Origins of the 4680 Series POS Terminals
This deals mostly with OS4680 / OS4690, Store Controllers, 4683 and 4693
Origins of the 4680 Series POS Terminals
Greg Fretwell asserts:
4680 (Ed. The
4680 series of POS terminals) came from the original QuickServe systems
that were in Burger Kings and they originally ran on real 8 bit mod 30s
with a "wedge" that used the keyboard, display, parallel port (for the
customer LCD display) and serial port for the ticket printer. The operator
display was a Sony Walkman that was taught to talk VGA.
The follow on 4651 (Wendy's) and 4655 (Chili's)
was a 286 30 repackaged in a special board. The rest of the 4680 grew from
that. They are all ISA bus as far as I know. We spun that business off
around that time and I did not get involved in the mall stores and grocery
systems. I did have grease in my hair and ketchup in my veins throughout
the 1980s (3680s) and the roll out of 4680s in fast food (early 90s).
Wendy's rolled out their first 4651 in Naples Fla. I had
a spare register under my desk (from that rollout) until I retired in 96
and did road shows with it. I took it to Decatur Georgia once to prove
to Burger King they STILL had a software problem in QS-1, a system later.
Turned out to be in the print spooler. We caught it in Decatur. God only
knows how many perfectly good mod 30 boards went in the trash over that
one. I know I had a bunch at several EC levels.
Clint Moody surprised us by revealing PS/2s still in production:
I work as a programmer for a large point of sale group. Most
of it is IBM 4690 OS and OS/2. We don't work for IBM directly, but
develop software along side for the 4690 OS (formally known in the 1990s
as the 4680 OS).
We still use an IBM 500 PC Server (overclocked to 210 MHz) as our main
code file server and print server. Runs NT so it can talk with the
modern XP network etc. XP is not by our groups choice... there are
other I.T. departments working in our building developing other type of
software on different OSs.
We still have a couple of 9595s fully overclocked to 210 MHz Running
OS/2 Warp 4.5 and IBM 4690 OS (Ver 3.3). However IBM is about to quit supporting
the MCA bus for IBM 4690 OS starting with Version 4 (for machines in the
controller role, not terminal role). However Ver 3.3 still fine for
development purposes. IBM will continue to support IBM 4693 terminals
with MCA bus for the 4690 OS above Ver 3.3.
Note that the IBM 4690 OS only run on machines that
a. Support the IBM 4690 OS
b. Have a "Loop/NVRAM" card (a special ISa/MCA/PCI card)
c. The IBM BIOS needs support for it (goes along with "a.")
So you can't just install this special OS on just any netvista
or IBM PC.
Java 1.4.2 is supported in both OS/2 and 4690.
Also have 9577s with the IDE and S3 Video also hang around as development or
test boxes with 4690 and OS/2. SCSI Magnetic Opticals are highly used still.
But CD-ROMs/DVD-ROMs are becoming more the portable optical media of choice
here. I'm thinking of putting slackware linux on a box or two... it runs fine
on other ISa/PCI boxes, should run fine on the PS/2s.
Our company is still too cheap to upgrade our equipment, so it is kind of
like a timewarp here. Customers of ours still heavily use 4693 terminals....
simply because they are so cheap to obtain. They are sssloooww though... They
are token ring 16mb and ethernet net 10baset... and are without hard drive, so
they boot from the network.
IBM wants so bad to get rid of the MCA bus, but they can't shake it.. too
much demand for the 4693s... too many of them out there. Same for token ring
technology. Do RS/6000 machines count here? Some of them utilize the MCA bus.
There is no reason other than some lag time, that the PS/2s cant still work in
a development environment - or in the POS production environment.
Clint Moody goes on to say:
Actually I don't think the 4683 is MCA, since there really
is no expansion bus for it. As I remember the memory chips for the
4683 don't work with PS/2s... I think the 4683 design was pre-MCA...
in fact the controller for 4683 terminals originally ran on an IBM AT 286!
That was slow even back then.
Through the grape vine, I hear A&P supermarkets just finished getting
rid of their 4683s... Can't believe they were still using them.
Sure I can give you some screen shots of the 4693 and the planar. I've
never tried using the 4693 on board SCSI The 4693s in production for our
customers and in our labs for testing are the latest 4693 model 741 which
is a screaming 66 MHz, but it does have a memory address bus that will allow
32MB or 64MB max... we utilize 32mb because we use a large RAM Drive in
our OS config. (Offline item file storage)
Apparently from the IBM website, these could run NT 4, OS/2 and Windows
95. Even have SVGA on them.
I always found it cool that when you boot a DOS diskette or whatever
on these and you don't have a CRT hooked up, it will redirect output to
the 2x20 VFD/LCD display attached. Nice. SurePOS terminals
after the 4693 didn't do this.
I'll upload the pictures sometime.
All the drivers,
reference diskettes, BIOS, technical manuals are still in the timewarp
section of IBM store support here. Still supported!
It's all there, even the
publications and tech hw support,
just have to poke around a bit:
We keep service contracts with Agilysis for hardware service and parts (new
and old) for customers and our labs. The cables are easily obtained since all
RS485 capable SurePOS terminals use them. I don't do installations or support
of the hardware. If you mean the size of the 4690 OS etc, that I can tell
You'll only need RS485 cables if you want to make it a cash register as they
connect register equipment. If using as a PC only the VFD/LCD will come in
handy as a message display.
The company I work for is in NJ. (I'm not originally from NJ, not that being
from NJ is a "bad thing").
BTW the RS/6000s in our RS/6000 lab have the same case as the PC Server 500,
yet the paint job is different and it has a more fancy info/message LCD
(2x20)... the power switches are different too. I think our customers LEASE
these monsters from some company! Their days are number with us as the software
for them are slowly being replaced with Windows applications. I'll send you
some shots of these guys too.
Check out a AIX OS Admin book at a local Barnes and Nobel or Borders and
check the index for Micro Channel or MCA... These machines still make it in the
production world today. The RS/6000s reset / startup / install is like
launching a missile with the key turning and button pushing.