Monday, October 14, 2013

Microcomputer - Micro-Designer MD-80 one of the first complete educational / design Microcomputer Systems

      John Titus tells about his designing the MD 80 microcomputer in the mid 70's


The Micro Designer 8080 (MD 80) microcomputer was the first system for training & development commercially available.  The system was a complete operational microcomputer with all the input/output signals easily available as solderless connections, training material  , and many operational software examples.

Microcomputer MD-1 Jon titus
MD-80 by Blacksburg Group
   David tells little story about the origin of the very first complete training microcomputer

Dr. Jon Titus
Dr. John Titus
This was the second major computer design for John Titus.  His first design "The Mark 8" computer was published in Radio Electronics (July 1974)  as a graduate student at Virginia Tech. The Mark 8 was also a milestone computer as one of the first constructions articles that made it possible for a computer geek to make his own affordable computer. This was 2 years before the Steve Wozniak's Apple 1. Here is the MMD-1 our second commercial computer and the first single board computer - another history maker for John.

MD-1 Microcomputer Jon Titus
MD-80 Micro designer

These were very exciting times for the group at Tychon blazing and leading the frontier in digital and microcomputer education. The group consisted of  Dr. John Titus , Dr. Peter Rony, David Larsen and later Dr. Chris Titus.

MD80 Microcomputer
MD1 teaching in 1977

WOW I just found this 1976 slide using the MMD1 wired to an experiment when teaching an Interfacing Workshop.

E and L Instruments Catalog
E and L Instruments Catalog
E and L Instruments Catalog

E and L Instruments Catalog

solderless breadboard
Solderless breadboard Bus signals
The computer and educational material was marketed by E & L Instruments in Derby Connecticut.  I had arranged an agreement with E & L a year or so earlier to market the basic digital training system consisting of Bugbooks 1 & 2 along with digital training aids known as "Outboards".  This was about 38 years ago in 1975 and I remember my meetings with the E & L president Mr. Murry Gallent. This contractual arrangement provided our group had a nice royalty stream for about 10 years with many other books and hardware. The Group soon became known as the "Blacksburg Group".  E & L Instruments published the original Bugbooks . Fortunately we kept all the rights to the books and about a year later our publisher was "Howard W. Sams" and the books were known as "The Blacksburg Continuing Education Series"

See Micro- Designer computer (red) in the header on this blog - right side behind the word Museum.

David Larsen KK4WW
David Larsen KK4WW
 The 10 years our group was creating books, microcomputers and digital training devices was a great experience for us. The 10 year path took many turns and most were positive and upward. We did have few bumps along the way.  One time E & L stopped paying royalties and were had an interesting and expensive lesson about litigation. Other than the cost of attorneys the royalties resumed from E & L.

"By David Larsen" KK4WW Computer Collector Historian   
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