LSIbox - a Linux front-end for DEC LSI-11 systems

Parent Category: Projects Category: LSIbox Written by Administrator

In short the LSIbox is a small-DEC like case with a visible LSI-11 card cage on top and a "BeagleBone" micro-Linux system inside to operate the PDP-11.

LSIbox

 

lsibox single

 

lsibox back

This is of courses a variation of the DECbox theme: wonderful vintage devices, supported by well-hidden 21th century electronics.

Among other things, LSIbox is also a complete Linux PC:

lsibox fan kbd monitor

"WELCOME TO ADVENTURE!" Bring a HDMI cable for the television set, and you can play on a real PDP-11 in every hotel room.

 

Motivation

While current activity of these retro-guys (me included!) seems to build replacements and simulation of DEC equipment as crazy, LSIbox is intended to highlight the original DEC hardware, (lift it on a throne, show it to the world), while all the modern stuff is well-hidden.

This picture was one inspiration:

LSI 11, PDP 11 03 User's Manual (May 1976, EK LSI11 TM 003) 1

 

LSIbox should look like these pseudo-retro tube amplifiers: Vintage electronic proudly shown, embedded in modern environment.

tubeamplifier


The Mac Mini was also in my mind ... but surely my crafting skills can't compare with Apple's (but DEC quality is easier to reach ;-)

macmini

 

 

Feature creep?

I tried to build every imaginable feature into the LSIbox, while maintaining a clean outfit. Should be a "power box"!

The LSIbox project is build around the wonderful compact H9270 LSI-11/03 QBUS backplane.
It has 8 dual-slots and can carry all CPUs: LSI-11/03 and LSI-11/2, 11/23 with F11-chipset and 11/73 with J11 chip.
Additional RAM and a DLV serial card make a minimal system (not even ROMs required).
Drive and network controllers can be added, but "driveless" operation is possible.

lsibox back detail

 lsibox fan kbd only