Friday, June 3, 2016

Adjusted the 1053 console printer for color ribbon shift, working on other quirks


I decided to hook up my old Python program, the version before I made all those changes post retirement which are currently lost on a dead hard drive. When I started up, however, the code timed out and didn't find the link on the fpga. I had hoped it would still work, allowing me to load the typewriter diagnostics and work on the console printer.

I pulled out my CE Handbook, a set of notes that IBM repair people carried, and found a section on hand code to be toggled in to work various peripherals. The typewriter section was less than twenty words, easy to enter on the console bit switches, and worked. It continuously drives the typewriters with the two characters selected by the bit switches - top 8 bits for one character, bottom 8 for the other.

I then could see it typing everything through the red portion of the ribbon. I referred to the documentation I have to decide how to adjust the tape - whether to tighten or loosen it - so that I get black or red depending on the solenoids pulling the tape.

It only took a couple of minutes to get the tape set properly to switch my printing between black and red portions of the ribbon. Works perfectly.

The console printer still exhibits the few quirks from lubricants that are still being worked out of the pivots. Carrier return is slow, sometimes stalling in the middle until nudged by a finger. Line feed will sometimes begin repetitive feeds until the restore latch works, but fortunately only a few percent of the time. Spacing near the left edge is a bit erratic. I found that programmatic backspace isn't working, which would involve adjusting the pullrod from the operational solenoid up to the release for the backspace operation. My plan is to run the heck out of it to warm up and flush out the old lube.

The carrier return issue and lack of backspace involve more than just lube, and some sort of adjustment or repair is needed. I won't put on the cover or position the printer in its proper seat on the 1130 until these two issues are addressed.


The recovery service emailed that they were getting near the end of the recovery process and emailed me a list of files recovered. It seems that enough is saved to reconstruct my fpga and python program changes, I will pay and begin transferring files as soon as they make them available.

It shouldn't be long before I have my new GUI code and the latest FPGA logic ready to resume enhancing and testing. This will give me things to do during quiet times when I am not actively working on the hardware.

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