Picked up some unusual equipment today

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SimonSideburns
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Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by SimonSideburns » Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:39 pm

I saw a post on facebook where an office was being closed and they were getting rid of a number of items, all for free.

My wife wanted some filing drawers (they had 4 left) so we went along.

Not only did we pick up the 4 drawers, and two shelving units, but I also bagged (all in unknown condition):
  • An OKI C9200 A3 colour laser printer (weighs a ton)
  • A Philips 21" 4:3 CRT Monitor (weighs a ton too)
  • A PC Tower case with some unusual ports coming out, which attaches to something called a TRACK EYE (which I was also allowed to have). I honestly have no idea what it is, but it looks like the TRACK EYE (stylised in capitals on the case of the unit) is huge, heavy (made out of solid metal) and looks like a reel to reel tape recorder. It's got to be around 60cm wide, 60cm depth, 40cm tall. I've had a very quick look on the internet but no joy yet
  • An 8 port PS2/VGA KVM switch. One of those huge invincible metal cases with sockets aplenty around the back. Not very big, but interesting either way
  • Two SGI Octane 2 machines. One is bare machine only, the second is complete with really heavy CRT monitor, keyboard and mouse (all SGI branded, which is just as well as the monitor socket looks like nothing I've ever seen before - certainly a cross between DVI and something else). Both of these SGI units also weigh a ton. So heavy for the size of them. I've no idea what is inside them yet
  • Another machine that I haven't found a name of yet. It's about 60cm wide, 45cm deep, a metre tall, and built into that is some sort of screen or microfiche screen or something, and the unit contains a pull out drawer at the bottom with a multitude of controls on it. This also seems to be able to accept film, tape or something with a square unit sticking out of the top that houses the reels. What it is exactly I have no idea, but they were just going to skip it if it wasn't taken. It came with a reel of film, tape or whatever.
I have absolutely no idea on half of this stuff, but I didn't want to see it binned. Hopefully I'll get some pictures onto this thread when I manage to get some energy to drag the items out of the back of our van. Thank goodness we've got a tail lift, and a large extension to put the items in for now while I take pictures of everything.
Last edited by SimonSideburns on Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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Diminished
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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by Diminished » Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:59 pm

SimonSideburns wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:39 pm
  • A Philips 21" 4:3 CRT Monitor (weighs a ton too)
  • Two SGI Octane 2 machines
slightly envious ... :D

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8271
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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by 8271 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:05 pm

pics ?
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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by Coeus » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:19 pm

This all sounds very interesting. I await the pictures with interest.

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by davidb » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:25 pm

Sounds like you did a good job there! :)
SimonSideburns wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:39 pm
I have absolutely no idea on half of this stuff, but I didn't want to see it binned. Hopefully I'll get some pictures onto this thread when I manage to get some energy to drag the items out of the back of our van. Thank goodness we've got a tail lift, and a large extension to put the items in for now while I take pictures of everything.
On these forums, if you announce that you have a van with a tail lift then you might suddenly become very busy! ;)

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trixster
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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by trixster » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:43 pm

2 octane 2’s! Blimey! =D>

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flibble
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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by flibble » Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:50 pm

SimonSideburns wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:39 pm
[*]the monitor socket looks like nothing I've ever seen before - certainly a cross between DVI and something else).
A 13W3 ? Popular on Sun and SGI back in the day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB13W3

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SimonSideburns
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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by SimonSideburns » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:24 pm

flibble wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:50 pm
SimonSideburns wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:39 pm
[*]the monitor socket looks like nothing I've ever seen before - certainly a cross between DVI and something else).
A 13W3 ? Popular on Sun and SGI back in the day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB13W3
Yes, that's what I believe I saw.

The wife and I (she's having a good day) managed to bring everything inside. I will wait for daylight tomorrow and then take pictures.

The reel of film (I believe it is film) has a label on it:

The Motor Industry Research Association 50 Golden Jubilee, 1946-1996.

There seems to be some sort of code number on it: R2402.

I've searched online but found nothing. Not a thing about it. I'm not even sure what format the film is in.

I believe the lady who was overseeing the office clearout said there might be more films in some cupboards they haven't gone through yet.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by 8271 » Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:36 pm

It is worth saving the films. I used to be a projectionist back in the day and there is a shortage of some of the stock (particularly 8mm & 16mm) as some didn't get archived to digital. You might have a few gems in there!

If it is 35mm or even 70mm then it would be worth quite a bit!
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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by SimonSideburns » Wed Aug 12, 2020 4:54 pm

I went back the day after and picked up four more reels of film (or whatever it is) in their cases.

I will be taking pictures (I'm on a go-slow at the moment because the snooker World Championship is on and I'm a massive snooker fan) when I get around to it. Everything is still piled up and I'm yet to go through it all.

I did manage to switch on one of the SGI Octane 2 systems.

It let me log in as a guest, but I couldn't then shut it down as I don't have the root password. I have been searching online and I am pretty sure I know how to reset the password, but I don't have a SCSI CD-ROM drive in order to run the installation routine from the installation CD that allows me to change the ROOT password.

The monitor was working fine, but was set far too bright and black wasn't black at all, and the colours and various monitor settings were all over the place. I've tried to tweak it as best as I can. The machine needs to be opened up and vacuumed as there's too much dust. I was surprised to find a version of DooM on it. I don't really know what else is installed. I had to switch it off without shutting down (which I don't really want to do too often).

I don't yet know any specs of this first machine. I've also got another machine to switch on to see what that one has on it.

I didn't have it on too long, as it was already really hot in our bungalow and I didn't want to add to it with the heat from this machine.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by SimonSideburns » Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:48 pm

I've finally got around to opening up the full tower PC case to see what's inside.

There's an ASUS Motherboard with built in SCSI, with a Pentium II (with MMX) in. I can't see anywhere the speed of CPU.
1 x Fujitsu IDE HDD
3 x Seagate Cheetah SCSI HDDs
1 x SCSI CD-ROM drive (Toshiba)

and several expansion cards:

* Matrox graphics card
* 3Com Ethernet card
* 2 cards both from Imaging Technology Incorporated (I believe at least one is a video frame grabber, the other I'm not too sure)
* A long card with two daughter boards. It says Truevision on one side. I can't see a product number (there are various numbers on stickers).
* An I/O expansion card with two (more) serial ports.

I haven't switched this machine on yet, and just as well. Over time the thermal paste on the heatsink on the Matrox graphics card has dried out and it had fell off. It was resting on the next expansion card along. I've got to go over all the cards with a soft paintbrush to remove all the dust and re-apply the heatsink, and then I'll be switching it on.

With three SCSI drives and an IDE HDD, I expect this thing to sound pretty loud when it gets going. What will be more interesting will be to find out what operating system is on it. The machine seems to be from around the 1998-2000 area, so could it be NT, or maybe it'll be some version of UNIX?

This PC looks like it connects to the device called "track eye" (all in lowercase which I think I got wrong in the original topic). There are a number of plugs and wires all connected together in some trunking which look like they attach the track eye to this PC.

The track eye looks like a reel to reel video scanner, so I'm guessing this company was scanning in something and digitising it onto the PC, maybe.

I'll hopefully find out more as soon as I get it back together and switched on.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by davidb » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:56 pm

Do you know what the company was called? Perhaps that's something you might find out when you take a look at the PC's hard drive.

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by SimonSideburns » Thu Aug 13, 2020 2:57 pm

davidb wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:56 pm
Do you know what the company was called?
Yes, it is called Semcon.

They still exist, they were just closing this particular office.

From what I gather from speaking to the lady overseeing the removal of everything from the office, they used to be given a brand new car that had been built which they would disassemble and document how it all went together and worked, and then they'd create user manuals, guides, service manuals, videos, e.g. whatever the client wanted.

What specifically the equipment I picked up was used for I don't really know.

I am lead to believe the first device, image motion analyzer (on a label on the side) was for was inspecting the contents of the film reels, and the track eye machine was used to digitise film into some sort of PC format.

From what I can gather, the track eye device has a CCD sensor and illumination, although I haven't turned it on yet.

I have no idea what the two SGI Octane 2 systems were used for.

Something of interest is that the PAT testing of all this equipment (including the SGI machines) isn't up to date. Some of it hasn't been tested for more than 10 years.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by johnkenyon » Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:09 pm

flibble wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:50 pm
SimonSideburns wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 4:39 pm
[*]the monitor socket looks like nothing I've ever seen before - certainly a cross between DVI and something else).
A 13W3 ? Popular on Sun and SGI back in the day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB13W3
Note: Sun and SGI DB13W3 to VGA adaptors are not compatible with each other, despite having identical connectors.
An adaptor with old Sun Microsystems logo on it, and/or a "530-" part number won't work with SGI

(and for the record, a Sun SparcStation5 with a cgsix frame buffer will work with a VGA 1280x1024 LCD monitor.
The similar Sun Sparcstation IPX onboard framebuffer won't - just usable for OBP access, completely broken for X)

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by davidb » Thu Aug 13, 2020 6:11 pm

It might be worth checking out SGI Depot for more information about the SGI machines.

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by trixster » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:25 pm

Still very much looking forward to the photos of the machines up and running :) [-o<

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Re: Picked up some unusual equipment today

Post by SimonSideburns » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:52 pm

Still no photographs, but that's mainly due to spending the last three weeks watching snooker on the telly.

I decided to take a look at the tower PC and connections to the "track eye" device.

I opened up the tower PC first, and took a look at what is in it. The motherboard is an ASUS board with integrated Adaptec SCSI controller.

There are 4 HDDs in the system. Three are SCSI (Seagate Cheetah) and the other IDE. There is also a SCSI CDROM drive.

There are a number of expansion cards:
  • Matrox 768-02 graphics card - The passive heatsink on the main chip had fallen off and was resting on the next card down. I've since (with the help of a friend) reattached it.
  • 3-Com 10/100 ethernet card
  • Imaging Technology 2Meg Scanner card (according to the label on the outside of the faceplate). This has a daughterboard.
  • Imaging Technology 2Meg Video card (as it says on outside of faceplate). Both of these cards have a 26-way D-Sub connector on the back (three rows of pins, 9, 9, 8 I seem to recall).
  • Truevision card. This is a long card with two daughterboards attached. I'm not exactly sure of an exact model number - the card has various numbers on it.
  • A card with two additional 9-pin serial ports.
Upon fixing the heatsink on the graphics card, we plugged the machine in and switched it on. Oh my, those SCSI drives are pretty loud. Even with the case screwed back on it was quite ear splitting. Anyway, the machine booted into Windows NT 4 Workstation. Then it asked for CTRL-ALT-DELETE and then asked for a password for the user "TRACK EYE". Nobody told me what the passwords were, and even Administrator was protected (rightly so!).

I searched online for some guides to help remove or change passwords. The simplest way is to boot the system into a CD based mini-XP or Linux system that has access to NTFS file systems, change directory to \WindowsNT\System32 and follow this quick guide:

MOVE logon.scr logon.scr.bak
COPY cmd.com logon.scr

Reboot the system and once up and waiting at the CTRL-ALT-DELETE dialogue, just wait for the 'screensaver' to kick in. Obviously, it'll be in the system account and will then give you full access to the machine. You've then got to run control panel and change the user accounts!

Brilliant. That did the trick amazingly. Apparently this won't work on more recent versions of Windows that check the integrity of system files as they start up.

Booting into the system once more and logging in, I am now able to browse around the machine. The three SCSI drives have been made into one Volume (no RAID!) so at some point I'm going to have to back them up onto something else so I can then take a good look around the machine at my leisure.

On this three-drive SCSI volume (think that's the correct terminology) there are some very slow motion videos - reminiscent of what you'd expect to see when cars are put through crash safety testing. I'm not sure what else is on there as it was pretty noisy and I didn't want to keep it on for too long. I do have to think of ways to back it up. Possibly over the network or something.

Onto the "track eye" device that came with this PC. It is 64cm wide, 56cm deep and 33cm tall. The top is a hinged smoked acrylic lid that lifts up like a record player, and it gets held by two gas struts. These have sadly stopped functioning and you have to prop the lid open so you have both hands available.

Inside it looks like a reel to reel recorder. Upon closer inspection, it contains a Dalsa CCD between the area where the spools of film sits, and in front of that is some sort of bulb or illumination. The reel of film passes between these two items. Or, rather, it would do if the thing was working.

My friend (who is more technical than me) and I spent a morning diagnosing why it wasn't doing anything when plugged into the mains.

Several 5A fuses (at the plug end), and a number of fuses at the end where the power cable plugged in later, and still no joy.

Two of the many power supplies in the device weren't working. A MOV removed and bridged, no joy. Fuses checked in the PSUs, still no joy. Caps checked, still nothing.

No matter what we tried, we couldn't get any life into the thing at all.

All is not completely lost, however, as the CCD was completely standalone, and looks like it would plug into the back of the PC and still be able to digitise things.

That's for another day, however, and the track eye has been taken by my friend (less the CCD) for parts. I didn't even get any pictures of it (well maybe one at the front showing the 'track eye' logo.

Looks to have been something custom built. The various cards and PSUs at the back were rack mount, and some of the wiring inside was very intricate.

I'll let you know when I get around to plugging the CCD into the PC to see if that bit still works. Maybe I'll see if it could be used as a CCTV system.

The screen of the PC when viewed on the Philips monitor was a joy to work with. 1280x1024 at true colour seemed to work well, although when a video was playing the mouse pointer flickered if you moved it into the area where the video was playing.

I didn't try it but there was a 1600x1200 mode in 32k colours. Think that would have been interesting to see.

I'll update this thread when I find out more.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

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