Friday, April 25, 2014

MITS Altair 680 Vintage Computer

MITS Computers
MITS Logo 
The name MITS comes from the official company name "Micro Instrumentation & Telemetry Systems" --- way to long "MITS" is much better.  Ed Roberts the owner of MITS and was in business before the MITS 680 & 8800 microcomputers selling telemetry systems for model rocket folks and electronic calculator kits.

This MITS 680 is a real beauty - it was put to serious use by it's previous as you will see in the photos and video - with additional custom memory and some other interfaced hardware wired into the computer.

More info on the MITS company founded by Ed Roberts "CLICK"

Click on photo's to enlarge
Bugbook Computer Museum
MITS Altair 680 Microcomputer 

I placed the MIT 680 on top of it's big brother in the museum - they do go good together.

The computer was first announced  in the November 1975 issue of Popular Electronics and Shipped in 1976.

The price was $293 in kit or $420 wired ready to operate.

Here is a video tour of this MITS 680 'CLICK'

Bugbook Computer Museum
MITS Altair 680 Microcomputer

The basic computer is built around the 6800 microprocessor chip. The computer and memory are located on a single board. The wires and colored ribbon cable have been added by the builder and user of this MITS 680.

Bugbook Computer Museum
MITS Altair 680 Microcomputer

The computer came with 1K bytes of RAM memory and sockets for 1K of EPROM.

The builder of this computer built and added additional memory. The computer did not have any expansion possibility built in so the memory was attached to the top of the computer cabinet.

Bugbook Computer Museum
MITS Altair 680 Microcomputer

This was an early computer to be build using the 6800 microprocessor.  Two others were the SWTP 6800 and the Sphere.

Bugbook Computer Museum
MITS Altair 680 Microcomputer

The MITS 680 was to limited in function and it never was sold in large numbers.

The Apple ll came out in 1977  using the 6502 microprocessor and as a Plug and Play - ready to go out of the box and soon had the major market share for this kind of computer.

It has been a lot of fun and a good lesson for me to search our Bugbook Computer Museum warehouse and database for additions to our expanded museum display. I have so much accumulated over the 45 years of collection I could enjoy days of just roaming the storage shelves.  Sure I can search the database and I do sometimes to find out just where an item is located in the warehouse. That is nice as each of the 10,000 entries in the database also has information about just where it is located in the warehouse. A few things I learned today getting this MITS 680 - I found another PDP 8 minicomputer and teletype out of sight on the back of a shelf. I thought I had moved all the minicomputers on to new owners but not this one. Only a hoarder and collector like me would enjoy this kind of hunting.

bugbook historical Microcomputer Museum
David Larsen KK4WW

MITS was the first to offer a complete computer kit with cabinet and ready to operate with the MITS 8800 in 1975. The 8800 has a lot of history including the start of Microsoft with Bill Gates and Paul Allen writing a version of Basic for the 8800. Nice having these computer in our museum.

 "by David Larsen"  KK4WW Computer Collector Historian     Send Message    Like us on Facebook  My Blog about hometown Floyd VA

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