Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wang 600

This is a Wang 600 programmable calculator. A sticker on the back reveals that it was made in 1974, and serviced on 1978. It seems to function properly, despite the bits of what appears to be wood and other crap which has fallen under the keys. In addition, the cassette drive has some shavings in it, and has been drawn on with pastel. There are more of them in a pile somewhere, and this particular one was the most accessible one to blog about.

What makes this really interesting (aside from collectibility) is the fact that there are two i/o ports on the back, and that there is a Fortran compiler online for it, creating many opportunities for hacking and the like. Also, the name of the system leads to many rather amusing/crude jokes ("We at the ACCRC would like to show you our wangs").


durgadas said...

I used to have one of those, acquired from Boeing Surplus. It also worked for a while. I then took it apart and endeavored to draw a schematic and decipher the micro-code ROMs. My high school had one that was used to teach programming. Awesome machine, where can I get one?

durgadas said...

At one time I had two versions of these, they both had a 2048x42 (yes, 42 bits wide) microcode ROM. The later one had 2048x4 PROMS (11 of them), but the earlier one had a fascinating type of ROM made out of 2048 super-fine wires (#40 I think) that were threaded through 42 toroidal cores. If the wire went through a particular core it was a "1" in that bit position, and of course it was "0" if it was outside the core. It was an amazing thing to look at, I wish I had a photo of it. Might be worth lifting the covers of some of these and see if they are old enough to be of that style.

durgadas said...

Jim, I have not gone looking on places like eBay to see if they are selling. I've been working on a virtual implementation and have recently been pulling together all my old notes. you might be interested in and there are links to other fascinating sights about the Wang600.