Nostalgia from the pages of Electronics® Magazine
from the late seventies and early eighties

Mcgraw Hills' Electronics magazine used to be compulsory reading for anybody that was even remotely interested in electronic engineering. The target audience was engineering professionals but when I was a mere student it was compelling reading. The magazine is now defunct, this was a slow decline from the early ninties when the target audience declined. I think was due largely to bad editorial decisions, they began to concentrate exclusively on ASIC designers  and the number of people on the planet that get to send a chip design to a sillicon foundry is rather limited compared to the number of EEs that actually design biuld and maintain equipment containing those ICs. I lost interest in this journal about 1995 and went on to other things.

Recently during a colleagues office clean out, a very large archive of this magazine went to the paper recycling bin and I was able to intercept some of these early editions before allowing them to continue their journal to landfill. These scans of advertisements  for equipment and devices are ones that I have personally either owned, purchased, used or maintained in the course of my professional and private life.  

Its all rather sad how today's rooster become tomorrows feather duster. The one thing that I note, when I was a student I noted how incredibly costly some of these items were and now thirty years later some are in my ham shack still earning their keep, usually aquired through dumpster diving over the years.

These images are small low resolution thumbnails, they are a link to a good high resolution scan.

There were many others that I could have included but these particular ones are the ones that have personal significance in that I have
either helped build, service, install maintain or now own.

before kermit and minicom there was the dumb terminal I bought one for myself in 1983 chip level repairs on this landmark machine
chip level repairs on this landmark machine 1979 add for the VAX 11-780 1979 add for the VAX 11-780 and it cost more than the earth !
my favourite computer, as used in the Xenotron XVC2
its a real pity that the Z8000 never had the commercial success of the X86 it should have been in the original IBM PC...yes it WAS better very expensive glossy add for the PDP11
very expensive glossy add for the PDP11 very expensive glossy add for the PDP11 very expensive glossy add for the PDP11
very expensive glossy add for the PDP11 every EE has used these capacitors and the very beginning of Compaq every PC power supply has these, though SPRAGUE made the best caps
I saved up my pocket money so that my Z80 could have just ONE of these miracle rams see my article on the XVC2, interesting comparison product Every Penguinista should have this in poster format
bought one of these for my first Z80 poor mans 9 track drive.
makes your micro or mini into a pretend mainframe. used to repair these. They were  a very good product.
one of the responses to DECs punitive pricing for Q Bus products
add sequence from 1977
the PDP11
add sequence from 1977
the PDP11
add sequence from 1977
the PDP11
add sequence from 1977
the PDP11
add sequence from 1977
the PDP11
add sequence from 1977
the PDP11
add sequence from 1977
the PDP11
see also, my article on the XVC2, interesting comparison product the xenotron pagemaster used these monitors which i had to fix
there really was only one terminal,
and this was it
the VT100 still lives with us as the "ANSI" terminal the Pyramid 90X unix supermini that I used to maintain had one
cuteness award there once was a time when a 2400 baud modem was "broadband" !
Found many of these embedded inside "modems"
Where would we be without the ubiquitous trimpot ? too much of the equipment I used to maintain had way too many pots. It was too easy. Cannot calculate a parameter, no worries, put in the trimpot !
seagate has gone on to brilliant things
but here is where they started
be that as it may, the ST225 was the "definitive" hard drive 1983.
the TEAC floppy was the very first truly reliable drive I used
tandon was the great wannabe, now gone I had to perform head alignment on these. I wonder if these were a stack of RMAs
look how they were made. This image may account for their fragility bought this  8inch floppy in 1984 for $500
I am still kicking myself

nice try, farewell tandon
add from 1983, as used at work 1978 brings the gell cell, a very dependable battery, and this company is still around!
I could not see the point of wire wrap in 1977
given the extra-ordinary cost of sockets and wire but now I have seen the light
the naked mini was imbedded in many CAD/CAM systems
including the Monotype Lasercomp which I used to repair. these were very reliable despite their size
this crowd made the backplane for various Burroughs minicomputers , I am thinking of the B350 disk pack drive controller
other adds for the LSI-11 other adds for the LSI-11 I have kept some of the Gates X Cells in use for over 25 years. They just didnt die
these trimmers can still be purchased. all my ham equipment contains them I purchased a CPM-80 license in 1983 for A$200, a huge amount of money back then
but it was actually worth it
This drive was used on the Xenotron XDS product

sex sells, and it sold wire wrap cards in the seventies.
These boards were used extensively in Burroughs products and I still use them for homebrewing

got one! very nice budget scope it was too.
Microsoft add from 1982

oh, the horror!
Nooooooooooooo !!!
why calculate the resistor ?
 Just use a trimpot!
These very simple an reliable linear PSUs appeared in nearly everything Xenotron started to use these early 1984 Rodime drives when 26Meg cost nearly A$8000. We paid people to fly to England and personally hand deliver them. Fragile they were ,too.
Our first Novell and Banyan fileservers used one of these. The LSI-11 should have formed the basis of the personal computer. Pity that DEC missed out. But why would anyone want a personal computer in 1982 ?
electro-mechanical synchro-resolvers was how  "data"  was relayed on battleships We used a lot of these SMD disk drive interfaces, even signed an NDA just for the user manual! DEC seemed to really like Berg
Apollo Domain was one of the first that thought that networking their workstations was a very good idea. They were right. I remember people queing up to buy 64Kx1 ram chips for their Z80
I remember people queing up to buy 64Kx1 ram chips for their Z80 whatever happened to TRW ? they made some very impressive components the wretched dip switch did not come from planet Zog.  Still, they were better than wire wrapped jumper options. Many things were "fixed" simply by putting these switches into the right settings.
remember when an 10Mhz 2901 bipolar slice was "mind bogglingly fast" many of these appeared in SMD storage controllers and as ALUs in  many mainframes and super-minis remember when microprocessors were exiting?
thumb.electronic-1977-004.jpeg thumb.electronic-1977-005.jpeg thumb.electronic-1977-006.jpeg
thats a lot of storage in 1977 fibre optics has come a long way in 30 years seen these and cousins in countless boxen
my fibre network now runs from bendigo to lakes entrance in australia. we call that a lan !I saved up my pocket money to buy one red led in 1976. It cost nearly a whole A$ dollar.These are still running on some of my projects 30 years later!
the circle turns full circle...thin client anyone?just what the world needed in 1977. a giant set top box, back when TV sets had a horizontal top surface. Maybe this usefull feature will be invented again.

more adds from 1977

I wonder how many of these I have tweeked over the years ?These 9 track units could be found on many OEM minicomputers and many were rebadged by the big namesused these in engineering school. Amazing graphics terminal that used a storage oscilloscope tube to draw vector graphics
a very early attempt at a bus interface for small storage devices. This predates SCSI.  I had one of these but could not make it work.Who remembers TELEX and slooow printing terminals ? Good old Z80. man I miss that simple architecture! This was the cutting edge in 1977.
Used these very chips in anger in mainframes for writable control storeEarly beginning for optical networking, now my bread and butter. These days an optical network of 200kms is considered  merely "local distance"Jumpers were a terrific innovation. I had to configure boards using wirewrap posts, what a pain.! The jumper square pins had their origin in wirewrap.
I pressed these switches many times whilst servicing the mighty BurroughsAh yes, I also cursed bad IC sockets, but the problem remains 30 years later.Everybody used IC DIP sockets back then when ICs were very costly and we thought that we might repair equipment.. ha !
my friend bought one in 1980, and it cost a fortune, but it was a very good boxThis is where the network, and Internets' progenitor began.big disks cost big bikkies, back in 1977, featuring blueprints!
Saw these in an exhibition in 1980. Would I ever be rich enough to afford a hard disk in my computer ?

I hope you enjoyed this nostalgia trip down electronic lane. Thats all there is, I have not any more.


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