UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > Specific Vintage Equipment > Vintage Computers

Notices

Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 2nd Feb 2019, 11:40 am   #1
Electronpusher0
Pentode
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Posts: 198
Default What is it - Enigma related??

Just picked up these at my local car boot.
Not sure what they are but they remind me of the Bombe at Bletchley, used to decode the Enigma code.
Any suggestions?

Peter
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1657.jpg
Views:	364
Size:	84.0 KB
ID:	177544   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1658.jpg
Views:	357
Size:	81.8 KB
ID:	177545   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1659.jpg
Views:	352
Size:	86.9 KB
ID:	177546   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1660.jpg
Views:	310
Size:	68.5 KB
ID:	177547   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1661.jpg
Views:	274
Size:	37.6 KB
ID:	177548  

Electronpusher0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 2:15 pm   #2
duncanlowe
Hexode
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Stafford, Staffs. UK.
Posts: 332
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

It looks like some kind of mechanically driven rotary sector switch. I'd say the fourth picture is the mechanical linkage between the switch modules. Whichever switch the red marker in picture two is pointing to, is closed. I notice all the wires in one switch are blue, the next red. Can't see the third, but if yellow it could be some kind of switch to select some three phase measurements?
duncanlowe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 4:43 pm   #3
lesmw0sec
Heptode
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Carmel, Llannerchymedd, Anglesey, UK.
Posts: 779
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

It brings to mind the early electro-mechanical analogue computers which the Americans used for military calculations. I recall a table full of motorised things turning around.
lesmw0sec is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 7:01 pm   #4
Electronpusher0
Pentode
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Posts: 198
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Thanks for the suggestions.
When the modules are coupled together turning the shaft at the back rotates all the switches together.
The wire colours right to left are:
Blue with pink tracer
Brown with orange tracer
The switches have 16 positions which does suggest some form of computing application.
Peter
Grey with orange tracer

Last edited by Electronpusher0; 3rd Feb 2019 at 7:02 pm. Reason: left right reversed
Electronpusher0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 3rd Feb 2019, 8:39 pm   #5
Tractorfan
Nonode
 
Tractorfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: St. Frajou, l'Isle en Dodon, Haute Garonne, France.(Previously: Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, UK.)
Posts: 2,796
Smile Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Hi,
I had one of these before we moved out here. I can't remember from whence it came, nor where it disappeared to.
One of the contacts, which had a red mark, was closed when the red mark on the coupling faced the front.
The contacts are low current, and have what I assume to be small square solder tags on the back. I think that there was a cable outlet on the side of the Bakelite case.
Mine didn't have the mounting frame, and there was no apparent method of locating or fixing the contact/rotor assembly, nor the cover, in place.
I've always been curious as to its purpose, so I shall follow this thread with interest.
Cheers, Pete.
__________________
"Hello?, Yes, I'm on the train, I might lose the signal soon as we're just going into a tunn..."
Tractorfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Feb 2019, 8:55 am   #6
Electronpusher0
Pentode
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Posts: 198
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tractorfan View Post
Hi,

One of the contacts, which had a red mark, was closed when the red mark on the coupling faced the front.
Mine also have a red mark on one of the contacts and red marks on the coupling however when the red contact is closed the mark on the coupling is at "10 oclock" looking on the end on the pair mounted in one frame and at "8 oclock" on the other one.
If these were mounted in banks perhaps all sets in a bank were at the same position but different banks were at different positions ?

Peter
Electronpusher0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Feb 2019, 11:08 am   #7
RobinBirch
Hexode
 
RobinBirch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Cotswolds, UK.
Posts: 463
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Is there a reduction between each unit so that, for instance, one complete turn of the first makes one switch position change in the second and so on.?

Cheers

Robin
RobinBirch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Feb 2019, 6:09 pm   #8
Electronpusher0
Pentode
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Posts: 198
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Hi Robin, no there is no reduction, turning the shaft turns all the switches in unison.
One complete turn of the shaft turns the switch through all 16 positions.
There is an adjuster on each which rocks the body slightly to align all the switches together.
Peter
Electronpusher0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Feb 2019, 7:40 pm   #9
SiriusHardware
Nonode
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, UK.
Posts: 2,623
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Looks like a novel low-profile way of 'ganging' a number of switches together so that they all rotate 'n' steps clockwise or anticlockwise at the same time. This means you can add as many extra 'wafers' as you want without the switch assembly intruding deeper and deeper into the chassis, as they would if stacked on a single axis / spindle.
SiriusHardware is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Feb 2019, 9:03 pm   #10
Radio Wrangler
Dekatron
 
Radio Wrangler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Fife, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 11,487
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

1) It looks expensive and that narrows the field down a bit

2) All the switches are ganged together and turn in step and there are easier ways of doing that.

3) There appear to be small adjusters with twin screws and locking compound that I think may be to allow small adjustment to be made in the phasing of individual switches.

4) There are transparent covers to make the positions of individual switches clearly visible. They're almost presented to some operator. Do the covers come off easily and are the switches then offsettable in some way?

5) Someone thought it worthwhile to tool up metal, phenolic and transparent castings.

6) 16 ways is a nice round binary number which suggests boolean jiggery pokery.

7) It seems unusually free of maker's names, model numbers and all that jazz.

8) The language is English. Not sure if it sounds American or English English.

Curiouser and curiouser!

David
__________________
Can't afford the volcanic island yet, but the plans for my monorail and the goons' uniforms are done
Radio Wrangler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Feb 2019, 9:04 am   #11
Electronpusher0
Pentode
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Posts: 198
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Excellent summary David.
To answer a few of your points.
The lockable twin screws do indeed permit the body to be rotated slightly to synchonise the contacts between switches.
The plastic cover only comes off if the switch is removed from the panel, it has a lip preventing it coming forward.
I opened the single switch and post some more photos below.
The contacts are numbered 1 to 16 on the inside.
The 45 degree gear wheel has 18 teeth and it is very easy to assemble misaligned, I found a faint red mark on the body which indicates where the metal adjusting pawl should go. When I reassembled it to the mark it now aligns with the other switches.
There are no marks or model numbers inside other than the 1-16 mentioned.
While the switch contacts are all individual, it has been wired as a 16 way switch with a single common contact.

Peter
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20190205_074115[1].jpg
Views:	106
Size:	58.9 KB
ID:	177777   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20190205_074135[1].jpg
Views:	97
Size:	83.0 KB
ID:	177778  
Electronpusher0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Feb 2019, 6:36 pm   #12
RobinBirch
Hexode
 
RobinBirch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Cotswolds, UK.
Posts: 463
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Also, we don't know how many of these were ganged up in the original application as they look as though they could be daisy chained indefinitely in each directions. The frames also look as though they have quick release catches on them as though a cover or similar was on one side.

Robin
RobinBirch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Feb 2019, 6:37 pm   #13
RobinBirch
Hexode
 
RobinBirch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Cotswolds, UK.
Posts: 463
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Are the screws BA or American ?

Robin
RobinBirch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Feb 2019, 6:58 pm   #14
G6Tanuki
Dekatron
 
G6Tanuki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Wiltshire, UK.
Posts: 6,903
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

I'm wondering if they could be something to do with entertainment equipment like pinball-machines or one-armed-bandits? They were often _very_ well-engineered [to survive abuse by punters who were apt to kick/rock/punch the machines when they lost] and had loads of access-denying seals/covers on them to prevent illicit tampering (either by punters or by the supervisors of the arcades, who were not averse to tweaking things to reduce payouts, then pocketing the difference at the end of their shift).
G6Tanuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Feb 2019, 7:58 pm   #15
Electronpusher0
Pentode
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Posts: 198
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinBirch View Post
Are the screws BA or American ?
The 2 screws loose in the frame (but cannot be removed without first removing the switch mechanism) are 2BA, the screws holding the switch mechanism to the frame are 4BA.

Peter
Electronpusher0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 5th Feb 2019, 11:13 pm   #16
RobinBirch
Hexode
 
RobinBirch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Cotswolds, UK.
Posts: 463
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

So it's probably British

Robin
RobinBirch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Feb 2019, 12:34 am   #17
Radio Wrangler
Dekatron
 
Radio Wrangler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Fife, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 11,487
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

I think slop in the couplers may set a limit on how many are worth cascading. I assume it won't be many considering the switch phasing adjustment.

Spiffing mystery!

Where did it turn up?

David
__________________
Can't afford the volcanic island yet, but the plans for my monorail and the goons' uniforms are done
Radio Wrangler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Feb 2019, 8:52 am   #18
Electronpusher0
Pentode
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Posts: 198
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

It turned up at Ford car boot sale. Ford is a disused (naval) airbase near Littlehampton on the south coast.
It was on a dealers stand with a lot of other old electronics gear including books. I picked up the following (on this stand):
Some paxolin panels with assorted components
Heatsink with 2 X 2N3055 and emmitter resistors mounted
Module labeled "Transmitter Power Amplifier"
Marconi service manual "Twin Repeater Assembly" HH40-1693-01 (no I do not know why I need this, I shall offer it on this forum)
Books - Tape Recorders, performance Analysis & service techniques, by P Spring.
Foundations of Wireless, A L M Sowerby MSc
Stereo Handbook by G W Schanz
Radio Circuits, A step by step Survey, Miller and Spreadbury.
Fluid Logic in Simple Terms (I intend starting a new thread about this)

Having just looked through the books for this reply I see that three of them are inscribed with the name M R Dixon and an address in Hove (near Brighton). One is inscribed F W G Jones CRE

I don't know if that offers any clues

Peter
Electronpusher0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Feb 2019, 9:50 am   #19
ex seismic
Hexode
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK.
Posts: 363
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

This is fascinating. As it is probably British does the blue colour indicate a naval use, or is it the wrong blue when seen in daylight?
ex seismic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th Feb 2019, 10:53 am   #20
Dave Moll
Dekatron
 
Dave Moll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: West Cumbria (CA13), UK
Posts: 3,892
Default Re: What is it - Enigma related??

Surely, navy blue is very much darker.
__________________
Mending is better than Ending (cf Brave New World by Aldous Huxley)
Dave Moll is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 10:05 am.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2018, Paul Stenning.