UniBone - Getting One and Running It

Parent Category: Projects Category: UniBone Written by Administrator

Free as in "free beer"

UniBone is totally "open source".

SDcard image

You find a zipped image of the SDcard at

ftp://ftp.j-hoppe.de . User is "u58104846-unibone", password is "unibone".

Unzip and "dd" to a 16GB (or larger) SDcard.

The network name for the BeagleBone is "unibone". Network login is "root/root". Both UARTs login to root automatically.

The "10.*" directories contains all sources for PRU and ARM and the "Demo" application.

IF you want to recompile with "make", first set up environment variables in the current sh session with

. ~/compile-bbb.enc

Hardware design data

File "01_pcb.zip" contains KiCad project for both current PCB versions.

3D print files (*.stl) for BeagleBone spacers and the RL02 panel are in subdirectory "case".


Buying one

I don't see myself as a hardware-maker, but I can offer ready-to-use UniBones. They'd be build and tested, and would come with the SDcard.

As an UniBone is laborious to complete, I feel I have to take €250 for one, without a BeagleBone (see picture). With BBB add €60.

There were requests for blank boards. Can fulfilled that: a single one is €50, three are 100€ (so much shipping overhead).

And couldn't escape to offer a kit: blank board + parts = 150€. Cheap shipping is 16€, with insurance and tracking around 40€.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

board without bbb


First steps after building or unpacking

First, you should check out latest news in the UniBone Google Group.


Power On

  1. plug UniBone into a PDP-11 SPC slot with OPEN NPG grant chain at CA1-CB1. As we will emulate an RL11 controller, its best to remove the existing RL11 and put UniBone into that hole.
  2. attach Ethernet cable
  3. Connect console terminal to PDP-11 and power on. The PDP-11will show errors until UniBone software „closes“ the GRANT chains.
  4. after 1 second, UniBone gets power (1st green LED)
  5. Debian Linux will boot, needs a minute or so.
  6. login to UniBone: per ssh to host „unibone“ or "unibone2" (you can use the PUTTY tool)
  7. user and password is "root/root"
  8. you can also login over serial UART1 or UART2 at 9600. For connector, crimp a DSUB9 male and a 2x5 Berg to a piece of flat cable.

To emulate RL11 and 4 RL02 drives with operating systems:

  1. Make sure there's no other RL11 controller is installed at 774400, else there's an address conflict.
  2. to boot XXDP2.5, execute „./xxdp.sh“ on UniBone
  3. 2nd green LED goes on, as UniBone now controls the UNIBUS.
  4. wait until PDP-11 „resets“ (UniBone simulates a power cycle).
  5. The PDP-11 is now functional. Use as usual, or boot from device „DL1“.

To boot an RT-11, execute „rt11.sh“. On DL1: is an ADVENTURE.

 * * *

Of course there will be errors ... we are so early in "beta". Lets stay in touch.