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DEC PDP-9, System Number 319


8,192 words of core memory with an 18-bit word length
1.0 usec cycle time
Real-Time Clock
Operator's Console
300 cps Paper Tape Reader
50 cps Paper Tape Punch
10 cps Console Teleprinter, Model KSR-33
The processor cost $35,000 in 1968.
The TC59 tape controller cost $10,000.
The TU20 tape drive cost $12,000.
The cost in 2013 dollars of this system would be $315,421.32.
 
This is the I/O controller serial number tag.

Click on the image for a larger view.
A listing from DEC showing the original system configuration.

 Option Serial  Number Description Installation
 Date
 ASR 000033 Teletype Model 33 07/70
 KC09A 000345 Processor 10/68
 KD09A 000323 I/O Controller 10/68
 KG09B 000293 Memory Extension  Control 07/70
 MC70B 000250 Core Memory 10/68
 MC70B 000731 Core Memory 07/70
 ME09 000236 Memory Extension  Control 07/70
 PC09 000863 Paper Tape  Reader/Punch 10/68
 TC59    000062 Mag Tape Controller 10/68
 TU20 000128 7-Track Mag Tape Drive 10/68
 TU20 000478 7-Track Mag Tape Drive 07/70
 MC09A 000296 Microcode Store 10/68

The original configuration of the PDP-9 according to DEC.

There is a date of January 17, 1968 on many of the CPU fans. That is about right for the manufacturing date of this system.

The official production run was 445 PDP-9 systems. Additional systems were built on special order after production ended.

The PC0 paper tape reader/punch is S/N 863.

The TC02 DECtape controller is S/N 5048.

The PDP-9 was a follow on to the highly successful DEC PDP-7 series of computers. While there were some differences, one of the PDP-9 system utilities would convert PDP-7 programs to run on the PDP-9. Input was by paper or magnetic tape.

This system was purchased by Max Levy Autograph in October 1968 and shipped to Concord Controls who designed and built the controller for the 60" plotter. This was one of the largest such devices in the world. It was used to prepare glass for etching as filters and measuring templates. The plotter rested on a five foot thick granite slab, with supports set in bedrock. The PDP-9 and plotter was then shipped to of Philadelphia, PA and ran 24/7 from 1968 to the summer of 1999. When the memory limitations of the PDP-9 caused problems with programming they bought a PDP-11/23 and connected it to the PDP-9 through a special I/O controller that was added to the plotter controller.

We were contacted by the person who operated this system for 30 years. He filled us in on much of the history of the system and will come to the RICM for a visit. The notes that are taped to the front of the system are his.

This PDP-9 was located for the RICM by Kevin Stumpf, and donated by Max Levy Autograph of Philadelphia, PA. A total of 445 PDP-9 systems were produced, and so far, only nine are known to have survived.

The current locations of these nine include a PDP-9 and a PDP-9/L in California, one in Australia, one in Germany, one in Great Britain, two in France, two in Sweden and a new one #203, and of course our own, seen below. Parts of #209 that was delivered to Australia Iron & Steel were recently found. There are lots of details on the developers of the PDP-9 here.

Apparently the design of the ROP Control Memory in PDP-9 systems caused lots of problems. Lichen Wang from SLAC developed an improved design that proved more reliable. The description is here.

Click on the image for a larger view.
Front view of the TC59 Tape Controller for the TU20. 
 
Rear view of the TC59 Tape Controller for the TU20. 
Click on the image for a larger view.

The image below is of the TU20, 45 IPS, 7-track tape drive that was attached to the PDP-9. It supports 200, 556, and 800 BPI tape densities. From the label on the rear of the transport it appears to be an HP 7975A made for DEC using IBM's tape velocity fluctuation damper patents.

 
 



Click on the image for a larger view.
The capstans and read-write head on the TU20 Tape Drive.

 
Click on the image for a larger view.
The 7-track read-write head on the TU20 Tape Drive.

Mattis Lind made an Arduino interface for his DEC PC04 paper tape reader. He read some of his PDP-9 diagnostic paper tapes and emailed the paper tape images to us. We sent the paper tape image through the serial port on a PDP-8/S to a paper tape punch to recreate the paper tapes. A video of the paper tape reader in action is here.

System Program Tapes  Have
Paper Tape 
 Date Have
Tape Image 
Have
Manual 
Have
Scanned Manual 
Run Status  
 ABAA-PU Symbolic Assembler            
 AFT1-PU FORTRAN II Compiler              
 AFT2-PU FORTRAN II Assembler            
 AFT3-PU FORTRAN II OTS            
 AFT5-PU FORTRAN II IO Library            
 AFT6-PU FORTRAN II 6DD Library             
 AFT7-PU FORTRAN II 9DD Library              
 CDDA-PU DDT            
 CT1A-PU Extended Trace            
 ESSA-PU Symbolic Editor            
 FC2A-PA CAL Handler Type II            
 FC3A-PA CAL Handler Type III            
 FCRA-PA CAL Handler Revised            
 FCXA-PA Execute Subroutine            
 FODA-PA Decimal Integer Print            
 FOOA-PA Octal Print Subroutine            
 FOTA-PA Teletype Output Package            
             
 Diagnostic Name
Scans are available from Bitsavers here.
 Have
Paper Tape
Date   Have
Tape Image
 Have
Manual
Have
Scanned Manual
Run Status 
 MAINDEC-09-D2DA LP09 Line Printer Test  No     Yes  No  No  
 MAINDEC-9A-D01A Instruction Test Part 1 Yes 12/12/66   Yes Yes Yes OK
 MAINDEC-9A-D02A Instruction Test Part 2 Yes  11/30/67  Yes Yes Yes OK 
 MAINDEC-9A-D0BA ISZ Test  Yes 5/15/67   Yes Yes Yes OK
 MAINDEC-9A-D0CA Memory Address Test Yes  6/15/67  Yes Yes Yes  OK
 MAINDEC-9A-D0DB JMP Self Test Yes 9/6/67   Yes Yes Yes  OK
 MAINDEC-9A-D0EA JMP-Y Interrupt Test Yes 6/2/67   Yes Yes Yes  OK
 MAINDEC-9A-D0FA JMS-Y Interrupt Test  Yes 5/15/67   Yes  Yes Yes  OK
 MAINDEC-9A-D0GA Extended Arithmetic Element Part 1  (Lind)  10/67  Yes  No Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D0HB Extended Arithmetic Element Part 2 (Lind) 11/20/67  Yes  No No
 MAINDEC-9A-D0HC Extended Arithmetic Element Part 2   No    No No Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D0IA API Test  No     No   No No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D0JA KP09A Power Failure Detection Test  No    No  No  No  
 MAINDEC-9A-D1AA Basic Memory Checkerboard Yes 12/16/66   Yes Yes Yes  OK
 MAINDEC-9A-D1BA Extended Memory Checkerboard  Yes  1/18/67  Yes Yes Yes OK
 MAINDEC-9A-D1BB Extended Memory Checkerboard  Aconit 12/2/68   No Yes Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D1CC Extended Memory Control  DECUS     No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D1DB Parity Option Test   DECUS    No No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D1EA Extended Memory Address Test    DECUS    No No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D1FA Extended Memory Address Test  Yes 12/29/67   Yes Yes Yes OK 
 MAINDEC-9A-D2BA TTY Test Yes  5/1/67  Yes Yes Yes OK 
 MAINDEC-9A-D2CC High Speed Reader Test No1/10/68  YesNo No 
 MAINDEC-9A-D2CD High Speed Reader Test Yes  8/13/68  No Yes Yes Needs tape in the punch. 
 MAINDEC-9A-D2DB Punch Test Yes 11/67  Yes Yes Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D2EA CR02B Burroughs Card Reader Test No     No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D2FB CR01E NCR Card Reader Test  DECUS     No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D2LA Line Printer Test  No     No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D3BB TC02 Basic Exerciser (Lind)    Yes No Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D3RA TC02 DECtape Random Exerciser No    Yes No No  
 MAINDEC-9A-D3RB TC02 DECtape Random Exerciser Sandahl     Yes  No  Yes  
 MAINDEC-09-D4AF TC59 Instruction Test No    PDP15 Yes Yes Passes 1-4 
 MAINDEC-9A-D4BA TC59 Utility Program No    No Yes Yes  
 MAINDEC-09-D4CB TC59 Drive Function Timer  No    PDP15 Yes Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D4DB (7-Track) TC59 Data Reliability Test  Aconit  6/28/68  No  Yes Yes   
 MAINDEC-9A-D4DC (7-Track) TC59 Data Reliability Test No    PDP15 Yes Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D4EA (9-Track) TC59 Data Reliability Test No    PDP15 Yes Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D4FA TC59 Random Exerciser Executive Routine No    No Yes Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D4GB TC59 Random Exerciser No    PDP15 Yes Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D5BA RM09 Drum Test & Maint. Compiler   No     No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D5CA RM09 Data Pack Drum Test & Maint. Compiler            
 MAINDEC-9A-D5DA RB09T1 WC Register and MA Register Exerciser No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D5EA RB09T2 SA, TA, and SAC Register Test No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D5FA RB09T3 Disk and Control Exerciser No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D5GA RB09T4 Status and Control Diagnostic No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D5HA RB09T5 Part 1 and Part 2 No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D5IA RB09T6 Data Parity Check No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D5JA RB09T7 Disk Surface Evaluation Program No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6AB Display Diagnostic (30D, 34H, 370) DECUS  Sandahl  Yes  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6CA Calcomp Plotter Test No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6GA A/D Calibration Check DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6HA AF04B Diagnostic and Demonstration DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6JA 339 PJMP Test DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6KA 339 POP Test DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6LA 339 Push-Button Test DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6MA 339 Instruction Test DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6NA 339 Visual Display Test DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6OA Little Pictures for a 339 DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6PA VF38 Search Logic Test DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6QA Character Generator Test DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D6RA 342 Character Generator Typein Program DECUS    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D7AB PDP-9 Basic Exerciser DECUS    No No Yes  
 MAINDEC-9A-D7AC Basic ExerciserSandahl2/14/68 Yes No No  
 MAINDEC-9A-D7AD PDP-9 Basic Exerciser  Yes  5/3/68  No  Yes Yes Runs OK for a while with punch inhibited. 
 MAINDEC-9A-D7IO DB98 Test No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D8AA FB97A Diagnostic No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D8BA Relay Buffer Test No   No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D8BA LT09 Diagnostic No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC-9A-D8IA DB09A Test No    No  No  No   
 MAINDEC 9A-EUFA Dectape Format GeneratorSandahl 5/1/67 Yes No No  
 MAINDEC-9U-EUAS SystemSandahl 11/11/67 Yes No No  
 DEC-9A-AF4B Advanced System Software FORTRAN-VI No    No  No  No   
 DEC-9A-AM9B Advanced System Software MACRO-9 No    No  No  No   
 DEC-9A-EUFA DECtape Format Generator  (Lind) 5/1/67  Yes  No Yes  
 DEC-9A-EUFB DECtape Format Generator (Lind) 5/1/70  Yes  No No   
 DEC-9A-E1ZC Edit 9 8K KSR33, PRA., PPC.    Aconit  9/30/68  No  No   No  
 DEC-9A-GUAB Advanced System Software Utility Programs  No    No  No  No   
 DEC-9A-J1ZC DDT (V3A) Restart:363 8K KSR33, PRA., PPA., HRM:17720   Aconit  9/30/68   No   No   No   
 DEC-9A-J3ZC DDTNP without patch (V3A) 8K KSR33, PRA. HRM:17720   Aconit  9/30/68   No   No   No   
 DEC-9A-K1ZC Macro 9 (V3A)  8K KSR33, PRA., PPC. Tape 1/2  Aconit 9/30/68   No   No   No   
 DEC-9A-K1ZC Macro 9 (V3A)  8K KSR33, PRA., PPC. Tape 2/2   Aconit 9/30/68  No  No   No   
 DEC-9A-K2ZC FORTRAN IV Compiler (V5A) 8K KSR33, PRB., PPC. Tape 1/2   Aconit  1/2/69  No  No  No   
 DEC-9A-K2ZC FORTRAN IV Compiler (V5A) 8K KSR33, PRB., PPC. Tape 2/2   Aconit  1/2/69  No  No  No  
 DEC-9A-L1ZC Linking Loader 9 (V3A) 8K KSR33, PRA.  Aconit 9/30/68   No  No No  
 DEC-9A-P1ZD 8K PIP (V7A) Restart:363 KSR33, PRA., PPA., LPA.,CBB. HRM:17720   Aconit  2/14/69   No   No   No   
 DEC-9A-R1ZC Conv 9 (V3A) 8K KSR33, PRA., PPC.   Aconit 9/30/68  No  No No  
 DEC-9A-SY1B I/O and F4 Library PRA., PRB., PPA., PPB., PPC.   Aconit  9/30/68   No  No  No   
 DEC-9A-SY2B I/O and F4 Library LPA., CDB. (for CR01E or CR02B), MTF (7 Channel)     Aconit  9/30/68   No  No  No   
 DEC-9A-SY3B I/O and F4 Library DRA., DRC.  Aconit  9/30/68   No  No   No   
 DEC-9A-SY4B I/O and F4 Library DRB., DRD.   Aconit  9/30/68   No  No   No   
 DEC-9A-SY5B I/O and F4 Library File-.DA    Aconit  9/28/68   No   No   No   
 DEC-9A-SY6B I/O and F4 Library BCDIO-Real Tape 6A non EAE  Acont  9/28/68   No   No   No  
 DEC-9A-SY7B I/O and F4 Library BCDIO-Real Tape 6B EAE   Aconit  9/28/68   No   No   No  
 DEC-9A-USA1-PB PDP-9 Multianalyzer
 Single Parameter Analysis
 MB+1 Mode Program 1 
Sandahl 6/6/67 Yes No No  
 DEC-9A-USA2-PB PDP-9 Multianalyzer
 Single Parameter Analysis
 AC Mode Program 1 
Sandahl 6/6/67 Yes No No  
 DEC-9A-USA3-PB PDP-9 Multianalyzer
 Single Parameter Analysis
 MB+1 Mode Program 2 
Sandahl 6/6/67 Yes No No  
 DEC-9A-USA4-PB PDP-9 Multianalyzer
 Single Parameter Analysis
 AC Mode Program 2
Sandahl6/6/67 Yes No No  
 DEC-9A-Y1ZC Chain 9 (V3A) 8K KSR33, PRA., PPC.   Aconit 12/6/68  No  No   No  
 DEC-9A-YZZC Punch 9 (V1A)
 HRM:17720 of Highest Bank 
 Aconit 12/16/68   No   No   No   
 DEC-9A-Z1ZC Execut 9 (V1A) 8K KSR33, PRA.  Aconit  9/30/68   No  No   No   
 DEC-9A-R1ZC             
 DEC-9B-ABAA Symbolic Assember Basic  Aconit  8/31/66 No No No  
 DEC-9B-LRIA RIM Loader
 HRM-17763 Restart 17770
Sandahl 11/4/66  Yes No No  
 DEC-9T-QCAA-PA CANRUN 7
 Converter Test
Sandahl 10/12/67 Yes No No  
 DEC-9T-QFBA-PA Fortst
 (Fortran IV Test Program) 
Sandahl 1/9/68 Yes No No  
 DEC-9T-QMAA-PA CANRUN 9
 MACRO -9 Test Program 
Sandahl10/12/67 Yes No No  
 DEC-9U-EUMA Monito
 HRI-17720
Sandahl 11/11/67 Yes No No  
 DEC-9U-EUSA System (Patching Program)  (Lind)   11/11/67  No No No
 DEC-9U-LBAA Advance DECtape Bootstrap
 HRM-17637 Restart-17646
 
Sandahl  10/12/67  Yes No  No    
 
The PDP-9 Console.
The PC09 Paper Tape Reader/Punch located above the control panel.
The PC0, S/N 863, contains a PC02 Paper Tape Reader and a PC03 Paper Tape Punch.
 
Click on the image for a larger view.
If the system was run 8 hours per day, this shows 20 years of run time.
 
Click on the image for a larger view.
The PDP-9 system console.
 
Click on the image for a larger view.
A rear view of the system console.
 
Click on the image for a larger view.
Front view of the system chassis.
The missing boards in the upper memory chassis are for the Parity option.
The missing boards in the middle processor chassis are for the EAE option. 
The missing boards in the bottom I/O chassis are for the KF09-A Automatic Priority Interrupt,
the KP09-A Power Failure Detection, and the 34H-0 options.
 
Click on the image for a larger view.
Rear view of the PDP-9 Processor.
Yellow wires are factory installed. Blue ones are design changes.
The green ones could be design changes or additions.
 
Click on the image for a larger view.
This is the board that holds the microcode for the processor.
A pulse is sent through one of 64 wires and microcode bits are coupled through the transformers.
 
Click on the image for a larger view.
The DEC 709 Ferroresonant Power Supply.
It makes 3A of +20VDC, 5A of +10VDC, 20A of -15VDC, and 10A of -30VDC.
You can see some evidence of a past diode block failure.

We found this FlipChip chassis in the collection quite a while ago.
We assumed that it was part of a PDP-8 system and set it aside.
During a recent inspection we noticed that it has the nylon block that is used to secure a PDP-9 or PDP-10 I/O cable.
We now think that this is probably the interface that connected the PDP-11/23 to the PDP-9.


Click on the image for a larger view.
Charles Lasner donated a TC02 DECtape controller for 18-bit DEC systems.
When we get this working, we can run a real operating system on the PDP-9.
One of the TU55 DECtape drives in the PDP-8/I is an older design, contemporary with the PDP-9.
We could borrow it, and one of the slightly newer drives for the PDP-9.

Click on the image for a larger view.
We installed the TC02 DECtape controller above the TC59 1/2" Magnetic Tape controller.


Click on the image for a larger view.
This TC02 display panel is very close to the TC01 display panel on the TC01 in the PDP-8/I, but the DATA BUFFER will display 18 bits, instead of 12 bits on the TC01. The larger DATA BUFFER display required moving other indicators to make room.


Subpages (1): DEC PDP-9 Restoration
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