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FlowconBackground. 2200 batcher

A history of the second generation, dual processor, mechanical panel, push-button model 2200.

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Card Cage: Dual computers

To allow the batch process to be real-time, it had its own dedicated computer. The idea worked well, but the interface was complex.

As with any mechanically complex solution, the connectors were the first point of failure.

Card Cage: rear view

Wire-wrap technology was wonderfuly reliable but labor intensive, which made it impractical to have a spare system. If there were ever an electrical short, the diagnostic and repair was prohibitive.

This technology was the best there was at that point in time.

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ADM-3a: Original video terminal

When this replaced the teletype, everyone breathed a huge sigh of relief. It only supported uppercase letters, but no one minded. It communicated at the roaring rate of 9600 baud -- about 1/6 of the speed of a present-day dialup modem.

ADM-3a: Limited display.

As exciting as it was to be rid of the mechanical (110 baud) teletype, the interface was limited to menus with no graphics. But then, hey -- no one knew what they were missing!

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The shipping challenge:

Being a completely integrated system, it made for a formidable package. Yellow Freight required we provide forklift access holes.

 

Filling all available space:

The desk underside offered lots of room for those loose components. A Maytag box lives again.. it made a good housing for the control head, with just enough room on top to fit the tiny, revolutionary, thermal-paper printer. 

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Manual panel:

This "hi-tech" panel combined the 'replacable' scales, manual panel, and process status lights into one location.

Because current systems allow for graphical displays, all of these hard-wired functions were moved to software. . . a big advantage when changes were needed after the system was installed.

Relay Panel:

These relays mounted nicely on the backside of the desk.  They were protected when it was rolled against the wall, but was easily maintained by rolling it back. All relays were solid state, but required a complex cable to connect them to the control head.

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Computing in the late 70's:

The final package was compact and clean. Because the product was 70% hardware, it was labor intensive to build, and labor intensive to maintain. Upgrades were labor intensive and required that new e-proms be "burnt" and  memory boards be mailed out.

Today's PC-based system can be upgraded by  e-mail within hours of a request.