Name that Ware August 2012 (part 2)

In a rare turn of events, I don’t yet have an answer for August’s ware. Many thoughtful comments were posted (particularly the ones about how the board is constructed — thanks very much for that insight!), but none are conclusive.

So, to help things along, I’m posting photos of other boards gathered from the same dumpster dive, assuming they bear some relation to the contest ware, and perhaps one of these can jog someone’s memory or at least narrow down the piece of equipment that they came from.

10 Responses to “Name that Ware August 2012 (part 2)”

  1. Arargh says:

    Well, the first pic is probably part of a keypad, and they are all of the same vintage (81-82),
    but beyond that, GOK.

    GOK = god only knows :-)

  2. Steve Shockley says:

    Is there a such thing as a master list of those IBM 7-digit part numbers? Although I suppose even with 7 digits they may have had to recycle them since 1981.

    The bottom ones look like boards out of an IBM 5120 or similar. I had one of those in the early ’90s but I didn’t know what to do with it.

  3. Alex says:

    The final photo has so many giant transistors, I wonder if they’re all driving individual DC motors, if so the only IBM device with so many moving parts would be a very early 1980’s printer like the IBM 5202 or something.

  4. Ray says:

    I thought initially that it might be from a 5100 series, but I think by looking at both the boards and the front panel it’s more likely that this is from a System/36. The 5360 MSP boards looked quite a bit like this. And the control panels all had 4×4 button arrays. And the computers were cheap enough that they were deployed broadly in schools and small businesses, so it’s likely that the boards found their way into lots of dumpsters and nerds’ basements.

  5. Simon says:

    These are all purely guesses! … boards from an IBM Personal Banking Machine (aka. ATM). The missing chips in the original photo might be the bits that make up the DES encoding.

    The board construction might have been for tempest / shielding reasons.

    • Steve Shockley says:

      The boards on my 5120 were similarly designed, so I don’t think it’s a security feature, or at least not one specific to ATMs. (Was security at that level even a concern for ATMs in ’81?)

      • Simon says:

        Absolutely! One of the drivers for DES was commerce. It was approved for banking applications, including export.

        As an example of an ATM device that had “modules” for doing this, see

        I also believe that quite a bit of research was done on building tamper resistant computers / microcontrollers where the rom / ram was external to the CPU.

  6. griffon says:

    They look like control boards from IBM printers.
    Perhaps an IBM word processor or line printer?

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