The IEE-488 or GPIB bus for controlling instruments by computer has existed now for many decades. It’s often implemented over USB or Ethernet here in 2023, but the familiar connector can still be found on the backs of pricey instruments. In the earlier days of GPIB when a powerhouse Linux laptop was decades away, what computer did the would-be GPIB user reach for? If they were a Rohde and Schwarz customer in the late 1970s the chances are it would have been the R&S PUC process controller, an 8-bit microcomputer that under its smart exterior turns out to be an enhanced Commodore PET. [NatureAndTech] has one for teardown, and you can see it in the video below the break.
Readers with long memories will remember that the PET had an IE-488 bus on a card edge connector, and it’s possible that’s why R&S took it as the basis for their machine. But this isn’t merely a PET in a fancy box, instead it’s a fully new PET-compatible computer, and it has some interesting features. There’s more memory than the original, a set of disk drives, and an expansion bus complete with a high-res graphics card allowing pixel graphics rather than text. Surprisingly though it has a BASIC interpreter it’s a hardware clone of the PET only, the ROM is unique to Rohde & Schwarz.
We think this machine is probably rare enough that we’re unlikely to see one in the flesh, but it’s been a fascinating thing to examine. You can join in with the video below the break, or you can look at the PET’s impact on a more recent scene.