Recreating the first PC

If you’re looking for a simple Ardunio project, why not replicate the first personal computer?

After discovering the Arduino, [Mark] realized recreating really old computers would be a fun project. An Altair 8800 was on the table, but the sheer number of blinkenlights, switches and the Intel 8080 CPU made that a fairly difficult project. After a bit of searching, [Mark] discovered the Kenbak-1, widely regarded as the first personal computer. The Kenbak also had the added bonus of having a very minimal I/O compliment and was built entirely with TTL components.

Since the Kenbak-1 is an extremely simple computer, [Mark]’s build ended up being fairly minimal. The schematic is only an ATmega328, a few shift registers and a real-time clock for a few added features the OG computer didn’t have. The completed build is programmed by pushing buttons to enter machine code into the mega’s RAM and then executed. [Mark] has a few programs already figured out – a program that counts in binary, a ‘Cylon eye’ and a BCD and binary clock. While the Kenbak-uno doesn’t have the awesome vintage case of the original, it’s still a remarkable build.

Check out the videos after the break for a walk through.

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