TechFest-Dayton Computer Museum

1972 MODCOMP I MinicomputerHome Brew Mini-Computer and Printer


SWFTEC provides help in the Dayton Computer Museum room at TechFest. For 2003 we provided a MODCOMP I minicomputer to demonstrate the "state of the art" in 1972. 32K words core memory and 16 bit wire wrapped processor running at just over a million instructions per second. We also provided Steve's 1975 Home Brew minicomputer and Home Brew Printer. The home brews demonstrate that a knowledgable and determined individual could have a home computer before the microprocessor. Steve designed the processor and built it using minicomputer techniques applying TTL logic devices and wire wrap circuitry. The cost of the parts for the computer were under $100.00. The printer was also a unique design. It was built for $15.00 in materials using surplus parts from Mendelson's Surplus Electronics and new parts from Radio Shack and Custom Electronics. Steve got both machines working and produced a video demonstrating their operation.

Each year we contribute something different to the Computer Museum at TechFest. We have had Steve's "Machine Learning in the 70's" display based on his early work on Adaptive Optimal Start, a TI-99/4A computer running BASIC, a demo of Steve's early work on Graphic Programming from 1981 and our current Graphic Program Generator software. In 2008 we had a display on the RCA COSMAC 1802, "The Microprocessor that Could". The COSMAC CMOS processor was used on many space probes and satellites as the command and control computer. Important space probes that used the COSMAC include the Vikings, the Voyagers and Galileo. The Voyagers are still working after over 30 years in space. Many of us learned machine language programming using machines like the COSMAC ELF that were based on the COSMAC series parts. We had an ELF II and an ELF emulator running in the Computer Museum.

The Dayton Computer Museum is associated with the Dayton Microcomputer Association (DMA). The curator is Gary Ganger. The Dayton Computer Museum is looking for a real home where the collection of computer hardware, software, manuals, magazines and books can be on permanent display to document the start of the computer revolution and for the education of future generations.

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