March 25, 2023


Best Technology Perfection

MCM/70 Replica Embodies Proud Canadian Heritage

When a vintage computer system is all but unobtanium, computer software emulation is normally all that stays. Until you are [Michael Gardi], who saw an possibility to reproduce Canada’s residence-developed MCM/70 microcomputer employing a mix of software emulation and modern-day components.

Small of constructing a brand name new MCM/70 from the unique schematics, this faithful facsimile of the MCM/70 does all the things it can to pay homage to the first machine. The foundations of this undertaking can be attributed to the York University Pc Museum (YUCoM) MCM/70E emulator, hugely regarded for its “historical accuracy”. The MCM/70 applied dual cassette tapes for storage and a funky 32-character dot matrix plasma screen, which is all reproduced in software program (other variations dropped one of the cassette drives for a modem, bleeding edge innovation for 1974 microcomputing).

From here, [Michael] set off to assemble the many actual physical elements of the initial computer system. The chassis alone was built from scratch applying a combination of 3D printing and regular woodwork. The superior-voltage plasma display screen was recreated utilizing four HCMS-2972 dot matrix modules, which small compromises. The first laptop used screen memory as more storage when executing guidelines, which designed a sporadic blinkenlights outcome on the initial show. This new screen sadly will not reproduce this ‘thinking’ sample, but it’s a compact sacrifice.

Likewise, the original keyboard was heading to be difficult to replicate with 100% precision, so a manufacturer-new recreation of an Ohio Scientific pc keyboard was used instead. The layouts are incredibly equivalent, and everyone apart from your most dedicated Canadian retro computing fans possibly wouldn’t notice the change. Becoming a modern day recreation of a vintage keyboard, this was fairly effortless to supply. A established of custom-produced keycaps with APL legends definitely aided promote the reproduction.

And though functioning dual cassette drives would have introduced this job residence, it is commendable that [Michael] has established ‘working’ cassette drives working with 3D printed cassettes and some magnetic magic working with hall effect sensors to discover the loaded cassette. The emulator incorporates 3 digital cassette tapes which created this solution feasible.

If this all appears common, it may possibly be since this challenge was primarily based on a superb Hackaday writeup of the MCM/70. A genuinely impressive computer for its time, the tale behind Micro Laptop Equipment (not to be puzzled with the toy cars) is a intriguing tale, and the publish-up is truly worth a read if you haven’t witnessed it by now.