Waterloo MicroWAT ?

From: Dave Dunfield <dave04a_at_dunfield.com>
Date: Thu Dec 30 18:00:46 2004

At 15:33 30/12/2004 -0800, you wrote:
>> Anyone here know anything about the "MicroWAT" computer, which was
>> developed at the University of Waterloo in Ontario Canada around 1980.
>> I just acquired one - this is a small 6809 based computer, which I am
>> told is very similar/somewhat compatible with the Waterloo 6809 coprocessor
>> in the Commodore SuperPET.
>Actually, according to my information, it *is* a SuperPET. See
> http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/ckb/secret/pet.html

Thanks - I too found this reference, however it is in error - the MicroWAT I have is
actually a stand-alone computer in a small box with a power supply, small card cage,
three serial ports and an IEEE connector (I have one here in front of me).

I also did uncover a Waterloo document entitled:

   "Waterloo Microcomputer Systems for the 1980's"
by D.D. Cowan and J.W. Graham at the University of Waterloo

in which they describe the MicroWAT and the SuperPET as separate systems:

"It was noted that on campus there were more than 1000 'dumb' ASCII terminals, mostly
with CRTs and keyboards, and a study was initiated to consider the problems in their
conversion to personal workstations meeting our specifications. The study led to the
design of the microWAT a prototype of which became operational in December 1980 ..."

"The microWAT is a computer system of one or more circuit boards mounted on a rather
simple bus. A typical system consists of 4 cards, namely the CPU card, 48K RAM card,
64k bank-switched ROM card and the IEEE-488 bus interface card. The system can be
mounted inside most of our ASCII terminals ... If desired or necessary, the microWAT
can be mounted in its own chassis with it's own power supply."

"At the same time as the development of the microWAT, we investigated the possibility
of expanding existing microcomputers by providing them with a large memory so that they
could incorporate our planned software. We modified a PET microcomputer by adding 64k
of bank-switched RAM, a 6809 microprocessor and an RS232 interface. This design
eventually let to the Commodore SuperPET which is a personal workstation similar to the

>From there it goes on to describe the waterloo software and languages, with no real
distinction between the microWAT the the SuperPET - so the above is really all I know
for certain about the microWAT, however it does appear to be distinct from, but related
to the SuperPET.

Once the holidays are over, I will contact the curator of the York museum in Toronto,
as I am certain that he has mentioned to me in past conversation a stand-alone 6809 based
system that was developed at Waterloo - perhaps he will be able to fill in some details,
however if anyone else has information to offer, please do step forward.

dave04a (at)    Dave Dunfield
dunfield (dot)  Firmware development services & tools: www.dunfield.com
com             Collector of vintage computing equipment:
Received on Thu Dec 30 2004 - 18:00:46 GMT

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