IBM 1620 Project Journal

Help Needed

There are numerous discrete tasks which need doing as part of the overall project. As more are identified, they'll be added to this page.

Here's the current list:

  1. Design an old west style "Wanted Poster" for the 1620.

  2. The replacement parts list needs to be updated with current component designations. The current list of parts came from an old cross-reference list. Many of the "replacement" components have themselves been superceded with something newer.

  3. Work with the air filter manufacturer to procure replacement air filters. DaveB has contacted the company that originally made the 1620's air filters. They still carry that type of filter. A list of sizes used has been made.   This task has been claimed by Dave Babcock.

  4. Computer History Museum's collection of IBM 1620 books is growing, but there are still some we know of but don't have. This task is to play detective and locate & acquire the missing books.   This task has been claimed by Eugene Kim.

  5. We'd like to have the 1620 Reference Card and the primary 1620 Reference Manual on-line. Someone needs to scan them and then process them through Adobe Acrobat to produce .pdf files.   This task has been claimed by Doug Goodall.

  6. Computer History Museum needs local capability to read paper tape and punched cards. [In the future we'll probably want to read 7 and 9 track mag tapes as well.] For the 1620 project alone, we'll be receiving 20 large trays of software on punched cards. The best solution would be a stand-alone, rack-mount system with a PC, paper tape reader and punch card reader. The museum has spare PC's and a rack-mount paper tape reader with a serial interface. We don't have a small, desk-top card reader. This task is to track down such a card reader and put together this media reading system.   This task has been claimed by Lee Courtney.

  7. We need to identify part numbers and sources for the various typewriter and paper tape connectors. They seem to be made by AMP.   This task has been partially claimed by Craig DeShong who is machining replacement typewriter connectors.

  8. We may need some card extenders for debugging. This task is to get the necessary connectors & material and make some.   This task has been claimed by Joe Fredrick.

  9. There is (supposedly) a massive US government surplus center in Sacramento. Someone needs to check out what they currently have, find out what they typically get in the way of computer equipment, and get the name of a contact person.

  10. IBM made a film in the early to mid 60's showing Fred Gruenberger teaching computer programming to high school students using the IBM 1620. Find a copy of that film.

  11. For a SHARE meeting, IBM commissioned a film with the comic Bob Newhart. It featured Bob representing the Acme Product Company talking on the telephone with Herman Hollerith about his new invention - the punched card. This isn't connected with the IBM 1620 project per se, but may be available from the same source as the IBM 1620 film.

  12. Someone is needed to search for magazine and journal articles on the IBM 1620. This means library research with "The Reader's Guide to Periodic Literature" and other such reference material because computerized indexes typically don't go back that far.   This task has been claimed by Eugene Kim.

  13. It would help the bring up effort to have a remote control box for the 1620. This would be an enhanced version of the IBM 1620 CE remote control box including a variation of Dave Wise's "demo mode" circuitry.   This task has been claimed by Tim Coslet.

  14. Our 1620 is missing the metal panel over the 'A2' gate needed for proper cooling. For someone with the right tools, this is a simple task.   This task has been claimed by Doug Brentlinger.

  15. Tim Coslet said that several years ago there was a small museum near Browning Montana which had an IBM 1620 Model II on display along with a dinosaur skeleton (did they mean to imply a connection between the two?). Here's another detective job to track down that museum and it's 1620. Possible lead - the American Computer Museum in Bozeman Montana has an IBM 1620 Model II - one in the same system?

  16. We are trying to locate within IBM any manufacturing and/or customer records on the 1620 which may still exist - probably unlikely. In the meantime, we can begin to piece together a list of where IBM 1620's were located. Although in some ways it'll be a drop-in-the-bucket, every customer we can locate is one more system we didn't know about before. For starters, DaveB has a list of 675 web pages which mention the 1620. There's also information available from the "Personal Accounts" page. Finally, there's our fellow volunteers.

  17. One of the important components of our IBM 1620 History Site is the "Personal Accounts" area. Here, individuals are encouraged to tell their personal stories about the 1620. While we don't intend to censor (unless it's not relevant) or materially edit this material, we do need someone to oversee it. The person would be responsible for moderating what is put on the page; soliciting other contributions; extracting the personal accounts we already have buried in other emails/guestbooks; and, in general, take charge of this.   This task has been claimed by Richard Jowsey.

If you'd like to take on one of these tasks (or partner on any of the bigger items), please email the IBM1620_team mailing list so we don't duplicate effort. Contact DaveB for more information about any of these items.

Please note that we're not looking for a lifetime commitment in any of these items. For tasks which have an on-going component to them, you are free to stop when you'd like - just let us know so someone else can take over.

Here's a link to the tasks already completed.