Small Peripheral Controller

From Computer History Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Small Peripheral Controller or SPC was DEC's name for a board slot in the backplanes of UNIBUS PDP-11s into which small device controllers, etc, could be plugged. It was a quad-high slot, occupying rows C-F in a hex slot.

It was originally conceived to hold a dual-height device-specific card, along with single-height M105 Address Selector and M782 Interrupt Control FLIP CHIPs (later, the M7820 and M7821 revisions). (The known dual-width controllers which did this were the KL11 (M780), the PC11 (M781), and the DR11-A (M786).)

The appropriate UNIBUS signal lines (address, data, etc) were thus wired to the appropriate rows/pins in SPC slots. Other pins were wired to allow the necessary communication between the cards, without requiring cables between them.

It soon became more cost-effective to fabricate an entire device on a single quad card, but the pinout was retained. (For the pinout of an SPC slot, see here.)


SPC slots were wired to bring all 5 UNIBUS grant lines through the device; this was performed in rows C (for NPG) and D (for BGx). The device board generally had a header which routed the grant (and matching request) line for the desired priority level to the interrupt circuitry, and passed the other grant lines through.

The DMA (NPG) grant line generally had a jumper on the backplane, which had to be removed if a DMA device was plugged into the slot. Un-occupied slots needed to have either a G727 or a G7273 grant continuity card installed.

SPC Extensions

On some systems, some SPC pins were recycled for other purposes.

In the PDP-11/04 and PDP-11/34, on the DD11-P backplane which holds the CPU card(s), along with the KY11-LB Programmer's Console (which plugs into an otherwise-standard SPC slot), the CPU and the Programmer's Console do some communication via the backplane. Pins CP1 and CR1 are Halt Request and Halt Grant, respectively; they allow the KY11-B to tell the CPU to halt.

See Also