IMSAI 8080 Kit Preview

IMSAI 8080 Kit Preview

My High Nibble IMSAI 8080 kit has arrived. The parts are of excellent quality. As you can see from the picture, it is a “all assembly required” kit. I haven’t soldered much other than coax cable connectors since my engineering school labs. The last thing I put together was a Morserino CW trainer. That one is a small kit and does not include surface mount components. The IMSAI kit is not at all small (in size or component count) and DOES include some surface mount components. It will be a challenge, but I am looking forward to it. I’ve got a proper HACO soldering station and all the tools to set me up for success. 🤞

IMSAI 8080

The end result is not an actual IMSAI 8080, but rather an emulator-based replica. The front panel will have “das blinkenlights” goodness provided by actual LEDs soldered in lovingly one at a time. It will also feature some very authentic looking mechanical switches for inputting data. In then end, it will function like an IMSAI, but without the S-100 bus dimming my lights

The software can emulate all the classic hardware, including a CRT, floppy drives, a paper tape reader, and a green bar printer output. It provides all this via a browser over a wi-fi connection. There’s a lot of modern tech devoted to recreating this retro tech icon.

You may recognize the IMSAI from the movie WarGames. It was part of a setup that most 1980’s computer nerds could only dream of having. I’m looking forward to dusting off my BASIC skills and trying out some vintage software. I’m sure wardialing isn’t a thing anymore, but maybe I can find an emulated BBS to log into.


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