Online PDP-8 Home Page, Run a PDP-8

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This site is for people who wish to learn about the PDP-8 minicomputer and for current PDP-8 users to get more information on these machines. The PDP-8 was a important early mini computer in the history of computing and many are still running today performing their original function. The PDP-8 was used for industrial control, controlling experiments, running businesses, word processing, and many other uses.

This site is a work in progress so please to make comments or request what you would like to see.   At the bottom of most pages is a link to contact me.  I have been concentrating on the ability to run a PDP8 over the web.  I think that is working pretty well.  If you haven't ever run a PDP8 especially if you haven't used command line operating systems the online documentation may not be sufficient to operate it like a pro but I have made it easy to play some of the games.

The main contents of this site are:

Various bits on this site are from Douglas W. Jones FAQ's The PDP-8 family of minicomputers were built by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) between 1965 and 1990. It was the follow on to the PDP-5 computer with some instruction set changes. By late 1973, the PDP-8 family was the best selling computer in the world. The PDP-8 has been described as the model-T of the computer industry because it was the first computer to be mass produced at a cost that just about anyone could afford (at least with company money).

The PDP-8 is a 12 bit single accumulator machine which can address up to 32K 12 bit words.  It has 8 basic instructions and the PDP-8/E executes them in 1.2 microsecond for simple instructions to 4 microsecond for complex memory reference instructions.  This gives the machine about a .5 MIPS rating.   Although the computer is very slow and memory limited by today's standards it was quite capable in its time.

Since the PDP-8 was a more personal machine than the larger more expensive machines, it was popular for playing with and various games were either written for it or ported to it from even earlier machines.  More game information.

People also wrote programs to play sound on the pdp8. The pdp8 didn't require a fancy sound card, only an AM radio. Sound information and samples.

 These are the major machines I own, click on the picture or links below to find out more about them.

Picture of PDP-8'sDF32 DiskDF32 DiskDS32 DiskPDP-8/I ComputerPDP-8/I ComputerPC04 PapertapePC01 PapertapeAX08 Lab PeripherialRK05 DiskRK05 DiskTU56 DECtapePDP-8/E ComputerPDP-8/M ComputerVR14 MonitorVT78 ComputerRX02 FloppyASR33 TeletypeData General Rack educomp 19" rack PDP-11 19" rack PDP-8 19" rack House
Big version of above picture

First PDP-8 (Straight 8)   LINC EIGHT (PDP-8 & LINC)   PDP-8/E and PDP-8/M   PDP-8/I   My cat running my PDP-8/I   VT78 PDP-8  

Mass storage
RK05 hard disk drive   DF32/DS32 hard disk drive   RX02 floppy disk drive   TU56 DECtape drive   PC04 paper tape reader/punch   TU10 1/2" tape drive  

VR14 display   AX08 Laboratory Peripheral   ASR 33 Teletype   Calcomp 563 Plotter   PT08 Teletype Control  
R Series Discrete Transistor Logic   M Series TTL Logic   G Series Special Functions   W Series Interface Boards   A Series Analog Boards  

Tektronix 4010-1 Storage Terminal

Trenton Computer Festival 2005   Vintage Computer Festival 3.0 (2006)   VCF 4.0 (2007)   VCF 5.0 (2008)   VCF 6.0 (2009)   (not held in 2010) VCF 7.0 (2011)   VCF 8.0 (2012)   TCF 2013   VCF 9.1 (2014)   VCF 10.0 (2015)   VCF 11 (2016)  

Feel free to contact me, David Gesswein with any questions, comments on the web site, or if you have related equipment, documentation, software etc. you are willing to part with.  I am interested in anything PDP-8 related, computers, peripherals used with them, DEC or third party, or documentation. 

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Non PDP-8 Stuff
MFM hard drive reader/emulator RD53 disk drive repair Serial control of DIRECTV D10-200 receiver for MythTV
FreeRTOS Installation under Linux