PiDP-8/I: RECREATING THE PDP-8/I

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF PROGRAMMED DATA PROCESSING

Buy one...

 

If you'd like to buy one, please send me an email with your contact details and I'll email you as soon as I have the next batch of kits ready. You can contact me at oscar.vermeulen on hotmail-dot-com.

  • Complete kit: $170

  • Shipping: $45 worldwide, with tracking

Keep in mind:

  • you will need to provide your own Raspberry Pi (any Pi, except the very oldest Pi's with a 26-pin GPIO port) plus a microSD card. The $10 Pi Zero W is recommended if you only want to use it as a PDP-8. A faster Pi 3/4 is only useful if you want it to also use it as a regular Pi concurrently.
     

  • you normally operate the PiDP using your laptop as a terminal, or hook it up to a proper serial terminal of course. But you can also use a monitor and keyboard on the Pi.
     

  • There are some volunteers to build the kit for you at reasonable cost, if you're not able to build it yourself. Leave me a message (top right in the menu) if you prefer that option. Although it is not handled by me, by now I can confidently recommend these volunteers!

... or build your own

 

Send the gerber zip file from the download section to a PCB manufacturer, you should check with me for any new updates though. I can recommend Seeedstudio and Elecrow as 'known-good'. Furthermore, you need to obtain the parts as listed in the 'Building the Kit' section. Note:

  • use special extra tall Raspberry Pi connectors if you want to mount a Model 2/3/4.
    A 'normal' header is fine for the Zero.

  • 26 switches. The PCB footprint in Kicad accomodates most types of small switch.

Making the acrylic panel yourself is problematic. You need a provider who prints them at exact 1:1 scale and with exact location. I tried with cheap 'holiday prints on acrylic' type of manufacturers but they rescale and snap off edges. Also, make sure that you order 4 color print with transparent windows (35% shaded ideally). You'll then need to cut out a slot to fit the switches with a router or saw. 

A very effective 'budget option': print out the front panel on paper. Laminate it, cut out the switch holes. Sounds ugly, but looks quite good. The LEDs will shine through the paper.

Get or Build a PiDP-8/I

 

As of January 2021, 2800 PiDP-8s have been made! You can produce your own at any time from the design files here. However, there are unusually large economies of scale in this project. The cost of the acrylic front panel, for instance, falls dramatically if you buy in quantities. Therefore I also produce the PiDP as a complete kit - until I finally run out of the custom-made replica switches...

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Recommended:

Gigatron - the computer without a microprocessor!

This is a personal web site. Although a real effort was made to trace owners of all illustrations used on the site, please let me know through the Contacts page if you feel that any materials infringe on copyrights or Fair Use. I would like to thank www.old-computers.com and www.oldcomputers.net for the kind permission for the use of some of their pictures.

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