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Thread: UniBone: Linux-to-DEC-UNIBUS-bridge, year #1

  1. #1

    Default UniBone: Linux-to-DEC-UNIBUS-bridge, year #1

    Its been a long time since last public post about UniBone, time for a bragging broadcast.

    What it is:
    In case you forgot: UniBone is a plugin board to DEC PDP-11 UNIBUS systems containing a BeagleBone Black.

    See http://retrocmp.com/projects/unibone.

    This combo can simulate PDP-11 devices embedded in a physical machine.
    So you can operate and repair incomplete UNIBUS PDP-11s and even VAXes, just be emulating the missing parts.
    Disk drive emulators accept SimH image files, which can be ftp'd to the emualtior (no SDcard cahnging!).

    As UniBone can acquire bus mastership, its also UNIBUS diagnostic console, as well as stimulate individual UNIBUS lines.

    Realtime stuff is implemented on BBB's PRU coprocessors.
    All programming is done in plain C/C++ under mainstream Debain Linux.


    Whats new in 2019:
    UniBone started with memory and RL11/RL02 emulation.
    In 2019 we did a lot of programming and debugging (suppressing endless techno-babble here).

    Thanks to some gifted supporters, we have now these devices:
    - DL11 serial port (first concept by David Richards)
    - 11/20 CPU (Angelo Papenhoff)
    - RK06 and MSCP disk drives (Josh Dersch)

    In fact UniBone implements now a complete PDP-11 system... a bit like a SimH with UNIBUS interface.

    UniBone was tested (at least) against PDP-11/05, '34, '44, '84 and VAX 11/750.
    Verified OSses include XXDP, Unix V6, 2.11BSD, RT11, RSX11M/M+, VAX 4.3BSD and Ultrixes.
    Special thanks to Mark Matlock for endless testing.

    Available?
    Soon. About 25 complete systems were distributed, and the same amount in kits. Not much complaints.
    User group at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/unibone
    Just now I'm planing for a 2nd lot.
    And it will be shown on http://vcfe.ch/doku.php in Zurich on Nov 30th/Dec 1st, probably plugged into a PDP-11/05.

    best regards,
    Joerg

  2. #2

    Default

    Very nice! Maybe I get an Unibus system in the near future.
    So this would be a great addition. What are the costs for this board?
    And is it possible to get PCB files when you are out of stock?

    Regards, Roland
    WTB: Case for Altair 8800 ...... Rolands Github projects

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland Huisman View Post
    Very nice! Maybe I get an Unibus system in the near future.
    So this would be a great addition. What are the costs for this board?
    And is it possible to get PCB files when you are out of stock?

    Regards, Roland
    Hi,
    See
    http://www.retrocmp.com/projects/uni...ne-getting-one
    for conditions.

    I'm just ordered prototypes for the next board generation.
    When everything is OK, I'll publish the KiCad project also on
    https://github.com/j-hoppe/UniBone

    The intend behind my "broadcast" was also to probe public interest, I'll make enough PCBs then for 2-3 years.

    regards,
    Joerg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    UK - Worcester
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    Default

    Hi Joerg,

    Nice job.

    I have an 11/45 I am resurrecting. It has the CPU and FPU but no memory cards or I/O devices. I do have some spare SPC slots in the UNIBUS backplane, so this looks like the way for me to go!

    Count me in for a unit - and it will hopefully spur me into action...

    Incidentally, I sent you an e-mail a while ago via retrocmp.com regarding some of the flip-chips you have for sale (R, S and W types). Did you receive it or would you like me to resend or send it via a PM from VCFED?

    Dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Oakland, CA
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    135

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daver2 View Post
    Hi Joerg,
    I have an 11/45 I am resurrecting. It has the CPU and FPU but no memory cards or I/O devices. I do have some spare SPC slots in the UNIBUS backplane, so this looks like the way for me to go!
    A quick note for Dave re those 11/45 CPU backplane SPC slots: you will want to verify that your backplane has wiring to distribute +15 to those slots. Early 11/45s (like mine) did not; it was added later as an ECO. Itís easy enough to wrap it on yourself if it is missing. Without this, many SPC interfaces wonít work correctly in those slots.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzm View Post
    A quick note for Dave re those 11/45 CPU backplane SPC slots: you will want to verify that your backplane has wiring to distribute +15 to those slots. Early 11/45s (like mine) did not; it was added later as an ECO. Itís easy enough to wrap it on yourself if it is missing. Without this, many SPC interfaces wonít work correctly in those slots.
    UniBone is powered on +5V only, so the emulated devices run even in case of errors in other voltages.
    Joerg

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    135

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joerg Hoppe View Post
    UniBone is powered on +5V only, so the emulated devices run even in case of errors in other voltages.
    Joerg
    Nice. I could get a lot of use out of one of these, too, and would also be interested in a board or kit once you are re-stocked.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    UK - Worcester
    Posts
    3,218

    Default

    Thanks for the info guys.

    Dave

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzm View Post
    A quick note for Dave re those 11/45 CPU backplane SPC slots: you will want to verify that your backplane has wiring to distribute +15 to those slots. Early 11/45s (like mine) did not; it was added later as an ECO. It’s easy enough to wrap it on yourself if it is missing. Without this, many SPC interfaces won’t work correctly in those slots.
    There are two different kind of SPC slots. Normal Unibus Device, and Modified Unibus Device (also called MUD). Look at any PDP-11 documentation, and you'll find out which slots are MUD.
    An 11/45 is so old that MUD had probably not been invented yet. Nice that they did an ECO for it.
    Note that the slots where the Unibus comes in or goes out of a backplane is never a MUD.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fritzm View Post
    A quick note for Dave re those 11/45 CPU backplane SPC slots: you will want to verify that your backplane has wiring to distribute +15 to those slots. Early 11/45s (like mine) did not; it was added later as an ECO. Itís easy enough to wrap it on yourself if it is missing. Without this, many SPC interfaces wonít work correctly in those slots.
    That reminds me:
    While missing voltages are not a problem for UniBone, early SPC slots have another shortcoming:
    On an 11/40 in Berln (http://retrobyte.de/dec-pdp-11-40.html) we found
    that NPG was not routed through the SPC slots (CA1-CB1), only BG4,5,6,7.

    Perhaps in early times DEC distinguished between "BIG" peripherals (DMA capable multi card disk/tape controllers)
    and "SMALL peripheral controllers" without DMA.

    Joerg

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