Who remembers the Sol-20? Us neither, but it was an essential milestone on the path to in which we, and our computer systems, are today. Without the need of the Sol-20 the dwelling laptop or computer environment would be incredibly distinct. This important point in household personal computer heritage is an fantastic preference, then, for a retro laptop or computer copy venture these as that carried out by Michael Gardi (and highlighted by Hackaday) employing a Raspberry Pi in put of the Intel 8080 at the primary computer’s coronary heart.
The initial totally assembled microcomputer with the two a built-in keyboard and a Television set output, the Sol-20 had the misfortune to be released in 1976, a 12 months right before Apple, Commodore and Tandy arrived and stomped all over the current market with the Apple II, Pet and TRS-80. Initially marketed in 3 versions – a motherboard package the Sol-10 added a case, keyboard and power offer, but arrived with no enlargement slots and the Sol-20 beefed up that power supply and included 5 S-100 bus slots (the Sol-20 would be by much the most well known model). The laptop or computer stayed in production right until 1979 and would market all-around 12,000 models, building them very uncommon currently. For contrast, total Apple II income would hit around six million, which include a million in 1983 on your own.
For the 2021 variation, acquiring an genuine-hunting scenario was a priority. The distinct blue primary was built of sheet metallic with picket sides, but Gardi reached for his 3D printer rather than his slicing torch to make the develop much more obtainable to other individuals. The sides are created from walnut, a materials marginally befitting the aesthetic of the time.
Gardi also designed a matching display for the Sol-20, yet again 3D printed and embellished with walnut, it utilises a 4:3 Lcd panel and connects to the Pi by means of an HDMI cable.
The keyboard is a replica of the first in structure, but sits on modern Cherry MX switches. The board arrives as a package from osiweb.org. The brains of the operation is a Raspberry Pi 4 managing an 8080 emulator written in Python and forked from a single accessible on GitHub. The digital CPU has 64kb of memory (most programs delivered with 8 or 16kb) and supports storage on digital cassette tapes. You will find a large amount – and we necessarily mean a lot – extra element on Gardi’s Hackaday.io task web-site, which includes 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 working with his 3D printer.