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This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Hewlett Packard  HP-9836 computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Wednesday 28th September 2022
Allan Ayres (Canada)

I have a HP-9836A (Motorola 68000 based)! I can boot it into HPL or a custom oil and gas reservoir analysis application. The entire staff that used this system was laid-off, and by the time I acquired this system a few months later, all of the documention and software had been discarded (other than the two floppy disks in the drives).

Saturday 18th December 2021
Tony (N.Z.)

We used these machines for oil-related exploration/navigation/construction etc and the big screen and wheel were a huge improvement on earlier models. They were very reliable, especially considering the very salty environment and the frequent (sometimes rough) transfers between tugboats and rigs etc. I still have some s/w on big floppy disks which astound the youngsters at work !

Monday 12th March 2018
Roger (United States)

I worked for HP from June 1973 until August 2001 when I was laid off. I used to use these computers to program the HP 5046 Digital IC Tester. I remember one version of these has only a single line of red LEDs for the display. Had to scroll through the program code to view. I also used the Series 300 to control the HP 4062B and HP4062UX Semiconductor Test. Ahh, the good old days. I really learned a lot and enjoyed using these.

Monday 12th March 2018
sbez (uk)

Yeah Sattellites, back in the daze haze popping up on cinema,tb,radio ''ads'', round around ''in store read''drags, bin o hex vo riga planar TV norweigan woods ,Donald Sutherland, Sattellite dash cash bit rash ghost ship mash ''Mir ship off''philedlphia pascal release of b.c ano dom whirly gig book kit brot puppet show rep E tar jolly jack flap flash ''all back...not tjat''Flash posier''killed all of yerzz,owned,law az..''acts beg get ''un e form''act of ''book it on''must starred tea cheer gas,o yeah that folen yell ''peez an freee dem'' authority piz puzzle polly pot read bell,ye?

Friday 26th May 2017
Luigi Verri (Milano, Italy)

HP9836 was my first touch in the 80''s with non-mainframe or mini- computing. I arrived from UNIVAC 1108 and from Digital VAX780, and 9836 was a sort of paradise to program!
We did teletraffic modeling and simualtion on that system,and on the big brother 9020, all with the fantastic HP-Basic language...
good old time

Sunday 21st May 2017
pc macdonald (usa)

Iused the 9816/216, and the 9836 to program custom applications in HPBASIC for my customers who purchased HP vibration measurement products. That language was designed from the ground up to control instruments over the HPIB/GPIB interface that HP invented, and also over other interfaces. The big drawback of this language (which can run as a Windows application nowadays) is the lack of support for STRUCTURES, which can make programming a large, multi channeled system a real pain in the neck. I later ran HP VISTA,HP SINE, and SDRC software on the Series 300 systems under HPUX to make multi channel input/output vibration measurements on the HP3565S hardware. We are talking about testing satelites or aircraft with four to six input shakers, and hundreds of simultaneous acceleration response channels.

Tuesday 15th November 2016
Roger (USA)

I used these in the early 80s while working at HP Santa Clara Division to program the HP 5046B/5045A Digital IC Tester. Those were the fun, good old days.

Friday 26th August 2016
Michael (USA)
Digital Services Computer Support

We had one of these 9836A''s in our computer office outside of the mainframe room when I served in the Air Force in the early ''80''s.

It was used for the Expanded Minuteman Data Analysis system. We had a printer and a plotter for it too. This was very sophisticated stuff back then.

Tuesday 22nd March 2016
Pete Lancashire (United States)

Last week I found a 9836 (With a tag Upgraded to 9836CU) w/o a display

There are two stickers on the unit "1 MB Board Internal set as 1st card" and "NO BATT / Does not start / Boot ?"

S/N 2250A01010

Does anyone have the specs for the display and connector pinout ?

Tuesday 15th September 2015
Ted (usa)

Ted (USA)

I still have 2 working HP
9836C computers and one non-working HP 9836C computers, numerous connecting cables of various lengths,, (2) 7475A plotters,operator manuals, HP basic coding manuals, 2 HP 9153B disk drives .Anyone interested please contact me or tel 727 791 6930

Saturday 29th September 2012
Ted (USA)

I have 2 working HP
9836C computers and one non-working HP 9836C computers, numerous connecting cables of various lengths,, (2) 7475A plotters,operator manuals, HP basic coding manuals, 2 HP 9153B disk drives .Anyone interested please contact me or tel 727 791 6930

Thursday 19th May 2011
zahed (uae)

im looking for 9836 computer any one have it, for sale should be in good condition, should be working probability, both drives should be funcation.
plz send me the price as soon as possbile
best regards

Tuesday 28th October 2008
Frank Burgum (U.K.)

My lab bought an HP9836 in about 1982, together with a pen-plotter, a line printer, and a 15MB hard disk, all connected by HP-IB. The 9836 by itself was about UKú10,000, and the 15MB hard disk box about UKú2,500. Its principal use was to prepare colour acetate slides for presentations, although we also used it to control instrumentation for some of our work. Using the scroll wheel instead of a mouse (turning the wheel moved the cursor left and right, holding SHIFT down made the cursor move up and down) we became quite adept at making line drawings.

Tuesday 19th December 2006
Shawn Riley (Earth)

The basic requirement for my department's 1983 generation of new test consoles was that it be realtime for microsecond timetagging of hundreds of events, and distributed to as many as 3 secondary "satellite" subprocessors. The customer directed us to buy HP9836C, later CU, for the operator station, communicating to same-family 9920 rackmount computers, all via Pascal code over HPIB. Today, December 2006, many of these systems are still operating although many have been replaced by pentium 133 MHz based UNIX boxes. This was pre-DOS, pre-ethernet, and it was designed to operate for at least 20 years at a high level of reliability. At that time only HP even understood what reliability calculations meant. The notion of a hard drive being another node on the HPIB bus , as well as a printer, makes todays viewers laugh, but it did work. You can make almost anything work given enough time and money. Reagan had plenty.

Tuesday 19th December 2006
Ed Olsen (Earth)

I still use (November 2005) a HP-9836 on a HP 3060 Board Test Station with 9133 and 9121 drives, the OS we have on it is HPL with BTL extensions. The 9836 was a replacement for a HP9825.

Wednesday 11th August 2004
Erik Metzger (Silicon Valley)

Does anyone have a manual for the 9836 which specifically references the computer's keyboard?

Any advice or leads would be greatly appreciated!


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