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Author Topic: NCR 315  (Read 97327 times)
zster
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Posts: 2


« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2006, 08:33:52 pm »

I worked as an operator ar a bank in Michigan in the mid 70's. I started out on a 315 then a  Century 201, then a Criterion 8500.

The computer room was over a parking garage and next to some very active railroad tracks. Every time a train would go by, the whole building would shake. Eventually one of the of the boards would jiggle loose causeing a "PE".  SOP was to go around with a rubber mallet and gently tap all of the boards to reseat them. It usually worked.

Durable heat generating hardware.

I don't get all nostalgic about crams though. They were evil and caused me much grief.

New Start 39234


-Mike
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RMC-LADPC
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Posts: 1


« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2007, 09:54:29 am »

I went to Dayton on the 315-3 with Martin Osborn and John Roland in the mid sixties.  We three returned and supported the 315-3 system at Pt. Mugu with 7-334s, 2-340s, 4-353-1,1-1442 IBM reader/punch, etc.  A year later, Martin relocated to Sparks, Nevada and John Roland was canned.
For the next three years I supported the site alone later replacing the old 315-3 system with a faster RMC-315-502 system with 8-333 (CDC) tape drives, 2-340s, 40K long rod memory, 4-353-1 crams, 1-1442 IBM reader/punch, etc.  The RMC system ran very well as did the 353-1 CRAMs once they were tuned up.  Cracked memory stacks, worming memory rods by off center solenoids was my main problem. When the site was replaced by an IBM 360-65, I transferred to the LA office where I worked at the NCR corporate Data Center with many great guys for several years.
At one time, we had four complete RMC systems, two with several 353-3 CRAMs, dozens of CDC 333 tape drives.  Later we added two 615-300 systems with the newerr 200 IPS CDC 635 tape drives and several rows of CDC 658 disk drives, CDC 647 printers, 315 emulators, etc.  A real fun place to work as lots of hardware to play with.  We even had a few Quantor microfiche units to blow our minds on.
We had several RMC 315s in the Los Angeles region all of which ran very hard for most of their productive lives. We also had our share of 615-100, 200s and 300s but I had the most fun during the 315 era.  The 615-300s were great machines but I hated the smaller systems as the NCR
dual disk drives were an absolute nightmare even making the 353-1 CRAMs look like heaven.
Head crashes galore and bad head wiring harnesses bring back late night nightmares.  The later
ceramic heads were not near as bad as the originals and actually ran well if cleaned on a regular basis.
The CDC 657 dual drawer disk drives were not too bad as long as one did not mind getting oil all over ones hands and clothes.  Ripped rubber diaphragms allowing oil to blow all over the blinking sensor lights was common place and a bitch to clean up.  Once the oil ran down into drive belt area,
life really started to suck again making a 353-1 CRAM look good to me.

Great times never to return.  I always considered myself fortunate to have experienced those days.

The Criter class was OK but not as fun to work on as the earlier CPUs as machine language writing was not to be as one was too distant to be effective.  (-01999) still comes to mind.

RVDaba
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jswallow
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Posts: 5


« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2007, 09:50:31 pm »

somebody,
the thing great abpout the console was that it had an "Address Register", a group of lights that displayed the current address. this was good for program debbuging in a step by step mode. if I wrote a program for a customer, I would include a compare that met all possibility followed by GOTO 9669. IN the documentation i would say if a large "X" appeared on the console, don't call me, call hardware repair.

Jack Swallow 
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paddyt
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Posts: 1


« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2007, 04:15:51 am »

Hello,

Has anyone worked with a 315? If so, I'd like to discuss various aspects of it. I never worked with a 315 myself, but as a teenager I worked at a place that had 2 of them. Seeing them in action is what made me decide to become a programmer. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to work with one, my experience is with IBM mainframes. I thought the 315 had the coolest looking console. The 315 has always been special to me because, had I never seen one, I may never have decided to enter the data processing field. Note I used the correct term for our profession, not the insipid "information technology" term  ...   ; ^ )         
Hi,

My first full time job, as an 18 year old in 1971, was doing rotating shifts as a 315 operator, and later in Data Centre operations management.
I spent a lot of hours fighting with tape drives, drum printers, card & paper tape readers etc.
Happy to answer any questions I can remember the answers to :-)
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jswallow
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Posts: 5


« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2007, 12:01:51 am »

I installed a 315 on the 3rd floor of a building using a crane to put it through a large window. As the mainframe was comming off the truck it fell off the tailgate and landed flat on it's back. We tipped it up an lifted it to the 3rd floor. After all the pieces were hooked together the hardware guys turned it on and it ran just fine. No debug time was logged. We jokingly called Dayton and hinted they make that the first step in unpacking. That drop had reseated any boards that lossened during transit.
Jack Swallow
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Jan Heek
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Posts: 1


« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2007, 07:39:54 pm »

Just discovered this site and felt, as a former NCR315-expert, I should join this community. I'm from The Netherlands and started as a programmer with NCR's Data Processing Center at The Hague. This was a high-tech building on the famous Laan van Meerdervoort, at the corner of the Zoutmanstraat, right across the now well known Peace Palace, the international Court of Law.
Started as a NEAT-assembler and BEST-programmer in 1969 and - after several NCR in house courses - became analist/programmer in 1971. In 1972 I changed my position to a company at Amsterdam, called Infonet Automation Services (not the US-based Infonet). They had two NCR315's for database publishing purposes (state-of-the-art encyclopedea production at that time). Because of my assembler skills I was one of the first programmers of the PDP-11 series (24,34,45,70) that came to The Netherlands. By 1978 the NCR315's were dismantled but I still possess the drum of one of the CRAM units. As for the early days....
In 1969 I found it a challange to have the NCR315 run at its highest possible speed by programming the read-commands for the CRAM units in such a way that they didn't release the CRAM-card unless I said so. For a major file-merge operation this resulted in all 4 CRAM-units having their vacume-pumps running at maximum power, nobody could stay in the computer-room because of the noise! Another trick I found out was the use of only 4 assembler instructions to read the papertape resulting in maximum speed of the reading process (in case you didn't read within a certain time-limit the tapebreak would be activated resulting in a slow reading). Those were the days .... your program on punched cards or papertape, scheduling a testrun at least 8 hours in advance and if you discovered a bug in your source, you had to wait another 8 hours for the next test run. Most of the testing was done in the evening or during the night for that reason. I nearly lived at that computer room!

Greetings from Jan Heek
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RonS
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Posts: 1


« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2007, 10:05:41 pm »

What an interesting site – and such memories.
My wife and I met in 1961 when we were recruited by Elliot Automation in England to work on the NCR 315. Elliot had just secured the contract to build 315’s for the European market. We both knew nothing about computers and we cut our teeth on the 315 processor, line printer, tapes, CRAM, core memory etc.
In 1965 we immigrated to the USA and worked for NCR at Hawthorne, CA and then Rancho Bernardo until we retired- my wife in 1988 and me in 1989.
Just a few incidents I remember that you may (or may not) find interesting:

While we were working at Elliot’s the CRAM’s were generating a lot of interest and we received a visit from the Duke of Edinborough (the Queens husband) specifically to look at the CRAMs. He stayed a very short time because, we found out later, the noise of about 20 CRAM’s and about 20 line printers all running at the same time, was just too much for him.

In the USA a group of visitors came to view a mock up of the 315. Each of the cabinets was opened up for their inspection – and in the third one was a young engineer, sitting on a three legged stool- holding an abacus. The young engineer eventually became General Manager of the Rancho Bernardo plant.

We built a number of 315’s for the Sumitomo bank in Japan. I believe they were our biggest customer. At that time the Japanese engineers had a reputation for being very exacting and precise, especially in following instructions. We had to send them two large wooden crates of cables, and just for the hell of it, we had someone who spoke Japanese stencil “Important, Open other box first”, on each crate. Then we waited to see what confusion we had caused.  Instead, about a month later we received a polite, but formal request from Japan asking us to build a computer system that would be “more suitable for their environment”. With the request was a very detailed set of specifications and drawings for a computer system – made entirely of bamboo.

Ron



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n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
Jr. Member
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Posts: 60


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« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2007, 05:28:53 am »

Dear Ron,

  Good evening and good morning from Yokohama, Japan.
When I noticed the original sentences of yuor message in this morning, what does it mean the '#8211' keyword of your last sentence? Even though you have corrected last sentence now.

I could not find any such numerical string through google search.
Now, I am going to transfer your good memorial story to the FED member for 315RMCs in Sumitomo Bank since mid 1960s.
They will read this page of the web site.
If some one contact to you, will you please share each other the long story between southern CA and Osaka Japan since delivery?

Best regards,
Katsuhiko
a former software engineer
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Katsuhiko Hirai
Fan of the Century architecture under 63 index registers.
Aleksandrs Guba
Administrator
Jr. Member
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Posts: 82


« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2007, 12:10:48 pm »

Hi All,

Today an ‘Archive/Hardware Manuals’ page of the site have been considerably uploaded with NCR 315 manuals/instructions.

Enjoy!

Aleksandrs.
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davew
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Posts: 1


« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2007, 10:37:08 pm »

Hi - Interesting to find this site and this discussion.

My name is Dave Williams and I was a service engineer on 315's between 1970 and 1975 in the UK. I started my working life as an apprentice electrican at Markham Colliery, Chesterfield. By the time I had completed by apprenticeship I had acquired an ONC in Mining and Electrical Engineering (and my working mate at the pit had just been killed there). I decided thereupon to get out of mining, and there were adverts in Wireless World offering CE jobs to anyone who had an ONC in anything. I got the job and started in May 1970 in the vaults of the Clydesdale Bank in Glasgow. As the trainee I seem to remember that my main job was oiling and adjusting a row of cheque sorters. After 3 months I was sent on the 315 training course to the Brent training centre on the North Circular Road (NCR) in London. This was where the Brent Shopping Centre is now. I spent 9 months in digs in Hendon and explored the delights of London nightlife! On completeing the course I was sent to work at the Coalite Chemical plant at Bolsover (just a mile from the pit where I started). The main thing I remember from there was the number of random system crashes. We eventually traced them to the fact that the fumes from the Coke and Chemical plant was rotting the interconnection pins and the rotary switches on the CRAMS and Tape Units. The fumes also ate our oscilliscope! Eventually I was sent to be the on-site engineer at Lockheed Brakes in Leamington Spa. There were two of us covering our 315 - one would do days from 0730 to 1530 (including maintenance from 0730 to 0900) and the other would be on-call from 1530 through to 0730. In an adjoining room was an ICL 190something with another two engineers. They had a byline in refurbishing antique motorbikes in the computer room on nights! With this posting (because of the on-call) I got given a company car - a Hillman Imp - which I used to get in trouble about because I bent it several times. Eventually I lost my digs and so decided to quit NCR, and got a job with Ferranti.

It's all a long time ago.
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Roger
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Posts: 1


« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2007, 09:39:13 pm »

What a fascinating site, IU have just found it today.
I started programming on a 315 back in 1966, with H.H. Robertson in England. I well remember gonig to St Alphage House in London and to the North Circular office for testing, and to training in Greenford.
I also remember going to Chesterfield to Coalite & Chemical a couple of times for collaboration on 315 development.
Small world!
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devriesbwmi40
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Posts: 1


« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2007, 06:17:27 am »

I was trained as a CE on the 315 starting in 1962  in Dayton. After some OJT in the Dayton Data center I returned to Grand Rapids MI to work at Old kent Bank.  It was a system with 10 K of memory, 2 CRAM, 1 332 tape drive, a punch card reader, 340 line printer and 2 402 check sorters, We also had 12 450 proof machines with 40 pockets.

I recall sitting on a stool with cold air from the raised floor blowing up my back as I would troulbe shoot the printed circuit cards in the 3 processor bays.  We had a few problems with the PCS banjos on the top of the processor cabinet. those copper wires would break and have to be resoldered.  Memory planes could be repaired by running new copper wires through the cores if they broke.  That was more common  during shipment.  We had a full set of spare PIB's in our on site shop.  We had 3 CE's and we were there 24 hours a day. Mon - Fri   We seemed to have quite a few power supply failures. 

The Card reader needed a lot of adjustment and of course the CRAMS were a high maintenance item. bearings went bad, blowers came apart. the heads were very expensive, Listed at $25,000.00

We serviced 7 systems from the Grand Rapids office. At the end of thier life, one of our customers gave me the system and I took it home and set it up in my garage. I guess I did it just to prove I could, but it took up so much room, I scrapped it out after a few months.  If you have a specific question, I will try to answer it.

I often think about the fact that the 316 Memory of 10 K was the size of a Double wide Refriidgerator and now I have a 2 GIG  USB the size of my finger.
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JimT
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Posts: 36


« Reply #27 on: September 18, 2007, 08:12:55 pm »

Another newbie here.  RonS told me about this site last week.  Ron - Nice to see you at the picnic.  I started with NCR at Hawthorne in 1964 in the hardware development area.  My first project was the 315-2 CRAM and then I moved over to the 615-100.  From there I worked on a lot of processors and later the memory systems.  We transferred down to Rancho Bernardo in 1970.  In 1986 I transferred to Manufacturing and had to build and deliver what Engineering had released.  In 1998 NCR sold their Manufacturing to Solectron, who I have worked for ever since.  I still work with the same people in the same location.  It has been quite a ride.

Jim Taylor
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JimT
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Posts: 36


« Reply #28 on: September 18, 2007, 08:34:29 pm »

Some clarification on the 615-3XX – First let me say that I know nothing about software, I was always in hardware.  The 615-350 system was unique to NCR-Japan.  The 615-300 was a general release.  The –350 used the TOX operating system (Transaction Oriented eXecutive) and it tied three –300’s together through the memory system.  The memories had up to 9 input ports and up to 8 memory modules each (618-920, 618-930, 618-935 and 618-940).  Three –300’s could be tied into each memory sub-system.  Each –300 had three inputs to the memory.  As I recall they were called the E, I and I/O ports.  The E was the execution connection and the I was the instruction setup unit.  In a 615-350 system there was a high level System Memory.  The nine ports of this memory were tied to the Execution portion of each of the nine 300’s.  Over the years I had a chance to be at both the Tokyo and Osaka installations of Sumitomo bank.  The Osaka installation was very impressive!

Jim
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n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
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« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2007, 06:14:03 am »

Dear Jim T,
 I am very happy to share our memory through working for the 615-3XX contributed on the Banking Systems Automation.
I am sure that we have met together at the computer center of Sumitomo Bank in Osaka around 1974, because you remembered correctly the design concept of the 615-3XX.
Now we, RSX OB member, the team of TOX development and the staff member of the Sumitomo Bank's OB, have been together at Tokyo in every Autum season since 2004 in order to talk with Mr. Akiyama and confirm our good health one another.
I rememer that the RSX-3XX executive, that was a kernel of the TOX, was initiated through the B1 Resident executive and was managing all of TOX task. Then our OB club name is called the RSX, because it's familier for us rather than the TOX.
All the staff member of software team are still now fine on health, and I heard that Mr. Ishii who was a manager of the field engineering staff for the 615-350 in Osaka site is still in good health. I can communicate all of them through their mailing net list.

Well, I remember the advantage of the E/I/IO ports of the 615-3XX memory bay as the multi-processing feature and the performance of the MCU(Memory Correction Unit ?) for the System Memory.
Finally, in order to get the higher stability of 615-350, 615-300 unit's portions of 615-350 had been connected fuctionally together through NOLA(500Kbps serial transmittion lines) adapters, instead of MCUs after inspecting their performance deeply.

I am appreciated of your posting because I enjoyed to remember our NCR international collaboration to provide the economical innovation.

Have a nice day,
Katsuhiko
« Last Edit: January 17, 2008, 02:58:35 pm by n8eyh » Logged

Katsuhiko Hirai
Fan of the Century architecture under 63 index registers.
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