Tech Thursday: Vintage User Manuals

I began processing a new collection of user manuals and guides for computer hardware and software from the 1970s-1990s. At 50 boxes, it’s a fairly large collection. So far, I’ve found manuals and guides on CMOS Logic Circuits, digital signal processors like the TMS320c4x, Linear circuits, MATLAB, and Solaris. I also found a few packages of Micropower Voltage References. Frankly, I don’t know what most of this stuff is, but after a little checking, I found a few of these manuals on the Internet Archive. Still, I imagine some of this won’t be so easy to find, especially the older materials. Here is a preview:


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The collection may turn out to be a great resource for those interested in technology from the heady days of early microprocessing, but until it’s fully processed, it won’t be available to the public. The Woodson does have other collections of technical manuals open for research, like this one.

2 thoughts on “Tech Thursday: Vintage User Manuals

  1. Have you contacted the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA yet?

    I can tell you some of what you have.
    1) Hamilton/Avnet was a distributor of electronic parts. MOSFET is a type of transistor technology (Metal-on-Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor). Looks like it is a catalog of rectifiers made by RCA to replace those made by International Rectifier. Rectifiers are used in power supplies.

    2) Linear Technologies was another manufacturer. The catalog is of analog components made by Linear (rather than digital ones).

    3) Mostly what it says on the cover. Notice the 3 subsections: Bipolar memories, Microcomputers and TTL product guide. TTL is transistor-transistor logic. This is a catalog of components to build small computers.

    4. CMOS is another semiconductor technology (complimentary Metal-on-Semiconductor). Another catalog of digital logic components.

    5. Intel, like other microprocessor manufacturers, also built a microprocessor development system. This was a machine with a plug that fit into the microprocessor socket on your computer board. You could write assembly code and run it on your board using the development system. It gave you much more visibility into what was happening. These are not used any more because as the speed of processors became higher, they became mostly impractical.

    6. I don’t know what Insite was, but perhaps it was a pre-written library of assembly language programs to do simple tasks (like computations, processing text, etc) which you could incorporate into whatever system you were building. Looks like it was on 8″ floppy disks, dating it to around 1980 or so.

    7. National Semiconductor was once the largest manufacturer of analog components. This seems to be a catalog of voltage references, probably used to build power supplies.
    8. Oh, look. You got a free sample with yoru data book!

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