VCF East: [Vince Briel] Of Briel Computers


Judging from the consignment area of the Vintage Computer Festival this weekend, there is still a booming market for vintage computers and other ephemera from the dawn of the era of the home computer. Even more interesting are reimaginings of vintage computers using modern parts, as shown by [Vince Briel] and his amazing retrocomputer kits.

[Vince] was at VCF East this weekend showing off a few of his wares. By far the most impressive (read: the most blinkey lights) is his Altair 8800 kit that emulates the genesis of the microcomputer revolution, the Altair. There’s no vintage hardware inside, everything is emulated on an ATmega microcontroller. Still, it’s accurate enough for the discerning retrocomputer aficionado, and has VGA output, a keyboard port, and an SD card slot.

The Replica I is an extremely cut down version of the original Apple, using the original 6502 CPU and 6821 PIA. Everything else on the board is decidedly modern, with a serial to USB controller for input and a Parallax Propeller doing the video. Even with these modern chips, an expansion slot is still there, allowing a serial card or compact flash drive to be connected to the computer.

Video below, with [Vince] showing off all his wares, including his very cool Kim-1 replica.

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Altair 8800 pc case can emulate the original hardware

The Altair computer is commonly considered the genesis of personal computing and for that reason it has a special place in the hearts of many. [Bob Alexander] brings back the glory of the Altair 8800 plus a lot of added computing power. This PC case houses a Core i5 system but the front panel isn’t just for looks. He designed a PCB and resized an image of the original Altair front panel to end up with a fully functioning control interface. In the demo after the break you’ll see that the buttons can be used for power and reset and the LEDs can show random Altair-like patterns. But the interface can also works in conjunction with an Altair emulator to perfectly mimic the original Altair experience. This is a great way to sidestep the buyer’s remorse one might experience with a standalone kit.

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