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Action Computer Enterprise, Inc.

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  Action Computer Enterprise, Inc. by Bill Degnan - 03/20/2009 21:47
Little is known about the Discovery 500 Multiprocessor S-100 Computer by Action Computer Enterprise, Inc. I found ads for a similar system sold by the same company that appear in Byte magazines in 1981-1982, but no ads for the Discovery 500.

The Discovery 500 Multiprocessor S-100 Computer by Action Computer Enterprise, Inc. This is a "turnkey" system, note the key.


The multiprocessor calls the disk controller, but there is no functioning media. After checking for a disk in the floppy drive, the system searches the hard disk for an OS.


The hard drive makes a horrible screeching, I doubt I will be able to get too far with it. The hard drive is a Disctron, Inc model D526. The floppy drive is a Mitsubishi M4853. Photo of drives. Although this is an S-100 system, the drive controller is not installed on the S-100 backplane and receives it's power separately. Instead the controller sits on the other side of the drives in it's own rails.

The ACE Discovery 500 is a late S-100 era built for export to China as well as for sale in the USA. Based on the date stamp of the chips, I believe that the Discovery 500 was manufactured in 1983.

Action Computer Enterprise, Inc. was one of the pioneers in the development of early multi-user operating systems for business in the late 70's.

If you know more about the Discovery 500, please let me know! In the meantime I am going to see if I can boot with a CP/M disk borrowed from another system, with the hope that the boot PROM has a flexible BIOS. The disks are probably 5ΒΌ" 96tpi DS/DD 624K

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References:
http://pat.jpl.nasa.gov/public/hls/
http://pat.jpl.nasa.gov/public/craig/
http://www.dvq.com/oldcomp/oldads.htm
http://www.adamsint.com/Press/the_chinese_way.html

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  Another Ad by William Dromgoole - 04/21/2009 16:07
I came across another ad.
http://www.dvq.com/ads/acei_byte_1_81.jpg

This uses a different cpu card than yours.
The DPC-180 card has 64k of on board ram, a Z-80 cpu and a serial interface but no boot rom.
I have one in my collection, but I don't know its condition. I have no documentation for it. You can borrow it if you need it for anything.

Bill #3

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  Chief of Research and Development for Ac by William Dromgoole - 04/21/2009 16:36
Herb Siegel

"In the late 1970's and early 80's, he was the chief of Research and Development for Action Computer Enterprise, a company which he helped establish. He designed and wrote the Distributed Processing Computer Operating System which was subsequently licensed to Televideo, Reynolds and Reynolds, and other companies. His computer architecture was among the first for microcomputer multi-processors. "

http://pat.jpl.nasa.gov/public/hls/

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  Former Action Computer User Comment by Bill Degnan - 12/18/2014 13:32
VintageComputer.net Inquiry

Contact Information

Name: Herman
Phone: none given
-------------------------
Comments:
In regards to blog post titled Action Computer Enterprise, Inc.: I have worked on these systems. The good part is that the S-100 bus was the basic communication bus but the system had 3 server-boards dealing with I/O and peripherals. Those server-boards worked independently but had special communication channels with the wide blue flatcables.
Furthermore it was possible to put in slaveboards (the smaller flatcables goes to the serial I/O for monitors) with different processors.
The next generation of ACE (the Discovery X3 (and I own one of those)) also made it possible to connect PC's to the server and enabled the possibility to use terminals and PC's and different OS's (CP/M, MP/M and Concurrent Dos - based on slave-boards and device) connecting to one single harddrive / printers / disks.

Unfortunately the company made great investments in technology but hardly in communication and marketing.


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