How to make your own DEC H-500 Computer Lab Reproduction

Michael Gardi, who makes reproductions of vintage computers and computer-like games, went all out and built a DEC H-500 Computer Lab. He even posted a step-by-step Instructable on how to make your own H-500 reproduction.

Most people reading this will be familiar with the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) lines of PDP machines. I would guess though that far fewer have encountered the H-500 Computer Lab. Launched in the late 60s the H-500 was part of a COMPUTER LAB curriculum to introduce students and engineers to digital electronics. It's not surprising that DEC would undertake this since more than half of its PDP machines at the time were installed in educational institutions.

The machine itself shipped with a wonderful workbook that contained a complete course in digital electronics. Together the COMPUTER LAB package was intended to accompany courses in binary arithmetic, Boolean algebra, digital logic or computer technology. While not a true computer, the H-500 could be "wired" to perform many of the underlying operations of a true computer using a point-to-point patch cord mechanism.

Michael's builds have been previously featured on Boing Boing:

Here's how to make a "computer on a card" from the 1960s

The GENIAC, a narrative interactive game from 1955

How to make a replica of the GENIAC Electric Brain from 1955

Complete instructions for making a replica of the Minivac 601 educational computer kit

3D printed replica of the Digi-Comp II marble computer

Make this scale model of the Dr. Nim digital game