Archive for September, 2011

06-Sep-2011: A long overdue update

September 6, 2011

Hello, all,

I hope that this post finds the folks that visit this blog are doing well.

It has been a long time since I have posted here. Quite a lot has gone on over the past year or so..a quick overview

On the new calculator front, New Acquisitions:

  • Monroe 820A(non-working), thanks to a generous donor,  to go along with the Monroe 820 that the museum already has (also non-working).  I am hoping that between the two of them I can get one working. This is the only CRT-display-based machine that Monroe made, and it is quite uncommon.
  • A Monroe EPIC 3000 (in very nice shape, and mostly working), and a Monroe EPIC 2000 with some mechanical and electronic problems.  In time I hope to get the EPIC 3000 completely working…it seems like the problem is just a bad connection in the cable that connects the keyboard/printer unit to the electronics package.
  • A Sharp Compet 21(CS-21A).  This is an extremely rare machine that looks identical to the Sharp Compet 20, but with electronics changes that allow it to perform square root.  The machine calculates square roots to five digits behind the decimal. The machine has problems, but I am hopeful that they can be figured out and repaired.  It tries to run, but gets very confused when asked to perform operations.  The design of the machine is very similar to the Compet 20, with some boards identical between the two, but there are definitely changes to the PP board (Program Package) that contain the sequencing logic for the machine, and addition of three unique boards, one of which appears to be a diode ROM that perhaps provides sequencing logic for the square root function, along with a significantly different keyboard interface board that probably detects the “divide followed by +=” key sequence that triggers the square root operation.
  • A Sharp Compet 32 that will shortly be on its way to the museum.
  • An additional Sharp Compet 20 that is a bit earlier than the one currently in the museum, which will be arriving soon.

Because of all that has been going on, updates to the Old Calculator Museum website have slowed to a trickle.  I have a large backlog of exhibits to create, and quite a number to update.  I also have more materials to add to the advertising archive, and some technical information to add.   The biggest enemy I have right now is time.

My job is keeping me very busy. The University started fall session classes last week, and things are really hopping with over 3500 students now making demands of the computing environment, which we did a huge amount of work on over the summer. Along with work, during the summer months, there are constant projects around the property that demand time, along with my wife’s dog agility competitions that consume time on weekends.

I must veer off-topic for a moment. We have a German Shepherd that is competing at the top national levels of competition in dog agility, and this year has been extremely successful.  Tory (our German Shepherd) and my wife, Patty, have earned entry into three National Championship competitions this fall and early next year, including the German Shepherd Dog Club of America Nationals, the AKC National, and the USDAA National.  We’ll be traveling to Kansas, Kentucy, and Nevada for these competitions, and hopefully, come home with some national championships.  German Shepherds are very uncommon to run at the national level in a sport dominated by Border Collies and Australian Shepherds.  It is a huge testimony to the athletic abilities and high level of intelligence that Tory has, and Patty’s dedication to excellence in training (both for herself, and Tory) over Tory’s 5 years of life.  You can see YouTube videos of Patty and Tory in action by checking out the channel “pattybffds”.  Just search for it on YouTube.

Once the fall and winter settle in, there will be more time to devote to my calculator passion, and I expect that there’ll be a more updates both to this blog, as well as to the museum website.

Lastly, before I close out, I am honored to be invited to a gathering of ex-Friden employees (known as Fridenites) in San Leandro, California (the original headquarters of Friden Calculating Machine Co.) on September 15th.  This luncheon gathering will have many luminaries from the heyday of Friden, including Robert Ragen (the chief designer of the Friden EC-130), Dick Ahrens (a senior engineer involved in the design of the EC-130), George Comstock (another senior engineer, who left Friden to form Diablo Systems, a company famous for the development of daisywheel printer technology), and many other former Friden employees.  This should be a fun and fascinating time.  I will try to write up a blog entry about the event soon after I return.

With all that said, I will call this entry complete.  There’s a lot more that I didn’t write about, but that captures the high points.   Wishing you all health (the most important thing), happiness, safety and security!