[TUHS] Linotron 202 Information

TangentDelta tangentdelta at protonmail.com
Wed May 13 05:36:43 AEST 2020


I have a pair of controller card cages out of Mergenthaler Linotron 202 photo-typesetting machines. Sadly the machines themselves were scrapped, and these card cages are all I was able to save.

The controllers use Computer Automation Naked Mini processors, which are relatively small 16-bit minicomputers designed for embedded control applications. I've been hacking on these for a few months now and have built up a system bus pinout diagram and several schematics. I haven't been able to find any technical information online in regards to the specific model of Naked Mini processor used in the 202, but I have found a trove of documents for other Naked Mini models on Bitsavers.

I pulled the 512x4bit "boot ROM" mentioned in the "Experience with the Mergenthaler Linotron 202 Phototypesetter, or, How We Spent Our Summer Vacation" paper and dumped it, but the resulting binary doesn't produce any sane-looking code when manually disassembled using the documents on Bitsavers and reference, no matter how I arrange the nybbles. The processor also does not appear to respect the control opcodes issued by the Computer Automation LSI series programming console that I obtained. This has led me to the hypothesis that this is not a stock "Naked Mini" or later "Naked Milli" processor, but something specific to Mergenthaler.

My goal is to get the processor to run my own code, and eventually design my own MaxiBus peripherals to use with it.

If anyone knows where I can look for more information in regards to the 202 and the Naked Mini processor, or has any stories of working on these machines, I would greatly appreciate it!

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