NCR 399
- A Crufty Relic!

This thing is very cool, and very heavy!

Sometimes things just turn up when you least expect them.. Iknew I had to have it when my cohort, upon having it pointed outat the electronics swap meet, admonished, "NO!!!""Do NOT LOOK AT IT! Do NOT Think About It! It isEVIL!!". what that meant is,"I am not going to help youdrag it uphill across the yard into your lab".

Anyway, the price was right.. The owner said that it was freeto a good home if I wanted it, and he would deliver it for free.The deal was struck. The catch? I had to also take 500 lbs ofelectronic scrap which was on the same trailer. No problem.

The system console, which includesthe CPU and the very wide printer and keyboardalong with a tape loop, weighs about500 lbs. It has core memory.

Storage is in a separate cabinet.there are two fixed disks and an RL0x-like removable media drive.

A couple of these Teletype brand teleprinterconsoles came with the NCR.

And of course, the Keys to the kingdom.. Note the "Supervisor" keys and the"Operator" keys.

I found two references to this machine on the WWW. Both were in German, and I did my best to translate. My best guesses are in (this color)
Here are the statistics on the unit, translated from their German invocation on BerlinWEB , which is a very rich and interesting resource.

NCR model: 399, 399-113, 399-114
First Introduced: 1974 A.D.
Core memory: 12 KB
Max. RAM KB: 20 KB
HDD: 9.8 MB

Data storage also on magnetic ledger (a paper with a magnetic strip which can be inserted into the printer and read, and printed on.)
Model 399-113: 1976
Model 399-114: 1976

The following information was found in the archives at the COMPUTERWOCHE site inGermany (and this article has disappeared for some reason).

COMPUTER WEEK No. 39 of 26.09.1975

Model series NCR 399 expands
AUGSBURG - the MDT computer NCR 399 is to get brothers and sisters shortly. The models 399-113 and 399-114 are planned. While the 399 in the FRG comes only with a magnetic disk with 9.8million characters, the version 113 can be equipped with a magnetic disk of half capacity for economy?. The system (20 Kbyte) has, according to standards, a magnetic tape cassette station.

With the model 114 an optional mosaic (dot matrix?) printer (173 characters / second) is available. For both models a magnetic ledger mechanism is offered as an addition. As the basic model 399 the versions can be used as a stand alone machine or as an intelligent terminal. The models399/113 and 114 will come on the market at the beginning of of 1976.(pi)

Future: I will get the beast cleaned up (it's extremelydusty), and see what it'll do..

A Programmer's Perspective:
Subject: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid (NCR 399) :-)

I just happened to find your NCR399 page by mistake. Oh my God! I can't believe those are still around anywhere! I would have thought that anyone who had ever programmed one would have made it a personal goal to destroy any remaining ones. :-)

My first job out of school was for NCR. I spent the better part of three years programming that monster and installing them around Massachussetts. When I first started using it, we only had two cassette tape drives on it. To compile, you had to have one tape for your source, another for the compiler, and another for the linker, and finally one to write your object code to, It would take about 30 minutes to compile a program, and every 5 minutes or so you had to change tapes.

The programming language is Neat/AM (AM=accounting machine) The magnetic ledgers were a piece of ledger paper about 12" wide by 16" long. They had a piece of magnetec tape glued to the back which would store the information printed on the front. They were great transition systems for the small business which had always used paper ledgers to keep their books. The 399 let them keep their ledgers, but then they could feed the ledgers one at a time into the system where it would be read onto tape at the end of the month.

You would then have a statement program, or general ledger, or accounts payable which would read the tape and produce checks, or customer statements, etc.

You could also enter patches into the console after you had loaded a program. (I was known as "patches" by one of my customers for a time :-) ) Oh well, enjoy it. It was kind of like seeing an old friend, after a long time, well sort of...

Words to live by with a 399... "If all else fails hit Halt, then reset, then compute :-)