper Reel Unit) (TMS9980A)

Jubilee: Double-Up Poker (TMS9980A)

JVH: Escape, and Movie Masters (Pinball) (TMS9980A)

Video Games GmbH: Sky Bumper / Looping (TMS9995 + TMS9980A)

Nibble: Lucky 9 (TMS9980A)

NSM (Lowen): Hot Fire Birds (Pinball) (TMS9995)

NSM: Poker (TMS9995)

Sanki Denshi Kogyo: Pachifever (TMS9995)

Video Games GmbH: Super Tank (TMS9995)

Unknown: Poker game (TMS9980A)



#8 x24b OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 3:05 PM

It appears that Otis may have used the TMS9900 for elevator controls.

https://www.google.c...1001829A1?cl=en

https://www.linkedin...ssan/10/5b2/b55

Cool! Nice pull. Otis has been around.

Wikipedia - "The company pioneered the development of the "safety elevator", invented by Otis in 1852, which used a special mechanism to lock the elevator car in place should the hoisting ropes fail."

 

Hmm... 9900 is "Obsolete".

Is there a Texas Instruments follow-on chip-set for the 9900 series with some compatibility or is it a fully Dead-End technology?



#9 x24b OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 3:09 PM

According to our collection in MAME:

 

Computers:

TI-99 family, Powertran Cortex, Tomy Tutor / Pyuuta

 

Arcade:

Universal: Cosmic Guerilla / Cosmic Alien / Magical Spot / Magical Spot II / Devil Zone  (TMS9980A)

JPM: MPS1/2 (TMS9995)

JPM: System 80 Hardware (TMS9995)

JPM: S.R.U (Stepper Reel Unit) (TMS9980A)

Jubilee: Double-Up Poker (TMS9980A)

JVH: Escape, and Movie Masters (Pinball) (TMS9980A)

Video Games GmbH: Sky Bumper / Looping (TMS9995 + TMS9980A)

Nibble: Lucky 9 (TMS9980A)

NSM (Lowen): Hot Fire Birds (Pinball) (TMS9995)

NSM: Poker (TMS9995)

Sanki Denshi Kogyo: Pachifever (TMS9995)

Video Games GmbH: Super Tank (TMS9995)

Unknown: Poker game (TMS9980A)

Would you know what Operating System was used? Are they just 'bare metal' programming, or was there a DOS or OS for the game machines?

I know next to nothing about the subject.



#10 mizapf ONLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 3:40 PM

I doubt there is something in the arcade machines that qualifies to be called an OS. I really don't know; I'd rather expect the programming looks like the one in our cartridges.


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#11 Stuart ONLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 4:12 PM

Other uses I've heard about, and quotes from various people I've corresponded with who have worked with the stuff:
 
-- "It was a horticultural process control computer (heating, vents, watering, etc) of the late 1970s/early 1980s. The circuit boards were made inhouse, using the TMS9900 as a CPU, the TMS9901 as interface, then the operating system was stored on a EPROM, the customer configuration and settings on an EEPROM. This interfaced to other boards by ribbon cable for input measurements and solid state or relay outputs to operate on-site hardware. The computer was programmed by service engineer using a DOS application through RS232, there were no moving parts, disc drives or fan for reliable operation, the settings were backed up automatically on a daily basis to the EEPROM."
 
-- TI Portable Speech Lab - real time conversion of speech to LPC for the speech chips.
 
-- Heavily used in semiconductor fab equipment made by a company called Varian.
 
-- Litton aircraft radar (a radar mounted in an aircraft nose cone, I believe).
 
-- "I used to design HW + SW for 99xx in geophysical data and instrumentation systems throughout the 80's; all real time HW and SW that went into airborne systems."
 
-- A PBX controller for Dutch PTT based on 99105 motherboard.
 
-- "The TMS9900 was the first microprocessor I used, way back in 1979 when I was doing research on data communication at Aston University. The Control lab boys were using the 9900 and so it made sense for us Telecomms bods to follow them. We built our own systems but borrowed their development kit - a TI990/10 minicomputer. It had 160K bytes of memory and three 2.5MB hard disk drives. You know the things; disks almost the size of dustbin lids."
 
-- "I did some industrial controllers for machine tools back in the 80's."
 
-- "They built a spectrum analyser based on the TMS9900 with their own hardware and pcbs."
 
-- Used in the Tektronix 7854 oscilloscope.
 
-- "There was a team at (deleted) developing electronics for the Navy and I was part of that team. The equipment used FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) to analyse pressure waves in water (aqua phones) and based on this, a special sort of display was created and shown. This was then interpreted by expert users and they could then understand what types of vessels (and fish) were around the vessel. This equipment was carried by both submarines and surface vessels. Basically for the time it was pretty advanced. It was all housed in several 19 inch racks (4 I think) and used lots of power. It was water cooled. The SBP9900s (in production) were used for various control functions within this equipment. I do not remember how many processors we had in the total device but if we assume about 24 drawers in the whole device I think we had between 2 and 4 processors in each drawer. The processors didn’t do the FFTing of course. At that time we had many TRW 16 bit multipliers working as part of the FFT processing chain. We handled all the exceptions and also all of the control functions (terminals etc.) via the processors. We designed all our own boards plus our own “operating system” for the Texas processors. All of the work was done in assembly (I can remember TXMIRA) and we used the “big” Texas development systems. There was AMPL which we used for emulation, debugging etc. To boot the development system you had to type the bootstrap code in by hand. There were 15 buttons on the front panel. At the time each system had 80 MByte of RAM (battery backed up, using lead acid accumulators I think). We were using so much memory that we could have an effect on memory prices so we were not allowed to say how much memory we needed."

Edited by Stuart, Mon May 22, 2017 4:24 PM.


#12 Stuart ONLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 4:19 PM

 

Is there a Texas Instruments follow-on chip-set for the 9900 series with some compatibility or is it a fully Dead-End technology?

 

"Like many processor designs, the 9900 didn’t die, it provided the basis of TI’s current 16-bit MCU line, the MSP430 series.  The MSP430s instruction set is heavily influenced by the 9900 and largely retains its memory architecture and orthogonal instructions."

 

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#13 x24b OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 10:47 PM

 

"Like many processor designs, the 9900 didn’t die, it provided the basis of TI’s current 16-bit MCU line, the MSP430 series.  The MSP430s instruction set is heavily influenced by the 9900 and largely retains its memory architecture and orthogonal instructions."

 

http://www.cpushack....dental-success/

Thanks for the lesson. Now I need to crack the books... Hobby engage!



#14 x24b OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 22, 2017 10:52 PM

Other uses I've heard about, and quotes from various people I've corresponded with who have worked with the stuff:

<snip>

We were using so much memory that we could have an effect on memory prices so we were not allowed to say how much memory we needed."

Fantastic list.

I assumed the military used the chips, after all... It is Texas Instruments! But, I'll never know what that hardware was actually like or how well it performed, but it makes me happy to know we have a family member on our desks.

Thank you. I love this thread.



#15 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 24, 2017 10:56 AM

my dad worked on Paveway/laser guided missile systems in the late 70s/80s- it'd be interesting to see what kind of chips the laser guidance systems used. 

 

he was a casualty of TI in the 90s, so he doesn't like to talk about it much. :)



#16 Sinphaltimus OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 24, 2017 11:04 AM

my dad worked on Paveway/laser guided missile systems in the late 70s/80s- it'd be interesting to see what kind of chips the laser guidance systems used. 
 
he was a casualty of TI in the 90s, so he doesn't like to talk about it much. :)



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#17 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 24, 2017 11:11 AM

Oh cool!  HARM and Javelin.  I remember these words from Dad talking about it (what little he was allowed to talk about).



#18 apersson850 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 24, 2017 3:37 PM

The Belgian company Web converting equipment N.V., which no longer exists, used a control board developed for them by a third party consultant company. This board was controlled by a TMS 9995 CPU.

It's still possible to find some patent applications from Web Converting on the internet, but the company was bought by the Swedish company Strålfors, which nowadays is Postnord.

I worked at Strålfors at the time when Web Convering was acquired, and was involved in replacing this board with a Strålfors design instead.



#19 Stuart ONLINE  

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Posted Wed May 24, 2017 3:51 PM

A few more links:

 

http://www.dtic.mil/.../u2/a065429.pdf

http://www.google.si/patents/USRE33287 (search within it for "9900")



#20 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 24, 2017 6:34 PM

A few more links:

 

http://www.dtic.mil/.../u2/a065429.pdf

http://www.google.si/patents/USRE33287 (search within it for "9900")

that PDF is great.  i always wondered how much carryover there was between the stuff my dad worked on and the 9900. :)






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