Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Neat Modern Retro Computer: The New Elf II

My first computer was a version of the COSMAC Elf computer. It was a simple little computer, costing about $100 in 1976-77. The joy of it was that is was a real computer, and yet it was direct enough in its design philosophy that every single thing about it was understandable and controllable.

I wasn't the only one enchanted by this small computer system, or to have it as a first computer.

Marc Bertrand has built a new, modern version of the Elf computer, visible at his web page. It's not only got the original video interface of the Elf II, but a nice LCD display driven by a PIC microcontroller. It has heaps of I/O ability through several interfaces, nicely controlled by some Altera programmable logic.

Have a look, it's a sweet little system with a layout very reminiscent of the original Elf II computer.

This isn't it, but it's a little test circuit for the 1802 microprocessor used in Elf systems that makes a nice LED blinky:
RCA 1802 test circuit that happens to make a very nice little LRD blinky
A simple test circuit for the RCA 1802 processor used in the Elf computers

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