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acadiel

CB Wilson - TI-99 related documents

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On 11/17/2020 at 12:10 AM, acadiel said:

1978 - SR70 Hardware Functional Specifications.  (there's a couple missing pages, yes, I know.  <grin>)

 

Never released; TMS9900 small business computer.  Maybe the mythical TI-99/7?

 

 

1978-SR70-Business-Computer-Specifications.pdf 93.8 MB · 24 downloads

This is a real highlight Acadiel! Thanks so much for providing this.

Since a few years I am in contact with one of the software engineers, that was working on a secret tms9900 computer project at TI.

She still knows a lot of facts about it. It what a very interrupt driven operating system and less limited than the 99/4, but she forgot the project name.

Now we finally can get confirmation if it was that project she was working on.

She worked on drivers and on the operating system.

That computer did run on a full CRT with full keyboard and the interrupt handler allowed to do background printing.

Is there any more documents on the SR70 in the lot?

 

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This is a real highlight Acadiel! Thanks so much for providing this.
Since a few years I am in contact with one of the software engineers, that was working on a secret tms9900 computer project at TI.
She still knows a lot of facts about it. It what a very interrupt driven operating system and less limited than the 99/4, but she forgot the project name.
Now we finally can get confirmation if it was that project she was working on.
She worked on drivers and on the operating system.
That computer did run on a full CRT with full keyboard and the interrupt handler allowed to do background printing.
Is there any more documents on the SR70 in the lot?
 

That’s all that’s in the lot about the SR-70 (99/7), I’m afraid. I saw in your interviews confirmation that the SR-70 was also called the 99/7, so now we have proof of what it was supposed to be!
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TI Professional ROM Upgrade manual - this is the last of the TI Professional/990 stuff.

 

Next up - I think is the Advanced Language Computer market study (yeah, there was such a thing), which was what helped TI determine which models of portable ALC's to make - three options were given, and one actually saw the light of day (the CC-40).

 

ti-professional-rom-upgrade-manual.pdf

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Here are the overheads (which have all the ALCC survey results) and the actual ALCC survey that was used on the consumers in the summer of 1981.  Coming soon, a whole binder of the actual study - called "Understanding The Market Potentials For Advanced Language Calculator/Computer Products"

 

1981-ALCC-Form_and_Overheads.pdf

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5 hours ago, acadiel said:

Here are the overheads (which have all the ALCC survey results) and the actual ALCC survey that was used on the consumers in the summer of 1981.  Coming soon, a whole binder of the actual study - called "Understanding The Market Potentials For Advanced Language Calculator/Computer Products"

 

1981-ALCC-Form_and_Overheads.pdf 26.67 MB · 6 downloads

And here's the binder.  It's gigantic.  Numbers people like @Vorticon would love how much thought and math were put into making a decision about which ALC product to build, and numerically measuring each and every feature and how well they would sell.

 

Names on the last page thanks to Steve Reid:

- Doug Dobbs - Familiar, but not sure what he did

- Tom Ferrio was a software manager and the person that hired Steve into TI

- Randy Ahlfinger was a hardware EE, and later a manager after they moved to Dallas  Retired a few years ago as head manager at one of the larger wafer fab buildings at TI.

- Jim Arnold - Hardware engineer

- CB Wilson - hardware manager on the ALC and later Steve's boss in Dallas

 

 

1981-Understanding_The_Market_Potential_for_TI_ALCC_Products_July_Binder.pdf

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Next up - Two versions of DSR Source for the TMS70C20 for the Waftertape drive.  These are the only known source code for Hexbus DSRs that exist.  According to Steve Reid, Hexbus DSRs normally live in the CPU ROM on the TMS70C20/040, and it's almost impossible to get to in order to dump.  Hope to have a chance to get to that next weekend!

 

 

 

 

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Never seen before:  The DSR code built into a Hexbus peripheral (in this case, the Wafertape one), which was typically contained in the TMS70C20 processor (which had 2K MASK ROM onboard).  

 

According to Steve Reid, you had development TMS70C20 processors with a piggybacked 27C16 2k x 8 EPROM onboard where these Hexbus DSRs could be developed before they were committed to the mask ROM.  (Which is an expensive process).  He said it was cheaper to just wire wrap a development board, plug in a normal processor, and run the TMS70C20 in what was called "full expansion mode".  The TMS7000 data manual refers to this being called "system emulation mode" - it bypasses the onboard ROM.  There's an external mode control pin, called MC.  If Logic 1 on reset, you run in microprocessor mode.  If it's at +14V, the chip runs in system emulation mode. 

 

This attached code is the code written by Jef Winsor in August 1982, with the 70C20 clocked at 3.58MHz for the Wafertape drive.  I have a second set of code I'll be scanning separately from May 1982, where they used 2.5MHz instead.  

 

There's some stories behind why the Wafertape drive didn't get released - I have literally three folders of documentation on all the QA and troubleshooting testing they did to get the root cause.  What was it?  It was with the actual TMS70C20A processor that runs the Wafertape drive.  The failure appears that the part is not able to be interrupted out of an idle state with an interrupt 2 from the timer.  The processor did not ever come out of the idle instruction when the code was executed.  It would be a simple correction to the CPUs, but they decided to just can the whole Wafertape drive because of the cost of fixing it.

 

The result of this was that a Wafertape written on one drive wasn't always able to be read by another drive.  They worked fine on the same unit, though!

 

 

 

1982-Wafertape_70C20_DSR_3.pdf

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Here is the May 1982 Wafertape 2K DSR Source Code - the 2.5MHz version.

 

1982-Wafertape_70C20_DSR_2-5mhz.pdf

 

Next up - the never released 1981 Morse Code Interface (Receiver/Transmitter) box, including software source code scans.

 

I really want to see someone build one... :)

 

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Here's the 1981 Morse Code DSR for the receiver/transmitter for the 99/4.  The schematics (coming shortly) are dated 6/12/1980.

 

Anyone want to take a stab into building a binary or assembling this?

 

There's also a 'tone decoder' schematic.  I have no idea if it goes with the project, but it's right next to it.

 

1981_Morse_Code_DSR_Code.pdf

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1 hour ago, acadiel said:

Here is the May 1982 Wafertape 2K DSR Source Code - the 2.5MHz version.

 

1982-Wafertape_70C20_DSR_2-5mhz.pdf 84.01 MB · 1 download

 

Next up - the never released 1981 Morse Code Interface (Receiver/Transmitter) box, including software source code scans.

 

I really want to see someone build one... :)

 

I might just take you up on that--it sounds like it might be fun. . .

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This is all the technical paperwork on the Morse Code hardware.  Note, the schematic says 1/2 - I haven't found #2 yet, so I don't know what's missing.  There were, however, several hand drawn schematics along for the ride.  Let me know if any shouldn't be in here.

 

1981_Morse_Code_Schematic_Technical_Documents.pdf

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Now, this was in the same binder as the Morse Code stuff, and right before the subsequent GROM Testing stuff (which will be in probably tomorrow's post).  It's schematics relating to Video.

 

Anyone have any ideas what this is?  

 

Unknown_Video_Schematics.pdf

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22 minutes ago, acadiel said:

This is all the technical paperwork on the Morse Code hardware.  Note, the schematic says 1/2 - I haven't found #2 yet, so I don't know what's missing.  There were, however, several hand drawn schematics along for the ride.  Let me know if any shouldn't be in here.

 

1981_Morse_Code_Schematic_Technical_Documents.pdf 16.53 MB · 1 download

The extra schematics belong. . .  :)

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14 hours ago, acadiel said:

Now, this was in the same binder as the Morse Code stuff, and right before the subsequent GROM Testing stuff (which will be in probably tomorrow's post).  It's schematics relating to Video.

 

Anyone have any ideas what this is?  

 

Unknown_Video_Schematics.pdf 16.47 MB · 20 downloads


I think this is a genlock circuit. For superimposing of the VDP frame over external video frame.

 

The 1368 is a clue. Dividing the clock frequency 10.76MHz by 1368 gives the horizontal sync frequency. 

 

A PLL is a device that adjusts a clock up or down until two signals are synchronized. In this case it adjusts the clock to the internal VDP until the two frames are synchronized.

 

The other divide-by-455 stage is interesting. This has something to do with wireless remote control!


 

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The last thing in the "Morse Code" binder. 

  • Schematics for a "I/O Parameter Tester - Logic Board, Display Board" and a "Bug Box".
  • Something called a GROM MPX Tester by Mike Reeves - Feb 1980
  • Source for a Characterazation (sic) test for 0430 GROMS - tests, increases the voltage 100MV, and repeats  (probably stress testing GROMs)
  • Source for a series of production validation tests for the console, including I/O Parameters, GROM CRC, GROM Write, and Console RAM
  • Source for a compare program to compare two GROMs
  • BASIC SOURCE for some kind of testing program

 

GROM_Tester.pdf

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Now, we're into CC-40 schematic territory.  The CC-40 was codenamed "Lonestar" and was "Project 477".  "Project 477A" were modifications to turn that into the CC-40+.

 

Attached are some undated schematics - one for the "2 - 2kx8 / 8k x 8 RAM module" and "32K ROM Module".

 

I have much more - unless you guys want me to stop here ;)

 

 

CC-40_2K8KRAM_32KROM.pdf

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I'll give you one more tonight before I have to quit for the day.  Here's Product 634.  According to Ksarul, it's the Hexbus modem, one of the very first Hexbus peripherals put on schematic.

 

There is a "film connector component" on one schematic - I'm still not sure what that was for.

 

CC-40_Product_634.pdf

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3 hours ago, fabrice montupet said:

Bell 103 compatible Modem interface.

Looking at it, it is almost definitely for the HexBus Modem.

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