Monday, August 11, 2014

Delayed details on final loading day - Saturday August 9 - Part One

Arthur, Alan and I arrived on Saturday a bit after 8AM to the site where Robert had already opened the doors and turned on the lights. We had a number of additional steps to take on the units before the could be loaded, and we were going to look for a few items such as documentation on contributed programs.

Carl began securing the 1131 (the main unit of an 1130 system), which involved securing the disk drive arm and heads, locking the console typewriter into place, removing any loose kick plates left inside, and using cable ties to hold the power cable coiled inside such that it couldn't bang against anything else.

The 1130 comes with a single internal disk drive inside the right hand side of the 1131. This takes removable cartridges with a single 14" magnetic oxide coated disk inside. The drive itself has an arm which moves out to one of 200+ positions from the outer part of the disk platter to near the hub at the center - these access the cylinders of data. The arm is moved on rails by a cylindrical 'voice coil' that slides inside a large permanent magnet. On the end of the arm, two magnetic read/write heads sit, one for the top of the disk platter and the other for the bottom.

Carl applied the official IBM packing method, right out of the packing instructions. First, fold a blank punched card in half and insert it between the two disk heads. Second, put a plastic baggy around the heads and punched card. Third, put a rubber band around the end of the bag. Fourth, use a cable tie to hold the arm in the fully retracted position so it won't move in and out. While IBM lists an official part number for "polypropalene bag", we felt safe with a zip lock sandwich bag.

To get to the arm and heads, a top cover plate is removed, which exposed the dreaded sound deadening foam sitting atop and to two sides of the arm assembly. Fortunately, it had only dropped a small amount of powder into the drive area and none directly on the arm or other critical parts. The side cover around the arm actuator assemblies had to be removed as well to get at the foam glued onto its inner surfaces.

The two metal parts with foam glued to it were cleaned of the foam by scraping the foam with a stiff bit of cardboard. The foam was mushy and ready to crumble, thus coming off quickly. A wipedown with a wetted paper towel got the remaining tiny fragments off the metal. The arm itself was anchored with a strategically placed cable tie and the cleaned covers put back on.

The console typewriter on the 1131 is an slightly modified IBM 1053 printer (the 16 console bit entry switches are added to a 1053). It simply sits on a deck on the top of the 1131, thus would shift around and could even tilt or fall off during movement. The cables from the unit are hardwired into the machine, not easily disconnected from a plug, making removal of the typewriter impractical. However, the official packing instructions show that two bolts can be threaded from underneath the deck plate up into threaded areas of the 1053, anchoring it for shipment.

About then, Will Donzelli arrived to look over his equipment and join us in the loading activities for the rest of the day. I showed him the method to secure the 1131 and he took care of his disk drive. We found that the typewriter anchoring bolts were 1/4-20 threaded bolts, found a few in Robert's ground floor parts room, and locked down the 1053s on both machines.

The 1132 printers have a delicate wheel on the left side that could be damaged, plus the long signal and power cables that will snake to the 1131 are coiled inside where they could shift and break a lone, exposed circuit board neaby. I put bubble wrap around the wheel and very carefully anchored all the cables with cable ties at a few locations to ensure they could not in any circumstances move over to strike the PCB. Some lose metalwork that guides paper or holds the unused paper spool had to be removed and separately wrapped.

The 1442 had loose power coils inside that needed anchoring with cable ties, plus the card weight, a plate that is put on the top of punched cards in the input hopper, was wrapped and boxed separately. Inside the base Carl found the ALD (maintenance documentation) and stowed that as well.

The extension frame for Carl's 1130, which holds core memory in larger machine configurations, needed a bit more prep work. The signal cables were hanging loose, potentially exposing the connectors to damage. Several baseplates and other mounting hardware were inside, and I had to remove the metal joiner that anchors together the steel uprights in the 1131 and this unit.

Will's printer, which he thought was a printronix, was really a CHI 1103 - Computer Hardware, Inc. produced peripherals for 1130 systems including this line printer that would appear to be a 1403 to the 1130 system. It requires an SAC feature on the 1131, which is not present on Will's machine, but he will sort out what to do when he gets everything back to his facility.

Will and I did some anchoring and prep on the 085 collator, including wrapping the two card weights separately and taking the 'test deck' that an IBM CE would run through the machine to verify its correct operation. The 083 sorter didn't need any additional prep.

Meanwhile, John McKee and his brother Bill had arrived on scene and began helping us with other tasks. We had to collect and pack all the remaining 085 collator plugboards. More importantly, we had massive amounts of unpunched card stock in boxes of 2000 cards that had to be loaded on carts and brought to the truck.

This narrative will continue in Part Two to be posted tomorrow.

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