Monday, April 4, 2016

Plotter restoration preparation, other distractions and a few bits of progress

I finally received the correct and working tool to compress the cam chain tensioner in my daughter's Passat 2.8L, unlike the prior one from ebay that was misshapen junk and wasted many hours. New gaskets on, closing up the car. Only issue to deal with is one nut (holding the power steering fluid pipe in an inconvenient place over the tensioner) which fell down behind the engine but alas not all the way to the ground.

Once I jack up the car and feel around to locate the errant nut, I can finish up the job and have her car free of oil leaks and corresponding acrid smells through the cabin ventilation system. This may wait for tomorrow as the sun is lowering and I have other things to attend to. I also discovered that I mislaid my adapter to hook the 3/8" sized torx socket to the 1/2" sized torque wrench. Trip to the

Still hopping around with a million and one details and tasks related to transitioning to retirement, which chews up plenty of time. With our 30th wedding anniversary coming up, I just booked eight days at the Grand Hyatt in Kauai where we can vegetate in a cabana at the pool. Set it out in November as we have my daughter's wedding in Ireland to handle first this summer.


I have been communicating with Tom Mikulic, an enthusiast in Australia who has successfully reverse-engineered the solenoid/pen component for the Calcomp 565 plotter. Since my plotter is missing this piece as well, unless I am extraordinarily lucky and find this somewhere, I will need to make my own.

The part is a barrel with a solenoid coil inside, which is twisted into place on a moving carrier across the front of the plotter. The part has twin prongs that provide the electrical connection between the coil and the moving carrier. Inside the center of the solenoid coil is a hollowed metal slug that is spring loaded downward towards the plotter drum and paper. Inside the hollow slug, various types of pen barrels are placed.

The solenoid, when activated, pulls the pen upward against the spring and therefore the pen tip is off the paper. The spring returns the pen to contact with the paper when the solenoid is unenergized. Signals over the interface command the solenoid to energize or release.

This part is a combination of machined items, such as the thread-on cap at the top which holds the pen inside the hollow slug. Tom has designed a recreation, built it and uses it to produce output on his Calcomp 565. He is willing to share all his designs and notes, which will allow me to create my own part.

I have also located facilities nearby who will powder coat the cover and front panels to the colors of the IBM 1627. I would be responsible for producing the labels for the control panel and logo plates to stick on the front bar, to make the plotter cosmetically appear as a 1627.


Implementing physical paper tape reader/punch (1134 and 1055 equivalents)

The paper tape punch runs under 15 characters per second, which is slow enough to make use of a set of relays to drive the punch solenoids, rather than driver transistors as I had earlier planned to use. The board and the twin relay board driving the motors will be wired up to my 48V DC power supply and to the paper tape devices.

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