Technical Desktops


98x5 Computers Selection:

Name: 1350A Graphics Translator
Product Number: 1350A
Introduced: 1977
Division: Colorado Springs
Ad: Click to see
Original Price: $3000
Catalog Reference: 1978, page 183


The 1350A was effectively a video interface used by digital computers to drive analog CRT monitors. The standard unit came with an HP-IB interface (52101A); 16-bit parallel (52103A) and RS-232-C interfaces (52102A) were also available. The 1350A was often used with the 9825 to give that computer large-screen output. The 9825 sent digital vector commands to the 1350A, which translated these commands to drive an analog monitor. The resultant display is very high resolution. This is because the electron beam on the monitor travels directly from one point on the phosphor screen to the next (whereas the electron beams on digital display scan the entire screen at a set frequency and resolution, illuminating only those dots specified by the program). The 1350A could also produce all 96 upper and lower case letters and most of the special characters in the full ASCII set.

The 1350S was introduced in February of 1980 ($8,900). This bundle included a 1350A and a 1311B 14-inch analog monitor.

The 1350A had a 2K vector capacity. The 1351A was introduced in 1981 (at $5,000) with an 8K vector capacity. The 1360 Graphics System was introduced in January of 1982. This bundled system included a 1351A, 9826A computer, 1311 monitor, 9111A digitizer, a 9872C pen plotter and InteGraL/60 software.

Click here to view a 10 second video of the 1350A drawing the circular shape example program from the manual onto a 1311A analog display (2.1 MB).

Collector’s Notes:

The 1350As are a lot of fun. For those of us not used to analog displays, the glow that they produce is mesmerizing (compared to digital displays – see the video above). These units are fairly reliable; two of the three machines at the museum are in working order. Most 1350As have an HP-IB interface. These are easier to work with than the RS-232 and 16-bit parallel interfaces.

The Operating and Programming Manual includes some sample programs to drive a 1350A from either a 9825 or a 9835/45. A few tips:

- When setting up your 1350A for the first time, the monitor will often require a fair amount of adjusting to get the image to appear in the right manner in the right place (X-axis, Y-axis, aspect ratio, intensity),
- In the center of the rear panel on the unit, there is an adjustment control labeled “Z GAIN”. This is effectively a brightness control. Turn this control counter-clockwise to increase brightness. The 1350A generates characters at a higher brightness level than it generates vectors. So, if you can see characters from your output, but not vectors, adjust the Z GAIN counter-clockwise.

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