Heath - Zenith computers: docs, items, history

This Web page last updated Nov 9 2016, links added/updated Dec 28 2021 and Aug 9 2022.

"I bought a Heath/Zenith or Zenith product and need help!" If you bought some household electrical item with that brand since, say, 2005; it may not be "really" Heath or Zenith; some company may have leased the *name*. Here's more information to explain what I mean. If you are looking for or about old or new kits by Heath, I have some information.. If you have a Heath or Zenith *vintage computer*, keep reading....

This Web page is largely about the Heathkit or Heath - Zenith computers built and sold in the 1970's and 80's. But I also have information and manuals for other computer products from Heathkit, on this or other Web pages. There is not much here about Zenith computers that run only MS-DOS or Windows: computers on this Web page are OLDER. Details and links are below.

- Herb Johnson

On this Web page:

On other Web pages:

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

Here's additional pages on specific Heath subjects:

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

Heath Zenith Z-100 computers

[Zenith Z110 system]

[Zenith Z120 system]

The Z-110 model pictured on the left is generally called the low profile model, without an internal CRT monitor; the Z-120 or "all-in-one" model shown on the right had a internal monochrome CRT monitor (which many updated to color). These models have a six-slot S-100 backplane on their 8085 and 8088 CPU motherboard.

My Z-100 Web page has more information about these Heath / Zenith Z-100 S-100 based computers. There's Web links to those and other Z-100 pages at the top of this Web page.

The Z-100 is a computer design called "S-100". For my S-100 Home page follow this link.

H8 systems

Thanks to the generousity of a Boston area H-8 owner, I acquired an H-8 in 2005. Follow this link for details, and manuals I have available. Also check the SEBHC group in my "sites" section they support old and new versions of the H8.

H-89 systems, repairs, docs

I'm very fond of these H-89 systems, I used these in the 1980's and worked at that time with a developer and manufacturer of H89 cards. I have a few of these systems in the 21st century. In 1998, I did some repairs to a few H-89 systems. When I had time in Nov 2011, I worked on one H89, then I worked on a second H89. Then in summer 2016, I worked with some CDR brand cards for the H89 and did some other H89 upgrades. MOre work in 2016, on video cards in the H19 and H89. I also looked at file-transfer issues with hard-sectored H89's. Also, hard and soft sectored controllers. In 2020, I took a look at all the H-89 accessory boards. And .. in 2022, I took a look at the changes in H89 and H19 video boards; they changed in production from 1979 to 1981 or so.

Check my sales Web page for H-89 systems, docs for sale

Z-141, Z-151, Z-148 systems

The Zenith or Heath Z-141, Z-151, Z-148 are some of Zenith's early PC compatible systems. These are not of great vintage computing interest to me, but they represent a pre-IBM-PC computer company's transition to the IBM-PC compatible market. But in 2011 I acquired two Z-148 MS-DOS systems. Here's a Web page with a brief look at those Z-148's.

Check my sales Web page for any manuals or hardware I have for sale

Heathkit EUW-19A analog computer

Heathkit EUW-19A (see image) Operational Amplifier System. Malmstadt-Enke type, from the Malmstadt & Enke's book "Electronics for Scientists" which describes this EUW series of Heath products. I have more information on my analog computers Web page.

Other Heath Zenith computing Web sites

Here's some interesting Heath and Zenith computing Web sites on the H8, H89 and H-110 and H-120 models.


An emulation of H89 with Magnolia MMS hardware is on Durgadas's Web site. Also check github under that name. Apparently it's based on a github Java Z80 simulator from J S Speccy. Also see Mark Garlanger's work which Durgadas references. Apparently Durgadas implemented a number of Magnoila hardware products for the H89, and provides Magnolia support software. refmtimd.c convert.c may describe the disk image format? This includes CP/NET and SASI controllers. Also some H8 support, not clear if the 8080 is supported. Interesting and a good "save" of that Magnolia material. Unclear if the emulator will run in the Windows world, references are to Linux.

pre 2016:

Les Bird of the Society of Eight-Bit Heathkit Computerists (SEBHC) archive site alerted me to that organization and its Web archive. There is also a SEBHC Google group.He said: "In addition to many disk images and ROM dumps available on my website I also have several newly designed PCBs for the H8 computer that I offer to those who are interested." The Google group dates from late 2007 andis modestly active. SEBHC was founded by Jack Rubin sometime in the early 2000s.

Les told me: "I have several H-8 computers and H89 computers and a website that is, for now, the home of the SEBHC archive. In addition to many disk images and ROM dumps available on my website I also have several newly designed PCBs for the H8 computer that I offer to those who are interested." The boards are priced near cost plus shipping. The Google group dates from late 2007 and (for a old computer discussion group) is modestly active." I obtained an H8 board set from Les in June 2009. Many thanks! Here's an image of Les Bird's Z80 H8 cpu board, with his ROM.

Mark Garlanger's Heathkit site has images of Heath's REMark and HUG magazines, and lots of references to Heath's 8-bit computers (H8 and H89). He's working on an emulator, see his github page. I have some Heath related magazines for sale.

An Italian Web site with a Z-120 All-in-one and some other computers of the era. Beautiful photographs!

Steven Vagts, the long time editor of Z-100 Lifeline, a newsletter about the Z-100 and related Heath and Zenith products. He also has some business in Z-100 products. In Aug 2019, the Z100 Lifeline Web site moved to this linked Web address. It has a lot of useful Z-100 information. Check with him for details.

The Heathkit H8 and H19 is described and EMULATED on Dave Wallace's Web site. He has an emulation project which is current to mid-2003 but apparently not all features works under Win 95/98. Although my site is S-100, there is a stong lineage from the H8 to the H89 to the H/Z-100, the last of which IS S-100. And I like the old Heath's anyway. So encourage Dave with his work and maybe to move "up" to the H89 or Z-100 with his emulation!

This HeathKit company page by William A. Wilkinson has been around for several years but is still current. He has many links to Heathkit Web sites and has stories about the Heath company. (The link was updated to his new site in 2019.)

Z-100 owner Lucien Stevens HAD imaged [dead link 2018] a bunch of Z-100 diskettes. Check his site to get the images to make Z-100 compatible diskettes. Another Z-100 program archive, previously from Simtel, is this private copy of SIMTEL's INFO-Z100 on scovetta.com.

Additional sites: Bill Wilkinson's Heath Company Page
Dave Wallace's H8 Web pages dead link as of 2009
Antediluvian Designs has a Z-100 manuals and files archive, discussions of hardware and software
IBM PC Web site has some Zenith Z-100 manuals.

Check my list of S-100 Web sites for other Web pages about S-100 computers and CP/M, closely related to use of Heath's 8-bit systems.

Other modern Heathkit resources

A Web site for manuals as of 2009 (confirmed Mar 2016) is the "Data Professionals Heathkit Page" of Don Peterson at d8apro.com. Don has a small business of providing copies of manuals, and some odd parts and a "boneyard" of machines. He was a design engineer for Heathkit in the mid-1970's. Their Web page claims: "Data Professionals of Pleasanton California has purchased the Copyrights and existing inventory of all legacy Heathkit product documentation from Heath Company of Benton Harbor Michigan for an undisclosed amount." Some discussion of this purchase and debate over what is covered, is on this Amateur Radio discussion forum. The title of the post is "DataPro purchases Heath Legacy Manual Service". Apparently the purchase was completed on OCtober 30 2008; apparently there is some contention over whether a copyright was transferred in the purchase, and the role of the US Copyright Office in that regard.

There are at least two other sites who use or used the Heathkit name with permission. Robert Doerr bought the Heath "Hero" robot name and all the leftover parts, and offers support and info via his Web site. And, the Heathkit virtual museum is referenced on the Heathkit site, at http://www.heathkit-museum.com/. That site said they had permission to use the Heathkit name and links back to "heathkit.com."

Also look at the latest information in the section below, Whatever happened to the old Heathkit company?

If you have any corrections to the above information I'd appreciate a contact: please include appropriate references so I can confirm that info. I am not responsible for errors or omissions in the above info, use it at your own risk.

"Zenith" and "Heath" since 2002

Note: you may have found this Web page while looking for information on Heath/Zenith products purchased in year 2002 or later. You should know that the original "Heath", the old computer and hobby electronic kit company (which is featured on this Web site) from Benton Harbor MI was liquidated in the mid 1990's. The "Heath/Zenith" trade mark and name was sold seperately.

One apparently licensed user of the "Heath/Zenith" name markets various home electronic products. It happens I got something from "Heath/Zenith" in 2002 at Home Depot (a USA national hardware superstore). The bottom of its packing box says "DESA International, Bowling Green KY 42102, Manufactured in China". A Web page at http://www.desaint.com/ refers to several product lines including "Heath/Zenith".

In 2008 I was alerted that Duchossois Industries includes the Heath/Zenith name and may have registered "heath-zenith.com". Their site says one of their "portfolio companies" is "heath-zenith" which links to the DESA Customer Care center. In 2012, I searched the Web and found another Duchossois Industries Web page, for "Heath Company LLC" at heath-zenith.com.

Check the sites mentioned and linked above for more information.

If you want more info about RECENT Heath Zenith home products, I suggest you check that site, or read the lables on the box, or contact the store you bought your product from. One of these may refer you to the manufacturer; or the store may have additional info on the product or the manufacturer. I have no information on products from Desa International.

What happened to the old Heathkit company?

The "trademark" Heath or Heath-Zenith is also used by other companies. Follow this link to contact those companies about products made after year 2000 or so.

Heath or Heathkit as in the company of that name in Michigan, reorganized under new ownership, sometime probably in 2005, as Heathkit Company Inc. or Heathkit Educational Systems, of Benton Harbor MI. All I know about this company is from the information listed on their Web site at the time at heathkit.com. Their home page said "preparing people for success in technology for over 75 years." The company appeared to provide educational trainers and training support for formal learning about electronics of various sorts. They supported some of the old Heath Educational materials and training manuals; plus offered new educational kits. They had links on their "support" Web page to Desa International (mentioned above), and a link for old Heathkit manual photocopies. The Web site heathkit.come was in inactive status as of July 2012.]

Electronic Design magazine's Web site has an article by Louis E. Frenzel for Feb 2009 titled "Whatever Happened to Heathkit?". It's a good read but lacks some of the updated information on this page as to where the "Heath" name has been sold or used recently.

In 2011 or thereabouts, Heath Educational began to market a robot product called "HE-RO. Since they sold off the HERO brand, presumably they could not use that name for their educational product.

Heath Educational Systems continued until mid-2012, when the owners filed for bankruptcy. The two facilities where they did business have their contents siezed for bank auction upon late July 2012. That recent history was reported in an article in the St. Joseph MI newspaper The Herald Palladium titled "Disassembly complete: Heathkit is no more" by JULIE SWIDWA, dated July 19 2012.

"The remnants of a once-proud company with a long history in the Twin Cities are now on the auction block. Owner Don Desrochers confirmed this week that Heathkit is dead. Last known as Heathkit Educational Systems, [it] has closed after defaulting on a lease... in St. Joseph Township. The work force at the end was a half-dozen." The owner cites declines in the education business as the cause. In the article, Desrochers was reported to be in bankruptcy since May 2012, and in default on the lease earlier. Mr Desrochers said he bought Heathkit in 2005, after being president and CEO from 1995-2000.

But sometime during May 2013, the heathkit.com Web site announced in a rather cryptic fashion, that "Heathkit" was back in business. The details there as of September 2013 are scant, and the owners of the company don't clearly identify themselves. But they claim to own the trademark and intellectual property of "heathkit" - including the legal right to defend those claims - and claim there will be future products and services.

Reportage by technical journalists in published magazines and trade journals (CQ, EDN, etc.) as of Sept 2013, didn't report further information. Speculation around the Web, suggested 1) they are associated in some way with Peterson's claims (answer: no, they dispute his claims); and or 2) they obtained rights as a consequence of the 2012 backruptcy sale of heathkit company assets (answer: probably). I lack information and legal background to comment or interpret any further. A Web search at any later point, or the namesake site itself, may be more informative. For instance.....

By Dec 2014, "heathkit" attracted the attention of bloggers at "adafruit"; they wrote a piece where they asked around about the "Heathkit group"; and their "reportage" actually provoked a response on the heathkit.com Web site. Check the adafruit.com blog article on Heathkit for details.

Apparently by Dec 2015, the company behind heathkit.com, Heath Company, started producing and distributing upgrade products to former Heathkit products, and a solderless transistor radio kit. I've seen two favorable reviews by builders who bought in Dec 2015. There appears to be similar products on eBay.

I examined the Web site in March 2016. They maintain a private mailing list where they apparently offer advance information on their products and services. They seem to want to encourage participants that they are supporting a return or resurrection of the Heathkit of old.

The site refers orders for copies of Heathkit manuals to another Web site which identifies "Data Professionals is a Heath Company business". The heathkit.com site says they offer custom manufacturing and design and other services, from Santa Cruz, California. The site claims copyright and trademarks including for "Heathkit". But as of March 2016, there's not much on the heathkit.com Web site beyond products for sale and what I've cited in these last three paragraphs.

I'm not making judgements, I'm not a lawyer. I'm reporting what I see and can verify. If you have any corrections to the above information I'd appreciate a contact: please include appropriate references so I can confirm that info. I am not responsible for errors or omissions in the above info, use it at your own risk, seek more information.

Herb Johnson
New Jersey, USA
follow this link to email @ me

Copyright © 2022 Herb Johnson