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P > PHILIPS  > P/330


Mike Chatwood reports :
We had two machines very much like this one at school in the late 1970's. Ours didn't have a VDU but used a daisy wheel printer as its output, it also had a punch card reader for input. Infact the first program I ever wrote was on one of these machines. The machines had been donated by a local company when they upgraded & philips maintained the machines for free so long as we didn't attach the hard disc's.

Alain Gehin adds:
This computer followed a well-proven range of Philips systems. The Data 4000 in 1970, and the Data 8000 in 1971. It could read and save information from magnetic strip cards which were also used for individual printings. Programs and data could be thus easily carried in a small suitcase. The built-in printer could use either normal or fanfold paper.

Dani Galán's memories:
My grandfather was land agent in a small town of Málaga, Spain. He bought this machine in late 1970's for his job, with a cost of about 12,000 Euros (2.000.000 pesetas).
The hard disk, which was replaced one time with an additional cost of 1.000.000 ptas., takes the size of the two 8" floppy disk drives. I don't know its capacity, but it has only one disc.
The floppy disk drives were supplied with 220 volts, 50 Hz for the disk running mechanism. They were always in function since the power was up. To prevent wearing, a coil pushed the heads onto the disk surface when access to disk were needed, and then released when finished.
This computer had a curious function of "emergency stop", enabled when a special button was pressed. It shuts down the system but keeps the memory contents, so when the computer is re-started, the last data screen is recovered. I've never tested this function!, this is the explanation given by the instruction manual.
The P330 was in operation until 1996.

Dave Marzetti worked for Philips Data Systems (Canada) from 1976 to 1982:
This was the 4th (and last) generation in the Philips line of bookkeeping machines.  The earlier versions used ledger cards with magnetic stripes down the sides to hold the information and usually were preprinted with column headings.  As the machine would post information to the card, the transaction info would be printed on the card.
This particular model was the first to actually use rotating media (floppy drives).  There was not a hard drive option available (at least in North America) and the floppies in the early model (1975 - 76) were 512KB capacity Single Sided Double Density and the later ones (1977-79) were available with 1Mb capacity Double Sided Double Density drives.  
The PIOC in the P330 was only for loading the Bootstrap program and certain hardware utilities.  Application programs were loaded from the floppy.  In the earlier models (P320 P310 without video screen and floppies), the programs were indeed loaded via the PIOC.
These machines were designed with power supplies for both sides of the Atlantic which were configurable with internal jumpers.

As an aside, this computer can be seen in the submarine scene in one of the James Bond films (Live and Let Die, I believe).  As well, the P430 is also used in that film in one of the later scenes.  As Philips Canada employees, we were given a free screening of the film before its release.

Philips Data 4000 and Data 8000, by D. Smith:
Regarding the Philips Data 4000 and Data 8000, I knew someone who worked on these machines in 1968-69 at 200, Vauxhall Bridge Road. They both used machine code, and storage was on A4 sized cards with a magnetic strip back and front. They cost about £10-12,000, but by having a card reader for an extra £1,000, they qualified as real computers - having "automatic program input" - and people buying them could claim a government grant against the whole cost.

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