I’ve just started work on assembling the VT132, a DEC VT100 compatible terminal. I got the standalone board, but there is also a version as an add-on board for the RC2104 computer. Not knowing anything about this, it turns out it’s a kit to build an 8 bit Z80 based computer that has expandable card slots for other add-ons. I might look at building one of these next, but out of interest I wondered what other similar kits are out there for building reproductions of retro computers. I noticed it’s not uncommon for some of these to only be produced in limited quantities and it’s unclear whether they will be available again, but here’s a list of things I’ve found:
Wifi232 – an RS232 modem that connects to your wifi instead of a real phone line. This was only produced in limited quantities but is well known in retro computer communities as an easy way to get any old computer with an RS232 interface online. More info here. If you search around you can find a few alternatives and similar kits inspired by the original Wifi232.
IBM PC 5150 motherboard kit – no longer for sale, but an impressive kit to build your own reproduction of the motherboard for the original IBM PC.
Apple 1 reproduction kit. No long available from Briel Computers, but check their link for other suppliers who may still be making the kit.
RetroBrew computers – several kits for Altair/S-100 bus type computers
Altair 8800 kit – no longer available?
PDP-8 and PDP-11 replicas front panel kits and emulation using a Raspberry Pi by Obsolescence Guaranteed
Harlequin 128 – reproduction of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128
Cobalt 3 – a Atmega328 based 8 bit pocket computer
If you know of any others leave a comment!
One Reply to “Ten retro computer electronics kits you can build yourself”
Also from Obsolescence Guaranteed, the Kim Uno – a Kim-1 clone on a calculator-sized PCB, with an Arduino Micro Pro as the brains. The emulation can also run on a bare Arduino without the PCB.