Photo of Smithsonian microcomputer exhibit

From: George Rachor <>
Date: Wed Feb 25 12:37:54 1998

Cool front panel Tim!

Maybe replicas should follow the example set by Matchbox (Diecast model
cars). In their case all replicas were made at 80% of original size.
Except for Disk drives and connectors it might work. That way genuine
collectors would be assured of the uniqueness of the original and yet a
person that just wanted the function of the classic machine might be able
to get one at a less than insane cost.

Bad idea?

George Rachor

George L. Rachor
Beaverton, Oregon

On Wed, 25 Feb 1998, Tim Shoppa wrote:

> > On Tue, 24 Feb 1998, John Higginbotham wrote:
> >
> > > Thinking out loud:
> > > I wonder what the market would be for an Apple I replica?
> >
> > It would be very strong if you claimed it was an original :-) That's one
> > reason I won't pay a lot for a collectible computer. How are you going to
> > authenticate it? Most of the chips and processes are still available
> > today, so it's fairly straightforward to clone them.
> You've also got the issue of date codes on IC's to deal with. And not many
> 40-pin DIPs are still made the same way as original 8080A's, i.e.
> white ceramic with a gold cap.
> > Prediction: 10 years from now, we'll be able to go to Hong Kong and buy a
> > couterfeit Altair for $100!
> Not a chance. While the actual electronics "silicon" inside an Altair is
> worth less than $50 today, the sheet metal and the power supply transformer
> would cost you a couple hundred dollars to duplicate. (While the total
> cost would be about the same, the distribution of the costs is almost
> exactly reveresed from 20 years ago.)
> For those who really want a S-100 front panel machine, maybe they'd be
> willing to pay for me to make duplicates of my TIMSAI. Features:
> 1. Front panel design modeled after the IMSAI. (Hey - the plexiglass/
> photomask/white mask/colored plexiglass sandwich is the the *only*
> sensible design I've ever seen!)
> 2. Blue (silicon carbide) LED's instead of red LED's on the front. (Heck,
> as long as I was investing many long hours and many $ into doing the sheet
> metal work, why not pay for something *new* on the front.)
> 3. Blue and red C&K paddle switches, like the original, but with two
> extra mode switches to allow you to get at the 24-bit-wide
> IEEE-696 address bus and the 16-bit wide data bus.
> 4. Takes all standard IEEE-696/S-100 cards, of course, but my preferred
> configuration has a 20 MHz Z180 with 2 Megs of fast SRAM, a four-disk
> floppy controller, and a SCSI interface all on a single board.
> Automatic wait states are inserted for all "off-board" transfers,
> of course.
> Tim.
Received on Wed Feb 25 1998 - 12:37:54 GMT

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