I’m shamefully ignorant of early computers, although I can admire with an LED-appreciationists’ eye the banks of flickering lights and glorious toggle switches. So it’s the aesthete in me that loves this Altair 8800, rather than the bemused engineer/programmer, lovingly crafted by Grant Stockly and sold in complete kit form. One of the earliest “personal computers”, the Altair was a modular design using a variety of add-on boards which meant advances in technology could be easily (relatively speaking) built-in.
Stockly’s kit, currently being sold primarily through eBay, consists of everything needed to put together a replica 8800 – from the casing, through a complete selection of all the chips and boards, to the silk-screened front panel with binary input switches and output LEDs. All that’s needed is to solder the parts together and plug it all in; Grant will even tweak your system back into working order, should you be a less-than-stellar engineer like me.
The latest eBay auction has just closed for $1,750, although there are at least two more scheduled to go live soon and more in the new year.