Getting started with HP9000/200 series machines
ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Sat Sep 23 16:44:58 CDT 2006
I seem to be getting interested in HP9000/200 stuff....
So far I've got (IIRC) :
HP9816 with the compact keyboard. This has 768K RAM (256K on the CPU
board, 2 off 256K RAM boards, one in each DIO slot).
HP9817 + HP-HIL keyboard and monitor. 2M RAM (2 off 1M RAM cards), text
and graphics video boards. And therefore 2 empty DIO slots, both with
external access 
 These machines have expansion slots called 'DIO'. Some cards have
brackets with connectors on them, for example an RS232 board. The spacing
of the slots in the backplane is half the height of the connector
bracket, so such cards go in every alternate slot. The intermediate slots
can be used for RAM cards, the DMA controller, and so on. The video card
in the 9817 takes a pair of slots, the text card has a bracked with
aBNC connector fro video output, the graphics card fits in the slot
immediately above it, and carries a ribbon cable that links to the text card.
HP9836A. This one is hard to get to at the moment, so I am working from
memory. I think it has 1M RAM (4 off 256K cards), and therefore 4
avaialbe DIO slots, all with external access. I have the monitor, and of
course it has 2 built-in 5.25" floppy drives.
Assorted DIO cards. The useful ones are a couple of GPIOs, a low-speed
HPIB DMA controller,, and an RS232 card. The last will almost certainly
end up in the 9836, which doesn't have RS232 as standard (my other 2
As regards drives, I have a 9122 with the normal grease problem (hut the
heads are OK). I can probably find a few 9121a, a 9133H, and a 9154, if
they're going to be useful.
I also have HP BASIC 5.0 and 5.1 on original 3.5" disks.
I'll prboably use these machines (as far as I use them at all) in much
the way HP intended -- as control/logging systems.
1) What softwware do people recomend? HP BASIC looks reasonable,
actually, it does at least support named procedures with formal
parameters. Anything else reocmended?
2) How much RAM do I reasonably need. If I pulled one of the 256K cards
from the 9816 so I could add a DIO I/O card, would the machine still be
3) I've been reading the 9836 service manual . I makes reference to
the 'Developer's Documentation' or some such, which apparently contains
information for people who want to design DIO cards and/or port OS's to
the machines. Does anyone have this (it's not on bitsavers or the
Australian museum that I can see). It certainly sounds like something I
should read if I can.
4) Anything elase I need, or should keep an active lookout for?
 Yes, it's a boardswapper guide. No, I don't approve of boardswapping.
But that doesn't mean I don't read the manuals. There are some useful
points in it.
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