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HP Computer Museum

Technical Desktops

200 Series Selection:

Product Number: 9836
Introduced: 1981
Price: $11950
9836UCatalogue Reference: 1983, page 595


The 9836A was introduced at the end of 1981 and featured a large, 12.2 inch (390 x 512 dot resolution) screen and dual 5.25 inch floppy drives. It was the design engineering computer of the 200 Series. The 9836C arrived in 1983 and came with a color monitor. Subsequent models included the 9836U (with 12.5 MHz processor and HP-UX capable), and the 9836CU (color monitor version of the 9836U). Additional part numbers avaialble were the 9836S, 9836CS, 9836T and 9836CT. These models comprised base units bundled with additional memory and/or language capability. The 9836 family was also known as the 200 Series Model 36, 9000 Model 236 and 9000/236. Click here to view a 9 second video of the RIPPLES file that demonstrates the color pallette for the 9836C (1.5 Mb).

Collector's Note:

One of my favorite features of this classic machine is its flat-top monitor. 9836 users were free to place almost any other desktop item on top of their 9836 monitor (stapler, telephone, inbox, etc). 267X printers often occupied this perch). The "net desk space" taken up by the 9836 was really only that amount taken up by its keyboard. This was less than the space required by over 99% of desktop personal computers sold in 2005.

Despite its size and complexity, the 9836 is a fairly reliable computer. Of the five units we have processed at the museum, one had an dead monitor (monochrome). One of the museum's 9836C had a monitor with a dead red gun (but working blue and green guns).

If your 9836 gives you a strange, one-line error message at power-up (like "memory failure at XXXXXX"), it may just mean that the internal PCBs are not seated snuggly enough. To fix this problem, remove the top case, unplug all of the pluggable PCBs (including the expansion slot backplane) and reseat them snuggly.

A common problem that afflicts 9836 computers is read errors from the built-in floppy drives. This is usually (80% to 90% of the time) just due to dirty read/write heads. Cleaning the heads will fix the problem. If you have a 9836 that will not boot from one of its internal floppy drives, just boot the machine from an external, HP-IB-connected 9121 or 9122 floppy drive. 9836s with bootrom 3.0 and higher (this includes over 95% of 9836s out there) will automatically boot from an external disc drive, connected via HP-IB.