Gepard – Part Five d): The Hardware, Misc. Topics

To conclude the hardware parts, here some short remarks on various
“hardware”-related topics.

IMG_20181203_214846158

Serial Numbers
Easy topic. There weren’t any. Neither on the case nor on the cards. However, some cards have a paper sticker with a date on it.

Card Versions
My above remarks on the different cards might have give you the impression that there was only one version of every card. Well, there wasn’t. Some cards have even version numbers on the PCB. See the above picture. CPU card V1.3. Sticker with a “18.11.(19)85” date. Hmm, I could have mentioned that Gepard designed the PCBs (later on with a program on a Gepard), a company in Oldenburg, Germany (where Gepard was located) produced the (naked) Gepards, and Gepard itself populated them. Quite short turnaround time I would assume, but neither the fastest nor the cheapest way. Quality, local production, though. These were the times where assembling stuff in East Asia was not the fast, cheap, (sometimes) quality way to go for every company.

manual

The Manual
No Gepard system was complete without the (up to) 650-page custom-made A5 ring binder. “It was not complete” is not a phrase. As the operating system, the hardware, and the system programs were all completely proprietary, this was the only document that described them. The Modula-2 compiler was near-standard, but not completely, so you also needed a description of the details (e.g. in the 100 page annex). For good measure, it also contained a 144-page introduction into Modula-2 (which made sense as this was exactly the audience that would buy a Gepard). A description of the card hardware (incl. block diagram, population plan, pins and jumpers as well as the occasional Assembler code) allowed the user to use and modify the hardware. The manual was completed by a description of GDOS (the operating system), the “Filer”, and the “Monitor” programs as well as a 100-page description of the Motorola 68000 CPU. Everything you need in a pre-Internet age.

Oh, yes, all documentation is German only 🙂 (well, the nouns are often English as is usual in technical German). You can find two version of the manual in the electronic resources post.

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