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June 04, 2012

Pigs fly in Classic 3000 storage skies

Terry Simpkins was looking for a piece of HP storage history recently. Simpkins once worked for the fabled HP disk division in Boise, Idaho. Now he's managing the IT empire for Measurement Specialties, a manufacturer with more than a dozen HP 3000s churning in China and elsewhere. Simpkins heard a phrase that culled up a memory of a circuit board with an insider's message about accomplishing the impossible with an HP 3000.

A friend made the comment, "when pigs fly" during a discussion and for some reason, this memory popped into my mind. I was at HP's Disc Memory Division in Boise when the HP7933/5 was designed and introduced in the early 1980s.

The story goes (and is attested to by several of my co-workers at the time) that a manager, upon hearing of the plans to make the disc pack removable, proclaimed this plan would work, "When Pigs Fly"! Hence there is etched into one of the PC Boards of the 7933/5 drives a little pig with wings. I've decided that I'd like to have one of these boards to go with some of my other "conversation pieces." I had (and disassembled) several of these drives over the years, and have no idea why I didn't keep one of these boards. But I didn't.

HP 3000 users are a sentimental lot. It wasn't long before Simpkins got what he needed from the community. There's more out there for collectors -- or gad, anyone who's still got a Classic 3000 tucked away in a garage.

Brian Edminster of Applied Technologies in Maryland came through with a 7933/5 drive. "I gave my last 7933 disk to Terry Simpkins of Measurement Specialties last week," Edminster reports. "He drove all the way up here to Frederick from the Hampton/Norfolk area to pick it up."

Technically the 7933 was the 'fixed' pack drive, but you could swap packs by popping the shroud and clicking the chamber release latch with a screw driver, or strong fingers. Don't ask how I know this.

For anyone else that's interested, I'm consolidating my offsite storage (and doing a proper inventory in the process), so if anybody has need for parts/systems from that Classic era, drop me a line.  

I have a number of systems and spare boards for: Micro/XEs, Series 42, and even an old Series 30 with 8-inch floppy and what at least used to be a bootable copy of MPE/V on 8-inch diskettes for it! It took 10 floppies to boot, if I recall correctly. Let me know what you're looking for, and I'll see what I can dig out. Regardless, I can post an inventory of things that are looking for a good home when I'm done sorting it all out.

I gotta move this stuff to make room for some 918s and 989s that I've recently acquired.

08:27 AM in History, Homesteading | Permalink

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