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Thread: Where would a PDP 11 or 8 be used when it was still relevant

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Where would a PDP 11 or 8 be used when it was still relevant

    Hey everyone, my question is as written above, where would one use such a system back in its days of relevance and usefulness.
    Thanks everyone!

  2. #2

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    At Atari Games in the late 70s and early 80s, we used an 11/20 to run a 6502 cross assembler for game development. Programmers submitted a marked up listing to the computer operator and in return received a paper tape that was loaded into a custom 6502 development box.

    doug

  3. #3

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    Well, the PDP-11's I had at home came from environments and were used up to around 2001 - 2005

    1x 11/34 came form an individual who saved it from his company where it was used a a controller
    4x 11/34's came from Shell Oil Rotterdam and were using where it did control a bulk materials dispensing system, configured in some sort of cluster setup,
    5x 11/35's came from a Telco support org in Spain where they were used to test repaired circuitboards of telco PBX/PABX systems,
    1x 11/84 came from Akzo Nobel and was used in an office environment,
    1x 11/70 (Decsystem version) came from an University in Amsterdam and was (partly?) used for Unix development,
    1x 11/70 (regular one) came from IBM in Italy and was part of a cluster to control some custom made communication equipment,
    1x 11/24 came from Oracle Europe and was used for support,
    1x 11/23 came from a technical college for education purposes,
    1x 11/23 came from a hosting centre and was apparently a backup system,
    1x 11/24 came from Dec Support when HP cleaned up their inventory (among a bulkload of other test equipment they did not want to keep),
    1x 11/83 in BA123 case came from a company after they cleared out their storeroom and was used in their office.

    The previous company I worked for did maintain PDP-11/73's and 11/83's at Schiphol Airport and were (maybe still as of today) used for environment control.

  4. #4

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    Machine tools. If you have one that has a PDP (you might not even know it), then it's still relevant today.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    PDP-11s - Power Station Control systems...

    That's what we used (use) them for.

    Dave

  6. #6

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    2 x pdp8/i university medical/psychology departments
    1 x pdp8/e integrated circuit test controller
    1 x pdp8/e university computer science department
    1 x pdp8/a integrated circuit test controller
    1 x pdp8/a cnc machine controller
    1 x pdp11/20 front-ending university DEC10
    1 x pdp11/83 coal sales/distribution system (part of large network)

  7. #7
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    As you can see above they are VERY general Purpose machines. They were extremely easy to build custom interfaces for and program and mixed with a low cost they got cheaper by the dozen.
    Personally I have seen them used for laser control, tunnel ventilation management, water quality sampling, microfilm printing and power station monitoring.
    = Excellent space heater

  8. #8

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    The 11/34a I had (and is now at the RICM) was used at the University of Pennsylvania Psychology department for running experiments. It had an expansion case with a ton of A/D cards. So, let's call it "measurement and control".

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DougSnyder View Post
    At Atari Games in the late 70s and early 80s, we used an 11/20 to run a 6502 cross assembler for game development. Programmers submitted a marked up listing to the computer operator and in return received a paper tape that was loaded into a custom 6502 development box.

    doug
    Was that an in-house cross-assembler or did it have a commercial name? I have an 11/23+ that I play with now and again, so I think it would be fun to compile an Atari 2600 game on it and play it in Stella.

  10. #10
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    While working for a government agency back in the 80's, I used to service a pair of PDP-11's that were used to backup a room full of satellite image plotting tables used in map making. I haven't seen one in the wild since and probably even forgot how to turn it on.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

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