Who remembers the Sol-20? Us neither, however it was an essential milestone on the trail to the place we, and our computer systems, are at this time. With out the Sol-20 the house pc world can be very totally different. This essential level in house pc historical past is a wonderful selection, then, for a retro pc replica undertaking comparable to that carried out by Michael Gardi (and highlighted by Hackaday) utilizing a Raspberry Pi rather than the Intel 8080 on the authentic pc’s coronary heart.
The primary absolutely assembled microcomputer with each a built-in keyboard and a TV output, the Sol-20 had the misfortune to be launched in 1976, a yr earlier than Apple, Commodore and Tandy got here and stomped all around the market with the Apple II, Pet and TRS-80. Initially offered in three variations - a motherboard equipment; the Sol-10 added a case, keyboard and energy provide, however got here with no growth slots; and the Sol-20 beefed up that energy provide and added 5 S-100 bus slots (the Sol-20 can be by far the preferred mannequin). The pc stayed in manufacturing till 1979 and would promote round 12,000 models, making them extremely uncommon at this time. For distinction, complete Apple II gross sales would hit round six million, together with 1,000,000 in 1983 alone.
For the 2021 model, having an authentic-looking case was a precedence. The distinctive blue authentic was product of sheet metallic with wood sides, however Gardi reached for his 3D printer relatively than his reducing torch to make the construct extra accessible to others. The perimeters are produced from walnut, a fabric barely befitting the aesthetic of the time.
Gardi additionally made an identical show for the Sol-20, once more 3D printed and embellished with walnut, it utilises a 4:3 LCD panel and connects to the Pi by way of an HDMI cable.
The keyboard is a reproduction of the unique in structure, however sits on trendy Cherry MX switches. The board comes as a equipment from osiweb.org. The brains of the operation is a Raspberry Pi 4 operating an 8080 emulator written in Python and forked from one accessible on GitHub. The digital CPU has 64kb of reminiscence (most techniques shipped with 8 or 16kb) and helps storage on digital cassette tapes. There's loads - and we imply loads - extra element on Gardi’s Hackaday.io project site, together with his use of an Arduino as a keyboard interface, the creation of an RS232 port, and his success ‘drawing’ the Sol-20 brand on a rectangle of acrylic utilizing his 3D printer (see best 3D printers).