Individual restoration of vintage computers

This Web page last updated Oct 5 2011.



This Web page describes individuals who are repairing and restoring computers of the 1970's and earlier. for group restoration activities, see this Web page. The home Web page for computer restoration provides background information.

I support the preservation of "vintage" computing - stuff from the '60's and 70's, often poorly and inaccurately described as "hobby" computing. There's nothing hobby or amateur about many of the computing devices of the 1970's. All that will be lost, if "the old ones" like us don't get together to preserve knowledge, and make it all work again. Some of us work in groups, some work with a few people locally or individually. This page highlights some individual or local efforts.

Over time, I'll consider these points and this page may change. I welcome comments and contacts from organizations with these interests. - Herb Johnson

individual restorations in detail

The Web has a number of Web sites of individuals who have collected and restored 1970's microcomputers, minicomputers and so forth. I'll cite a few on this page which I think provide details of their work, as examples of how YOU can do the same. In many cases, these individuals get help from others through posts in email or Usenet discussion groups. So even "individuals" often don't work alone.

Nick Papadonis repaired and restored his ADM-3A terminal during the summer and fall of 2011. He and I discussed his progress, here's some of his notes and repairs. He did a lot of work but by October 2011 the terminal was mostly operational. Here's a Web page about what he did to restore his ADM-3A terminal.

Martin Eberhard contacted me in Sept 2011 with this account of his 680 work on restoring and operating a MITS/ICOM Altair 680 microcomputer. He's provided a set of paper tape images, which are available via my Web page about his work.

From 2009 through 2011, I've been discussing Mutibus systems with Bill Beech NJ7P. He's a radio amateur and engineer who has worked on these for a long time. Check our discussion of his work on an 8080 Multibus system he has, a System 310, and the software tools he's built along the way. He also has some nice Web pages on these systems, and support for vacuum tube technology too.

During November 2007, Rich Cini posted in comp.os.cpm that he was looking for assistance with his IMSAI 8080 S-100 system, which included the Icom "Frugal Floppy". I was interested in the Icom, and we talked about it, and I constructed a Web page.. By Jan 2008, Rich restored his IMSAI to operation using a Compupro Disk 1A controller and Teac FD-55GRF 5.25 inch drives. Rich wrote up his activities on his own Web pages at On that page, he links to a document on his restoration process, which applies to many Z80/8080 and CP/M based systems. By 2009, Rich was working on turning his IMSAI into a "BBS", a host for a bulletin-board system such as was used in the 1970's, before the Internet was public. Check his pages for details.

David Gesswein has restored and run DEC PDP-8's for many years. He's been generous to me in particular, giving time and encouragement. He also exhibits a PDP-8 at various vintage computer shows. A detailed example of restoration is his work on a TU56 DECtape drive. For a more detailed look at repairs, here's some more serious work on a TU10 magnetic tape drive. Look around his Web site for more of his work.

S-100 owners working on their systems

On my S-100 support pages, I cover a number of S-100 owners who have described their work on their systems. Some have Web sites, some sites are more elaborate; some have no sites. Browse around my pages to learn about the S-100 systems of the 1970's and 80's. Here's a link to my Web page of active S-100 owners.

I practice what I preach, so here's a Web page about repairing my Zenith Z-110 systems.

Contact information:
Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA
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Copyright © 2011 Herb Johnson