Control Data Corporation CC609D terminal


03 Sep 2015, 22:08

Hi guys,

have not been very active here in the past months, did acquire some nice keyboards in the last year or so, but just didn't find the time to take pictures and post them. But I did not want to deprive you of this most recent one:
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It is not a keyboard, but a terminal, and it was made by Control Data Corporation, one of these computer companies that used to be super well known but that have been almost completely forgotten since. For quite some years, Control Data Corporation made the fastest computers that existed, before their chief designer, Seymour Cray, started his own super computing company. This terminal surfaced in a secondary school, no idea how it got there, but it used to belong to SARA, the supercomputing centre in The Netherlands.
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It is a CC609D terminal, and I have not been able to find much information about it. The manuals that are available online are from earlier or later terminals, and there is plenty of documentation about their mainframes (ofcourse), but hardly anything about terminals. I get the impression it came out in 1974 or perhaps 1973. Buried in the internals there might be more clues as to the date of manufacturing, but it does have a sticker saying that this particular terminal had something installed in 1975. It has another sticker elsewhere saying that the screen was repaired in 1981.
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The keyboard is built in (the whole thing is built like a tank by the way, of 2mm thick aluminum plates and steel profiles, and it weighs appr. 40 kilos) and has a great color scheme and font (note the square '0' and the diamond 'O')
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Last edited by nourathar on 03 Sep 2015, 22:31, edited 1 time in total.


03 Sep 2015, 22:08

All switches in this keyboard are made by Clare Pendar (was very happy it was not Keytronic or Hi-Tek, since I have a few of them in other terminal keyboards and don't like them much...) and they are all identical. I have not yet been able to open this beast further, so the only keys I have not checked are the spacebar and the caps lock. The latter has some kind of mechanical latching mechanism that is deactivated by pressing the 'shift' next to it. Also I am curious to see what is inside these switches !
The switches feel rather nice and springy, but need cleaning and lubricating, since they have become scratchy with age. They could be not bad at all, very linear and potentially smooth ?
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The keycaps are nicely thick doubleshots, especially the blue/turquoise ones are quite discolored, not sure how well that shows on this picture.
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As I said, I have not yet been able to find much about this terminal. It is visible in a brochure of their 'Cyber' system in 1977, be it slightly in the background.
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And I found this undated picture too:
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When I switched it on, one of the capacitors in the screen section smoked and split open, so I decided to first take it apart and replace (most of) the paper capacitors and check the electrolytic capacitors for leakage, before they cause problems. Fourty years old circuitry !
I hope I can get it to work, and I am especially curious if this terminal has some kind of graphical capabilities too. Its screen is much larger than the (later) terminals I have, so I wonder why that is ....
Any info on this terminal VERY welcome !
Last edited by nourathar on 04 Sep 2015, 00:10, edited 4 times in total.

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03 Sep 2015, 22:20

Wow! Thank you for those lovely photos!

The first terminal I ever owned (had it in my bedroom as a teenager in the early '80s) was a CDC-713, which looked very similar to this one. In fact, I am going to play around with a CDC colorway once my Round 5a caps arrive.


03 Sep 2015, 22:26

Thanks !
there is a manual online for that one, came out a few years after this.....

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03 Sep 2015, 22:44

I don't recall these terminals having any sort of graphics mode. In fact, most of them didn't even have (what eventually became the standard) 80x24 character matrix. I think my CDC-713 was 80x20, and earlier models were only 80x16, I believe.

Where did you find a manual for the CDC-713 online? Was it a scan of an original manual from the 1970s?


03 Sep 2015, 23:07

Ha, I was wrong and was mixing up your 713 with the 617 which came out a few years after my 609.
And then, when I checked, it turned out I was also mixing up your 713 with the 731 of which I found a manual online, and which is actually a few years older. So sorry, no manual for the 713 either as far as I know !

What I found, was here:

http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttga ... /terminal/

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03 Sep 2015, 23:33

Does anyone know if these CDC terminals had Hall effect switches?

I readily confess that my time on the CDC-713 is what established my early and enduring love of sculpted, spherical caps on linear switches.

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04 Sep 2015, 00:29

Very nice photos, thanks for sharing :) .


04 Sep 2015, 19:02

Glad to see the very early switch of Clare Pendar. Hope to see you disassemble it very soon.
Take a look here.

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dye hard

07 Sep 2015, 00:48

I always wonder myself where most of the amazing stuff from institutions (like SURF Sara in this case) ended, and I sadden myself thinking about dumpers and recycling facilities. Nice to see this one survived :-)


14 Sep 2015, 20:27

was able to detach the keyboard-part and desolder a switch, so there are three pictures of the switch here; I did not see any way to take it apart without destroying it, so I didn't. After cleaning the stem the switch turns out to be very smooth and linear. They are reed-switches; I managed to actuate this one by approaching a small magnet, no need to take it apart to find that out !
They make no sound, except that on the upstroke there is a VERY subtle glassy click of the reed switch.
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Offtopicthority Instigator

24 Sep 2015, 20:09

Incredible terminal, thanks for sharing.


24 Sep 2015, 20:35


I am guessing it was a AC line filter cap that exploded ? The large electrolytic will properly be ok, its the little basteds that you want to worry about.

I would bring it up on a variac if you have one give them old caps time to warm up.

At the ages we are talking about i would check diodes as well.


01 Oct 2015, 11:53

thanks !
the cap that exploded was a hi-voltage one in the crt section. I really hope the large electrolytics will be ok enough, since there are quite a few of them !

hmm, good suggestion of the variac, I do have one in storage somewhere. Would that still make sense after already having switched it on after its long sleep ? I had it on for a few minutes, and I suppose the seller did too before deciding to sell it.

Is that slow warm-up something you do once or something to do everytime you switch it on ?


01 Oct 2015, 12:06

If something was going to explode ( spoiler it did :P), then it would have already exploded.

Its always the high voltage ones that explode! Tantalums like to go BOOM! If you have a big one of them, be somewhere else when it decides to go.

The big electrolytic caps will be fine they are made very well, its when you get small ones that they fail as they are usually not so well made, they wont explode , but they may vent and go high ESR.

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01 Oct 2015, 19:47

nourathar wrote: *pictures of the switch*
Jumping Jesus Christ on a fucking pogo stick, they're not exactly low-profile switches, are they? Oo

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Offtopicthority Instigator

01 Oct 2015, 20:09

Normal for that era Chyros. The Siemens switches OleVoip recently explained, Micro Switch,Clare Pendar are all similair in dimensions. But you're right, compare that to something like Cherry ML. The switch housing alone is gigantic. :O

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05 Oct 2015, 00:43

Looks very similar to this one, of which I've been trying to find out for ages what terminal it is exactly



07 Oct 2015, 09:02

Hi Jan,

ah, interesting ! There's so few pictures of this thing and so little information online; now at least we know that Amtrak had quite a few of them..

ofcourse I do not really know and we can not see what is inside that terminal, but I would guess that is the same terminal as mine, perhaps with a few different cards in it and some small modifications in how the buttons and indicators just above the keyboard are laid out; the differences I see are:
- the row of red/blue function keys (the terminal on your picture has a few keys more),
- the white square indicator lights / buttons just above the row of function keys (I see two here and I have three),
- the location of the lock (on mine it is next to the screen, here it is in the same row just under the screen)
- the led indicators (just above the logo on mine, more to the right here, and it seems there are fewer of them too)

So I would guess this would be CC609A,B,C or E or however many variants they had... but that is not based on any real knowledge at all !
I am still hoping to dig up some old manuals related to this terminal from some of the University archives here, but I haven't had much time to pursue that in the last weeks... By accident I did see a vitrine with Control Data parts in one of the physics buildings at the Science Park here in Amsterdam, so it seems there were several institutes who had Control Data equipment back in the days, not just one..

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07 Oct 2015, 10:45

Very cool stuff. Thanks for sharing!

Would you mind posting a picture of the (entire) back of the assembled unit? What kind of connector does it use?

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07 Oct 2015, 11:46

I don't know how relevant this is, but concerning the Amtrak photo with that terminal... I came across this photo from April 1975 of Amtrak's computer center. ... ter-1975-1

Of possible interest: an 8500?
am.jpg (11.43 KiB) Viewed 5256 times
Just speculation on which system it might have been connected to. 1975 and Amtrak are the only real "links" between your terminal and that photo, so it's certainly not conclusive.

Will be very interesting to see what you find out.


16 Oct 2015, 19:15

Awesome. I didn't think I'd ever see a surviving Control Data terminal. They're amazingly rare.

I'm surprised it's Clare Pendar. I thought it would be Cherry. The 1979 Cherry catalogue shows a Control Data terminal.

What you need is a girl with big hair to sit beside it, like this:



24 Jul 2021, 03:44

That terminal may have been made in Tucson, AZ or Roseville, MN. From the late 60's until 1974, they had a facility in Tucson and I worked for them.

That terminal was made by the thousands for the airline reservation system as well as the IRS. I initially worked in cable manufacturing but moved to power supply test and maintenance. The power supply provided +5VDC, -12VDC, +12VDC, 73VDC to power the 14 inch Motorola TV chassis, 6.3VAC for the CRT filament, and 22VDC for some other logic.

I have one of those PS on my bench right now awaiting testing. Eventually I moved to circuit test which used a General Radio PDP 8 with some adapters to test the logic in the cards before they were assembled into terminals.

At one time I had almost a complete terminal but gave most of it away long ago.

CDC closed their terminal products division in Tucson in 1974 and moved everything back to Minnesota.

A low cost version that did pretty much the same thing was made in Tucson by a small company called TEC (Transistor Electronics Corporation). I worked for them for a while after I left CDC. Often times in older movies, you may see either the CDC or TEC version of the terminal in an airline scene.

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