Tag Archives: Teardowns

The core memory inside a Saturn V rocket’s computer

via Dangerous Prototypes

A closer look at an LVDC core memory module:

The Launch Vehicle Digital Computer (LVDC) had a key role in the Apollo Moon mission, guiding and controlling the Saturn V rocket. Like most computers of the era, it used core memory, storing data in tiny magnetic cores. In this article, I take a close look at an LVDC core memory module from Steve Jurvetson’s collection. This memory module was technologically advanced for the mid-1960s, using surface-mount components, hybrid modules, and flexible connectors that made it an order of magnitude smaller and lighter than mainframe core memories.2 Even so, this memory stored just 4096 words of 26 bits.

See the full post on Ken Shirriff’s blog.

A look inside a Marconi signal generator

via Dangerous Prototypes

A closer look at a Marconi Instruments signal generator @ jaeblog:

Recently I got a Marconi Instruments 2019 signal generator, capable of generating signals from 80Khz up to 1040Mhz. It can also modulate these signals with AM, FM and more. This instrument is from the mid 80s and is, as far as I can test, still in good operational order.
A signal generator capable of generating over 1Ghz is pretty impressive, especially in the 80s, so let’s have a look inside this unit and see how it’s made.

Microsoft “Intellimouse” teardown

via Dangerous Prototypes


Microsoft “Intellimouse” teardown from Electronupdate:

Before the advent of optical mice, the go to technology was a steel ball which moved two drive shafts to indicate position.
A good example of this is this Microsoft “Intellimouse”.
As expected the electronics are built around a small micro controller

Check out the video after the break.

Teardown of a GM3120 electromagnetic radiation tester

via Dangerous Prototypes


Kerry Wong did a teardown of a cheap GM3120 field strength meter:

There are a lot of cheap electromagnetic radiation testers out there which boast some quite impressive claims. So I decided to pick up a popular one (GM3120) from eBay to see how well it works. And perhaps more importantly, I wanted to take a look inside to see how the E field and H field sensing is done.
Most professional field strength meters feature a dome-like sensor. Housed inside are three orthogonally arranged antennas used for picking up field component in that axis. A cheap tester like the GM3120 clearly doesn’t utilize this kind of sensor topology and presumably can only discern field strength along a single axis.

See the full post on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.

DEC PDP 11 / 24 CPU CARD: State of the art design from 1979

via Dangerous Prototypes


DEC PDP 11/24 CPU card teardown from Electronupdate:

This is a cpu card from a class of computers known as mini-computers.
By the late 1970’s DEC was about to be eclipsed by the microcomputer. At the same time this card was in production the 68000 and 8086 16-bit class micro processors were also in the market: their superior cost would soon take much of DEC’s low end market.
The card uses their FONZ-11 LSI chip set. Most interestingly the CPU instructions are micro-coded and placed into separate chips: the instruction set could be expanded at will by adding more “303E”s. Typically this would be for a floating-point instruction set.

More details at Electronupdate blog.

Check out the video after the break.

Capacitor plague? Inside an HP 8620C sweep oscillator and HP 86245A RF plugin

via Dangerous Prototypes


A teardown of the HP 8620C and HP 86245A by Kerry Wong:

I just picked up an HP 8620C sweep oscillator with an HP 86245A 5.9 GHz to 12.4 GHz RF plugin on eBay. This time around though, the unit does not work. While it was advertised as a working unit I could not get it powered on and there was no sign of life whatsoever. So before I start troubleshooting and repairing the unit, I thought I would do a quick teardown to see what’s inside and if I could spot anything obvious that was out of the ordinary.

More details on his blog here.

Check out the video after the break.