Home Up Site Map Links Wish List Search

Kenbak-1

I am no longer active in this hobby for the foreseeable future. 
I will no longer maintain or update the website, but I will leave it accessible to the web for as long as possible (years).

 

Mark-8 Minicomputer
Apple-1
MOS Kim-1
V C F
Imsai 8080
Kenbak-1
TV Typewriter
LSI ADM-3A
ASR-33
The Digital Group

My Collection
HP-01
Test Equipment
Model Rocketry

 
 

The Kenbak-1

The Kenbak-1 designed by John V. Blankenbaker and advertised in Scientific American in 1971, was dubbed the first commercially available personal computer by the Boston Computer Museum in 1987 (Now the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA). This award is argued by collector pinheads like myself to no end, but you must concede the the milestone this computer represented, regardless how it is otherwise classified. 

The Kenbak-1 preceded the first microprocessor based computers by a couple years, and was made entirely of small scale TTL integrated circuits--circuits that consisted mainly of a few gates per chip. Quite an accomplishment for the time. There are a total 132 chips on the main board, including the two 1024 bit shift register memories (organized as 256 eight-bit bytes).

The machine was designed as an educational tool, and was marketed to schools in the early 1970's. Only about forty were made, making this one of the most sought after collectables in the computer world. In recent years, several of these machines have surfaced and have sold to private collectors in private sales, and on ebay.

The Kenbak Replica

Recently, a couple friends of mine have made photographical and functional Kenbak-1 replicas with good success. I picked up this board from a collector friend, and I plan to assemble it as I have time. What you see here in the photos is everything I have as of this writing.

The hardest part is a self imposed one--I want to use historically accurate parts, from the actual time period. I am seeking TTL chips with date codes from 1972 or earlier. The 1402A memory chips that I have (See photo) are dated from 1980. I would like to find earlier version of them too. I do not plan to use IC sockets either, which means that I will have to carefully verify every chip before soldering it in place.

If you know of any source for old chips, please let me know! (I am willing to pull chips from old PC boards too!!)

I will update this page with my progress--expected to be very slow!

Kenbak-1 Links

KENBAK-1 Computer - Designer John Blankenbaker's own web page.
Vintage-Computer.com - Erik Klien's original Kenbak-1
Computer Museum of Nova Scotia - Has the largest known collection of these rare machines, SEVEN! Totally unfair! --Hey! Looks like he sold one! Maybe I have chance after all. :)
KenbakKit.com - Grant Stockly's beautiful recreation of the Kenbak, dubbed "Kenbak Series 2", very limited run. Get them while you can!
Thomas Jones's Kenbak Creation Story - Excellent information for a DIY recreation.
 

2008-05-13_kenbak_board 003bw.jpg (1016220 bytes)
My Kenbak PC Board -- Top
 

2008-05-13_kenbak_board 008bw.jpg (1036823 bytes)
My Kenbak PC Board -- Bottom
 

2008-05-13_kenbak_board 011a.jpg (1070630 bytes)
The very rare 1402A memory chip-in-a-can
 

 
 


wordpress visitor

 
Unique Visitors Since 02/04

Copyright 2008 Bryan's Old Computers
Last modified:
October 16, 2009