Transputers are ancient tech… but pretty cool. Unfortunately they were much ahead of their time and were outclassed by other manufacturers coming out with faster, more traditional microprocessors.

Anyway, I have a few of them, as well as a few interface boards that connect them to more typical computers (read as: PC's or workstations).


Interface Boards

Transtech TMB04

A Transputer TRAM interface board for the 8bit ISA bus. It has a 32bit T800 class Transputer onboard (gold topped chip at top), 4 additional TRAM module slots (for additional Transputers) as well as 16x 30pin SIMM sockets, hence it can have up to 16MB of RAM allocated to the onboard T800.

The extra slots are not networked in the sense of the Transputer - you have to use the external D-connector with test wires to link them up.

These boards can be used in DOS, Windows 3.1, 95 and NT 3.51, as well as in old versions of Linux (up to about kernel 2.0.x) via standard INMOS tools.


Transtech TMB08

The TMB08 is a TRAM interface board for the 16bit ISA bus with 10 TRAM slots. This particular model has no onboard 16bit T200 Transputer (empty solder pads on the right) and is missing the programmable link switch (normally an INMOS C004) and has hardwired links in its place (the hedgehog looking chip on the far right). This makes it currently not very useful… however the solder pads are in place, so I plan to fit a surface mount T225 Transputer as well as replace the C004 socket with a proper one.

There are a few of these that come up on Ebay now and then, they appear to be industrial controllers since they usually come fitted with a RS422 module (sitting in the left-most socket on my board) and have a hard wired network configuration on the reverse of the board; all easily rectifiable.

These boards can be used in DOS, Windows 3.1, 95 and NT 3.51, as well as in old versions of Linux (up to about kernel 2.0.x) via standard INMOS tools.


Transtech TMB14

Now this is a weird one, well, for me anyway. It's a 8-slot TRAM interface board designed for the VME bus. That makes it a little more unusual than the normal Transputer interfaces.

My particular board came fitted with some rather rare Parsytec PowerTRAM boards - instead of Transputer processors, these use the IBM PowerPC 601 microprocessor, but the board itself can take any normal Transputer TRAM module as well.

The only driver that exists for this board is one that Transtech produced for Solaris 1.x and 2.x on Sparc systems.


Transputer Modules

INMOS B426

A small, size-1 TRAM module containing a T800 32bit Transputer with FPU and 4MB of DRAM. I currently have two of these modules.

Transtech TTM15E

Another size-1 TRAM module, containing a T425 or T800 32bit Transputer with Enhanced DRAM memory modules of an undetermined size. I have two of these modules (one with a T425, one with the T800) but have yet to test them.

Transtech Unknown TRAM

A weird size-2 TRAM module, originally with a T400 32bit Transputer, and 4x 30pin SIPP memory modules (which don't appear to work). I replace the Transputer with a T800 but still need to work out what is wrong with the memory on the module.

Unknown T800 TRAM

A T800 32bit Transputer with FPU. Fitted with 2MB of DRAM.

  • blog/transputer.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/11/08 16:43
  • by john