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History of the computers at Bolton Institute

When the move to centralise all the computing at Bolton Institute was in progress, I always said I'd write it up, mainly about the funnies and disasters. I never did, so this goes someway to doing that.

[big blue and white box]

66k JPEG the Systime 5000 circa 1982

When I first started in the Electrical Engineering department, I used to program BBC model B (6502 based micro) and a Systime 5000 (rebadged PDP11/34) which had four 4.9 Megabyte disks, two in removable cartridges. Yes that's a total of 19.6 megabytes online.

[tapes and disks galore]

87k JPEG Disk upgrade for the Systime

There were around 300 accounts on the system, but as time went on, you need more disk space. This is a picture taken during the upgrade. You can see part of an old 4.9 MB disk pack bottom right. Left in the foreground is an SMD 67MB and underneath a Fuji 2332 8" partitioned by hardware into two 67 MB drives. Behind that is a tape drive sat on top of the old disk units which was used to copy the data from the old disks. On the right hand side wall you can see the cabling system, not very sophisticated, but it worked.

[people measuring]

75k JPEG

It was pretty noisy with the new disks, so a partition was built across the room, I sat one side, the computer the other.

[Bob sat at a terminal]

84k JPEG

This is Bob, he's sat upstairs in the Maths and Computing dept. They started out with a PDP11/34 with 3 RL02 (10 MB) disk packs. Then they bought a Vax 11/750, with a 121 MB (RA80) disk. Bob is sat at the console for the PDP11.


89k JPEG

This is a work in progress picture. Pete is on the right, behind him is the frame for the digital telephone exchange. Denis is watching Neil dragging cables which have been fed down the lift shaft from the 5th floor to the back of the Vax, I think this was the point Neil realised that we'd threaded the cable though a leg of a stool.

[more people wiring]

77k JPEG

The cables from the lift shaft came in along the roof, down the back of the room and under the false floor. In the foreground is a second Vax 11/750, this time purchased by the Electrical Engineering department.


72k JPEG

This shows the krone frame for the new telephones on the left hand side wall, the Electrical's 11/750 in the foreground, with a Fujitsu 451 MB 'eagle', and the Math's departments PDP 11/34 at the back.


79k JPEG A rare picture circa July 1986

Pulling all those cables through meant that little bits fell of the tiles and messed up that nice new false floor.

[rear of computer]

21k GIF 64k JPEG BASIL VAX 11/750 1986

This is the rear of the original BASIL, brought down from the 5th floor and now in its new proud home. A full 8MB of memory, 32 RS232 terminal lines, a 456 MB RA81 and a 121MB RA80.

DISCLAIMER: Errors and Omissions Excepted.

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