Robert Doerr of HERO

this page last updated Sept 2 2011. (c) Herb Johnson 2011.

This Web page discusses some former Heathkit robotics technology, as part of my Heath/Zenith computing interests; and vintage computing restoration interests. I have parts, docs, cards for Heath/Zenith vintage computer systems and other older Heathkit computer systems available: check my Heath vintage computer section for what I have. My Web pages on vintage computing restoration have a home on this linked Web page.

Ordering information and how to email @ me can be found in this notice. - Herb Johnson

Correspondence with Robert Doerr of HERO

In Sept 2011 I corresponded with the owner of Heathkits's former "HERO" product line, Robert Doerr. Robert owns both the trademark "HERO" name and Heath's former HERO inventory. He also works on other personal robots of the period (1970', 80's) and has pages on their history as well. He's also developing modern "battlebots". Here's our email exchange:

Herb's inquiry:

A few of us vintage computer techies are talking about the old Hero robots from Heathkit. I was aware the product line was sold off some years ago, but I haven't checked lately. What's the status today of your "Still moving to..." Web site and your Hero robots and products, etc? Your home page is dated 2007. I'll share your reply with the MARCH group of vintage computer owners. - Herb Johnson

Robert's reply:

"Back in the 90's when Heathkit was winding down they were selling off several of their product lines. The HERO robot line was then sold to Mobile Ed Productions in Redford, Michigan. They had acquired the rights to the line, all the remaining inventory of parts, documentation, etc for the robots.

"Several years ago they decided to focus on their core educational business, and [in 2002] they sold the HERO line to me. It worked out well since I have knowledge of all the HERO robots and had a good stash of parts that complemented what they had and filled in some of the gaps. Since then I have made some reproduction parts and new options for the HERO. If you read MAKE magazine I had an article in their #19 issue which shows part of my HERO's parts room. I've also written many articles for SERVO magazine and have some more in the works. One in particular had a HERO 1 on the cover of the December 2007 issue of SERVO.

"I also have many of the original factory test fixtures and some new ones that I've created for working on the boards. I can do board level repairs on any of the boards and with the test fixtures it allows people to just send in boards instead of an entire robot that can be a pain to ship.

"Just about all the inventory is organized and counted. Next steps are to get it all in electronic form and publish a list of available parts to the website. For now I pretty much know what I have in my head and can look up parts with a part # or description.

"I've helped a lot of people keep these old robots going and I plan to do so as long as I am able to. I also do repairs on most of the other personal robots and one of the more interesting ones is a Hubot. It is based on a CP/M system and has multiple Z-80's onboard. Someday I'd really like to disassemble the code and unravel the details (port #'s, memory map, etc) since it would help with future repairs.

"Over the years I know we've exchanged a few e-mails and I am also on many of the vintage computer groups. My father introduced me to computers when I was young and still fondly remember systems like the Cosmac, KIM-1, and TRS-80 systems."

Best Regards, Robert Doerr


Here's Robert's "gallery" Web page for his HERO and other vintage robot activities:
...and here's his home Web page for his current activities.

Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA

Ordering information and how to email @ me can be found in this notice.

Copyright © 2011 Herb Johnson