This Colossal Vacuum Tube Computer Plays A Mean Game Of Pong

It does not take place usually that we report on new vacuum tube dependent computer layouts. Today even so, we’re happy to introduce to you the Rapidly Reliable Digital Electronic Dot Computer system, or Fred.Computer for short. It is the brainchild of [Mike] who also introduced us ENA, which we showcased previously.

Fred is a new style and design that reuses the sections that manufactured up ENA. It has an 8-bit CPU, 16 bytes of RAM, 256 bytes of NVRAM, and runs at a clock speed of 11.3 kHz. With its 560 tubes drawing a overall provide present of about 200 A it also gives a fair little bit of heating to [Mike]’s research. The key logic is implemented as a result of NOR gates, crafted from 6N3P dual-triode tubes sourced from Eastern Europe. These NOR gates are mixed into a lot more complicated constructions like latches, registers and even a comprehensive ALU. A total of sixteen machine code instructions can be made use of to publish packages intelligent structure allows Fred to execute 16, 32 or even 64-little bit calculations with its 8-little bit ALU.

A PCB with many reed relays
Will need some RAM? There is sixteen bytes suitable below.

An fascinating addition is a new RAM design and style primarily based on reed relays. [Mike] realised that relays are really quite equivalent to digital transmission gates and can for that reason be applied to make a uncomplicated static RAM cell. If you assumed relays ended up way too sluggish for RAM cells, believe yet again: these reed relays can toggle at a mind-boggling 700 Hz, generating them more than rapidly more than enough for Fred.

The principal I/O product is a console that is made up of several pushbuttons as very well as a 12 x 8 LED display. All of this will make Fred a thoroughly-purposeful common-intent computer that’s even able of playing Pong (online video, embedded below). [Mike]’s web page is total of exciting depth on all areas of vacuum tube laptop or computer style and design, and would make delightful examining for any one tempted by the idea of creating their individual.

Cannot get ample of vacuum tube pcs? Have a search at this 1-bit MC14500 implementation, marvel at this modern-day interpretation of an incorporating equipment, or uncover out how IBM built its logic in the 1950s.


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