If you’re looking for an interesting electronics project that combines something old and something new, this clever build combines a new Arduino chip to re-create a 1970s era microcomputer.
Long before there were GUIs and human friendly interfaces, hardcore computer enthusiasts were dabbling with expensive microcomputers. Mark Wilson set out to build a replica of the first commercial microcomputer. He writes:
Not long after discovering the Arduino it seemed to me it could be a fun project to re-create an early computer, one with just LEDs and switches. I looked at things like the Altair 8800 (1975) but it has 30+ LEDs and 20+ switches and seemed like too much work. Then I stumbled on the KENBAK-1 (1971). Perfect! Only a dozen LEDs and 17 switches. As a bonus it was the 40th anniversary of it’s introduction.
Hit up the link below to check out his photo set and build guide.
Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 10/11/11