PiDP11 Issues

The PiDP11 is a scale model of the PDP11 front panel, complete with working lights and switches, all driven by the SIMH software running on a Raspberry Pi.

It was designed by Oscar Vermeulen, who sells it as a kit for the hobbyist to build and enjoy. I bought my kit last summer, but due to the home renovations did not build it until Christmas.

Oscar and others have developed software for it that customizes SIMH and drives the lights and reads the switches. There is also a marvelous manual describing how to build and operate the kit in great detail.

There’s been one problem: the front panel occasionally locks up. There was a lot of discussion on the PiDP11 discussion forum, and several causes and solutions were offered and discussed.

Eventually the source of the lock-up was traced to a race condition in one of the files controlling the front panel. A corrected version of the file was provided in February 2019, and I finally got around to installing it (and recompiling the software) on May 22. It ran until May 28, when it locked up again.

I reported this to the group, and one of the developers (Bill) modified the source file to try and fix the problem permanently. The fix was only offered as a set of lines to edit and recompile rather than a new file to keep versions clean. The fix was posted yesterday (May 29)

Today (May 30), I edited the source file and recompiled, then rebooted the PiDP11 at 9am. The main purpose of this post is to document the date & time of this latest fix in the event it does not lock up again. I can then refer back to this post for the date/time the fix was made.

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