Retro Challenge 2017/4 – Rack Teardown and Wrap Up

Ok, firstly, apologies for the lateness of this post.  The stuff below was actually done a couple of weeks ago, but time has just got away from me.  Hence this is being written up 2 days past the closing date for RC2017/4.  Sorry

Anyway, this part of my challenge involves investigating a rack that came as part of the old stuff that I picked up.  Looks like a 3 bay x 12 slot Eurocard rack.  Lets take a closer look…

At the back of the rack there’s 3 big power supplies.  Very big!  One for each of the 3 bays supplying 12v and 5v.

There were no cards in the rack when I got it, so the obvious thing to do is check they fit… well, no, not quite.  The guides take the cards in at quite an angle.  I assumed that there’s some adjustment and it just needs a bit of tweaking to get everything straight.  Lets start taking things apart to do that…

The top and bottom panels slide out without too much trouble after removing a couple of screws…

The 3 power supplies need to be removed to get at the back of the bays

Can’t see any adjustment yet.  However, we can see where the power rails are connected

Looks like the power rails are very very beefy!

On closer inspection, the PCBs are trippled up!  3 layers of PCB! Why?  The sockets are, I assume, wire-wrap sockets, hence having leads long enough to get through 3 boards.

And, not only that, but everything apart from the power has been disconnected between sockets.  Judging by the straightness, it’s been cut by hand!

And, looking at all the support rails and hardware, they have all been cut to length by hand too… but not with any consistency – hence the wonkyness of the cards.

Further investigation shows that nothing is likely to line up, the backplane is, well, just odd, but that the new backplane boards (which would feature in a later part of this Retro Challenge) would fit.

In all honesty, I really don’t know what to do with this.  I suspect that it was probably built as some kind of test rig, but I doubt that it’s actually been put to any use otherwise cards would slide in and out.  Apart from a lot of dust, there’s not really any signs of use.  However, I’ve got some 10 slot and 12 slot backplane PCBs that are new and unused, so it is tempting to re-cut all the hardware to accommodate 3 of those.  But, that would still beg the question about what I would do with it.  Hmmm… maybe this will reappear in another Retro Challenge some time in the future.  Who knows?