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Re: RCA COSMAC Microkit

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 of 13 , Apr 18, 2013
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                --- 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 7 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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