Sunday, February 8, 2015

Shed dry during rains, read cards and tapes to upload, and published new beta of keypunch PC side software


I created a standalone executable version of the PC side software at the new beta level, allowing users to easily install and test it without having to install Python or its modules on their machine. I then updated the user guide to include these changes and pushed it up to Github


I went over to my friends house with the tape of source code, we put it on his tape drive to read in what we could. Unfortunately, the tape is recorded at 800 BPI, which means NRZI encoding. All four drives my friend owns, of several makes, only read PE (1600) and faster (e.g. up to 6250BPI).  I will have to see if my IBM tape drive will read 800, or look for another system to read it on.

I did help my friend work on his newly bought Documation card reader. We discovered that the motor which drives the blower and vacuum pump has a seriously bent shaft, making the pulley on it wobble unacceptably. It made a horrible noise and threw the belt when he first tried running it. Amazingly, we found the exact same motor on ebay for $25 (shipping extra) and he bought it immediately.


I read in the remainder of my boxes of shareware programs and line printer art, cleaned up all that were usable and uploaded them. I found a program to use the emissions of an 1130 to play songs over an AM radio held near the processor. Once i get it running I will video the results and post.

I began reading in and saving the binary decks including diagnostics and stand alone utilities. It is going to be a slower process with the system decks, as they are mixed ASCII and binary, each of which I want to upload in its proper encoding.


After a series of very large and sustained rainstorms. I inspected the inside of the shed to find it completely dry inside. Not a drop of water visible nor any signs that water was in there earlier. Since the doors, misaligned as they are cosmetically, do close and they keep the water out, I am going to finish the other anchor bolts to hold this firmly down and begin outfitting it for power and light.

The power will be via a heavy duty cable with plug that will be temporarily inserted in an outdoor socket on the side of my house - this keeps the shed legal whereas permanent wiring would require a permit. I will bring in four wire power (240 with neutral and ground, giving me both 120 and 240 power). I have some of the materials I need to complete the power and lighting, but not all of them.

I do have some 100W LED lighting units to install for illumination. These consume 100W, which makes them much, much brighter than a 100W incandescent lamp, requiring thermal grease, heat sinks and fans to keep the LED junctions at a reasonable operating temperature. 


  1. Carl, two things. What do you use for packaging your Python program? py2exe? pyinstaller? cxfreeze? Also, isn't there somebody at CHM who does tape and diskette reading? I seem to remember some volunteer was curating a side room full of old-media equipment. But that would be a few years back.

  2. It is packaged with pyinstaller

    I will need to dig further into this, because the tape is 800BPI (NRZI) which very few of the modern 9 track drives can read. So far, every one I have access to is only able to handle 1600 and above.