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RCA COSMAC Microkit

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  • B. Degnan
    I am not one to exaggerate but I really think this is a big deal find and I am thrilled about this original RCA COSMAC Microkit that arrived safe and sound
    Message 1 of 13 , Apr 4, 2013
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      I am not one to exaggerate but I really think this is a big deal find and I
      am thrilled about this original RCA COSMAC Microkit that arrived safe and
      sound today. Quite historic.

      I have uploaded a set of images of the new-to-me COSMAC Microkit. It has
      an SSTC processor card (later renamed the 1801, which is the 2-chip version
      of the subsequent 1802 of ELF fame). You can see from the various date
      codes that the chips are from mid 1974-early 1975. RAM is 2102.

      A find like this is the kind of stuff that makes this hobby rewarding to
      me, discovering a new historical relic of the earliest microcomputers which
      had until now been previously undocumented. Although of course 10 more
      will show up because that's how the world works ... but that's not
      important... however as of this writing no other Microkits have been
      documented on the web other than the article I scanned and posted on my
      site in 2009..Given there's a ROM card, RAM, and an I/O card, this appears
      to be a full 3K computer.

      Funny I was just saying at the TCF to Bill Dromg. that I did not want to
      dive into the 1802 processor because I was too busy, famous last words.

      NOTE - The Kit was produced in Florida apparently and not N.J.!

      http://www.vintagecomputer.net/RCA/COSMAC/

      Bill
    • joshbensadon
      ... It s an excellent buy! Congrats! I was watching that auction and almost put a bid in. Now, knowing you wanted it, I m glad I didn t bid up the price. ...
      Message 2 of 13 , Apr 4, 2013
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        --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
        >
        > am thrilled about this original RCA COSMAC Microkit that arrived safe and
        > sound today. Quite historic.
        >
        > I have uploaded a set of images of the new-to-me COSMAC Microkit. It has
        > an SSTC processor card (later renamed the 1801, which is the 2-chip version
        > of the subsequent 1802 of ELF fame). You can see from the various date
        > codes that the chips are from mid 1974-early 1975. RAM is 2102.

        It's an excellent buy! Congrats! I was watching that auction and almost put a bid in. Now, knowing you wanted it, I'm glad I didn't bid up the price.

        > had until now been previously undocumented. Although of course 10 more
        > will show up because that's how the world works ... but that's not

        I doubt it. These are very rare. You'll likely see the COSMAC DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM up for sale sooner than another Microkit.

        :)J
      • Bill Dromgoole
        I was drooling over it myself when I saw it on ebay. It was just too rich for my blood. I can t wait to see it up close. I agree that it is super historic and
        Message 3 of 13 , Apr 4, 2013
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          I was drooling over it myself when I saw it on ebay.
          It was just too rich for my blood.
          I can't wait to see it up close.

          I agree that it is super historic and truly rare.
          Congrats on a great find.

          Bill
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...>
          To: <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 9:38 PM
          Subject: [midatlanticretro] RCA COSMAC Microkit


          >I am not one to exaggerate but I really think this is a big deal find and I
          > am thrilled about this original RCA COSMAC Microkit that arrived safe and
          > sound today. Quite historic.
          >
          > I have uploaded a set of images of the new-to-me COSMAC Microkit. It has
          > an SSTC processor card (later renamed the 1801, which is the 2-chip version
          > of the subsequent 1802 of ELF fame). You can see from the various date
          > codes that the chips are from mid 1974-early 1975. RAM is 2102.
          >
          > A find like this is the kind of stuff that makes this hobby rewarding to
          > me, discovering a new historical relic of the earliest microcomputers which
          > had until now been previously undocumented. Although of course 10 more
          > will show up because that's how the world works ... but that's not
          > important... however as of this writing no other Microkits have been
          > documented on the web other than the article I scanned and posted on my
          > site in 2009..Given there's a ROM card, RAM, and an I/O card, this appears
          > to be a full 3K computer.
          >
          > Funny I was just saying at the TCF to Bill Dromg. that I did not want to
          > dive into the 1802 processor because I was too busy, famous last words.
          >
          > NOTE - The Kit was produced in Florida apparently and not N.J.!
          >
          > http://www.vintagecomputer.net/RCA/COSMAC/
          >
          > Bill
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • DougCrawford
          Congrats! I m glad its in good hands! Glad you choose well on your 1802 find :) DC
          Message 4 of 13 , Apr 5, 2013
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            Congrats! I'm glad its in good hands!
            Glad you choose well on your 1802 find :)
            DC

            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Dromgoole" <drummy@...> wrote:
            >
            > I was drooling over it myself when I saw it on ebay.
            > It was just too rich for my blood.
            > I can't wait to see it up close.
            >
            > I agree that it is super historic and truly rare.
            > Congrats on a great find.
            >
            > Bill
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...>
            > To: <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 9:38 PM
            > Subject: [midatlanticretro] RCA COSMAC Microkit
            >
            >
            > >I am not one to exaggerate but I really think this is a big deal find and I
            > > am thrilled about this original RCA COSMAC Microkit that arrived safe and
            > > sound today. Quite historic.
            > >
            > > I have uploaded a set of images of the new-to-me COSMAC Microkit. It has
            > > an SSTC processor card (later renamed the 1801, which is the 2-chip version
            > > of the subsequent 1802 of ELF fame). You can see from the various date
            > > codes that the chips are from mid 1974-early 1975. RAM is 2102.
            > >
            > > A find like this is the kind of stuff that makes this hobby rewarding to
            > > me, discovering a new historical relic of the earliest microcomputers which
            > > had until now been previously undocumented. Although of course 10 more
            > > will show up because that's how the world works ... but that's not
            > > important... however as of this writing no other Microkits have been
            > > documented on the web other than the article I scanned and posted on my
            > > site in 2009..Given there's a ROM card, RAM, and an I/O card, this appears
            > > to be a full 3K computer.
            > >
            > > Funny I was just saying at the TCF to Bill Dromg. that I did not want to
            > > dive into the 1802 processor because I was too busy, famous last words.
            > >
            > > NOTE - The Kit was produced in Florida apparently and not N.J.!
            > >
            > > http://www.vintagecomputer.net/RCA/COSMAC/
            > >
            > > Bill
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > ------------------------------------
            > >
            > > Yahoo! Groups Links
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
          • Dave McGuire
            ... Great stuff! Thanks for the pics! I can t wait to see this machine in person. -Dave -- Dave McGuire, AK4HZ New Kensington, PA
            Message 5 of 13 , Apr 5, 2013
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              On 04/04/2013 09:38 PM, B. Degnan wrote:
              > I am not one to exaggerate but I really think this is a big deal find and I
              > am thrilled about this original RCA COSMAC Microkit that arrived safe and
              > sound today. Quite historic.
              >
              > I have uploaded a set of images of the new-to-me COSMAC Microkit. It has
              > an SSTC processor card (later renamed the 1801, which is the 2-chip version
              > of the subsequent 1802 of ELF fame). You can see from the various date
              > codes that the chips are from mid 1974-early 1975. RAM is 2102.
              >
              > A find like this is the kind of stuff that makes this hobby rewarding to
              > me, discovering a new historical relic of the earliest microcomputers which
              > had until now been previously undocumented. Although of course 10 more
              > will show up because that's how the world works ... but that's not
              > important... however as of this writing no other Microkits have been
              > documented on the web other than the article I scanned and posted on my
              > site in 2009..Given there's a ROM card, RAM, and an I/O card, this appears
              > to be a full 3K computer.
              >
              > Funny I was just saying at the TCF to Bill Dromg. that I did not want to
              > dive into the 1802 processor because I was too busy, famous last words.
              >
              > NOTE - The Kit was produced in Florida apparently and not N.J.!
              >
              > http://www.vintagecomputer.net/RCA/COSMAC/

              Great stuff! Thanks for the pics! I can't wait to see this machine in person.

              -Dave

              --
              Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
              New Kensington, PA
            • B. Degnan
              ... Not 1802. TC 1085 / TC 1086 (1801) I put up a page with more info that tells more of the story of the COSMAC
              Message 6 of 13 , Apr 5, 2013
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                -------- Original Message --------
                > From: "DougCrawford" <touchetek@...>
                > Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 10:41 AM
                > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: RCA COSMAC Microkit
                >
                > Congrats! I'm glad its in good hands!
                > Glad you choose well on your 1802 find :)
                > DC
                >
                Not 1802.

                TC 1085 / TC 1086 (1801)

                I put up a page with more info that tells more of the story of the COSMAC
                http://www.vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=511

                Bill
              • Mike
                Bill, That is really cool. Are you going to try to get it going? Do you have any software? The group of us folks working on SCELBI s are very lucky in that
                Message 7 of 13 , Apr 5, 2013
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                  Bill,

                  That is really cool. Are you going to try to get it going? Do you have any software?

                  The group of us folks working on SCELBI's are very lucky in that SCELBI consulting published most of their software in book form. SCELBAL BASIC has been digitized a few years back, and I'm working on digitizing and running some of their other published programs on reproduction hardware. It's been a real trip. We think that some of this stuff hasn't been run on physical hardware (or otherwise) in 25 or more years.

                  regards,
                  Mike W.

                  --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > I am not one to exaggerate but I really think this is a big deal find and I
                  > am thrilled about this original RCA COSMAC Microkit that arrived safe and
                  > sound today. Quite historic.
                  >
                  > I have uploaded a set of images of the new-to-me COSMAC Microkit. It has
                  > an SSTC processor card (later renamed the 1801, which is the 2-chip version
                  > of the subsequent 1802 of ELF fame). You can see from the various date
                  > codes that the chips are from mid 1974-early 1975. RAM is 2102.
                  >
                  > A find like this is the kind of stuff that makes this hobby rewarding to
                  > me, discovering a new historical relic of the earliest microcomputers which
                  > had until now been previously undocumented. Although of course 10 more
                  > will show up because that's how the world works ... but that's not
                  > important... however as of this writing no other Microkits have been
                  > documented on the web other than the article I scanned and posted on my
                  > site in 2009..Given there's a ROM card, RAM, and an I/O card, this appears
                  > to be a full 3K computer.
                  >
                  > Funny I was just saying at the TCF to Bill Dromg. that I did not want to
                  > dive into the 1802 processor because I was too busy, famous last words.
                  >
                  > NOTE - The Kit was produced in Florida apparently and not N.J.!
                  >
                  > http://www.vintagecomputer.net/RCA/COSMAC/
                  >
                  > Bill
                  >
                • B. Degnan
                  Mike, ... any software? ... Just got it, I have not even tested the power yet. .. I have this Scelbi kit to get started first! ... consulting published most
                  Message 8 of 13 , Apr 5, 2013
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                    Mike,

                    >
                    > That is really cool. Are you going to try to get it going? Do you have
                    any software?
                    >

                    Just got it, I have not even tested the power yet. .. I have this Scelbi
                    kit to get started first!

                    > The group of us folks working on SCELBI's are very lucky in that SCELBI
                    consulting published most of their software in book form. SCELBAL BASIC
                    has been digitized a few years back, and I'm working on digitizing and
                    running some of their other published programs on reproduction hardware.
                    It's been a real trip. We think that some of this stuff hasn't been run on
                    physical hardware (or otherwise) in 25 or more years.
                    >

                    Basically I picked this COSMAC up because it was now or never. What to do
                    and when to do it to be determined. I will be bringing both the Scelbi and
                    the COSMAC to the MARCH open house most likely.

                    Bill
                  • Bill Dromgoole
                    Bill, do you remember talking about the MicroKit 1 in 2009? Look at message #14763 when you corresponded with Joyce Wiesbecker about it on this forum. I think
                    Message 9 of 13 , Apr 5, 2013
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                      Bill, do you remember talking about the MicroKit 1 in 2009?
                      Look at message #14763 when you corresponded with Joyce Wiesbecker about it on
                      this forum.
                      I think your subconscious mind kicked in and made you buy this.

                      Begin Quote
                      " You're right about the Microkit 1. It was RCA's hardware development kit
                      targeted at design engineers looking to embed a microprocessor into their
                      equipment. I never even saw one of them, only read the product brochure,
                      because - Man!!! - that thing cost thousands of dollars, and RCA made its
                      employees buy those kits at full price! That was an RCA Somerville project, so
                      my father had no input. My father was building the prototypes (in our basement)
                      for all the other computers I mentioned, and his group at the Sarnoff Labs was
                      developing those models, so he got to bring home one of each of the final
                      production models. (Yes, every aspect of the 1802 - microprocessor, computers,
                      videogame, and kits - was a skunkworks project.)

                      You really have a collectible in that Microkit 1, Bill. It was the
                      predecessor to the VIP. Dad pitched the VIP as a cheaper, more accessible (and
                      therefore better selling tool to OEMs) than the Microkit 1. But it was also the
                      only way he could get RCA to offer a hobbyist computer since management was dead
                      set against the idea :). Between the limited production run, the high cost, and
                      the fact that most of them were the property of the employer, not the engineer,
                      your Microkit 1 is probably one of the rarest production model computers still
                      around. (Even I had forgotten it existed until you mentioned it!)
                      Congratulations on your rare treasure!

                      Joyce"
                      End Quote.

                      Bill Drom
                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...>
                      To: <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 3:04 PM
                      Subject: re: [midatlanticretro] Re: RCA COSMAC Microkit


                      > Mike,
                      >
                      >>
                      >> That is really cool. Are you going to try to get it going? Do you have
                      > any software?
                      >>
                      >
                      > Just got it, I have not even tested the power yet. .. I have this Scelbi
                      > kit to get started first!
                      >
                      >> The group of us folks working on SCELBI's are very lucky in that SCELBI
                      > consulting published most of their software in book form. SCELBAL BASIC
                      > has been digitized a few years back, and I'm working on digitizing and
                      > running some of their other published programs on reproduction hardware.
                      > It's been a real trip. We think that some of this stuff hasn't been run on
                      > physical hardware (or otherwise) in 25 or more years.
                      >>
                      >
                      > Basically I picked this COSMAC up because it was now or never. What to do
                      > and when to do it to be determined. I will be bringing both the Scelbi and
                      > the COSMAC to the MARCH open house most likely.
                      >
                      > Bill
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • B. Degnan
                      Yes, I was the one who brought up the COSMAC Microkit in 2009 when I discovered that they existed from a magazine article (on my site). Joyce appears to have
                      Message 10 of 13 , Apr 5, 2013
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                        Yes, I was the one who brought up the COSMAC Microkit in 2009 when I
                        discovered that they existed from a magazine article (on my site). Joyce
                        appears to have misunderstood me at the time in that I did not actually
                        have a Microkit, I was only asking her if *she* had one...but perhaps she
                        can read the future.

                        I plan to sell my Steinberger Bass (anyone interested?) to pay for the
                        computer, because I could not justify the expense otherwise. I figured
                        this is a once in a lifetime thing and I am in the "go for it!" camp when
                        it comes to things like that. And I never play that bass anyway. :-)

                        Bill



                        -------- Original Message --------
                        > From: "Bill Dromgoole" <drummy@...>
                        > Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 9:31 PM
                        > To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: Re: [midatlanticretro] Re: RCA COSMAC Microkit
                        >
                        > Bill, do you remember talking about the MicroKit 1 in 2009?
                        > Look at message #14763 when you corresponded with Joyce Wiesbecker about
                        it on
                        > this forum.
                        > I think your subconscious mind kicked in and made you buy this.
                        >
                        > Begin Quote
                        > " You're right about the Microkit 1. It was RCA's hardware development
                        kit
                        > targeted at design engineers looking to embed a microprocessor into their

                        > equipment. I never even saw one of them, only read the product brochure,

                        > because - Man!!! - that thing cost thousands of dollars, and RCA made its

                        > employees buy those kits at full price! That was an RCA Somerville
                        project, so
                        > my father had no input. My father was building the prototypes (in our
                        basement)
                        > for all the other computers I mentioned, and his group at the Sarnoff
                        Labs was
                        > developing those models, so he got to bring home one of each of the final

                        > production models. (Yes, every aspect of the 1802 - microprocessor,
                        computers,
                        > videogame, and kits - was a skunkworks project.)
                        >
                        > You really have a collectible in that Microkit 1, Bill. It was the
                        > predecessor to the VIP. Dad pitched the VIP as a cheaper, more accessible
                        (and
                        > therefore better selling tool to OEMs) than the Microkit 1. But it was
                        also the
                        > only way he could get RCA to offer a hobbyist computer since management
                        was dead
                        > set against the idea :). Between the limited production run, the high
                        cost, and
                        > the fact that most of them were the property of the employer, not the
                        engineer,
                        > your Microkit 1 is probably one of the rarest production model computers
                        still
                        > around. (Even I had forgotten it existed until you mentioned it!)
                        > Congratulations on your rare treasure!
                        >
                        > Joyce"
                        > End Quote.
                        >
                        > Bill Drom
                        >
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        -------------------------------
                        > ----- Original Message -----
                        > From: "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...>
                        > To: <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 3:04 PM
                        > Subject: re: [midatlanticretro] Re: RCA COSMAC Microkit
                        >
                        >
                        > > Mike,
                        > >
                        > >>
                        > >> That is really cool. Are you going to try to get it going? Do you
                        have
                        > > any software?
                        > >>
                        > >
                        > > Just got it, I have not even tested the power yet. .. I have this
                        Scelbi
                        > > kit to get started first!
                        > >
                        > >> The group of us folks working on SCELBI's are very lucky in that
                        SCELBI
                        > > consulting published most of their software in book form. SCELBAL
                        BASIC
                        > > has been digitized a few years back, and I'm working on digitizing and
                        > > running some of their other published programs on reproduction
                        hardware.
                        > > It's been a real trip. We think that some of this stuff hasn't been
                        run on
                        > > physical hardware (or otherwise) in 25 or more years.
                        > >>
                        > >
                        > > Basically I picked this COSMAC up because it was now or never. What to
                        do
                        > > and when to do it to be determined. I will be bringing both the Scelbi
                        and
                        > > the COSMAC to the MARCH open house most likely.
                        > >
                        > > Bill
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ------------------------------------
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • B. Degnan
                        ... the ROM as inverted so you didn t have to put another buffer chip on the bus. If you re trying to disassemble it, just run it through a program to flip
                        Message 11 of 13 , Apr 18, 2013
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                          >
                          > In this case, if you had an inverted bus, it would make sense to store
                          the ROM as inverted so you didn't have to put another buffer chip on the
                          bus. If you're trying to disassemble it, just run it through a program to
                          flip the bits.
                          >
                          >
                          -Thanks Dave-
                        • joshbensadon
                          ... I don t think Bill has determined that the bus is inverted. I observed the dump that Bill posted didn t make sense as 1802 machine code until I guessed
                          Message 12 of 13 , Apr 18, 2013
                          • 0 Attachment
                            --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > >
                            > > In this case, if you had an inverted bus, it would make sense to store
                            > the ROM as inverted so you didn't have to put another buffer chip on the
                            > bus. If you're trying to disassemble it, just run it through a program to
                            > flip the bits.
                            > >
                            > >
                            > -Thanks Dave-


                            I don't think Bill has determined that the bus is inverted.

                            I observed the dump that Bill posted didn't make sense as 1802 machine code until I guessed that the bits might be inverted.

                            I am only guessing that the bus is inverted and wish to advise Bill to look out for that.

                            I could be totally out to lunch, since it is an 1801 chip set.

                            :)J
                          • B Degnan
                            When I get back from a brief vacation I will look up the commands from their HEX values, and/or convert to an Intel record that would be easier to assemble. I
                            Message 13 of 13 , Apr 19, 2013
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                              When I get back from a brief vacation I will look up the commands from their
                              HEX values, and/or convert to an Intel record that would be easier to
                              assemble. I believe I have the instruction set in my
                              vintagecomputer.net/RCA/COSMAC directory, or elsewhere. If assembly is
                              possible. No way to know about whether inversion is necessary yet.



                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                              [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of joshbensadon
                              Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2013 1:39 PM
                              To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: [midatlanticretro] Re: RCA COSMAC Microkit

                              --- In midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com, "B. Degnan" <billdeg@...> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > >
                              > > In this case, if you had an inverted bus, it would make sense to
                              > > store
                              > the ROM as inverted so you didn't have to put another buffer chip on
                              > the bus. If you're trying to disassemble it, just run it through a
                              > program to flip the bits.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > -Thanks Dave-


                              I don't think Bill has determined that the bus is inverted.

                              I observed the dump that Bill posted didn't make sense as 1802 machine code
                              until I guessed that the bits might be inverted.

                              I am only guessing that the bus is inverted and wish to advise Bill to look
                              out for that.

                              I could be totally out to lunch, since it is an 1801 chip set.

                              :)J




                              ------------------------------------

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