No Name Computer, Tech Info

This document copyright Herbert R. Johnson, prior edit May 30 2011, current edit Jan 12 2021
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I 2007- 2011 I came across a few references to "No Name Computers", a S-100 company during the early 1980's. I was contacted in 2021 with some first-person information, so updates are finally coming! - Herb Johnson

No Name Computer artifacts

A NNC chassis with Vector Graphic cards

In 2007 one of my colleagues Andrew Lynch was working on what he called a "Vector Graphic S-100 system", which I discuss on a Vector Graphic Web page. Inspection of photos shows it to be a NNC-branded S-100 chassis, with three Vector Graphic cards and a S-100 bus probe card. Here's some photos of Andrew Lynch's system, with his permission:
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In a vintage computing discussion thread from 2007, someone identified the chassis or cabinet Andrew Lynch photographed, with the NNC "badge". NNC or "No Name Computer". Andrew claimed the chassis was a Vector Graphic chassis with an NNC badge on it; the discussion continued about VG. This apparently spread the impression that NNC was "a Vector Graphic clone" company or product line. This Web page may have contributed to that impression: my apologies.

NNC chassis with SCP cards

Here's a Web link to a site that displays an apparently identical NNC chassis with an SCP card set. (The site owner doesn't identify him/her self. The restoration of the computer was doen in 2009.) The computers was in use through the 1980's including years by the site-owner. The chassis is well described as an "NNC Electronics enclosure, backplane and power supply". There's no NNC badge but apparently the chassis was provided with cards and software by Seattle Computer Products. The chassis does look much like one of the Vector Graphic chassis. The backplane PC board is badged "NNC 100". Tim Patterson (SCP programmer and originator of what became MS-DOS) is quoted: "But Tim Paterson himself confirmed for me that the "case and disk drives were from other sources."".

NNC chassis with CCS cards

A March 2016 post in a vintage comptuting forum describes "a complete S-100 Mainframe (No Name Computer) with a CCS (california computer systems) board set" on sale on eBay, last price $475 no-bids. Personally, that reminds me that *I* have a CCS chassis, and I recall it looks like the chassis (plural) shown by Andrew and at I'll update this note if I can confirm this.

NNC Z80 CPU board 2021

My good friend Jon Chapman AKA "system glitch" , posts in a vintage computing group in 2011 and again in 2021, about "a S-100 single board computer, the NNC (No Name Computers) CPU-Z80-IEEE. It appears to have a Z80, i8255, two i8251As and an i8253, as well as sockets for two [24-pin ROM/RAMs]". again, it's suggested it's a "rebadged VG machine" but this claim is challenged. "Don Maslin's archive" is mentioned as an information source, and archives show that Maslin collected a

Conclusions and observations

So it appears that NNC distributed a S-100 chassis, with power supply and backplane of their production; and various S-100 boards they produced. I do not know how or where the cabinetry (box) was obtained. But in the 1970's and 80's cabinets and mechanical components were industrial products available either stock or customized. Rebadging - adding one's company name to a product bought from others - was completely common and normal.

People today (or a decade ago), may have the mistaken notion that S-100 systems were somehow only of one "brand", sold (like automobiles?) only as complete systems. That did happen in the era. But dealers, owners, and manufacturers sold and used cards and chassis from many sources. In fact, many S-100 companies began by selling add on cards or a case or a chassis for S-100 cards. Certainly S-100 owners mixed brands *all the time* - the strength of S-100 was about change and upgrade and widespread S-100 board products; just as the IBM-PC became the base standard for an ISA and PC-clone market.

No Name Computer(s) research and documents

year 2007

Tracking the company name on the Web in 2007, I saw they announced a S-100 chassis as a seperate product, in the Oct 13 1980 issue of InfoWorld as a press release. NNC apparently sold CPU and FDC cards also, as based on recent ebay sales of NNC cards in the 2007 period.

year 2021

Jon Chapman mentioned "digging through Don Maslin's archive". That archive is another story. Thanks to Al Kossow and the CHM for recovering those files. I found with GREAT effort, a "raw" version of the archive on the Web that wasn't a 200+MB ZIP file. The archive has links to that ZIP file but also an unzipped set of files. The NNC files are buried under "maslin_c_d_3oct95/ddrive/sydex/nnc/". a .DOC file there is slightly corrupted but is titled "NNC-CPU-Z80 IEEE", with notes on switch settings. There's a ZIP file with an uncorrupted version of the document, and some td0 disk-image and uue files, etc.

In Jan 2021 I was contacted by someone with first-hand knowledge of the NNC company's activities and knew the owner. As I obtain and clear that information, I'll add it to this Web page.

While searching in Jan 2021, I came across a copy of an obituary of Sandy Watson, founder and owner of No Name Computers. It was posted on the a Freeman PC Museum discussion Web page in 2017. Apparently the Web site is a directory and collection of local museum pages. I have to determine the ownership of that copy, but the obit itself was published by a Long Beech Calif. newspaper and is accessable. So here's the document pending resolution of ownership. And Here's the apparently Web site of the Freeman PC Museum.

- Herb Johnson

Herb Johnson
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