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Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


DocCynical posted:


This is a mercury arc rectifier/valve. In 1902 and on for a shocking amount of time, this was the way you turned alternating current into direct current. The most common use of these would have been turning the AC from the power grid into the DC used by most subway or other transit systems as the DC motor was and still is, for the most part, king.

Nowadays, we have tiny integrated circuits that can do this for normal household items. Every wallwart, power brick, and power supply in TVs and computers does this with much smaller, more efficient means. But even recently, as of 2004 (according to Wikipedia), the metal box version of these was used to turn high voltage AC into high voltage DC. Now with solid state electronics that can withstand kilovolt switching, these are effectively obsolete (as of 1975, again according to Wikipedia).

Look at that wonderful light, listen to that wonderful 60Hz hum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGb-nUK41tc: that's . Ponder if the UV burned skin, cataracts, and possible mercury exposure is worth it. I desperately want one of these.

As far as power semiconductors go (diodes, SCRs, IGBTs), depending on the semiconductor not only kilovolts, but kiloamps of current. (I worked with SCR pucks that could handle around 1500 amps at several hundred volts.)

In fact the new big thing for power transmission is ultra-high voltage DC transmission, only possible with advances in power semiconductors. So you have one power line at +500kV and another at -500kV, and the difference between them is one million volts!

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 22:59 on Jun 28, 2013

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Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


I think sometime back mechanical computers were mentioned. I found on YouTube a really neat Navy video explaining how the mechanical parts of the computer work. I love these really old films because they do such a good job explaining how these things work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1i-dnAH9Y4

The barrel cam at 10:30 is really amazing.

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 03:14 on Jun 30, 2013

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


You can get USB to Serial converters. Be careful, because the quality on some is really dodgy and can be a serious PITA to get working.

I've used them at work when you have an old protective relay (monitors really big pieces of electrical equipment like transformers and motors) that will only communicate over RS232 or RS485.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Collateral Damage posted:

The supercomputing centre at the local university has a huge HP cluster with an infiniband interconnect. Each machine in the cluster has a blue unit ID LED on the front and rear, which can be turned on/off by software. One of the first programs the cluster ran was a small application that made a waterfall effect across all the nodes using the ID LEDs.

The centre incidentally also owns a twin cube (16k processors) CM-2 machine, although it hasn't been in use for ages. The RAID array (the curved thing to the right) was used as a reception desk for a while.



One oddity I found: a three-phase, 60 to 400hz motor-generator set.

Apparently the old Crays (Cray 1, 2, XMP, YMP, stuff like that) had power supplies that utilized 400hz provided by a motor-generator set. This provided perfect isolation from the electrical system, and also allowed some degree of ride-through if there was a sag or a transient on the power line.

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 04:07 on Oct 26, 2013

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Platystemon posted:

100–200 kW.

This is the sort of stuff you'd want to have to accommodate a supercomputer installation:

  • Computer power distribution, preferably fed from a motor-generator UPS, flywheel UPS, or a double-conversion UPS (you need to be very careful if you upgrade a system that has an older UPS, since those were designed to supply power to lagging power factor power supplies, new power supplies are at unity or leading power factor, and it may be possible to overload the UPS)
  • Non-UPS power for things like running power tools, vacuum cleaner, etc. (I heard a story about a bank of servers crashing when the cleaning lady came in and plugged her old vacuum cleaner into a UPS outlet that was only for the computers.)
  • Drop floor for cabling
  • Cable trays hung from the ceiling
  • Cooling air - this can be substantial for big installations
  • Physical security, RFID key, pin number, biometrics, etc

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Collateral Damage posted:

This is pretty much the steps for building any professional data center, not just for supercomputers.

You're absolutely right, I should have been more broad.

bisticles posted:

The current generation of mainframes requires, I believe, a 42" raised floor. This is for airflow, since for every X systems you have, you need a thing called a chiller, a gigantic system that draws in warm air from the top of the room, cools it off, and shoves it under the floor. The mainframe systems themselves draw air up from openings in the floor and blast it out the back. You *can* have systems with a sort of huge radiator attached to the door, which soaks up heat and dumps it elsewhere, but it's usually more cost-effective to cool by forced air.

Nice, that's a tiny little chiller. You should see the ones where the compressor motors operate off of 4160V instead of just 480V and require an actual cooling tower to operate. Sort of like that chiller but a whole building instead of a rooftop unit.

Do the much larger data centers have something like this, where they just pump chilled water out to areas that need cooling, and warmed water returns? (I think with a massive, central chiller operation you get higher efficiency, but if you have multiple small units it's easier to manage if just one breaks down.

I also heard that some of the biggest datacenters are built in areas where the facility can be fed from two different electrical grids/providers for ultra-high reliability as far as power goes.

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 00:12 on Oct 27, 2013

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Collateral Damage posted:

Funny story about dual power feed datacenters. Our local Silicon Valley wannabe has several large datacenters with dual power feeds. Between the area and the rest of the city is a small mountain range, and there's only one cable tunnel through the mountain. A couple of years ago there was a fire in the tunnel. Cue every datacenter in the area suffering a power loss because the fire cut both feeds running in the same tunnel.

Yup, common cause failure. Bad design.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


German Channel 2 Analog Shutdown

Fitting music too...

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Woah, is the audio encoded optically somehow? Are those two audio tracks on the left side of the "dual bilateral" one?

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


KozmoNaut posted:

My rule of thumb is that if someone tosses you a capacitor larger than the last joint of your little finger, you let that sucker drop. If it's the size of a beer can, you duck and cover.

If it's a medium voltage power factor correction capacitor... Well you cannot easily toss those.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


25 frames? Not seconds, or minutes, but frames?!

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Mr.Radar posted:

This printer talk reminded me of The Secret Life of Machines episode on copiers. About a third of the way into the episode they give a demonstration of the world's first commercial xerographic copier:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2NIAD5qn7E#t=498s

If you're a fan of obsolete tech the whole episode (and hell, the whole series) are worth watching.

I love this show so much.

I remember watching it on the Learning Channel back in the mid-90s when it actually showed really cool science and history stuff.

And the charming cartoon bits that they animated.

"Eyyyy you breaka' my plates, I smasha' you face!"

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Humphreys posted:

Nice project on dumb terminals:
http://hackaday.com/2015/09/11/mart...e-back-with-me/

EDIT: A few pages back someone mentioned core memory. Here's one from the IBM 1401:



http://www.righto.com/2015/08/exami...ule-inside.html

Core memory is pretty wild in that it's not really random-access, you have a bunch of cores arranged together, and one way to read them is to basically cycle through them.

Also, reading bits can cause the bit to change state.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


https://youtu.be/Sx_qTIhtLj8

8-Bit Guy does the Telstar answering system.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Metal Geir Skogul posted:

Also check out his other channel, 8-bit Keys. I have a knowledge of music through 20 years of clarinet playing, and I thought this other channel about keyboards etc would be boring. However, it's just as much about the technology as his main channel, and most videos are definitely worth a watch.

TechMoan also has some amazing obsolete tech.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=user?Techmoan

Any other similar YouTube channels? I love watching these at the gym.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


I've worked around some ancient electrical equipment like electromechanical protective "relays" - clockwork mechanisms that measure current and power and switch electrical equipment off if there's a problem.

A lot of that has been replaced with solid-state relays that have microprocessors. But some of the old ones are pretty wild.

Also you and I are friends now Mr. Radar.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


mobby_6kl posted:

These cars will soon become obsolete technology themselves since you won't be able to replace the one component most likely to become quickly outdated. Like the built in early 2000s navigation systems.



"Hey Beavis, let's go to Wien uh Huh huh uh uh"

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


chitoryu12 posted:

In highly obsolete technology news, I rode in a 1914 Ford Model T today.

There's zero safety features whatsoever in a crash. The seat is relatively comfy, but at 6'2 my knees are permanently bent and the door handle is wedged against my thigh.

The vehicle is also surprisingly quiet. You can hear a driver talking to his passengers from 100 feet as long as he isn't revving the engine.

The safety changes even over a decade are amazing, let alone a century.

There are accidents you could get into riding a car from the 70s or 80s that would easily kill or maim you that in a modern car with the improved unibody frame, crumple zones, and front and side-curtain airbags you could probably walk away from with non-debilitating injuries. Or with some of the newer electronic safety systems like lane guidance, blind spot monitoring, and radar might be outright prevented.

I had a near-miss when an idiot in front of me slammed their brakes and made a hard right turn but my car detected that and warned me.

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 03:43 on Jun 11, 2017

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Also this is the most important video on the Neo Geo:
https://youtu.be/Q_kGJBv6Wr4

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Obsolete, but still absolutely amazing:

The CM-1 Connection Machine supercomputer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjmostrFetg

The CM-5 Connection Machine supercomputer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blvC0DA96dI

They're so... blinky...

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 23:59 on Jul 4, 2017

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


When I was a kid I wondered if Cray would ever make desktop systems... sadly the closest thing they ever made the was CX1 "desk side supercomputer" but that would have been amazing.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


How about some 3D graphics from a product called Wavefront?

https://youtu.be/dolXi-3BcuA

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


I kinda miss plug in plug out PSUs. Of course back then a computer with multiple monitors was a crazy fever dream.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Gromit posted:

My friend got a local universities old $4m SGI Origin 3000 supercomputer when they wanted to throw it away. Not really a home-use machine with it using 7kW of power or something stupid like that.
I've got one of the empty racks in my garage but it's too big to fit through the door into my house and I'm not sure what I want to do with it anyway. It has an awesome "3-phase to standard household power" distribution board in it and a great door. If I get a house with a big computer/gaming room I might put a fridge inside it or something.

Got a photo of the power distribution equipment? (It's 240/400V right?)

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


legooolas posted:

In the UK it tends to be against the health and safety rules at most companies to have multiple phases in the same rack, since you can do yourself more damage with 440V potential between different phases...

In the right places in the US it can be 600/347V.

I want to see a power supply that works on 347V.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Fo3 posted:

Yeah, that's how large single phase inverter air cons and motors work. Single phase ac in and 3 phase dc out. Existence of these things these days is why the power company probably don't want to reftrofit 3 phase mains supplies to current single phase houses. they'll just tell you to buy inverters and deal with it.
But I suppose if you threw enough money at them anything is possible.

Was gonna say that the "two-phase" system used in homes is called an "Edison" system, two 120V lines 180° out of phase. You can also use a specially wound transformer called a "Scott-T" to get three phases out with two phases in. However the two phases in have to be 90° apart. That's not really normal unless you say only have two wires and put a Scott-T at each end.

Some of the super old electrical stuff is wild. Some early ships had generators that ran at 25Hz - the crew areas illuminated by this system were referred to as "the flicker" because the low frequency caused the lights to... well... flicker.

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 02:28 on Jul 23, 2017

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


This was one of the most powerful supercomputers in the early 90s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aDh8zg50uI

Skip to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aDh8zg50uI#t=1237s - Explanation of the 3D torus architecture
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aDh8zg50uI#t=3163s - Sweet, sweet hardware
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aDh8zg50uI#t=3237s - That PE removal shim

The power supplies themselves are liquid-cooled and can provide up to 1800 amps each.

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 00:43 on Aug 10, 2017

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjMZ5qtyCUc

Mercury arc rectifier - this was used until 2013. This takes AC and turns it into DC. (The two sets of three connections to the side are for the AC side connections.

Nowadays you'd just have package of six rectifier diodes that would transform AC into DC. This would be pretty monolithic, no moving parts, and some heatsinks and fans. Maybe water cooling depending on the size. But nowhere near as fancy.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Horace posted:

And they deserved it. Those earbuds were terrible.

I saw one of these yesterday:



It's a car stereo where you place your iPod on a little slide out tray and the radio ingests it.

"Driver complained that the car's iPhone dock isn't working and was scratching his phone"
https://www.buzzfeed.com/stephaniem...4YEJ#.pr8wOV6ow

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


OLD synchronous motor starting up. The stator actually spins and is manually braked during startup.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNuI6keQXYA

quote:

I get how it works - it's like the predecessor to modern soft start technology using mechanical means, letting the motor housing to rotate initially then gradual braking to get the housing to slow down, the magnetic field counter force starts the rotor spinning the opposite direction and the slow braking effect brings the load on gradually reducing inrush current, clever and simple, I love it

And another: old 1600A DC circuit breaker teardown by Photonic Induction!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAhq_A4EbkE

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 01:14 on Sep 17, 2017

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


This rules. Old barrel organ playing "Smooth Criminal"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ6aDLpWON8

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


https://youtu.be/xmWg7CtN0Ac

The NIMO tube - the Nixie’s prettier, 1.7kVDC cousin.

(Data sheet at 5:29)

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 22:58 on Oct 23, 2017

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Horace posted:

They still sell these, at least it looks outwardly identical except it isn't a music box anymore. The discs are smooth:



The grooves press a combination of buttons on the bottom of the stylus which tells it which song to play from its internal memory. It still has the clockwork turntable, but it's just for show.

Well that’s kinda lame. At least with the other one there was a clever mechanism involved.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


GRINDCORE MEGGIDO posted:

It is lame. I learned a ton of mechanical principles from old toys like that.
No wonder kids on my lawn like fidget cubes and things like that.

Yeah! I was at a flea market a few years ago and found this neat little cube. Some kind of fancy old toy. I think there’s some way to open it up but there’s a ton of mechanical contraptions inside it. I need to spend a little more time to see if I can figure it out.

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Hey I love the sound of a motor starting.

https://youtu.be/pdSKT_8OfKg

(I am a little concerned about the current imbalance they might want to do some additional tests in case there is a problem with the windings... )

Three-Phase has a new favorite as of 23:53 on Nov 17, 2017

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


It’s dat WOOO WHOOOOO

https://youtu.be/JZD-ADArwXo

Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Not having an RS232 port is a PITA talking to tons of industrial equipment.

I have used USB-R232 converters but the quality runs from “OK” to “complete garbage”.

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Three-Phase
Aug 5, 2006

by zen death robot


Negrostrike posted:

I remember Enigma's Return to Innocence was playing pretty much everywhere back in 94. My old folks used to listen the poo poo out of Deep Forest's Boheme as well, and so do I sometimes nowadays.

I liked the music they picked for the “90s Man” exhibit in South Park.
https://youtu.be/-dJTT3o81fw

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