New member introduction, questions on HP 21XX series machines, reliability and maintainability

From: Bob Shannon <>
Date: Wed Oct 29 22:14:13 2003

HP 2113's can be found on eBay for $100 to $250, not that uncommonly.

Many list members have machines of this class, I've got a rather large
pile of these
later-model semiconductor RAM machines, as well as a 'full set' of the
three core memory machines.

Its a very easy machine to bootstrap with no peripherals, and a tiny
language and O/S has been written to support these fine old machines.

I think you made an excellent choice!

William Maddox wrote:

>Hi, all.
>I just joined the list. I've had a long-time
>interest in old computers, and rescued a "straight-8"
>many years ago when I didn't think anyone else
>thought of it as anything more than junk. It was at
>least minimally operable when I obtained it, but I
>went off to graduate school before I could find any
>software for it, and it's been in storage at my
>father's office in Florida for ~15 years now. I hope
>to move it to my current location in the next few
>months after a family visit, but in the meantime,
>I'm looking to acquire another minicomputer from
>the core memory era, hopefully something slightly
>more compactly packaged than the (presently rackless)
>rack-mount "8".
>After some research, I have settled on the HP21xx
>line as a good candidate. These seem to be very nice,
>well-built machines with a reasonable architecture,
>a good paper-tape BASIC, and a full complement of
>"blinkenlights". It seems that these machines are
>actually still used, however, and I've been quoted
>some pretty steep prices from a nearby dealer in
>in used HP gear.
>I'd be interested in comments and advice for a
>prospective 21xx owner from those on the list who own
>these machines or have used them. I'm particularly
>concerned about reliability, since at the price I
>expect to pay, I want to keep it operating for a long
>time to come. How difficult and expensive are they to
>troubleshoot and keep working (say, compared to DEC
>PDP-8)? How available are contemporary replacements
>and/or new old stock for the ICs? Are there any
>proprietary components that are particularly prone to
>failure or hard to replace that I absolutely must
>obtain up-front as spares? What about the core stacks
>themselves? The dealer that I talked to seemed to
>think these were problematic (though I did not speak
>with his technicians), while my instinct would be that
>the core itself (not the driver electronics) would be
>among the most reliable and stable components, barring
>visible corrosion damage.
>Also, any suggestions on places to look for these
>machines on the cheap would be welcomed. What I'm
>most looking for is a 2115, but would likely be
>interested in the somewhat later 2100 as well.
Received on Wed Oct 29 2003 - 22:14:13 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:36:24 BST