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Saturday, 18 April 2015

How we learned about electronics pre-Arduino days...

Very short post here: 

I was cleaning the basement, and came across this. It is "brand new", as in everything was still wrapped in it's original bubble wrap and had the cardboard corner protectors... huh... go figure..

Anyway boys and girls... this is what an Arduino looked like 20+ years ago.  LOL

130 rainy day electronics projects in one box...  

I tend to be a very forgetful person, but I *vividly* remember MY first computer.  

In 1976, Popular Electronics Magazine ran an article about building your very own personal computer.

The "Cosmac ELF was basically a PCB that you purchased, sourcing all of the electronic parts through the mail.  I think at the age of 10, it took me several months to get the components.  Sending off for one of two as my allowance came in, and soldering them to the circuit board. 

Picture from : http://www.homebrewcpu.com/projects.htm
Using an 8bit RCA 1802 processor meant for the newly invented digital gas pumps, the Cosmac Elf boasted 256 bytes (BYTES!) of memory, two 7 segment LEDs, 8 toggle switches for address and data input, a RUN switch, and a PROGRAM switch.  

No BIOS or bootloader... nada... and yet some simple games could be loaded (in binary!) and played for hours of fun.



Two years later, I was up to 4k of memory, a cassette tape drive, and a monochrome video display of 128x64 bits...  and a home rolled character generator!

Those were the days...

I'd LOVE to hear your stories in the comments below...