Computer and operating systems
In early editions of the Operators Manual it stated "It is recommended that for best performance an 80286 or better machine be used." The first displays used XT personal computers but by the late eighties the 286 had become the nom. As personal computers progressed through the 1990s, the latest model was used as the platform for PC Rapic on new machines. Likewise operating systems changed from DOS though Windows 3, Windows 95 & 98 and Windows 2000.
Expanded memory was also an original requirement with a minimum of 512k required but 2 megabytes recommended from the earliest generations. This massive 2 Mb provided for the sequenced animation of 38 radar pictures.
Display & Mouse
The original display used EGA format and a Microsoft Bus Mouse.
Hard Disk Storage
The early XT PCs worked with just a 20 Mbyte hard drive but by the time the 286 computer had been introduced the handbook stated that a 32 Mbyte drive could store 4000 to 8000 radar images which typically was 3 to 6 weeks of 10 minute interval data. As hard drive size grew from megabytes to gigabytes the issue of storage capacity became irrelevant.
At first all data communications was in the binary synchronous format inherited with the EEC RDRS system. This was done to make the displays compatible with the radars fitted with such equipment. This required the use of an IBM BiSync card. Dataplex DPX-224 and Telecom TEL-424 were the only modems that were capable of providing dialup connection with this system.
Later V22-bis modems became usable as the network was converted to ASCII asynchronous data.
At some sites the display was automatically switched between a leased line connection to the local radar and a dialup modem for remote access to other radars.
Then X28 connections were added to the capabilities as the Bureau of Meteorology built that network and in the nineties Intranet network operation. This made it possible for a Slave PC Rapic to access a master database on a networked PC that would gather the data from the nation's radars.
The need for printouts of radar images that largely had a lifetime of ten minutes was fairly limited. So for the first ten years the only printer that was the Hewlett Packard Paintjet Colour Inkjet printer. By 2001 a small range of currently available printers were supported due to demands of foreign contracts.
Graphics for TV Stations
In order to satisfy the requirements of domestic television stations, broadcast standard video signals could be provided by fitting a Matrox PIP 1024 graphics board.
1. PC Rapic Display System Operators Manual