Posts with «minicomputer» label

Homebrew ROM Reader Saves Data from a Vintage Minicomputer

Have you ever heard of a Centurion minicomputer? If not, don’t feel bad — we hadn’t either, until [David Lovett] stumbled upon a semi-complete version of the 1980-ish mini in all its wood-trimmed, dust-encased glory. And what does a hacker do with such an acquisition but attempt to get it going again?

Of course, getting a machine from the Reagan administration running is not without its risks, including the chance of losing whatever is on the machine’s many ROM chips forever. When finding a commercial ROM reader supporting the various chips proved difficult, [David] decided to build his own. The work was eased considerably by the fact that he had managed to read one chip in a commercial reader, giving him a baseline to compare his circuit against. The hardware is straightforward — a 12-bit counter built from a trio of cascaded 74LS161s to step through addresses, plus an Arduino Nano to provide clock pulses and to read the data out to the serial port.

The circuit gave the same results as the known good read, meaning results would be valid for the rest of the chips. The breadboard setup made supporting multiple ROM pinouts easy, even for the chips that take -9 volts. What exactly the data on the ROMs mean, if anything, remains a mystery, but at least it’s backed up now.

Before anyone notes the obvious, yes, [David] could have used a 555 to clock the reader — perhaps even this one. We’d actually have loved that, but we get it — sometimes you just need to throw an Arduino at a job and be done with it.

Hack a Day 11 Aug 06:00

Intel's NUC mini-desktop said to cost around $400

Intel's Next Unit of Computing mini-desktop is reportedly going to cost around $400 when it arrives in the third quarter of the year. Designed for kiosks and digital signage setups, the weeny box has attracted so much interest from solder-wielding modders that the company expects it to go on general sale. The initial unit will include a Sandy Bridge Core i3, 4GB RAM and a 40GB SSD, while on the outside it'll come with three USB 2.0 ports and dual HDMI outputs. That high price might dampen the spirits of those hoping for an Intel-powered Arduino / Raspberry Pi, but we still expect to see it crop up in plenty of brilliant mods next year.

Intel's NUC mini-desktop said to cost around $400 originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 11 Jun 2012 09:34:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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