Computing at The Wolery
The Wolery has an eclectic collection of mostly (but by no means limited
to) DEC computers, collected since 1982.
The active computers are:
Also, in storage, but (mostly) in working order:
toyunix, a 64 MB K6/233 based mongrel running NetBSD, used for development,
webstuff, email etc. Basically my main machine.
gw, Accton 32 MB P120 LAN Station box with an extra ethernet card
to connect to the Internet via a cable modem. Runs RedHat Linux with a
mail forwarder, Apache, Squid, DNS etc and NAT to allow the inside machines
to reach the world.
toypc, cheap-and-nasty K6-II/400 running Windows 98. General
dogsbody machine, doing the accounts and so-forth. Equipped with
scanner, inkjet printer, Zip drive & fax modem.
toyvax, a MicroVAX 3100, 12 MB memory,
1.2MB SCSI disk and TZ30 SCSI cartridge tape. Runs VMS.
toyncd, an NCD 15b X terminal.
toynote, A Twinhead P300 based laptop, running Windows 98.
Very small, very light.
toybox, another Accton box, running Linux or whatever I feel like
putting on it. Usually turned off, Used for development of standalone network
applications, testing etc.
bigvax, technically a VAXstation 3600,
at least that's it says it is if you ask it. 2.5 VUPS (VAX Units of Power)
CPU, 32 MB main memory; 1.5GB disk storage, in three full height 5.25"
ESDI disk drives in outboard pedestal chassis, using a Webster WQESD controller,
TS05 1600 bpi 9 track drive, RX02 dual 8" floppy drives, TK50 (95MB) and
TK70 (297MB) cartridge tape drives, RX50 dual 5.25" floppy drive, VMS operating
system. Was in active service until 1998 when turned off to cut power bills,
is occasionally brought to life to use its peripherals and to demonstrate
operation of a real computer (i.e. one that doesn't have a motherboard).
Teletype model ASR 33. Uppercase-only, 110
bits per second printing terminal/teleprinter. Hooked to toyvax
via a fairly ghastly hack to convert the RS-232
modem port into something vaguely compatible with the '33's 20mA current
loop interface. Paper tape reader and punch work fine. The
whole unit is a bit dicey when just fired up, but gets its marbles together
once the oil warms up. All electromechanical operation, no digital
An LA100 240 cps dot-matrix printer, acquired after much time in storage
and in surprisingly good condition. Fast and noisy, used extensively
Two VT510 dumb character cell terminals. Only one in active service,
connected to toyunix.
I also have a small "museum" of minor relics on display, including:
A Kaypro II, circa 1983 luggable dual-floppy CP/M machine. Lovely machine
to use - the keyboard is one of the nicest feeling I've found, and the
built in 9" green monitor is very sharp.
The ubiquitous MicroVAX II, of which I have sufficient parts to build several.
A PDT-11/150, an LSI-11 based box with dual 8" floppies, 30 kwords of memory
and half a dozen serial ports. Runs Space Invaders under RT11 just fine.
An old 386sx/16 in an old Commodore PC-40 box. Assembled repeatedly from
whatever was handy at the time, used to be used for testing PC-based networking
A PDC-03 portable computer. Portable, that is,
if your idea of portability is to have handles on both sides for two people
to carry it, with a third to bring a terminal and some cables. The beast
consists of a small LSI-11 bus, with an LSI-11/2 processor, 30 kwords of
memory, 4-port serial controller, a 4-way digital to analogue converter
and a 16-way analogue to digital converter. Storage is provided by a dual
TU58 tape transport. This beast was originally used to calibrate turbines
at hydro-electric power stations.
A Cambridge Computer Z88. Clive Sinclair's last computer (or at least the
last one anyone noticed). Last used as a packet radio terminal on top of
Mt Ruapehu (before the eruption).
A DECmate III+ mid-80s vintage wordprocessor. Has a dicey disk (RD31, aka
Seagate ST225) but if allowed to warm up for 15 minutes works well.
A DEC GIGI, aka VK100. An 8085 based half computer,
half graphics terminal. Speaks ReGIS, VT52, ANSI (but not full VT100) and
BASIC, can load/save BASIC programs via a serial port, and has a bizarre
printer sharing arrangement using daisy-chained serial ports. Suffering
video memory problems
LSI-11 CPU board with 4k words of memory, made in 1977 (LSI-11 released
DCJ11 (pdp11/73) chipset on ceramic carrier (1984).
MicroVAX II CPU (1985).
8 k x 16 bit core memory plane from a pdp11 (1973).
Hand-made core plane from a mid-1960s CSIRO prototype.
H4000 "battleship" Ethernet-II transceiver (early 80s).
3 foot MASSBUS cable.
RA81 14" disk platter (crashed).
5.25" hard-sectored floppy.
2400' 9-track magtape reel (containing 800bpi RSX-11M distribution).
Paper tape diagnostic kit for LSI-11.