Re "New" IMSAI

From: Richard A. Cini, Jr. <>
Date: Mon Mar 22 18:56:03 1999

On Sun, 21 Mar 1999 10:50:14 -0500, "Barry A. Watzman" <>

>>You are never going to see a "new" IMSAI for $500.

    One can wish, can't one???

>>In the first place, many of the parts that would be needed for a complete
>>system are no longer available.

    Like what?? I don't have schematics for the IMSAI, but looking at the
Altair schemtaics, Jameco has many of the old parts except the 1702A EPROM
and the exact RAM (although the 5101 looks like a likely sub). The power
supply transformer may be available on the surplus market, or in new
production quantities from Signal.

>>In the second place, the original IMSAI was not UL approved (or even safe,
>>and could probably not be sold today.
>>In the third place, the original IMSAI was not even close to meeting FCC
>>Class A much less B.

    If the plan is to sell a complete, fully-functional, off-the-shelf unit
in CompUSA, then yes I agree UL/CSA approvals (which are expensive) are
necessary, as is meeting the FCC emissions regs. However, how many hobbyest
projects in Radio-Electronics or Popular Electronics have passed those
rigorous tests? I'd guess none. What standards to be met depends on where
this is being sold and in what quantities. Also, a redesign of the power
supply for common sense safety is not all that difficult. I believe that it
*is* possible to produce a slightly re-engineered "25th Anniversary" IMSAI
8080 for a reasonable price.

>>Finally, $500 would be cheap for a low-volume copy, regulatory issues

    Like I said in my original post, I'd bet that it is possible to come
close to $500 (profits not included). The hardest part I'd bet is finding a
suitable replacement for the enclosure. Maybe $500 isn't the right price;
maybe $600 is. Maybe it's $800 with a profit figured in. I'd bet that it's
less than $1200, though.

    If someone will send me a complete bill of materials for a basic IMSAI
8080, I can spend a few minutes pricing out the parts (assuming a 500 qty).

>>Do not be surprised when your unrealistic expectations are not realized.

   Believe me, I won't be surprised. My pricing thesis was not an
"expectation" since I hadn't gone through the exercise of pricing out a BOM
to test for reasonableness. Maybe I'm all wet, but then again, maybe I'm
not. I don't know. I was merely stating what may be possible.

    Here's my guidepost: the original Altair kit was what, $497. I figured
that any cost benefit from {current} lower prices on silicon and passives
would be offset by higher prices on harder-to-find parts such as the case,
bus connectors and RAM.

[ Rich Cini/WUGNET
[ ClubWin!/CW7
[ MCP Windows 95/Windows Networking
[ Collector of "classic" computers
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Received on Mon Mar 22 1999 - 18:56:03 GMT

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