Reliable after 50 years: The Apollo Guidance Computer's switching power supplies

Ken Shirriff on trying the AGC power supplies and finding they still work fine.

We recently restored an Apollo Guidance Computer, the revolutionary computer that helped navigate to the Moon and land on its surface.1 At a time when most computers filled rooms, the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) took up just a cubic foot. This blog post discusses the small but complex switching power supplies that helped make the AGC compact enough to fit onboard the spacecraft.
We powered-up the AGC modules with 28 volts using a current-limited supply to limit potential damage from any faults. We took measurements and found that 4V power supply produced 4.09 volts while the 14V power supply produced 14.02 volts. The quality of the power was good, with about 30mV of ripple. We were somewhat surprised that both power supplies worked flawlessly after 50 years.