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Thread: PDP-8e compatible paper tape punch/reader

  1. #1
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    Default PDP-8e compatible paper tape punch/reader

    According to the DEC 1972 handbook the tape punch/reader is PC-8e in rack or table top versions.
    Are later reader/punch models such as PC-11 compatible with an 8e?

  2. #2

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    The reader/punch for PDP-8/e is the PC04 with the M840 board in the bus. The reader/punch itself is quite stupid everything is controlled by the M840 card.

    The PC05 is used with the PDP-11. In the reader/punch there are three control boards that control the it. The M7810 interface is more or less buffers. One interesting note is that the boards that they put in the PC05 are the same boards that go into a PDP-15 / PDP-8/I / PDP-8/L. But in that case the boards sits in the computer itself and they use a PC04 type reader/punch.

    The interface between the PC05 and the M7810 very much resembles the 12 bit or 18 bit IO bus. SKIP and IOP signals etc.

    So a PC05 and PC04 are not compatible. But a PC05 can be converted into a PC04 with some effort.

  3. #3

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    There were some third party models as well like Remex.
    And off course you can use a teletype on a serial card.
    WTB: Case for Altair 8800 ...... Rolands Github projects

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    Thanks Roland and Mattis. Pretty sure I have an M840 in the pile.
    What is the PC8-E reader/punch mentioned on pg. 7-41 of the '72 pdp8/e small computer handbook?

  5. #5

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    Pc8e is the name of the m840 card and this card is used with a Pc04 reader puncher.

    I know of people who turned a Pc05 into a Pc04 with a bit hardware mods.
    WTB: Case for Altair 8800 ...... Rolands Github projects

  6. #6
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    And to make things extra clear:
    The PC8-E is the controller for an Omnibus PDP-8.
    The PC11 is the controller for Unibus machines.

    Both of these are controllers. They are not a punch, nor a reader, by themselves. You connect the punch/reader to the controller. The PC04 and PC05 are punchers/readers. They can be connected to different controllers. As long as the interface match between the controller and the reader/punch, you have a full solution if you have both parts, and the cable in between.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by bqt View Post
    And to make things extra clear:
    The PC8-E is the controller for an Omnibus PDP-8.
    The PC11 is the controller for Unibus machines.

    Both of these are controllers. They are not a punch, nor a reader, by themselves. You connect the punch/reader to the controller. The PC04 and PC05 are punchers/readers. They can be connected to different controllers. As long as the interface match between the controller and the reader/punch, you have a full solution if you have both parts, and the cable in between.
    I am not sure that it is that easy. As far as I remember it says PC11 AND PC05 on the tags of the reader/punch and PC04 AND PC8E on the reader punch for my 8/a. So PC11 is the system option in total, a PC05 and a M7810 board. And PC8E is the M840 board and the PC04. Another example is the two TU60 I have. One is marked TA11 on the back, the other TA8E, but they are the same TU60 units, no difference what so ever.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattisLind View Post
    I am not sure that it is that easy. As far as I remember it says PC11 AND PC05 on the tags of the reader/punch and PC04 AND PC8E on the reader punch for my 8/a. So PC11 is the system option in total, a PC05 and a M7810 board. And PC8E is the M840 board and the PC04. Another example is the two TU60 I have. One is marked TA11 on the back, the other TA8E, but they are the same TU60 units, no difference what so ever.
    Well, to quote the PC11 manual (page v):
    "The PC11 Reader/Punch Control is basically an interface between the bus and the PC05 High-Speed Paper-Tape Reader/Punch; however this manual does not discuss the PC05 unit."

    Also, looking in the PC05 manual, the PC05 is used on the PDP-11, PDP-12 and PDP-15, while the PC-04 is used on the PDP-8.
    But looking at a bit more detail on the PC04, it is used on the PDP-8E, PDP-8I and PDP-8L. Of these, only the PDP-8E uses the PC8E...

    So yes, I would say it is that easy. Keep the physical device and the controller separate. They are not a pair in the sense that they always come together. It depends on what machine we're talking about, even when we talk about the same device.

    DEC did, however, often sell the complete solution, so you many times did not buy a separate PC8E and a PC04, but you bought a paper tape reader/punch for your 8/E, and that was then one "item" packaged for you.

    If you've ever come across an TWU16 (as another example), that might look like something weird if you just see the name, but it is actually just a TU16 sold in combination with a TM02 formatter and a RH70 massbus controller for the PDP-11/70. So a TU16 specifically targeted and packaged for someone with a PDP-11/70 and nothing else. But it's still in the end just a standard TU16 drive. And the formatter is a TM02, and the massbyus controller is a RH70. (Oh, and a TJU16 was the same story, but with an RH11.)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by bqt View Post
    So yes, I would say it is that easy. Keep the physical device and the controller separate. They are not a pair in the sense that they always come together. It depends on what machine we're talking about, even when we talk about the same device.
    Sorry, not entirely convinced. Check the PDP-15 price list. Not a single mention of the PC05. But instead the PC15. Which is the packaged solution of a few cards (M705, M710, M715) in the CPU and the PC05 reader/punch.

    From PDP-8e Maintenance Manual Volume 3 External Bus Options

    The PC8-E (or the desk-top model, PC8-EB) Reader/Punch option consists of a control module and a high-speed
    paper-tape reader/punch manufactured by DEC [Model PC04BL (60 Hz) or PC04BM (50 Hz)]. The control
    (DEC M840) plugs into the PDP-8/E OMNIBUS and connects to the external reader/punch via two signal cables
    that are supplied with the system.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattisLind View Post
    Sorry, not entirely convinced. Check the PDP-15 price list. Not a single mention of the PC05. But instead the PC15. Which is the packaged solution of a few cards (M705, M710, M715) in the CPU and the PC05 reader/punch.

    From PDP-8e Maintenance Manual Volume 3 External Bus Options
    I would say that even your own quotes shows that the PC04 and PC05 are separate from the controller, and can come with different controllers.

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