The Team

Jack Walden Jack Walden, one of the fathers of the HP 9845 series, is dead. He passed away at his home in Loveland, Colorado, on Nov. 23, 2008 with the age of 86. Jack Walden had been responsible for software development of the HP 9830 and later for the 9845. His engineering skills and experience had been one of the main success factors for the whole original 9845 project.

After retiring in 1988, he still had his interests in computers, as well as in ham radio operating and music. Unfortunately, we did not get into contact before his decease.


The core development for the System 45 product line had two major stages. The first was the development of the 9845A, where most of the design decisions and implementations for the whole product line were performed. The second major step then was the development of the color graphics system for the 9845C.

The 9845B was more or less an improved replacement of the previous 9845A with a better memory address extension and a couple of firmware enhancements, and even the 9845C mainframe was for estimated 98% still a 9845B (or, more precise, 9845T). But it was the 98770A color display which made a 9845B a 9845C. And the 98770A was much more than just a display, in fact in was a self-contained computing system with own bit-slice processor, firmware, graphics subsystem, power supply, CRT and communication interface to the mainframe.

There is not much known about the whole development process, how it started, how it was planned and how it was controlled, but it seems that most of the responsibility for the 9845A development was at Jack Walden and Bill Eads, and most of the responsibility for the 9845C project at Bill Hale and John Frost.

And not much is known how the subsequent production, marketing and support was organized, until the product line was ended in 1984.

The list below is derived mainly from the HP Journal references. Since there have been a lot of activities around other products like the 9825 and the 9835 which had a strong influence on the 9845 design, this list is far from being complete. It would be great to receive some information and comments from one of the engineers who were involved in the design and development process.

9845A Development

Project Management

Jack Walden

Jack Walden, group leader and project manager software development, patent co-owner for 9845A.

Bill Eads Bill Eads, language development manager and involved in the modified processor chips, patent co-owner for 9845A  

LPU Firmware Design

  John Bidwell Internal program form, patent co-owner for 9845A
  Dave Landers String variable code
  Jeff Eastman PPU/LPU communications and I/O statement execution
  Jeff Osborne PPU/LPU communications and I/O statement execution
  Jack Cooley Subprogram and tracing capabilities
  John Schmidt Math and matrix packages

PPU Firmware Design

  Gene Burmeister Mass storage system
  Frank Cada I/O scheduler and process control
  Ken Heun Tape cartridge drives and PRINT/PRINT USING statements
Bob Jewett Bob Jewett Display and keyboard procedures, graphics option, patent co-owner for 9845A
  J. L. Marsh External storage device drivers
  Leo Miller Incremental plotter interface drivers

I/O ROM Design

  John Balza Project manager (who was also on the TACO chip)
  Dan Michaels I/O ROM engineer
  Wolfgang Kappler I/O ROM engineer
  Tim Mikkelsen I/O ROM engineer

Product Design

  John Keith Project manager 9845A mainframe hardware
Dick Barney Dick Barney Project manager CRT display, power supply and keyboard
Ansel Vogen Ansel Vogen Lead engineer alphanumeric display and transfer to production
Louis Schulte Louis Schulte Graphics hardware design and lead engineer 9845A production engineering, patent co-owner for 9845A
Ray Cozzens Ray Cozzens Section manager for IC and thinfilm production engineering, general product design, patent co-owner for 9845A
  Bob Brooks Lead engineer product design
  Steve Anderson Industrial design
  LeRoy LaCelle 9845A casing, patent owner for 9845A casing design
  Marl Godfrey Lead engineer testing and quality assurance
  Mike Berry Mike worked for Marl Godfrey on QWERT environmental testing. He later went on to be lead engineer on the IMAGE/45 project and also did the structured programming ROM.
  Brent DeWitt Design engineer in charge of the keyboard, all language variants, and alphanumeric display electronics (character generator). Brent drove the selection of the magnetic core based keyboard switches from IWT for their long cycle lifetime.
  Lee A. White Overall mechanical printer design (including the paper feed and tracking system and the drive motor and cog belt drive system, as well as integration of the printer and the CRT display into the calculator itself), thermal design
  Frank Cloutier Film printhead and hybrid interconnect
  Fred Richart Testing and quality assurance
  Scott Bennett Dual port memory controller (DPMC) and I/O bus and testing
Dan Griffin Dan Griffin Memory address extension (MAE), revised ROM and ROM hybrid, patent co-owner for 9845A
  Gerald Reynolds Processor board, motherboard and tape electronics
  Ray Kloess Power supply (PSU)
  Dave Aldridge Power supply (PSU)
Dyke Shaffer Dyke Shaffer Dyke wrote tools for NMOS II DRC of layout artwork with capacitance and netlist extraction, modified BPC hybrid substrate to add AEC with its additional 16 address signals, designed and built the second generation BPC hybrid tester used in production
  Ken Eldredge Modified processor chips and tape controller (TACO) chip
Dennis Peery Dennis Peery Modified processor chips
  Paul Stoecker Modified processor chips
  Dave Uhlrich Modified processor chips
  Bill Thayer Modified processor chips and tape controller (TACO) chip
  Rob Beeson CRT display and latching mechanism
  Hudson Grotzinger Modular power supply and modular keyboard
  Walt Perdue Tape transport mounting and ROM drawers
  Lowell Kolb CRT monitor circuits
Fred Porter Fred Porter CRT display control logic circuits
  Richard Kochis Tape controller (TACO) chip
Craig Mortensen Craig Mortensen Tape controller (TACO) chip
  John Balza Tape controller (TACO) chip
Eugene Zeller Eugene Zeller Thin film process deveopment for the thermal printer
  Marty Wilson Lead engineer printhead architecture, patent co-owner for 9845A
  Wally Wahlen Printhead driver chip design and temperature control electronics
  Charlie Rock Printer and ROM drawer keying, 9845B power supply
  Bob Kuseski Printer control electronics and related software, patent co-owner for 9845A
  Dave Conner Paper advance motor characteristics and head protection scheme optimizations
  Dale Harlan Paper feeding and tracking mechanism

Components Engineering

  Fred Mann Manager component engineering
  Bob Myers Materials engineer
  David Dahms Materials engineer
  Martin Speer Materials engineer
  Steve Chorak Materials engineer
  Dan Swanson Materials engineer
  Tim McCarthy Materials engineer

9845C Color Display System Design

Bill Hale Bill Hale Project manager 9845C color display
John Frost John "Jack" Frost Project manager 9845C firmware & light pen
Clark Bruderer Clark Bruderer Lead production engineer for the 9845C
Colin Cantwell Colin Cantwell User interface, area fill algorithms and integration of key resources within the graphics firmware as a part time consultant. Colin also had probably been responsible for the 9845C demo (besides his work on the Star Wars movie and later Wargames).
Dick Barney Dick Barney Support in establishing project definition
Warren Pratt Warren Pratt Technical hardware design, inclduing the design of the video deflection and convergence circuits
Bob Jewett Bob Jewett Firmware and graphics ROMs for the 9845A, 9845B and 9845C computers
Bob Frederickson Bob Fredrickson Graphics input and light pen support firmware for the 9845C, including firmware tracking algorithm and interrupt service routine
  Ken Lewis Quality assurance 9845C firmware ROMs
  Ron Tolley Quality assurance 9845C firmware ROMs
  Yuan Bui Quality assurance 9845C firmware ROMs
  Alan Ward Quality assurance 9845C firmware ROMs
  Dave Hodge Quality assurance 9845C firmware ROMs
Fred Porter Fred Porter Light pen control logic
  Kevin Allen Light pen mechanical system
  Chuck Bain Industrial design, including human factors and the initial mechanical design
  Lowell Kolb Assistance for the design and testing of detection circuitry in the light pen
  Nick Mati Optical path development, detection circuitry and mechanical design
Harry Baeverstad Harry Baeverstad, Jr. Design engineer for the 9845C graphics memory and alpha controller
J Steven Becker J. Steven Becker 9845C display power supply (PSU) design and production leader for analog circuitry in the display
  Mike Ramsay Support for the 9845C display wideband vertical deflection circuitry
  Virgil Schuetz 9845C display deflection and convergence design evaluation


  Ed Olander Definition and management of the System 45 development
  Chuck Near Definition and management of the System 45 development
  Frans Laverman HP's European manufacturing facility, product design
  Paul Kirby 9845C display system design

Please note: All of the above information is from publically available sources. However I'm not a friend of violating privacy, so if you feel you're better not included in the list, please let me know and I'll immediately take you off the list.