Another ~1960 computer kit

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Wed Dec 16 16:46:22 1998

> Here are a couple more 'toy' computers that I've come across, dating from
> the early 1970's.
> The first was made/cloned/sold by many companies, including radio shack.
> It consists of a number (8 or 10?) of multi-pole changeover slide
> swtichs, which are the 'input'. The output is a row of torch (flashlight)
> bulbs. You 'program' it by patching wires between the switch contacts,
> thus making up logic gates (2 contacts in series = AND, 2 in parallel =
> OR, etc). I seem to remember that the manual for the one I had (and
> probably still have) included wiring for NIM, etc.

I had two versions as a kid: in 1976, R-S sold one that had tissue-paper
light-bulb overlays and a field of holes for a patch board, then by 1978,
it was revised to use plastic overlays and spring clips fo the wires.

> My main critism was that the various patch diagrams were never
> explained. OK, so it was fun to make a binary adder or whatever, but to
> me it would have been even more fun to understand why.

That's why I never did much with mine. They just gave you full-blown
patch assignments with *zero* explanation of the logic behind it.

Received on Wed Dec 16 1998 - 16:46:22 GMT

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