Vintage Computer Workshop - June 13 and 14, 2009

On the weekend of June 13th and 14th, several vintage computer enthusiasts from PA and NJ met at Mike Loewen's place in State College, PA for a vintage computer workshop. Attendees brought various project systems to work on, and great progress was made by all. One of the main themes for this workshop was Heath/Zenith H89 and H19 computers and terminals. Alex Bodnar replaced several tantalum capacitors in his H89, to repair a flaky power supply and restore his system to boot status. Bill Degnan restored his H19 terminal to operational status by rebuilding the power supply and undoing an incomplete upgrade. Herb Johnson brought several H89 and H19s, and restored one H89 to boot status and made good progress in troubleshooting a memory bank problem in another.

Bill brought his Donner 3500 analog portable computer, and tested the tubes: all appeared to be good. He also brought 2 Altair 680 systems, one of which ended up working. The second had some sort of power issues. There were two SWTPc MP-M memory cards for one of these units, but he decided not to attach without proper power. Each board needed 1.5 AMPs 5 Volts, and we did not have an adequate power supply on hand.

Mike worked on an IBM 029 keypunch with a lot of oxidation issues and with the aid of the other attendees, restored the punch to the point where it would feed and register cards correctly, run a clear cycle and punch all 80 columns. Yet to be done is getting it to print, and to test the card control drum functions, and to oil and lubricate the unit. The resultant punched cards line up perfectly on the card registration gauge. Barry Kline dropped by on Sunday to help out and talk shop.

This was definitely a group effort, and everyone helped out on each others' projects. Tools, parts and test equipment were on hand and readily shared. A couple of trips to the local Radio Shack yielded some needed parts, and Herb offered a sacrificial Heath unit for less common parts.


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Last updated on Monday, July 21, 2014