It started as a junkpile find.
As IT Consultant we went onsite to a customer project to review some stuff. As we went along a hallway in the basement of their building we suddenly stumbled upon a room that was filled with old hardware, about to be trashed. Curious as I always am, I sneaked in that room to just have a look around. I noticed a big 19″ rack in the far left corner. I went back and asked them for some light to investigate further. The guy showing us around agreed and was a bit surprised as well. We took a closer look at what appeared to be an awesome piece of almost forgotten machinery.
At first we had no clue what that was but it sure looked to be something that had to be saved from the claws of the junkyard scrapmetal press. Scattered through the room there were old components, open-reel magnetic tapes, paperpunch tape, a typewriter, old PBX parts as well as some ugly not very vintage 2000s era computers and monitors. But occationally between all these things, the odd other item popped up which seemed to belong to that huge machine in the corner. Soon we determined that in this room, there must be a complete mainframe kind of machine including terminals, hard drive and so on.
Some days later I had a nice talk to the boss of that company and he kindly agreed to donate the machine so that we could restore it to its old glory. To be seen by people and maybe so something more or less meaningful again. My boss was as well very kind and donated some of our company resources to pick it up and bring it to a safe location where I can work on it with some friends in my spare time.
After some research we determined that the machinery in question is a Data General Nova 2 Minicomputer, although “Mini” by now would just be a relic of time. In the days between these talks and picking up all the equipment I did a lot of research on the web to find out more what it was, what it was used for and how one might get this thing in good shape again. I almost couldn’t sleep for a couple of days because of all the excitement. I mean, it surely doesn’t happen every day that you find something that is almost twice as old as yourself and combines your profession as well as your hobbies and personal interests. It was a steep learing curve since I had never really much to do with computers older than from the early 1990s or electronics that consisted of discrete logic components rather than just a few micro controllers and ready made building blocks on an I2C bus.
Also information on these old systems seems to be really rare, so I hope to attract some attention with this blog and maybe some kind people who have some knowlege of these things so that it may be collected and preserved on here.
But enough talk, here are some first looks on the equipment, enjoy!