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Questions tagged [mechanical]

Use this tag for questions about historical mechanical (non-electronic) computers

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15 votes
1 answer

I cleaned the grease off an old floppy drive’s motor; do I need to lubricate it?

I have a Sony HD 3.5″ floppy drive. It isn't reading properly and IMD shows the rpm to be 150-200. I dismantled the drive and there was a sticky ‘goo’ on the bottom of the inner ring that sits inside ...
44 votes
11 answers

Was it actually possible to do the cartoon "coin on a string trick" for old arcade and slot machines? [closed]

In cartoons, you often see characters like Scrooge McDuck with a coin where they have drilled a hole in the middle and attached a string, enabling them to insert the coin multiple times and keep ...
3 votes
3 answers

How did control characters work in real teletypes?

Emulated terminals can accept control characters, being able to move the position of cursor, to delete a char or a word or even to clear all screen, change foreground and background colors, etc. ...
3 votes
1 answer

Can this bottle of "Lubricating Oil" be used to lube up Nintendo 64 sticks?

I have two original Nintendo 64 controllers. A year or so ago, I finally opened them up and replaced the old, worn-out analogue sticks with new ones. They work and I can play games, but it "...
2 votes
2 answers

Can DES be implemented with the technology of the 20th century? [closed]

Can the cryptographic algorithm DES be implemented in a electromechanical machine with the technology of the early 20th century (1900-1938)? Important Note With technology of 1900-1938, I refer to ...
3 votes
1 answer

Was UCLA's 1948 Mechanical Computer programmable, or merely a calculator?

We define programmable machines as those that can do: sequence selection, and iteration ie the Turing Model of Computing. Here we see the UCLA's 1948 Mechanical Computer performing a calculation. ...
6 votes
0 answers

Did any mechanical computers or calculators handle divide by zero with an exception, or did they all loop?

I just saw this video of a mechanical calculator dividing by zero. Did any mechanical calculators or computers ever provide for a failure mode on divide by zero? Or did they always handle it by ...