A faithful scale 6:10 replica of the PDP-8/I, fully compatible.Designed by Obsolescence Guaranteed in Switzerland
Note: I make a batch of the kits roughly once a month. So if they are out of stock, it won't be for too long. What is it? The PiDP-8 is a modern replica of the PDP-8/I. Basic soldering skills are req…Read More…
Note: I make a batch of the kits roughly once a month. So if they are out of stock, it won't be for too long.
The PiDP-8 is a modern replica of the PDP-8/I. Basic soldering skills are required to build the kit.
Everyone wanted a PDP-8 minicomputer. Well, in 1968. Blinkenlights, you see. Digital Equipment scored a major hit with their small 12-bit minicomputer. It was used for everything, from controlling toll booths to launching rockets. It might have been intended as the Arduino-equivalent of its time, but it was also the birthplace of personal computing, with hard disks, operating systems and comfortable software.
My goal with this project: make a faithful, low-cost replica of the PDP-8/I (1968). Operated through a Blinkenlights front panel, it should bring back the user experience from the past. Replicating all stages in its development: from 1968 to 1979, from teletype & paper tape all the way through to hard disks and multi-user systems.
In 2015, I made a replica of the PDP-8 for myself, as the Real Thing was above budget. Also, the real machine is hard to obtain, hard to maintain and just a little too big for the living room. But that is where I wanted it to live.
The amazing thing of a PDP-8 is what it can do despite its simplicity. A CPU with 8 instructions, no stack pointer and 32K Words of memory - yet it serves 6 users smoothly if you insist. To my surprise, I ended up making over 2500 PiDP-8 kits so far. A lively community has sprung up on Google Groups. Almost all of the original software has been preserved, and a rich selection comes ready to boot. From spacewar (the first video game ever, now played on a simulated vector display) to multi-user TSS/8, it is all there. And new software appears on a regular basis. Things nobody would have thought possible on the humble PDP-8: C compiler, emacs clone, a new Forth, Lisp... but it's OK to just enjoy the original Adventure too.
You could look at this as a smallish PDP-8, built with modern parts. Or alternatively, and equally valid, as a fancy front panel case for a Raspberry Pi. Because inside is simply a Raspberry Pi running the excellent simh emulator. (Note you have to provide the Pi yourself, it is not included in the kit). It will happily run any other Pi applications concurrently with the PDP-8, so if you follow the intention of placing it in the living room, it can do more than just be pretty and wait for PDP-8 logins. Use it concurrently as a media or file server - whatever you want to use a Pi for.
The PiDP-8 can be used with a proper vintage serial terminal (or Teletype!), but you can also log in over wifi from your laptop. The PDP-8 inside won't know the difference. Of course, you don't need a terminal: Real Men program on the front panel... but soon enough you'll want go back to the comfort of the OS/8 operating system. Front panels are nice just for debugging, not programming.
A few notes: - this is the 2020 version of the kit. It's no longer hard to solder in the switches, they come with their own stable brackets now. Also, I was finally able to produce a matte (non-glossy) front panel acrylic, just like the original machine had. Trivial as that might sound, matte acrylic that does not blur the lettering was hard to find. A local museum helped me out on this with special museum-grade acrylic (thank you!).
No country selected, please select your country to see shipping options.
No rates are available for shipping to .
Enter your email address if you'd like to be notified when PDP-8 replica kit: the PiDP-8 can be shipped to you:
Thanks! We'll let you know when the seller adds shipping rates for your country.
|Shipping Rate||Tracked||Ships From||First Item||Additional Items|
Kits will be sent out within 5 days of your order/payment, with the tracking number of the parcel available.
Jacob | Dec. 20, 2022
Heinz-Bernd | Sept. 15, 2021
James | Sept. 13, 2021
Tom | June 29, 2021
James | June 29, 2021
Mogens | June 9, 2021
Takumi | Nov. 2, 2020
We recognize our top users by making them a Tindarian. Tindarians have access to secret & unreleased features.
We look for the most active & best members of the Tindie community, and invite them to join. There isn't a selection process or form to fill out. The only way to become a Tindarian is by being a nice & active member of the Tindie community!