About This Site

This site is dedicated to all those who share the fascination for one of the first workstations ever, the HP 9845 desktop computer. Although once one of the best-selling products of Hewlett-Packard, knowledge about those systems is very limited and fragmented. This site tries to keep all those information together, including software and documentation, and to provide some support for those who need to get their own systems running.

The site opened in 2008 and has since been growing steadily. Whereas during the start-up years collecting as much data as possible had been the main focus, we are now in the phase of consolidation and experimenting with new ideas (like what I call the "feature board", for instance). All information has been best-effort checked for correctness, however it needs mirroring with knowledge and experience of others, especially of those who have been involved in the development process of the 9845 thirty years ago (an eternity in the time scale of computers). If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please use the contact feature to participate in the development of this site. Most of all, the site lacks stories from system designers, developers and early users.

The information on this site origins from many sources. Primary source is the official documentation, since it provides the most reliable data. Fortunately, much of the documentation for the 9845 is preserved. On the other side, very few is known about the internal structure of the operating system. HP obviously had a quite strict non-disclosure on those data, especially there is no documented source listing of the OS available.

The other large gap is the software of both the HP plus program and the exchange library. In contrast to original HP software, which can still be recovered from common application tapes, there is almost no source available for the non-HP software.

Other sources for this site include fabulous internet collections like hpmuseum.net or hp9825.com, as well as many others which are recommended within the links section. I was a bit lazy in including references to all sources on every page. Actually, this site hasn't any academic ambition, so please don't be too serious with me. A real problem are references for some of the pictures which are included on this site. Many illustrations have been produced on my own, either through scanning, photographing or drawing, but some are taken from the internet. For such old systems, pictures are heavily re-used along the community. If there is any legal concern in using those pictures, please let me know and I either include a reference or even remove those pictures from the site.

Vintage computing would be half the fun without taking up the challenge for getting those systems back to life. I'm a practical person and so I've included a handful of experience and knowledge in how to perform some of the most common tasks, mostly in the form of tutorials. And I've included information about some projects I'm currently working on, like dumping all those ROMs, saving tapes, building replacements for defective ROMs and developing some utility software and making them available for download.

At this point one word concerning emulators. Although some basic information is still missing (e.g. some low-level I/O details for controlling the internal tape cartridge subsystem) writing an emulator for a 9845 is a bit tricky (as it is for most multi-processor systems) but achievable. Nevertheless, I personally think that emulators, although useful for testing programs without the original system, tend to de-mystify the fascination of real hardware. I feel that the special appeal of the 9845 primarily results from the system design rather than from the user programs, so I'll probably never start with an emulator on my own.

Finally, please don't be too strict with the language on this site. I'm giving some effort in writing as correct and understandable as possible, but as you may guess, I'm not a native English speaker. However, although many of the 9845 have been produced in Germany, maintaining a site like this in German won't make too much sense.

Acknowledgements

I'd like to thank all those who supported my dive into the world of the 9845, first of all my wife for her tolerance and patience in respect to time & space (yes those 9845 need really lots of both), Dethard for saving his father's collection and all the transport efforts, Andreas for letting me win my first 9845C, then Tony for always being ready for another tech-talk, Jon for never getting fatigue supporting with his fantastic website and beyond, Marl and Charlie for their historical reports, Rudolf for donating diverse 9845 items including invaluable blueprints, Bob for his 9836 donations which together opened the opportunity to extend my knowledge towards the 200 & 500 series - plus the spare parts for my 98770, Dave for his comprehensive testing and analysis work on the HPDrive program with the HP64K and the HP1000, Friedhelm for spending even more useful equipment, and lots of others for their hints what to do and what better not to do.

So I hope you'll have some fun with this site, and if you like to contribute by yourself, you're more than welcome.

Berlin, Germany in 2016

Ansgar Kückes