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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » The layout factory
RARE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS BN400B Analogue & Digital Breadboard
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mubase



Joined: Mar 24, 2011
Posts: 110
Location: London UK
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:20 am    Post subject: RARE TEXAS INSTRUMENTS BN400B Analogue & Digital Breadboard
Subject description: anyone seen one of these???
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Just for interest...
Hi! Found this on Ebay and have negotiated a deal for it for a snip @15.00 pounds. A heavy duty prototyping board with space for some huge circuit ideas.... apparently of the kind used by Moog & EMS...notice the patch pins ..??>> 2 power supplies variable + and - to 20 V and a sqr function gen and a moving Anders coil meter with range control...
A very nice looking thing.
Has anyone ever seen or used on of these ???


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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Crickey!
That is really the cat's pyjamas in prototype boards!!!! Shocked

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mubase



Joined: Mar 24, 2011
Posts: 110
Location: London UK
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

its a mother... 25 kilos all bakelite and big transformers..

I've put the spiel here for anyone interested...


This incorporates a large and very fine quality *matrix patchboard sized 41 x 31 cm of the same make as that I think was also used in the MOOG and EMS music sysnthesisers of the day, (*UK made SEALECTRO model F00311911, reference no B12880 - which even has it's own serial number! I have put an image of the reverse of this patch board if you scroll down)

This auction is for a real vintage bit of kit which is constructed in an extraordinary way from sheets of what appears to be ¼" black Bakelite, using exquisite little corner extrusions and accurately drilled and tapped holes for the myriad fasteners which hold it all together.
It must have been hugely expensive when new and was presumably designed as a teaching aid in laboratories and colleges etc. to enable demonstration and prototype circuits to be implemented really quickly and easily modified in the classic breadboard fashion.
I have never used this, I bought it solely as a display object as it's a shiny black lump and looks great when it's clean, (I have not bothered and the new owner can have the fun of polishing it up - the white marks are dried gaffa tape residue which will come off with some solvent which I may actually remove if I get time)

It has two locks for the lid, the keys to which I do not have unfortunately, (but fortunately, they are open), below which stores a huge patchboard assembly for transit; once the lid is open the unit is placed upright on it's back stand section, the board is removed, reversed and fits at a slant into the opened case locking itself into position, locks the case open and revealing the control panel above. The patchboard uses yet another sheet of the black Bakelite as it's topside, drilled to allow shorting patch plugs and connecting leads and is arranged in rows spaced to take plug in IC modules which have either digital DIL or round linear IC sockets.

It basically has a variable frequency multivibrator and two variable voltage DC power supplies inside, settable for logic or linear IC voltages and it features a very nice vintage ANDERS moving coil meter to aid setting the voltage applied to the circuit board section or currents.

The meter has a range switch for 0-30mA/0-100mA/0-300mA/0-1A/OFF/0-30V/0-10V/0-3V/0-1V a switch for selecting which power supply to monitor or to two sockets, the two power supplies have variable output controls and switched ranges of 0-10V/0-20V and the pulse generator can provide positive and/or negative going pulses of variable frequency in the switched ranges 0-1KHz/1-10KHz/10-100KHz/100KHz-1MHz/1-10MHz. There is also a 16 way row of pin sockets associated with a 15 way lamp indicator block for showing logic states I suppose.

On the back side is another sub panel with a lock in the middle which I had never opened until this week; in fact it requires about 12 fasteners to be undone and the lock actually does nothing (!); the panel hid storeage wells for lots of the DIL modules and so I have removed them all and refixed the panel - all very odd!

I have also added pictures of the inside with the bottom panel removed to show how clean and original it is inside.


Condition: physically the cabinet is very good for a more than 50 year old unit and apart from a few minor marks is undamaged and it would polish up really well, internally it is clean with no signs of abuse or repair or anything negative at all; the Plessey filter capacitors bear an October 1966 date and are the originals, so giving it a late sixties date of manufacture.

As usual, I have included pictures of the actual item with large close-ups to show the condition of the unit so please scroll right down to see the images!

This is a 19" instrument format case so is 49w x 59d x 29h (cm) overall and it weighs 22.5Kg unpacked!

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JingleJoe



Joined: Nov 10, 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That is beautiful and so incredibly useful Shocked
You got such a bargain too, you lucky cad!
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mubase



Joined: Mar 24, 2011
Posts: 110
Location: London UK
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:35 am    Post subject: Sealectro Matrix board.
Subject description: are you VARIACably viable?
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It has now arrived!
I have inspected the inside and the components look to be in not bad shape being approx. 43 yrs old except for a chipped colour banded cap and some white powdery substance on the pots. The mains wire is cut so I'm won't be plugging it in right away!!!!!
I've been advised to pump power into the circuitry slowly building up from 0V using a VARIAC transformer so as to Reform the capacitors. I would like to know if anyone has any experience of this in old long time unused circuits. I've bought old test equipment before ( Advance SG66 wavegenerator), skymaster communications reciever, mullard scope etc but never had to do this...?...

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piedwagtail



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Things you should do.
If the collectable sat on a shelf value of the piece is dependent on original parts use a variac or if you find yourself in the 1970s when electronic components were very expensive against the average wage use a variac.
Otherwise protect your eyes and ears and apply 10 secs then 20 secs then etc.
Expect an explosion. Be a hawk.
Use a 1A fuse in the plug.
Watch for smoke etc.
Then when it seems to be working check all the voltages are as expected.
If the caps stay loaded on power off bleed them before poking around unless you enjoy a sharp prod up the arm.

I consider damp the main problem; some sellers don't keep the equipment in dry storage that fks connectors and can cause shorts in transformers.

Some may say you must use a variac but if you need to be an_l about it break the power circuits up post the rectifier and post the capacitors and test individual parts - which you'll have to do if the fuse keeps blowing; wire in a known supply to the circuit etc.

R
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mubase



Joined: Mar 24, 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:07 am    Post subject: No sparks or smoke and and other uses for an umbrella.
Subject description: Fit and working again...almost.
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Well I finally got around to wiring her up to a plug and just went for it. The grille above the patch panel contains green lights that give out the same eerie kind of light as Magic eyes found in 60's reel to reels (Grundig TK23 etc..) which dim slowly when the voltage is turned up via the voltage dial.
??!??. Also on the back of the matrix board is an odd looking green 32 or so pin connector (see pic.) Everything seems to work except I'm not sure about the best way to test the meter and the pulse gen's frequency pot needs replacing as it is as unstable and crackly as hell. Another problem was with the jumper leads. There were only 3 so I set about finding a way to make some nice connectors for jumpers. ( Smooth, not abrasive to the matrix contacts) and after trial and error found that Pound shop Umbrella spines fitted perfectly. :s.
So I used the guillotine in the Uni metalworks shop to cut down 40 or so jumper pins. The shorting pins ( thin, grey, slightly longer than the jumper wires, ) when connected together in a row make the matrix connection horizontal so one can create rows of joining wires/components as well as the usual vertical breadboard connections. The "patchbay" section has me stumped though... and what kind of connector is the green 32 wire at the back??


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piedwagtail



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Pound shop Umbrella spines - excellent innovation.

Some sort of early multipole connector.
Suggest replacing the whole caboose with rainbow ribbon cable and IDC connectors.
Soldering ribbon cable to those points : not so good
The rest of IDC system, no tools required just force: very good
Why people in synth diy use those time consuming crimp connectors.....

You don't say what the connector is connecting to...
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mubase



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:43 am    Post subject: Rainbows in air. Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ribbon cable is an excellent suggestion (Thanks P.) but
as for the interface,
It's connected to "Nothing"! Its just sitting there disattached and sad.
( Maybe it's got something to do with the "Patchboard system" sockets??)
I think they are either "Logic" or Voltage level states indicated by the lamps. If I place a jumper wire into a patchboard system socket and touch the tip with my finger the lamp lights up slightly.. A voltage reading with a DVM gives 0.10V. Also I notice something odd about the voltage supplies. There are 2 with ranges between 0-10 and 10-20V each.
The leftmost + and - give DC readings but if I try measuring voltage using either a + and earth or a - and earth I get nothing.?.
The second voltage supply seems to do the same and give readings in both AC and DC...

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piedwagtail



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A floating arrangement piggybacking one supply on the other....have you contacted TI...a corporation that vast must have a legacy curator of some sort.
I'll ask my Pops next time I speak to him, he was a wire wrapping TTL engineer of that era.

Robert
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