pdp 8


Behold one of the weirdest and most impressive things I have EVER seen:

A 6800 S-100 based system with PDP-8 front panel switches.  

I will say that again.

A 6800 S-100 based system with PDP-8 front panel switches.  

Apparently weird was the goal of this machine.  I don’t know much of anything about it, and I can’t even remember who’s it was.  It even has a wire wrapped section! Either way, this is an impressive build.


Dave McGuire had one of my favorite exhibits at VCF East X.  He brought along his PDP-8/E, PDP-11/34, another PDP-11 (I forget which model), a VAX-8250, a handful of DEC terminals, and a few other things – Dave brought alot of stuff.

I’m pretty sure he was the largest power consumer at the event.  All kinds of fun stuff was set up for folks to play with at their leisure.  There were disk packs galore, a few floppy drives, some display-only paper tape readers, and a nice variety of terminals.

I spent a great deal of time playing with the PDP-8/E hooked into the VT-52 which was labeled as a “decscope” – it was massive!  I fired up BASIC and programmed a few little things to entertain myself (namely that pyramid looking graphic).  The Mandelbrot set was not my code.  I also keyed in a sine wave program that was on hand to see how it looked on screen.  

I also accidentally crashed the PDP-8/E by addressing a printer that wasn’t there while trying to list the contents of the directory I was in.  OS/8 on a PDP-8 is very foreign to me, and as intimidating as it was to have access to this system without really much knowledge of how to handle it, damn it was fun!  I wish I knew FORTRAN, or I would have played with that too.  

The Post About ROMs

ROMs. The opposite of RAMs. Where RAM (Random Access Memory) can be read from and rewritten to excessively at high speeds, but lose all that data upon losing power, ROM (Read Only Memory) can’t be frivolously written to, but instead retains its data for as long as it is in tact.

But there are many kinds of ROM in the world. Let’s go explore them!

Keep reading


Kyle Owen had not just one but TWO PDP-8′s on display!

His PDP-8/E was hooked into a Teleray terminal, and a very powerfully fast paper tape reader.  Sadly, I don’t remember what it was that he was running on here.  But I do know that he had a small transistor radio that he was attempting to play tunes on via some hacking on the PDP-8/E.

His PDP-8/M was hooked into an oscilloscope and a pair of controllers so that he could demonstrate Spacewar! but when I stopped by it was showing off some pretty graphics.  I believe that this machine was to be booted off of a Raspberry Pi standing in for a proper hard drive or paper tape source.

However, his whole setup wasn’t hooked up for very long, and had to be powered off due to electrical grid concerns.  And I really wanted to play Spacewar!