Custom PDP-11

After receiving some inspiration and spending a few months worth of research, I embarked on a project to build a Q-bus PDP-11 system that could run Unix. The easiest to get up and running should be 2.11BSD, due to its expanded level of hardware support, compared to other distributions.

The 2.11BSD distribution requires a processor with separate instruction and data spaces, which limits the processor to the J11-series models. It also needs at least a megabyte of memory, a 9-track tape drive and a fair amount of mass storage.

I did manage to get 2.11BSD up and running in January, 2015. I plan to document the hardware configuration, loading of the operating system, applying patches, getting the kernel configured so that the entire system is functional, along my impression of the performance of the system. Bear with me, until I can get this completed.

I started purchasing hardware in September, 2014 and my system includes an H9270 backplane, a custom front panel board and an ATX power supply. Its current configuration is shown in the table below and it will be updated as I add and change hardware.

Backplane: H9270-A, converted to 22-bit

Power Supply: Athena Power AP-1UATX70, +5VDC @ 25A, +12VDC @ 11A

Bus Termination: 240 Ohms. Can handle up to 20 AC loads before additional termination is needed.

Status: Has 2.11BSD loaded and running.

Slot Make Module Part Rev +5V +12V AC Loads DC Loads Notes
TOTALS 20.4 A 1.1 A 19.2 5.5
1AB DEC M8192-YB KDJ11-AB D1 4.5 A 3.4 1.0 PDP-11/73 Processor
1CD Camintonn CMV-504 C 2.0 A 1.0 1.0 2 MB RAM
2CD DEC M7504 DEQNA E2 3.5 A 0.5 A 4.3 0.5 Ethernet
2AB Emulex UC07 D 2.3 A 2.5 1.0 SCSI Adapter
3AB Emulex QT13 F 2.5 A 2.5 1.0 Tape Coupler
3CD DEC M7195-FA MXV11-BF C 3.5 A 0.6 A 2.3 0.5 Multifunction
4CD DEC M3107 DHQ11 D1 1.7 A 3.2 0.5 Multiplexer
ACARD ARS-2000SUP 3.1 SCSI to SATA Bridge
Kingston SNV125-S2 114P 0.4 A 30 GB SSD

Assembled system

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Hardware Components Software Running Unix