24/6/20 : Plotter nearly ready

The Calcomp 565 option is nearly ready to be added to the released emulator. All that remains to do is to fix some issues with the hand/knob interactions, remodel the hands so as to avoid hand case/collisions and also update the user manual.

8/6/2020 : IT'S HERE !!

Emulator and PLTS are now available

Manuals for them both are available.

They said it would never happen, but the wait is over !

Since the Raspberry Pi4 gained a working openGLES 3.1 implementation I have been working on a 3D version of the emulator. It is now nearing the point when it will be available for download from github. However I have a few more things to do to it before it is ready, and I need to write a user guide ! Keep an eye on twitter for the hashtag #803Emulator for the latest news.

News 24/12/12

3D Word Generator

My previous attempt at a 3D front-end for my 803 Emulator didn't get very far.  It was based on the blender game engine (bge).  My latest attempt has got much further.   It's a version for the Raspberry Pi and uses the GPU via openGL ES 2.0.  I've previously used desktop openGL 2.0 so the transition to the "Embedded Systems" version hasn't been too difficult.    Sound output is provided using the openMax IL api.

The screen grab above shows two things.  At the back is a reel of tape with a hanging loop which will eventually lead to a model of a paper tape reader.  This part is already fully animated.  Using some "magic" in the openGL ES shaders the tape shows the correct pattern of holes without any processing in the PI CPU.  Tape is pulled off the reel when the hanging loop gets tight and the reel also spins too keep track with the unwinding of the tape.

In the foreground is the operators console.  As you can see I've not quite implemented all the buttons yet, but those shown do work and control the 803 emulation.  The "user" can navigate the 3D space with the mouse and a couple of "mode keys" on the keyboard.  The cross hair cursor can also be moved with the mouse.     


I've been working on an emulation of the Elliott 803 computer for a number of years, (more than I care to remember !) but it has never quite been ready to be released. However in 2009 I started to regularly visit The National Museum Of Computing (TNMOC) to use and  maintain their 803B.  This encouraged me to once again start working to get my emulator into a state where it can be used by others.

The emulator has been developed on a number of different Linux distributions over the years (Slackware,SUSE,Fedora) but currently developement is done on Ubuntu 10.04.  It should continue to run on any current Linux system.  For the best results you'll need hardware accelerated openGL graphics working on your machine.

As of July 2010 the following system components are working:
Wordgenerator/Operators Console

8K store processor with floating point hardware

Type 3A paper tape station (PTS) with Elliott improved reader, tape punch and Creed 75 online teleprinter

Calcomp 565 drum plotter

Film controller and up to 4 film handlers (*)

Creed tape editing station

A set of drawers containing paper tapes

Engineers 'scope

Hours Run indicator.

(*) Optional components

One of my Beta-testers has produced a set of instructions for building and operating the emulator.

Note: The above graphic is no longer used in the emulator.

The Word Generator or Console

The Paper Tape Editing Station (Creed 75)

500 Character / Second Paper Tape Reader

3D (openGL) Paper Tape Storeage Drawers

Closeup of tapes in drawer.

A Magnetic Film Handler

Calcomp 565 Drum Plotter

Paper Tape Station Control Pannel

Engineers 'Scope (showing the Accumulator (top) and the
Instruction and Sequence Control Registers (bottom).

Left: The Hours Run timer.
Right: Linux Filesystem interface.

I've also been working on a “gate level” model of the 803 CPU. I have a full set of the engineering manuals and logic diagrams to work from so I'm hopeful that I can complete the model. As a debugging tool I have a logical 'scope..

I'm also working on a PIC microcontroller based emulation. 
Details Here

Another PIC based 803 project is my 803 diagnostic unit.

I've also built a PIC based interface to connect a real CalComp plotter
to the real 803.

Drop me a note at the address below if you are interested....