The hugely successful PDP-11 minicomputer had a major impact on the evolution of computers in the 1970s. Though fondly remembered in today’s emulation, nothing beats booting up the real thing, like [Jerry Walker] investigates in his series on recovering a PDP-11/34. Examples of PDP-11 hardware are becoming increasingly rare, making restoration and preservation of residual equipment even more important. [Jerry] has gone to great lengths to get his PDP-11/34 back to working order, painstakingly troubleshooting the wired backplane and replacing suspect ICs throughout the system. With sparse documentation on some cards, it was often a matter of sheer will and technical know-how to eventually bring the system back to life.
If you have a few hours, be sure to watch the whole series of videos about the restoration on YouTube. If you’ve ever thought about restoring vintage computers, this series offers an insight into the satisfying but oh-so-tiring process of spotting broken tracks and flawed logic. Casting out demons from decades-old computers is almost never easy, but [Jerry] shows that persistence can produce exciting results. After the break is the final installment of this series, which shows the system booting into the RT-11 operating system from a floppy disk.
If you don’t have the time or real estate to restore a real PDP-11, you may want to check out modern trouble-free replicas. Or, if we’ve piqued your interest in minicomputer recovery, don’t miss what we had to say about past PDP-11 resurrections, like this PDP-11/04.
This post PDP-11/34 Restoration and the Virtue of Perseverance
was original published at “https://hackaday.com/2022/03/28/pdp-11-34-restoration-and-the-virtue-of-persistence/”