Steampunk-Impressed NVictria Is a Cosmac Elf-VIP Laptop Over 40 Years within the Making

Within the late Seventies, RCA launched the two-chip CDP1801 and later the one-chip CDP1802 microprocessor household. At the moment they’re referred to as the RCA 1802. These product collection have been the primary commercially obtainable microcontrollers utilizing CMOS expertise. On the time, laptop hobbyists constructed kits referred to as the COSMAC Elf. Daniel Ross made one again then. 40+ years later, he’s nonetheless including new {hardware} and options to the NVictria, a steampunk-inspired COSMAC Elf-VIP.

Unique COSMAC Elf and VIP overview

The COSMAC Elf was a pc equipment with an RCA 1802 microprocessor. Customers entered packages with toggle switches as an alternative of saving knowledge to a ROM.

Later got here the COSMAC VIP, which took the barebones Elf and few luxuries like a video show chip. This laptop included 2048 bytes of RAM, which customers may develop to 32 kilobytes. A cassette interface supplied an improved option to load packages into RAM, in comparison with the COSMAC Elf’s archaic (even for the time) handbook methodology. Moreover, the VIP included a 512 byte working system in its ROM.

Apparently, the COSMAC VIP included 20 video games programmed with an early interpreted language referred to as CHIP-8. The person needed to enter by hand (after which save to tape) these “pack-in” video games.

“… I began to construct a Steampunk themed COSMAC laptop. I wished numerous lights, movement, brass, bling bling and extra bling.” — Daniel Ross


NVictria has a sizeable fundamental cupboard with the RCA 1802 (CPU), reminiscence, show logic, I/O ports, and energy provide boards. Moreover, the central unit has 7-segment VFDs for show and a few switches for enter. On prime are LED “check tubes” that show reminiscence addresses and knowledge.

An RCA CDP1861 graphics chip handles 64 x 128 pixels on twin flat CRTs. Each present the identical picture and are much like the shows utilized in Sony’s Watchman transportable TV.

NVictria TELETYPE Particulars (📷: Daniel Ross, YouTube)

Nearly 40 years later, the most recent addition to the NVictria is a teletype. Ross used a 1900-era Remington #7 mechanical typewriter mixed with a barely extra fashionable Sharp PA-3000 digital typewriter. The PA-3000’s daisy wheel print head acts as a TTY-output gadget.

Final, there’s even a dual-chip SPEECH unit.

Take a look at the NVictria mission web page for hyperlinks associated to the mission. You can too discover many extra photos and particulars on Ross’ weblog.