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.