Tradition does not mean to look after the ash, but to keep the flame alive.
(Jean Jaures)

Project BlinkenBone - historic Blinkenlight console panels controlled by simulators

"BlinkenBone" is an architecture to connect simulators of vintage computers with "Blinkenlight panels".

The panels can be vintage physical panels enhanced with modern micro-Linux controllers, or graphical Java simulations of the panels. The interface between simulator and panel is a network-based client/server model.

Several precompiled ready-to-run distributions with virtual desktop panels are available on GitHub, start here for the docs.

A Google Group to exchange with other BlinkenBone users is here.


blinkenbone real pdp11 40 panelsim and Java simulation


There are several BlinkenBone projects now:

  • PDP-11/40. This panel was the first, and is documented on these pages in detail. It was well received on VCFe 14 in April 2013 in Munich (physical and Java simulation).
  • PDP-11/45. BlinkenBone is finished, but since the colored acryl glass plate is missing, it was too ugly to publish pictures of it. It was dismantled.
  • IBM 360/30. Went to the U.S., is under construction since March 2013.
  • PDP-10 KI10, physical and Java simulation.
  • PDP-11/70. Was already connected to USB, now moved to BlinkenBone. Pphysical and Java simulation.
  • another PDP-11/70 in the U.S., made by Mark Matlock in 2013
  • a virtual Java PDP8I panel was build, photos from a machine at CCG
  • with a special driver, Oscar Vermeulens PiDP8 replica is enabled to work as a BlinkenBone panel.

The physical panels have been shown on several conventions, including VCFe 13 in Munich and VCFB 2014 & 2015 in Berlin.

The BlinkenBone software (SimH 4.x and helper tools) runs on several platforms:

  • Ubuntu 64 bit
  • Ubuntu 32 bit
  • MS Windows 32 (from WinXP to Win 10)
  • Raspberry Pi Raspbian
  • BeagleBone Angstrom Linux

Sources are available on GitGub.

You want to connect your own panel? Here are some step-by-step instructions.

Title Author
BlinkenBone - introduction Written by Administrator
BlinkenBone - architecture overview Written by Administrator
BlinkenBone - "Blinkenlight API" as high level interface to panels Written by Administrator
BlinkenBone - Possible simulator configurations Written by Administrator
BlinkenBone as approach for SimH device visualisation Written by Administrator
Display #