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NCR 399
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Hardware Details
NCR 399 Console

The NCR 399 console is the control center for the entire system. It was designed for maximum operator convenience using the latest human factor engineering techniques.

NCR 399 Common Ports

The processor communicates with its peripheral devices through either the common ports or common trunk. All integrated peripherals, those devices physically located in the 399 unit, are interfaced to the processor through the common ports, located in the processor: each of the eight common ports has eight positions.

NCR 399 Common Trunk

The common trunk, which may be factory ordered or field retrofitted, interfaces to the processor through port 3. It consists of a cable and its connecting logic circuitry and provides eight positions for freestanding peripherals. All freestanding peripherals (except the high speed ledger reader) are connected to the common trunk.

NCR 399 Memory Allocation

The actual amount of memory allocated to the interpreter, user program, and data areas depends on application requirements. Once an executable program is built in memory, it can be processed and/or copied to cassette. The interpreter is the software interface between the 399 language and the minicomputer and its peripherals. It controls all I/O devices and the sequence of program operations, ensuring that the proper routines are executed as necessary. The interpreter can be divided logically into three areas, or subsystems — executive control, internal operations, and I/O operations.

NCR 399 Communication Specifications

Data sets, also called modems, convert digital data to signals that can be sent over telephone lines. The following are typical data sets that can be used in 399 communications systems: Bell 201A3, 202, 203 ICC 3300/36, 2200/20, 2200/24, 4500/48. The same modem should be used at each end of the line.
Modems should not be mixed unless the manufacturer specifies that it is possible. Physically, adapters are circuit cards located in the 399 processor cabinet. Operating as an addressable peripheral to the minicomputer, an adapter performs line control, character handling and transfer, and other special functions.


   As an intelligent terminal, 
   the NCR 399 can be used in 
   either an online, real time, or 
   remote batch communica -
   tions environment to 
   achieve many advantages: 

   o Data preparation, 
      including validating, 
      editing, batching, and 
      compressing, can be 
      handled effectively at the 
      remote site, resulting in a 
      savings in connect time, 
      line cost and computer 
   o Relieving central of its 
      processing load provides 
      additional computer time 
      for servicing more 
      terminals or handling 
      additional applications. 
   o A 399 system can be 
      tailored to the needs of a 
      remote site while 
      satisfying the 
      requirements of the 
      central processing facility. 
   o Transmission of accurate 
      data to central is achieved 
      by validating the input 
      data and providing control 
      totals at the remote 
      location where it is best 
      understood. This greatly 
      reduces the number of 
      necessary to correct 
   o Management information 
      is available where it is 
      needed when it is needed. 
   o Transactions can be 
      processed immediately 
      at the remote location. 
      The 399 has the ability to 
      access data in a central 
      file and update records 
      both at the remote site 
      and at central. 
   o Back-up master files can 
      be maintained at remote 
      on magnetic media. 
   o Data files are immediately 
      accessible at the remote 
      location, regardless of its 
      distance from central. 
   o The 399 can improve 
      security by processing 
      confidential records 
      locally while high volume 
      jobs are handled by 

NCR 399 Basic Accounting System 

The knowledge gained in over 80 years of experience in designing and installing accounting systems has gone into the design of the NCR 399. This experience hasNCR 399 provided a system that is powerful, simple to program and operate, and modular in construction. The 399 can be upgraded in your office by adding additional memory and versatile options so that your system can keep pace with the growth of your business. The NCR 399 incorporates the best features of the operator oriented accounting machine with the speed and high capacity of the computer. This combination of speed and simplicity coupled with powerful software provides the 399 with capabilities that were previously available only on computers in a much higher price range.


Operator Oriented Input Console

The input console has been carefully designed for ease, simplicity, and accuracy in the operation of the 399. The latest concepts in human engineering have been incorporated in its design. The operator oriented input console has an alphanumeric keyboard located at its center. Descriptive data can be printed on documents in the basic forms handler and stored in memory for later transfer to some other type of output. A keyboard buffer, capable of storing 16-digits of information, enables the operator to time share numeric keyboard entries with automatic processor functions. Control keys and multiple option keys are conveniently placed and provide a high degree of programming and operational versatility.

The NCR 399 combines the power and decisionOperators Console making capabilities of a computer and the simplicity of an accounting machine to provide a system that your operator will easily learn to operate and quickly attain a high degree of proficiency.

The NCR 399 is designed to assist the operator in carrying out the various functions of each program. Control lights indicate the current status of the system and branch keys provide the ability to alter the basic program through the use of alternate routines. As each data entry key is depressed an audible tone is emitted to ensure the operator that the key was fully depressed. This instills confidence and reduces the possibility of error.

High Speed Serial Printer

A new high speed ball printer rapidly preparesHigh Speed Serial Printer accounting records and management reports in a clean crisp type font that is neat and easy to read.

The NCR 399 offers the option of either 10- or 12-character per inch print styles. Using the 12-character per inch style the total typeline can accommodate 265 characters of printed data, while the 10-character per inch style prints a total of 221 characters.

Auditable records, a prime concern of any business, are easily maintained with the 399. Special characters are provided for protecting checks and noting special entries so that a positive audit trail is always maintained. A total of 88 characters including ASCII standard alphabetic, numeric, and special characters are printed by the high-speed serial printer.


The new basic forms handler combines simplicity and versatility to accomplish the most demanding system requirements. Virtually any combination of cut forms, journal rolls,NCR 605 Micro Diagnostic Tool and continuous forms can be efficiently processed using the 399. These forms may vary from 4-inches to 23-inches in width.

Another standard feature that adds system versatility is the split platen. This feature permits the simultaneous use of two different sets of forms that can be controlled independently. The new open design of the basic forms handler makes it simple to insert and align forms and to attach or remove the forms handling features available on the 399.

Magnetic Tape Cassettes


Magnetic tape cassettes provide an ideal media for Magnetic Tape Unitstoring programs for the 399 Cassettes are easy to handle and store and enable an operator to quickly load a program into the 399 system.


Versatile magnetic tape cassettes can also be used for input or output of systems information Data can be encoded on cassettes as a byproduct of a normal posting operation. Later, this data can be input to the 399 to automatically prepare reports. update records, and many other timesaving applications. A typical example would be the automatic preparation ol quarterly reports from data captured as a byproduct of processing payroll


Modular Core Memory

High speed, proven reliability and modularity are the NCR 399 System Compartmentkeywords that describe the 399 modular core memory. The memory of the basic system can be expanded in 2K increments up to 16K bytes in your office as your requirements increase Its no longer necessary to buy larger equipment than you really need to allow for growth or to have to change equipment when growth is more rapid than anticipated A 399 can grow as you grow


Technical Education Center

NCR Technical Services personnel are trained at the large modern Central Technical Education Center. Technical specialists throughout the United States are continually being educated at the center on the latest NCR equipment to ensure that NCR systems provide the benefits for which they were originally installed.


Versatile Options


Simplified operating procedures, increased throughput, and neater records are the major benefits of Automatic Form Alignment. Checks statements. ledger cards and virtually any type of form can be automatically positioned to the proper posting line with this feature Automatic Form Alignment is available for the right side, the left side, or both sides of the basic forms handler.


Right Rear Eject is available in conjunction with Automatic Forms Alignment. Through the use of this feature an operator can insert a record in the right side of the forms handler and the 399 will take control Forms are aligned to the proper posting line, posted as required by the program. and automatically ejected through the rear of the forms handler into a receiving tray. This timesaving feature increases throughput for many types of applications such as posting checks. utility bills. or invoices with a minimum of forms handling while maintaining the forms in their original sequence.

Magnetic High Volume Forms

Hard copy records have always been the foundation of accountingMagnetic Ledger systems. The 399 builds upon this foundation by providing this fundamental accounting record in a conventional readable form in combination with electronically encoded information on a magnetic stripe on the back of each ledger. This combination offers the advantage of random access to current and historical data as well as machine readable alphanumeric data for automatic input and reporting.

A new dimension in magnetic ledger file capabilities is introduced to accounting systems with the 399. New high capacity magnetic ledgers are a result of over 17 years of experience in the design and use of this media. A standard 11-inch magnetic ledger has the capacity to store 470 alphabetic characters or 940 digits of information. For higher capacity, magnetic ledgers up to 16-inches in length with the ability to store over 1500 digits or over 750 alphabetic characters can be processed on the NCR 399. Personnel information can now be stored on payroll records, data for direct mail advertising, credit information, and many types of data previously omitted due to magnetic ledger storage limitations can now be incorporated into your system. The Right Rear Eject feature can be added to the system to simplify and speed up trial balances, quarterly reports, or any function that requires input of data contained on magnetic ledgers while maintaining their proper sequence.

Ledgers Handling Options

Continuous forms provide a means of increasing system throughput by reducing the time required for forms handling. The 399 can be equipped with either one or two continuous forms feeders. They are easily mounted and may be left on the system or removed when not in use. Form alignment is accomplished at a rate of 30 lines per second on this tractor drive forms handler. Forms from 3.5 to 23 inches wide and with an individual form length of 3.5 to 17 inches can easily be accommodated by this forms handling system. Out-of- paper sensors alert the operator well in advance of an out-of-paper condition.

Advanced, High Performance Peripherals


The NCR 368 is a fully buffered alphanumeric punched card reader. Card reading is time-shared with internal processing and input/output operations. Processing the standard 80-column card, the NCR 368 reads 300 cards per minute. With a separate input and output hopper, each hopper has a capacity of 1,000 cards.

Punch cards are an efficient method of automatic data input to the NCR 399. The cards can originate as output from this system or from an off line operation. In addition, punch cards serve as a convenient interface with existing punch card system.



The NCR 378 is a fully buffered serial card punch. It produces the standard 80-column card with alpha or numeric data at the punching rate of 40 columns per second. With printing capabilities, data can be punched and printed at a rate of 20 columns per second. Data output in the form of punched cards can be used for subsequent processing by the NCR 399 or other computer systems. As an automatic by-product of related processing, the card output is identical to the original records and this accurate card has been processed without additional labor, time or delay waiting for offline
keypunch operation.




The NCR 366 is a photo-electric punched tape reader. As an economical device for reading industry compatible data, the NCR 366 photoelectrically reads 8-channel ASCII code tape up to 125 alphanumeric characters per second, 7500 per minute. Optionally, other codes can be read and processed from 1-inch punched tape.
Punched tape provides fast input of data to be processed, updated and reported by the NCR 399. Tape reading includes parity check and is time-shared with internal processing and related input/output operations.




The NCR 367 is a compact unit for producing industry compatible media for subsequent processing of volume data. As a processor- controlled device, the NCR 367 produces 8-channel ASCII code at 75 characters per second, 4500 per minute. Optionally, other codes can be punched and processed from 1-inch tape.
Punched tape permits uniform encoding, inexpensive storage and convenient transmission of alphanumeric data. Parity check and other internal controls ensures accurate punching of output data.





The NCR 349 is a free standing, fully buffered alphanumeric line printer. Accurate printing of reports, invoices, checks, statements and other documents is quickly and easily accomplished with the 132 column line printer using a 64 character set of alphabetic, numeric and special symbols. The line printer produces an original and up to five copies of a report or record at the rate of 125, 200 or 300 lines per minute.

Many applications require high volume printing capabilities to obtain the necessary data for effective management decisions and action. The NCR 399 with the NCR 349 Line Printer adds a new processing dimension to the exacting demands of your operations.




The NCR 314 is an automatic magnetic ledger reader that electronically reads the encoded data from hard-copy records. Over 700 alphanumeric characters or over 1400 digits of data can be electronically read from a 15-inch ledger. The reader accommodates ledger records of six to sixteen inches in width and eight to fifteen inches in length.

The input of data to the processor from the random access ledgers provides a rapid method of automatically analyzing or consolidating information, and preparing valuable management reports. In a high speed unattended processing operation, the unit increases system throughput, reduces peak loads, provides additional computer utilization, and increases the productivity of the total system


Communications Capabilities

The NCR 399 is a programmable system that provides effective data communications today with the versatility to cope with the processing requirements of tomorrow. As a terminal, the NCR 399 can be used in either an online, realtime or remote batch communications environment. With its unique versatility, many applications may be completely processed on site while other applications may be partially processed before transmission to a central processing facility.

In a communications environment, the NCR 399 will edit, format, validate and batch data for an interchange system or transmission to a remote or centralized processing facility. Data received from the remote or central facility can be formatted by the NCR 399 and reports prepared for immediate utilization by management.

The NCR 399 is a total system that permits management to maintain effective communications with every facet of their operations on a current basis. As an intelligent terminal, it establishes and maintains control of all transmitted data; provides a hard-copy record of all activity; and processes confidential records independently of the computer facility. It relieves the remote or central computer facility of time-consuming input validation and formatting, and many housekeeping and processing functions, It reduces paper handling, line costs, operator errors and transmission of redundant data.








General Specifications


  • Processor: MOS - LSI semiconductor circuitry.
  • Memory: Basic memory - 8K (8192) bytes.
  • Cassette handler: Cassette recording mode 8-bit ASCII characters in serial fashion; recording density 800 bits/inch (100 characters/inch); transfer rate 6000 bits per second at a forward rote of 7.5 inches per second; inter-record gap 0.8 inch; rewind speed 75 inches per second.
  • Card reader: The NCR 368 card reader; card type - 80 columns; speed - 300 cards per minute; input/output hopper capacity - 1000 cards; card code - Hollerith.
  • Card punch: The NCR 378 card punch; card type - 80 columns; speed - 26 cards per minute; input/output hopper capacity - 500 cards; card code - Hollerith.
  • Tape reader: The NCR 366 tape reader; 8-channel, ASCII code on 1-inch, speed - 125 characters per second; optionally, IBM 046, NCR 315, NCR 500, Katakana, and other codes can be read; uses standard 6-inch reels containing 400 feet of tape, which can be rewound manually or under program control.
  • Tape punch: The NCR 367 tape punch; 8-channel, ASCII code onto 1-inch, speed - 75 characters per second; optional codes include IBM 046, NCR 315, NCR 500, Katakana, and others.
  • Line printers: The NCR 349-1 - 125 lpm; NCR 349-2 - 200 lpm; NCR 349-3 - 300 lpm; character set - 64 alphanumeric; print positions - 132.


  • Memory: Internal storage can be increased to 10,240, 12,288, 14,336 or 16,384 bytes in increments of 2048 bytes.
  • Cassette Handler 2
  • Automatic Line Find
  • Magnetic Ledger Reader: The NCR 314 high speed ledger reader is an auxiliary input device. Ledger handling speed is 47 standard, 11-inch cards per minute. An 11-inch magnetic ledger provides 469 bytes of storage (938 digits of numeric information).
  • Continuous Forms Feeder: Two CFF devices can be installed in piggyback fashion on the basic forms handler.

In Summary

Today’s business conditions demand a versatile system that easily adapts to changing requirements. a system that is simple to operate to keep personnel costs down . . a system that is expandable to minimize speculation on future requirements. The 399 accommodates these needs through:

  • Alphanumeric keyboard for entering descriptive data into the system.
  • Numeric keyboard with 16-digit electronic input buffer for constant system throughput.
  • Simple operation — control lights constantly indicate the status of the system to assist the operator.
  • High speed serial printer that prepares neat records in a clear crisp type font with the option of 10- or 12-character per inch print style.
  • Efficient forms handler that easily handles cut forms, journal rolls, and continuous forms in virtually any combination to suit systems requirements.
  • High speed program loading through the use of magnetic tape cassettes.
  • Versatile input/output cassettes, under program control, can capture data as a byproduct of regular posting for later input for updating records or automatically preparing reports.
  • Modular core memory that can be expanded in 2K increments up to 16K bytes.
  • Powerful software that simplifies even the most difficult application.
  • Program assembly that can be accomplished on the 399 or at one of the NCR Regional Systems Centers.
  • Automatic forms alignment option that increases throughput while providing neater records.
  • Right rear eject option that reduces forms handling time by ejecting and stacking forms in a receiving tray in their original sequence.
  • High capacity magnetic ledgers that provide a new dimension in systems designs.
  • Continuous forms feeders that reduce forms handling time and increase throughput on high volume applications.
  • Advanced, high performance peripherals for complete input and output flexibility. and communications versatility.


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The Dusty Old NCR 399, a Most Crufty Relic!



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