D E C X 8

                             Prepared by:

                              Rick Moore


       This document concerns the building, initializing, and  running

of a customized version of the PDP-8 System Exerciser, DECX8.

       The following procedure assumes that the  user  has  a  working

knowledge of rudimentry OS-8 techniques such as  booting  the  system,

listing directories, and saving programs. It is also assumed that  the

neccessary DECX8 builder and execisor modules are available on an OS-8

media, specifically a disk (RK05 or RL01), a Diskette, or a DECtape.

       For more detailed information, please reference :

       AC-C276E-MA     -       AXQABE0 DEC/X8 User's Guide

       and appropriate module listings in the microfiche library.

DECX8 System Concepts

       DECX8 is a modular software system in that the total system may
have many unique software configurations dependent upon the  type  and
placement of various software modules. Software exerciser modules  may
be inserted into a predetermined skeletal frame and  initialized  with
the particular parameters to give the tailored exerciser  the  desired
characteristics. In this manner, DECX8 can be "tuned" to exercise  the
hardware with much the same loading factor  as  the  operating  system

       DECX8 may be built for any size system; from 8K to 32K, or even
up to 128K if the KT8A Memory  Management  Option  is  available.  For
purposes of general discussion, we will assume a system size of 16K.

       A DECX8 software module (job) is  a  sub  program  designed  to
exercise specific  hardware  functions  under  control  of  the  DECX8
software system. There  are  two  basic  types  of  software  modules,
interrupt driven and background.  Interrupt  driven  modules  exercise
devices which cause program interrupts. The continued running of  this
type of module is dependent on its next device  interrupt.  Background
modules are self sustaining programs and do not  generate  or  require
program interrupts.

       The sequence in which jobs are serviced,  both  for  interrupts
and housekeeping, is a function of each job's priority.  Under  normal
operating conditions, the higher priority jobs are serviced first. Job
priorities are assigned by the user at build  time  and  remain  fixed
thereafter. The designation for job priority  is  a  two  digit  octal
number starting at the highest priority , 00, to the  lowest,  37.  In
addition, if the system has greater than 32K words  of  memory  and  a
KT8A Memory Management option,  it  will  be  neccessary  to  map  the
priority of the Data Break options.

       Each software job, running at a given priority, is located in a
"jobslot", of which there are 4 per memory field. The first  2  are  4
page slots, the remaining 2 are 2 page slots. An exercisor module that
takes 2 pages may reside  in  a  4  page  slot,  but  not  visa-versa.
Therefore our system of 16K looks like:

       SLOT                    MEMORY  FIELD

                      0       1        2        3
                 |        |        |        |        |
        1        | 4 page | 4 page | 4 page | 4 page |
                 |        |        |        |        |
                 |        |        |        |        |
        2        | 4 page | 4 page | 4 page | 4 page |
                 |        |        |        |        |
                 |        |        |        |        |
        3        | 2 page | 2 page | 2 page | 2 page |
                 |        |        |        |        |
                 |        |        |        |        |
        4        | 2 page | 2 page | 2 page | 2 page |
                 |        |        |        |        |


       The OS-8 medium that DECX8 is contained on must be  initialized
by normal methods. Then type:

               ".R DECX8"              ( or whatever it is called )

       If you are running from the NED Diagnostic System, the  program
will come up running, if not, it will halt at location 201.

       a)  place the device code of the console teleprinter
           (usually 04) in SR bits 3-8 and hit continue. The TTY
           will print a message and halt again.

       b)  place the device code of the console keyboard
           (usually 03) in SR bits 3-8 and hit continue.

       the program will now print:

       HSR?            - if there is a high speed reader, answer "Y";
                         if not, "N"

       DEVICE CODE     - if "Y" to above; enter device code of reader
                         ( usually 01 )

       HSP?            - answer "Y" or "N" for high speed punch

       DEVICE CODE     - same as above  ( usually 02 )

       EXT MEM?        - type the number of the highest memory field
                         in the system  (00-37)

       the program will now determine the type of CPU:

       PDP-8?          - "Y" only if the processor is a traditional 8

       PDP-8/E?        - "Y" for an 8/e; "N" otherwise

       VT78?           - "Y" for a VT78; if "N" to all the above, a
                          8L/8I is assumed


       The purpose of the VT78 question is  to  remove  any  halts  or
references to the SR from the  customized  version  of  the  exerciser
being built since a VT78 has no hardware switch register. However, the
"Catch-22" of this is that without a switch register, it is impossible
to enter  the  03-04  device  codes  and  hit  continue.  The  program
"DECX8.SV" on the NED Diagnostic System has patches (listed at the end
of this text) which remove these halts and  assume  a  console  device
code of 03-04 so it is possible to build DECX8 on  a  VT78  or  PDP-8A
with no switch register.

       the program will now determine which options exist:

       (answer "Y" or "N" for each query)

       KT?     *       - for KT8A Memory Management option

       VT100?          - inserts XON  /  XOFF  capabilities  for  slow
                         scroll operation over 2400 baud

       EAE?            - Extended Arithmetic Element

       PF?             - Power Fail / Auto Restart option

       MP?             - Memory Parity option

       TS?             - Time Sharing Control is active

       * if you specify a KT8A, it  will  be  neccessary  to  map  the
priority  of  any  Data  Break  devices   during   the   initalization
stage. See the section on initialization for more information.
NOTE:  For the remainder of this document, the  operator  to  computer
       responses will be enclosed in  [] brackets,  while  program  to
       operator prompts are in plain text.

       At this time, the program will print:

       !       and you are in the DECX8 monitor

       To transfer control to the builder

       ! [^B] OK? [Y]

       The program will ask:

       INPUT VIA OS/8? [Y]

       % [B]           this prompt indicates the program is  ready  to
                       accept builder commands and then prints

       PRI:00 %        indicating  the  program  is  waiting  for  the
                       jobslot assignment for priority level "00"

       At this time, install the various jobs into the system  as  the
jobslots  are  opened.  You  may  be  asked  to  provide   information
concerning device codes, word count, and current  addresses.  In  most
cases, the default values may be  taken  by  typing  a  <CR>  but  any
nonstandard values can be specified.

       Install them in  priority  order,  with  the  fast  data  break
devices first, followed by  interupt  driven  devices,  and  then  the
background programmed I/O devices. This is a  general  rule  to  which
some noteworthy exceptions are that "TIMERA" must be PRI00  if  it  is
installed; "TC01DT" must be highest priority (after TIMERA). These and
other special conditions are noted in the individual  module  writeups
that are included in the DECX8 section of the Microfiche Library.
       After all of the jobslots are filled:

       PRI:nn % [^C]   CTRL C to return to DECX8 monitor

       ! [S]           to list all the modules you have inserted

       At this time, you must  initalize  some  of  the  modules  with
various parameters to tell the system, for example, the number of disk
drives to be run, the data patterns to be run, etc.

       ! [IJfx]        where "fx" is the jobslot (ie: IJ01, IJ13)

or     ! [AI]          Initialize all jobs

       The initialization data  for  each  module  is  listed  in  the
various modules writeups in the Microfiche Library.

       If you have  built  a  system  that  includes  a  KT8-A  Memory
Management option (more than 32K words od memory), it is neccessary to
map the priority of the Data Break  devices.  This  situation  usually
arises on the new 211 Series Word Processors. If  this  is  not  done,
these devices will report  numerous  data  errors  and  appear  to  be

       ![MPJfx]        followed by the assigned priority for the

       Examples of such devices are RL01s and RK05s.

When all jobs are initialized:

       ! [^B]  ^B OK? [Y]

       % [P]           this will write the newly created exercisor  to
                       the OS/8 media. Give it any name you wish,  but
                       for consistency, please use the extension ".X8"

       At this time, the customized version of DECX8 is saved  on  the
OS/8 media, and can be run by typing:

       .R MYPROG.X8
       ! [AR]                  run all jobs
       ! [^E]                  begin exercising

       The following text is typical of the dialogue to  build,  save,
and run a customized version of DECX8. Our target  system  will  be  a
PDP-8A with 16K of memory,2 RK05 drives,  a  TC08  DECtape  controller
with a dual drive TU56,2 RX01 dual floppies, a KL8A  (M8319)  Multiple
SLU option connected to two  terminals  at  9600  baud,  and  an  LP05
printer. The terminal is a VT100 connected to the M8316 module.

       A map of our jobslot layout could look like:

       SLOT                    MEMORY  FIELD

                      0       1        2        3
                 |        |        |        |        |
        1        | TIMERA | RANMRI | MULSLU | FLOPPY | 4 page jobs
                 |        |        |        | (2&3)  |
                 |        |        |        |        |
        2        | FLOPPY | TC01DT | RK8EDS | OPRATE | 4 page jobs
                 |  (0&1) |        |        |        |
                 |        |        |        |        |
        3        | MRI08A | PRNTER | OPRATE | MRI08A | 2 page jobs
                 |        |        |        |        |
                 |        |        |        |        |
        4        | NOTFUN | OPRATE | MRI08A | OPRATE | 2 page jobs
                 |        |        |        |        |


       - TIMERA must be J01

       - there are two FLOPPY modules that  will  be  given  different
         device codes

       - a 2 page job (OPRATE) can live in a 4 page slot

       - any unused slots are filled with background jobs (OPRATE  and

       - when building for a VT78 system, there may be patches to  the
         modules that must be made. Consult the  module  writeups  for

       - if a KT8A is present, the priority of the Data Break  devices
         must be mapped with the [MPJfx] command.

note:  operator responses are enclosed in brackets []

.R DECX8                       - the OS/8  media  is  booted  and  the
                                 DECX8 monitor/builder is  called  and
                                 identifies itself

HSR? [N]
HSP? [N]                       - the system has no PC04

EXT MEMORY (00-37) [03]        - we have fields 00-03  (16K)

PDP-8? [N]                     - not a "Straight-8"

PDP-8E [Y]                     - same as an 8A !

KT? [N]

VT100? [Y]                     - as our console terminal

EAE? [N]

PF? [Y]                        - comes "free" on the M8317 in the 8A

MP? [N]

TS? [N]


! [^B] ^B OK? [Y]              - now in builder mode



% [B]                          - begin to build, installing modules in
                                 priority order

PRI:00% [J01]
DC = 0130                      - type a carraige return  to  take  the
                                 default device code  of  13  for  the
                                 clock (remember there is one  on  the
                                 M8316 in the 8A!)

PRI:01% [J12]
*TC01DT                        - remember the TC08 must be first after
DC = 0760                        the clock module
   = 0770
WC = 7754                        take all the default values for  word
CA = 7755

PRI:02% [J22]
*RK8EDS                        - the RK05 controller module
DC = 0740

PRI:03% [J13]
*PRNTER                        - now do the fastest interupt driven
DC = 0660                        jobs such as the line printer

PRI:04% [J21]
*MULSLU                        - the KL8A is next
DC = 0400
     0410                      - 40 & 41 are the standard device codes
                                 for the four line M8319

PRI:05% [J02]                  - now the programmed I/O devices
DC = 0750                        drives 0 & 1 have the standard device
                                 code of 75

PRI:06% [J31]
*FLOPPY                        - but drives 2 & 3 have their own
DC = 0750  [0700]                control board that we  have  set  for
                                 device code 70 (note that this  could
                                 be other address we set the  hardware
                                 to). Be aware that  the  normal  code
                                 for the 2nd. set of  floppies  is  76
                                 but since this system has DECtapes at
                                 that code, we choose 70.

PRI:07% [J11]                  - now install the background jobs

PRI:10% [J34]
PRI:11% [J03]

PRI:12% [J04]

PRI:13% [J32]

PRI:14% [J33]

PRI:15% [J24]

PRI:16% [J23]

PRI:17% [J14]

PRI:20% [^C]                   - no more jobslots available; return to
                                 builder monitor

!                              - now  you  have  to   initialize   the

! [IJ01]
A      [232]                   - remember that these parameters are
B      [0001]                    for the M8316 module
C      [0144]
D      [0]

! [IJ02]
A      [0]
B      [0]
C      [0]
D      [0]

! [IJ03]

! [IJ04]
NOTFUN     [0]

01     [03]                    - now you must insert ALL of the valid
02     [04]                      device codes starting with the TTY
03     [10]                    - power fail IOTs are on the M8317
04     [13]                    - clock
05     [20]                    - have to list
06     [21]                            all of the
07     [22]                                    extended
10     [23]                                    memory
11     [24]                            IOTs on the
12     [25]                      M8317 module  (20-27)
13     [26]
14     [27]
15     [40]                    - 40 & 41 are for the M8319 Multiple
16     [41]                      Serial Line Interface
17     [57]                    - this is the M8316 Parrallel Port
20     [66]                    - line printer
21     [70]                    - floppy drives 2 & 3
22     [74]                    - RK8E
23     [75]                    - floppy drives 0 & 1
24     [76]                    - 76 & 77 are the TC08 DECtape
25     [77]
26     [00]                    - 00 is the CPU IOTs and the end of the

       *** note:       if you are initializing this module for a VT78,
                       be sure to include [07] which is the VT78 panel
                       memory IOT. For a PDP-8A with a M8316 module,
                       [57] is the parallel port. These must be
                       included or NOTFUN will give errors.


A      [0]
B      [1]                     - lowest & highest drive numbers
C      [1]     [0004]          - start with block 4
D      [0]
E      [0]
F      [0]
A      [0100]                  - # of characters
B      [0204]                  - 132 columns (80 column would be 0120)
C      [0]
D      [0]
E      [0]
F      [0]

OPRATE [2]                     - this is an 8/e or 8/a

MULSLU [1]                     - indicates we are going to terminals
0      [2]     [377]             line 0 to terminal, full ASCII
1      [2]     [377]             character set to be transmitted
2      [0]
3      [0]                       lines 2 and 3 are deactivated

A      [0]                     - lowest drive # 0
B      [1]                     - highest is #1
C      [0]
D      [0]
E      [0]



A      [0]
B      [0]
C      [0]
D      [0]




! [^B] ^B OK? [Y]              - now to save  the  exercisor  on  your

% [P]

UPON ".", TYPE "SAVE (DEV) (FILE)" - - -


.                              - you are  back  in  OS-8  monitor  and
                 DECX8 Runtime Switch Register Options

    SR Bit       State               Function
    ______       _____               ________

       0         0         Monitor serves jobs according to priority
                 1         Monitor serves jobs in a sequential manner

       1         0         All jobs run in "Executive" mode only
                 1         All jobs run in "User" mode whenever possible

       2         0         Enable normal Rotate and Status reports
                 1         Disable normal reports and ignore ^S requests

       3         0         Status reports generated in long form
                 1         Status reports generated in short form

       4         0         Enable slot rotation if memory larger than 8K
                 1         Disable slot rotation

   *   5         0         Jobs MQ contents are preserved and restored
                 1         MQ displays priority of current job

       6         0         Errors take normal exit to failing job
                 1         Non-fatal errors return to keyboard monitor

      7-8       00         Report all errors including all bad data
                01         Report errors and first 4 sets of bad data
                10         Report all errors except data errors
                11         Report no errors

       9         0         Upon error the job continues to run
                 1         Upon error the kill flag for the job is set

      10         0         Random external buffer usage occurs
                 1         Present external buffer assignments frozen

      11         0         Random device, unit, and address selection
                 1         Device, unit, and address selection frozen

          *    DO NOT set to a 1 if any EAE jobs are running!
                       DECX8 Keyboard  Command Summary

       Command                       Function
       _______                       ________

        ^B            Switch control to Builder
        ^C            Calls DECX8 Keyboard Monitor
        ^E            Exercise all Enabled Jobs
        ^R            Force Rotation and Exercise jobs
       IJfx           Initialize Job "Jfx"
       MPJfx          Map Priority for device in Job "Jfx"
       RJfx           Run Job "Jfx"
       KJfx           Kill Job "Jfx"
        AI            Initialize All Jobs
        AK            Kill All Jobs
        AR            Run All Jobs
       ^OBfaaaa       Modify Field "f" Location "aaaa"
       ^OJfx          Relative mode memory modification
        RRRR          Relative address in "Jfx"
        S             Generate Status Report
        W             Go to OS-8 keyboard monitor; save swap area
        X             Go to OS-8 keyboard monitor without save
       Dnn            Console output to terminal device code "nn"
       Lnn            Console output on LE8 / LP05 device code "nn"
       Tnn            Console input from keyboard device code "nn"
       (%)B           Build Exerciser
       (%)P           Punch or Save Exerciser
       (%)ES          Print remaining empty job slots under builder
                             PATCHES  to  DECX8

       The following patches are incorporated into the program "DECX8.SV" on
the NED Diagnostic System. These allow the building and use of  DECX8  on  a
system that has no hardware switch register.

       Location       Old Value      New Value         Reason
       ________       _________      _________         ______

       00200            7402           7000            remove halt
       00201            7704           1265            standard device code
       00210            7402           7000            remove halt
       00211            7704           1366            standard device code

for the RKS8E module

       16334            7402           7000            or hit CONTINUE

for ".BX" default extension

       16034            0216           0230

    The following locations can be patched using the ^O(dt) feature of the
DECX8 monitor to simulate the action of the front panel Runtime Switch
Register Options. Set the appropriate location to a value of 7340 to set the
bit to a 1.

    Bit            Location            Function
    ___            ________            ________

    0               01675              Ring Queing
    1               01511              User or Exec mode
    1               13071              user mode
    2               11713              enable or disable all status reports
    3               11524              long or short status reports
    3               11623                "      "            "
    4               12000              inhibit rotation
    4               12034                "      "
    5               01454              use of MQ
    6               02704              action upon error return

    to set bits 7 & 8

    00  -  do nothing
    01  -  locations 02633 and 02643 get 7340
    10  -  location 02643 gets 7340
    11  -  locations 02633, 02643, and 02723 get 7340

Feel free to contact me, David Gesswein with any questions, comments on the web site, or if you have related equipment, documentation, software etc. you are willing to part with.  I am interested in anything PDP-8 related, computers, peripherals used with them, DEC or third party, or documentation. 

PDP-8 Home Page   PDP-8 Site Map   PDP-8 Site Search

Mirror site if this site is slow