Problem #1 is most definitely this little guy:
The jack for the auto-locator is a rectangular, keyed, 50 pin, 3 row (18/14/18) connector that does not seem to exist any more. It is a little under 2 inches (5 cm) in the long dimension. The internet seems to have no idea who made these, or if you can get a male version to mate with it. Even the old, crusty guys that hide from humans in the back of the electronics supply place had absolutely no idea who manufactured this. So, I will have to make the male one if this works out and I get a functioning unit. For now, and only for proof of concept, I will make do with whatever I can figure out. If anyone knows anything about this type of connector, please do enlighten us.