PiDP-8/I: a modern replica of the 1968 PDP-8/I

Now this is a real treat – over the past few years, Christopher Masto has been building (and where possible, selling) a PDP-8 replica called the PiDP-8/I. As you may have guessed from the name, the core of the PiDP-8/I is a Raspberry Pi, complemented by a replica PDP-8 front panel and case.

From a hardware perspective, the PiDP is just a frontpanel for a Raspberry PI. In the hardware section below, the technical details of the front panel are explained. In fact, the front panel could just as easily be driven by any microcontroller, it only lights the leds and scans the switch positions.

From a software perspective, the PiDP is just a Raspberry Pi, running Raspbian, which automatically logs in to the SimH emulator. SimH is modified to drive the front panel – meaning it has instructions added to reflect the state of the PDP-8 CPU registers through the leds, and responds to the switch settings.

The PiDP is fully open source, so you can download the schematics, design files, and software and build it yourself from scratch. You can also order a kit from Christopher Masto for $145, or pay an additional $170 for an assembled version (but isn’t building half the fun?).

He has a few great videos of the PiDP up on his YouTube channel, including a 90 minute build video and a tour and demo video.


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