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

  1. #11
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    Jul 2014
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    Rhode Island
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    At the RICM...

    PDP-8/I Tester for vacuum tubes
    PDP-8/M Controller for document scanner
    PDP-8/S Psychological research
    PDP-8/S Physiological research
    PDP-8/S Physics research
    PDP-8/S Physics research
    PDP-11/05 The brains for a GT40 graphics terminal
    PDP-11/45 Redundant system receiving codes from fire alarm pull boxes and sending the street address to a 911 call center
    PDP-12 Tester for pneumatic computers
    Member of the Rhode Island Computer Museum
    http://www.ricomputermuseum.org

  2. #12

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    Mid '70's, Clemson Univ. had a PDP-8/E with a hard disk and a couple of DECtape drives. It ran EduSystem 50 (TSS/8 ) and we dialed in from my high school, 60 miles away, via an acoustic coupler on an ASR-33. Not sure what else the university did with it though. I do remember us junior hackers figuring out how to log in to two accounts at once (from our single Teletype), and even how to log on to the same account twice from our one terminal. Both required the operator to reboot the system so we didn't make a habit of it

    Also, my first engineering job out of college in 1981 was a small contractor who had an 11/03 with RX02 drives. Used to cross-assemble 1802 code for various projects. The company expanded rapidly, so the system did too. We actually tried to timeshare two users on the floppy drives. Sounded like castanets! We promptly upgraded to a faster (11/23) with two RL02's and TSX-Plus (I have the identical system running in my play room). Then they went to VAXen for the growing load.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by daver2 View Post
    PDP-11s - Power Station Control systems...

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

    Dave
    If I'm not mistaken there are even some nuclear power stations that still use PDP-11s today in non-safety critical functions.

    Anywhere you might see a PC being used today you would see a PDP-8 or PDP-11 being used in the 1970s thru 1990s, both industrial and offices.

    Don

  4. #14
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    We were using them in SCADA (System Control And Data Acquisition) systems to control power plants and power distribution (electricity mainly). We used small PDP-11 as frontend to poll the remote station units running RSX-11S with custom communication and data acquisition controllers and as backends we used larger PDP-11 with RSX-11M/M-Plus for the MMI, database and to run service specific application, sometimes as communication hub in multi-site environments all over the world. Our largest development system, a PDP-11/70, had 1.5Mbyte Core Memory, very cool even after a power-loss you ware back to business in no time.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK6DN View Post
    If I'm not mistaken there are even some nuclear power stations that still use PDP-11s today in non-safety critical functions.

    Anywhere you might see a PC being used today you would see a PDP-8 or PDP-11 being used in the 1970s thru 1990s, both industrial and offices.

    Don
    I would trust that PDP-11 more than anything today...
    Daniel P. Cayea - The Lyon Mountain Company - Plattsburgh, New York 12901
    Vintage Equipment: IBM 5150 * IBM 5161 * ThinkPad 770ED
    Modern Equipment: MacBook Pro 13 * Alienware M15R3

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    We used PDP's as hosts and targets to control many a power stations over the years.

    At our station, we didnt use PDP's for the main reactor control (three mile island made DEC a bit nervous about supplying Nukes i believe)

  7. #17
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    6 x 11/70's connected to 16 x 11/23's connected via DZ11 20ma in a bank running a cheque processing system with OCR and MICR
    11/34's used for processing tolls on a river tunnel
    various 11/73's running BOS O/S (Global 2000) in a bank
    11/53 in another bank plus VAX 11/780

  8. #18
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    We used PDP 11/34 and LSI 11/73's for medical electrophysiological research. It was very easy to write software and build hardware for data acquisition and signal generation using RT11.

    We used it to stimulate, record and analyze signals in everything from cultured cells to heart tissue from mid 70's to mid 90's.
    Last edited by wa2flq; April 15th, 2019 at 12:50 PM.

  9. #19

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    Going back to the cross-assembler, apparently there is a 6502 cross assembler on one of the DECUS tapes (#110520) called ASM65. I haven't been able to come up with it by Googling and the archive CD doesn't seem to have it. Any pointers?

    Rich

  10. #20

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    My PDP-8/E came from a cleanroom running a step and repeat camera. The 8/M I have came from a blood chemistry analysis system. My 11/45 is from a hospital, not sure for what application. My 11/73 ran an EKG server to share results via the phone line.

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