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Hagelin HC-570   CRYPTOMATIC
Desktop electronic cipher machine

The HC-570 is a desktop cipher machine developed by Hagelin in Switzerland in the late 1970s. It is part of the CRYPTOMATIC 500 family of machines and is compatible with the HC-520 pocket device and the HC-530 suitcase cipher machine. It was one of the first electronic cipher machines that were developed as the successors to the ageing H-4605. It was succeeded by the HC-5700.
 
The image on the right shows a typical Hagelin HC-570. The machine is rather large, even for a desktop machine, and its bottom is an integral part of the carrying case. The hood, that has been removed in the image, carries the supplies and accessories, such as the manual, instruction card, cables and spare rolls of paper tape.

All input is via the alphanumerical keyboard at the front of the unit, or the integrated paper tape reader. Output is via a display, just above the keyboard, the built-in printer, the paper tape puncher (right) or directly to the line (rear).
  
Hagelin HC-570

The unit is activated by means of two physical keys to the left of the power switch. The rightmost one (secundary key) is used to enable ciphering and deciphering. The leftmost key is the primary one. It is used for opening the case and for entering the Basic cryptographic Key (BK). The HC-570 has a wide-range power supply, suitable for all mains voltages between 90 and 250 V AC.
 
Hagelin HC-570 Close-up of the controls Close-up of the paper tape reader Key locks and power switch Enabling cipher operation The secure KESO key Opening the paper puncher Paper tape compartment
Compatible machines   Cryptomatic 500
Pocket version, resembling a calculator Suitcase version Desktop model, based on Siemens T-1000 Desktop model Desktop model, based on Siemens T-1000 Unknown model
HC-590
Interior
Now that we have the primary key for this machine, we are able to remove the cover and examine the interior. Apparently, our HC-570 is complete and, apart from a minor issue with the printer transport mechanism, in very good condition.
 
The image on the right shows the machine after removing the cover. Right behind the display is the thermal printer, which appears to be a stand-alone unit. To the right of the printer is the paper tape puncher with a semi-transparent chad box at the right.

At the rear left is the power supply unit (PSU). To the right of the PSU are 15 electronic PCBs, mounted together in a frame. All components are of the highest standard and the PCBs are all coated in order to protect the components against moist.
  
Hagelin HC-570 interior

At the front right is a small paper tape reader. It is a stand-alone unit that is mounted in such a way, that it protrudes a hole in the top cover. This way it can be accessed from the keyboard. More detailed images of the interor below.
 
Hagelin HC-570 interior Paper tape reader Paper puncher PSU Placing the air filter Top view of the 15 PCBs Part of the electronic PCBs Belt missing from the printer

 
Creating a physical key
The HC-570 needs two physical keys for its operation. They are both located to the left of the power switch and are of the rather complex KESO type. When we first acquired this machine in December 2010, we were unable to open it, as the primary KESO key was missing. This key was needed to operate the locks that keep the top lid closed, as well as to set the Basic Key (BK).
 
Luckily, lock expert Barry Wels [1], was willing to help us out. Barry helped us before in 2009, with the creation of a new key for our Enigma M4 without removing or damaging the existing lock.

On 25 March 2011, Barry visited us again and produced a working key from scratch, using a technique known as impressioning. The image on the right shows the resulting key. It looks in no way like a genuine KESO key, but operates nevertheless smoothly. Unlike an original KESO key, the impressioned one is not symmetrical and can only be inserted one way around.
  
Close-up of the impressioned KESO key

Starting off with a blank polished key, Barry wiggles it inside the lock. He then searches the key for minor scratches and files away the unwanted parts. This process is repeated numerous times, until the lock finally gives in. Although it sounds easy, it is in fact a tedious job which requires a skilled expert. Check the video below to see the final stages of impressioning the BK key.
 

Further detailed images are available below. Click any of the thumbnails to enlarge. If you want to learn more about lockpicking and creating keys from scratch, you might want to check out Barry's website, or visit our page about lock-picking.
 
Close-up of the impressioned KESO key Side view of the impressioned KESO key Both keys present Using the new KESO key The rightmost cable-operated case lock, controlled by the primary KESO key, Shown here in closed state. The rightmost cable-operated case lock, controlled by the primary KESO key, Shown here in opened state. The new KESO key for the HC-570 created by Barry The new KESO key for the HC-570 created by Barry
Documentation
  1. HC-570 Short-Form Instructions
    Crypto AG. Date unknown.

  2. HC-570 Operating Instructions
    Crypto AG. Date unknown.

References
  1. Barry Wels, lockpicking expert

Further information

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Crypto Museum. Created: Thursday 02 December 2010. Last changed: Saturday, 22 April 2017 - 19:27 CET.
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