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Re: Consoles old and new
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 89 10:19 EDT
From: pan@Athena.Pangaro.Dialnet.Symbolics.Com (Paul Pangaro)
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 89 08:18:12 edt
From: Kevin Chieff <chieff@scrc-pegasus>
It's my understanding that the newer style consoles, (ribbed enclosure
with the screen tilting within the frame) are a complete redesign, and
use a 100MHz PE video signal, where all four variations of the older
console used an 80MHz PE video. So... L machines with PE video (that
is, 364x, 367x, and 3600 with the PE upgrade) will work with all four
variations of the older console only. G machines can work with either
console, but the console electronics inside the G machine (an SLB
console interface board) is different, dependent on whether you're
driving an 80MHz or 100MHz console, and the XL400 only drives the new
I beg to differ. I am using one of the new tilt'n'swivel monitors, and it
seems to like Moniterm sync no matter what model it's hooked up to (currently
My understanding of monitor/sync compatibility, developed over 3 years at the
factory and 2 years working for a Symbolics customer/VAR, is as follows:
(1) The Phillips monitors will accept Phillips sync only. Adjusting Phillips
consoles to use Moniterm sync will cause them to fail. They are identifiable
by the trimpots visible through the slots in the top, and only the top cover
must be removed for adjustments. Some of these consoles were retrofitted with
improved components for better reliability, I believe by upgrading failed
boards returned from customers.
(2) The Moniterm consoles can be adjusted to accept either Phillips or
Moniterm sync. Due to inconsistencies in manufacturing, these consoles may
have been shipped set up for either sync. These consoles also have slotted
tops, but there are no trimpots visible; the trimpots face backwards. To
adjust these consoles, one must remove both the top and back covers.
(3) The solid-top Symbolics consoles (electrically an in-house variation on
the Moniterm design) can accept Phillips, Moniterm, and (possibly) G-80 sync.
As with the Moniterms, they may have been shipped set up for any of these
three. The entire cover must be removed for adjustments; this design was
necessitated by strict FCC EMI standards.
(4) The new monitors will probably accept all three sync programs with the
proper adjustments; again, they may have been shipped with any of these.
Access for adjustment requires that you unplug the mouse and keyboard, and
loosen the four screws on the back cover; the back and circuit boards then
slide backwards from the rest of the console, allowing easy access to the
To my knowledge only prototypes of the 100 Mhz consoles were ever built; none
have been shipped. I believe any machine with PE video hardware (all but the
original 3600 model, and these can be retrofitted for PE video) can generate
any of the other 3 sync programs.
As to the four variations of the older console, I
believe they are as follows: I forget which order, but Phillips and
Moniterm made the original two consoles, they had slotted top panels,
and could only be differentiated visually by peering inside at the
adjustments, or other identifying characteristics. Smbx then began
producing much of the console in house, and that console utilized the
solid top. The fourth console is the grey solid top console, identical
to the third Smbx own console, except for the cosmetic change to match
the color of the 3620's and 3630's that it was shipped with.
Personal opinion on reliability - the consoles have steadily improved
in reliability in the order in which Smbx released them, to the point
that the solid top consoles and new ribbed consoles generate nowhere
near the calls that the older consoles did. That's based on observation
of the 150 or so consoles in the customer base here in NJ.
Kevin: Thank you for an excellent and perhaps the most useful reply to
my original query. (You are one damn sharp sales rep. Either we should
get this depth of reply from technical folks consistently, or retro-fit
all the sales reps to be more like you.)
*Sigh*... unfortunately the console designers are no longer with the company,
or you might get better answers to console questions.
It seems (specifically in my case) that if I had a 3620, I might not be
able to swap an "older" console with a swanky new one. Is there a way to
tell without actually trying it? You seem also to be saying that it
works with one or the other, and switching requires a board swap. I am
trying to build an inventory of spares, and want to be certain of these
Interchangeability of consoles with various processor models is not a problem.
Period. It helps, though, if all your consoles are set up with the same sync
program. There is a DIP switch on the console's interface board. Switches 1,
2, and 3 on this DIP switch are used by the Fep to determine the monitor type;
these should all be set so that the Fep's Show Configuration commmand shows
the same monitor type as the sync program. I will leave it to other
Symbooleans to document the exact switch settings that correspond with a
particular sync program.
-- Chuck Fry (Chucko@Riverside.SCRC.Symbolics.COM)
Symbolics Software Support