Build a re-creation of an historic Altair 8800 computerDesigned by Adwater & Stir in United States of America
THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY… …is of little use to you? Do you long for the days of your youth when computers were new, and exciting (and perhaps useful only to those with the “know how”?) Or maybe the ea...Read More…
…is of little use to you? Do you long for the days of your youth when computers were new, and exciting (and perhaps useful only to those with the “know how”?) Or maybe the early days of computers were before you were even born, and you simply want to know what the big deal was? Or maybe you’re like me, a mere child when you first heard the notion that people could actually have a computer in their very own home!
I was a child of 9 years old when the Altair 8800 was announced on the pages of Popular Electronics magazine in January of 1975. It captured my imagination – and I knew that someday I would build and own my own computer. I never did get an Altair 8800 – the computer revolution was started and it moved FAST. The heyday of the Altair lasted only a short while. The first computer I built was 7 years later when I built the Sinclair ZX81 kit.
Well imagine my surprise 42 years later when David Hansel of Brookline, MA published his Ardunio-based Altair 8800 emulator project on hackster.io! I knew this was my chance to finally build an Altair 8800! Sure, there are other Altair 8800 clones out there, but all seemed out of reach for a simple working-man hobbyist. There’s Mike Douglas’s excellent altairclone.com which is a dead-ringer look-alike for the Altair 8800, but it’s over $600, there’s also the very ambitious altairkit.com in which Grant Stockly painstakingly recreated every board and component of an original Altair.
Once I saw David’s code and design, I knew I could improve on it and make an affordable, easy-to-build kit. My first “beta-testers” were my 12 and 14 year old sons! Yes, you can still follow David’s original plan if you wish. If you want a ready-to-go kit, look no further!
This is my newly-released "Standard" version of the kit. It includes an attractive blue laser cut acrylic frame with a clear back and rear panel including an RS232 serial port, audio jack (emulating the Processor Technology Music System), USB connector, SD card access, and power jack. Includes a Bluetooth module to provide a wireless serial connection. The kit also include a micro SD card with productivity software and games for Microsoft BASIC, Altair DOS, CP/M, and more.
This is a cycle-accurate recreation of the original Altair 8800. What does that mean? It means the Intel 8080 CPU is emulated, as is some of the basic I/O (disk drives, serial ports, etc.) but everything else is REAL Altair machine code and CP/M that was created more than 40 years ago!
Includes everything you need to build a fully-functional re-creation of the Altair 8800 computer (professionally made printed circuit board, all components, pre-programmed Arduino Due, spiral-bound color assembly instructions and operations manual, acrylic frame, and more). It can connect to a standard ASCII serial terminal or you can use a serial emulator (PuTTY or Tera Term) on your laptop.
Assembly will require intermediate soldering skills (all through-hole components) and can be completed in 4-5 hours.
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