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Newbie Getting Started with VT-102

Vercus

Experienced Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2009
Messages
123
Location
Pennsylvania
Tim,
I'm working in Lansdale Monday through Thursday this week. Lansdale is about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, just off 476. So, depending on schedule, I might be able to swing by after work on Thursday, if that works for you. Are these DEC racks, or just standard 19" equipment racks?

I would love to see your PDP setup! Sounds like a great opportunity to see this stuff in action. I hope you don't mind if I ask you lots of questions! Feel free to shoot me a PM anytime, and maybe we can set something up.

The weather is getting bad tonight, so I'm gonna shut the server down. So, no more internet for me tonight, but I'll be able to check my e-mail again tomorrow, or maybe later tonight if things clear up.

Take care,
-Jon
 

EvanK

VCFed Founder
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
1,017
Location
New Jersey
I would love to see your PDP setup!

Or you could visit the Jersey shore (the REAL one, not the town of "Jersey Shore, Pa." which I'm told exists) ..... we have a PDP-8 .... 4K of 12-bit words of core memory. Fun!!
 
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EvanK

VCFed Founder
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
1,017
Location
New Jersey
We haven't tested it. So far all we only did an initial cleaning of the top layer of dirt (and who knows what else - it was literally inside a barn). Since then it's been on display as-is. We're going to look into a serious restoration later this year or early next year. One of members is qualified and interested in this project.

Ours is #1,158 of 1,500. Here is a not-so-good picture, without the side covers. Previous owner built the wooden platform.

pdp-8.jpg
 

tradde

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2003
Messages
1,270
Location
Katy, Tx
Both of mine are. functional. I wish the 8i had some working storage and more memory.
It would be much more fun to toy around with running OS/8 or something similar on it.
I'd like to see it run Adventure. I can run that on my 8e. But the front panel of an
8e just isn't as nice as the 8i. Or the straight 8. I learned on an 8i and therefore never
felt drawn to a straight 8. Of course if someone offered me one I would of course take it. :)
But we all know that won't happen.
 

Lou - N2MIY

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Messages
1,306
Location
Albuquerque NM / Potomac MD
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder....

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder....

Well, I always looked at those non-Omnibus 8s and thought the front panel looked too busy. The 8/e seems just right. Does one really need to be able to see the contents of the AC and MQ and the bus at the same time?

Tim, you should build a solid state memory for that 8/I. Two 62256s and you have 32kW of memory. You could fit the whole thing on one dual height card.

I am curious what makes someone "qualified" to work on a straight-8. I suppose they should at least be as old as the machine. At least I am then "qualified" to work on my 8/e :).

Lou
 

tradde

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2003
Messages
1,270
Location
Katy, Tx
Well, I always looked at those non-Omnibus 8s and thought the front panel looked too busy. The 8/e seems just right. Does one really need to be able to see the contents of the AC and MQ and the bus at the same time?

Tim, you should build a solid state memory for that 8/I. Two 62256s and you have 32kW of memory. You could fit the whole thing on one dual height card.

I am curious what makes someone "qualified" to work on a straight-8. I suppose they should at least be as old as the machine. At least I am then "qualified" to work on my 8/e :).

Lou

Solid state just isn't the same as core. And these machines deserve core memory. Yes,
I like seeing all the registers all the time. The 8e just seems annoying if I am looking at
memory and then want to see the AC value I have to turn a knob. Yeah, I know it helped
reduce to cost of the front panel and saved lights. I have a memory expansion unit (Fabritek 24k) but it blew the -15v transformer and I have not gotten back to figuring the
best way to fix it. And also making sure what caused the short is fixed too.

Did he mean qualified to work on a straight 8 only? Or just the older model 8s in general?
I know the 8i is much easier to work on than the 8e since each flip chip is pretty limited
on what it does and has on it. If you have to be at least as old as the machine then
I am over qualified.
 

billdeg

Technician
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
Messages
3,872
Location
Landenberg, PA USA
MARCH's DEC Straight-8

MARCH's DEC Straight-8

MARCH museum's straight-8 PDP/8 has history behind it, aside from being an original PDP 8 machine.

Comparing the first PDP8 with later models is the same as comparing a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette with a 1979 model, they're both Corvette's but...

The following link contains photos of MidAtlantic-area computing from the 60's. The PDP8 computer depicted in these slides and owned by Claude Kagan was moved from Claude's barn to the MARCH museum:
http://www.tcf-nj.org/ACGNJ history_1.wmv

All of the later PDP 8 models are smaller, more efficient versions of the original straight-8.

Here are some pictures I took of this same computer from the slide show, 40 years later, the day it was picked up from the barn at Claude's home, and brought to the Trenton Computer Festival for display. Later that weekend the system was moved to MARCH's museum:
http://vintagecomputer.net/tcf_2008/
NOTE: The link contains pics of an Intel dev computer, ASR 33, and a Calcomp plotter too also donated by Claude. Some people pics too (Evan)...

My favorite (now that's a card cage):
http://vintagecomputer.net/tcf_2008/digital_pdp8_sn1158_front_full-c.JPG

Claude Kagan
http://vintagecomputer.net/tcf_2008/Andy_Meyer-Claude_Kagan-at-TCF2008.JPG



Bill
 
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Vercus

Experienced Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2009
Messages
123
Location
Pennsylvania
Well, thanks to the generosity of tradde, I now have an RL02, and a disk pack. I haven't tested it out yet of course, since I don't have a CPU for it, but nevertheless, it's good to have. I wasn't able to take the rack yet, as we felt I should bring some stuff along to secure it before traveling. That empty rack was HEAVY! Both of us were pretty winded after hefting that thing up the stairs.
Thanks for showing me your PDP-8 setup Tim, and thanks for the drive! If you're ever looking to get rid of other DEC iron, let me know. Looking forward to seeing you again to pick up the rack.
Take care,
-Jon
 

VintageComputerman

Veteran Member
Joined
May 26, 2007
Messages
661
Location
WNY
Vintage DEC VT100-AA, VT100, with Retro-Graphics

Vintage DEC VT100-AA, VT100, with Retro-Graphics

Item number: 380138438557

Winning bid: US $114.50
 

Vercus

Experienced Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2009
Messages
123
Location
Pennsylvania
That looks like a really neat terminal. It's interesting that it's a green screen. Mine is black and white.

-Jon
 
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