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Looking For A PDP-12 Lab Computer

O. Sharp ohh at drizzle.com
Mon Jan 26 13:57:34 EST 2004

k p  Collins <kpaulc@[----------]earthlink.net> asks:

> Im curious.

> If you care to say... why?

Good question. The short version of the answer: partly to keep a piece of 
history from being scrapped, partly because I've always wanted to try 
programming on a -12 and never had the chance, and partly because 
restoring computers of this age is fun.  :)

A lot of early computers have been destroyed for their scrap value over 
the years, with the result that some machines of that era (like the PDP-7 
and PDP-9) are almost nonexistant now. It's a shame, because the computers 
of that time are in some ways much more interesting than modern ones; you 
can examine the design of the computer all the way down to the gate level 
(or, with some, the transistor level!) and learn a great deal about how it 
was designed. That's kind of hard to do with a microprocessor.  :)  
Unfortunately a lot of machines from that era have been melted down to get 
the $70 or so of precious metals they contain. I'd kind of like to save 
a PDP-12 from that possible fate.

I first heard of the PDP-12s back around 1978, and have always been 
curious about them - they're an interesting hybrid of two earlier 
computers - but have never had a chance to work on one. Now that I'm 
older, I'm hoping to find a way to remedy that.  :)  I've restored a 
PDP-8/I, a near-relative of the -12, and enjoyed it a lot more than I 
expected to; since then I've gone over a set of schematics for the -12, 
and it looks like it would be an interesting project. Soooo here I am,
ready, willing and able. Now all I need to do is see if I can actually 
_find_ a machine to restore.  :)

...I realize this particular post has gone somewhat off-topic, but it 
seemed like a reasonable question.  :)  Anyway, if someone out there
knows of a hospital or lab or office or individual who has a PDP-12 
they'd consider selling, I'd be grateful for the information. 

ohh at drizzle.com       I promise I'll pay them a lot more than the
                      scrap value.  :) :)

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