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A Replica of the First 4004 Calculator

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the intel-inside-first-post dept.

Hardware Hacking 63

mcpublic writes "For the 37th anniversary of Intel's 4004, the world's first off-the-shelf, customer-programmable microprocessor, vintage computer enthusiast Bill Kotaska has successfully built a replica of Busicom's historic 141-PF printing calculator using vintage Intel chips. Decades before the ubiquitous 'Intel inside' sticker, Japanese calculator maker Busicom introduced the first product ever built around an Intel microprocessor. Bill's homebrew replica includes a rare Shinshu Seiki Model-102 drum printer and runs firmware extracted from the original Busicom ROMs. Schematics and photos of his re-creation are available at the unofficial 4004 web site, along with Tim McNerney's new PIC-based emulator of the Model-102 printer. The site includes the Busicom 'source code,' 4004 details, interactive simulators, and other goodies for students, engineers, and computer historians." We discussed the 36th 4004 anniversary project here last year.

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Yes but... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776237)

Can it say 80087355?

Re:Yes but... (3, Informative)

jaminJay (1198469) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776505)

Surely you mean 55378008. Or 5318008, for that matter.

Re:Yes but... (1)

jpt9 (590767) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777431)

Yeah... but since it prints, it wouldn't look as good.
Now, if you could wire up an alphanumeric printer to detect when you write stuff like that, decode it, and print it forwards...
-- J.P.

Prior to this... (5, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776249)

... you would have just got a "4004 Not Found" error.

Re:Prior to this... (2, Funny)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776443)

740kHz [wikipedia.org] should be enough for anybody!

Re:Prior to this... (2, Interesting)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777299)

I've written code that runs at 32KHz. It's a great way to run code that never, ever, shuts down off a coin battery for a few years.

Re:Prior to this... (1)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25779465)

Just wait till the overclockers get their hands on it. :)

Re:Prior to this... (3, Funny)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776603)

Wait till DMCA lawyers get a hold of this...

Re:Prior to this... (1)

recrudescence (1383489) | more than 5 years ago | (#25780745)

don't you mean "Error 4004 - Site not not found"? :p

He should be incarcerated or worse (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776321)

This criminal mind has misappropriated proprietary copyrighted code by the Japanese company Busicom. If he can't wait until 70 years from the death of the author, i.e. until year 2100 or so, jail is too good for him. I hope they throw him to a bunch of radioactive mutated lawyers.

Re:He should be incarcerated or worse (0, Redundant)

Jerry Smith (806480) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776417)

This criminal mind has misappropriated proprietary copyrighted code by the Japanese company Busicom. If he can't wait until 70 years from the death of the author, i.e. until year 2100 or so, jail is too good for him. I hope they throw him to a bunch of radioactive mutated lawyers.

Sure, way to handle an enthousiast hobbyist! It's stuff like this that inspires kids to do "cool stuff" with things, and to go into computers. In the end it's better for the advancement of the industry. Whatever lawyers may say.

("insightful": good grief)

Re:He should be incarcerated or worse (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776485)

Your sarcasm detector is miscalibrated. The "insightful" mod is correct, because what he actually said is: "If he had followed the law, this project would not have been possible. Copyright law extends too far."

Re:He should be incarcerated or worse (1)

Jerry Smith (806480) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776715)

Your sarcasm detector is miscalibrated. The "insightful" mod is correct, because what he actually said is: "If he had followed the law, this project would not have been possible. Copyright law extends too far."

Ah, my bad: if the Funny-mod would've stood out (instead of Insightful), my response would be probably about the same, yet very differently phrased. I strongly encourage youngsters to remain curious and have them try figure out the how and why of machines and computers. If laws have to be ignored, well, as long as no-one gets hurt.. :)

Re:He should be incarcerated or worse (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777131)

There is no such thing as a victimless crime.

*folds arms* *glares*

NO

SUCH

THING.

*glares harder*

Re:He should be incarcerated or worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25777827)

There is no such thing as a victimless crime.

*folds arms* *glares*

NO

SUCH

THING.

*glares harder*

If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman around to hear, is he still wrong? The defense rests, your Honour.

Re:He should be incarcerated or worse (2, Insightful)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 5 years ago | (#25779713)

You're right.

No victim? No crime.

Unfortunately some legal systems of the world are still based on archaic thought patterns..

Re:He should be incarcerated or worse (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25792769)

The victim is Baby Jesus, you inconsiderate clod, and anything you do that makes him cry is and should be a crime!

Re: He should be incarcerated or worse (NOT) (1)

mcpublic (694983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25779473)

Back in the late-60's and early-70's, when the Busicom 141-PF calculator software was written, United States copyright law was very different, you needed to explicitly mark a work with a copyright symbol, and register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. Nowadays everything is automatically protected by copyright law. Back then it was not. There was no copyright on the Busicom binaries, so this code is free-and-clear. The re-created "source code" was written without access to the original Busicom source code. In this sense it was done using techniques similar to a traditional "clean room".

Re:He should be incarcerated or worse (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25780481)

Oh, this was supposed to be funny? Posting to retract my -1 Flamebait.

Apparently I need to be recalibrated.

And next... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776331)

We discussed the 36th 4004 anniversary project here last year.

And we'll likely discuss the 38th anniversary around this time next year.

Re:And next... (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25779151)

We willon have been already did!

We've got to get Back... to the Future!

Yeah but... (0, Offtopic)

ZarathustraDK (1291688) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776409)

Can it print the numeric parts of the hardware-requirements for Vista?

Let's go living in the past (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776421)

Happy and I'm smiling,
Walk a mile to drink your water
You know I'd love to love you,
And above you there's no other
We'll go walking out
While others shout of war's disaster
Oh, we won't give in,
Let's go living in the past

Once I used to join in
Every boy and girl was my friend
Now there's revolution, but they don't know
What they're fighting
Let us close our eyes;
Outside their lives go on much faster
Oh, we won't give in,
We'll keep living in the past

You mean (2, Funny)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776431)

You mean I shouldn't have thrown mine out in the trash?

Re:You mean (1)

drmpeg (1408305) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776689)

I still have my 1975 Intel data book.

Re:You mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776855)

I still have my 68000 fanfold programming card. I know it's newer but it's just as cool.

Re:You mean (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776883)

That's going back some time.

You should see my collection! One day I'll photograph it and stick it up on a webpage.

Bill Kotaska's site mentioned 'chip collectors'. I didn't think they rated. Learn something every day I suppose.
I've got a few too. I've got a eeprom burner (16 pin) that I should fire up one day....

I wonder if there is a special retirement home for people like us? Not only should they give me a room, but a workshop and storage facilities as well.

Re:You mean (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777353)

The big question is: do you have the '386 DX Microprocessor Programmer's Reference Manual'??

I have two copies. Linus references it in one of his syllabuses of the books he used to create Linux. It's very much extremely rare in this day and age.

Of course, I also have multiple versions of Isis [classiccmp.org] on original diskettes, with original documentation (and original Intel hardware to run it on)

Also an original printed CP/M-80 manual (those were rare even when they were current- very few people actually bought CP/M manuals, most people just ran 'copies' of CP/M-80 they got from here or there.)

Re:You mean (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25779981)

Your Isis 225 MDS sounds interesting. Probably as useful as my RS Mk II without any drives except a cassette port.
I have a lot of docs/software stored under the house, as well as old equipment stored in other locations not at my house. They are hard to get to though. I really need to get rid of the wife and kids - they use up too much space and take up too much of my time.
Some I remember having include a perspex boxed original Multiplan (Apple //), original IBM PC with about 4 manuals. CP/M - yes but I'm not sure if we are talking the same thing here - Zilog Z80 manual anyone? Woz 'Sweet 16' docs, a metric tonne of hardware including a massive daisy-wheel that for some reason I've kept. It came with a Siemens built mini-computer which I trashed for parts as it only worked for 20 mins before overheating. Most of it is of pack-rat interest and of value to me personally - maybe to others as well.
My idea was that I'd have everything up and running one day. LOL - that's not going to happen soon. Maybe that Geek Retirement home will give me the time and opportunity?

Time to stoke that Olivetti 8086, raise a bit of steam and do some real word processing (cough, hack, spit).

Re:You mean (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25780235)

Does an 8.5x11 format MOSTEK 6502 manual count?
How about a vintage 1981 iAPX86 manual on onionskin?

Re:You mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776857)

You throw your electronics in the trash?!

WHERE IS THE FBI!

What do you mean they are setting a trap to catch a hacker who stole a horrible game?!
GET THEM IN HERE NOW!

Looks complicated (3, Informative)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776433)

Looks complicated. I would have a very difficult time coming up with such a polished work.

Re:Looks complicated (1, Funny)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776497)

I don't remember these calculators, but having RTFA and STFP (seen the f*****g picture), I can't believe anyone could get away with selling something which apparently consists of a couple of techy-looking boxes joined together by wire!

Re:Looks complicated (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776557)

Even though you're probably joking, here's a pic of the original [c4004.com]

Re:Looks complicated (3, Insightful)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776649)

Yes, of course I was joking! This was clearly a significant piece of kit in it's day. My point was simply that a 'replica' should look like the original article....a collection of panels, suspension parts and an engine don't make a replica car. What we were shown is perhaps more properly called a 'working demonstration model'.

Re:Looks complicated (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777369)

Well, it's more a replica of the Engineering Prototype than the finished product.

Engineering prototypes rule.

Re:Looks complicated (4, Interesting)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776595)

The architecture diagram is actually so simple...each rectangle there is representing at most ~30 transistors.

Take a random rectangle of the current whatever chips architecture diagram, even for the simple one likes microcontroller, each rectangle is more complicated than the whole 4004 diagram there.

The final project of 2*14 weeks (semester) IC design course could easily be as complex as the 4004.

I have to admit it's like rocket science 35~40 years ago though. I actually admire that they could actually come up with that...imagine that they could actually be using pencil and ruler to draw the schematic and layout.

Re:Looks complicated (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776745)

The 4004 was around 2300 transistors, which was close to the limit of the fabrication technology at the time (if you read about how it was created you'd be amazed at how primitive it seems - you couldn't quite do it in your own home, but it's not far off). With a modern HDL designing something like the 4004 would be trivial, and even designing it a gate at a time is not hugely difficult.

Re:Looks complicated (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777391)

If you're going to emulate it in programmable logic, why not just emulate it in software? If you're just going to emulate it in software.... well, you know what I mean. Use a modern HDL to do modern stuff. Unless you've got legacy code you want to run in it's original form. This guy is running the legacy code. On legacy hardware, even.

Re:Looks complicated (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25780469)

Who said anything about programmable logic? You can use an HDL when designing an ASIC and for something that small you could get it fabbed on a really old process very cheaply in quite a few places.

Re:Looks complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25777599)

Actually after anything has been done, it becomes easy for those who follow. I was there and what was being done was a long way off what can be done in one's home even today. I don't like TCE and all those other nasty chemicals at home.

Actually what was being done to fabricate IC's then is still pretty much being done today only at much tighter tolerances and yes we used to do layouts with cut-outs, grease pencil, and eventually pen and ink.

Andy Grove was down the hall at Fairchild Research Labs when he and others started work on a four bit chip and Intel was actually a memory company for almost a decade. Memory chips and Japanese pressure not microprocessors led the industry down the now infamous Moore's Law curve.

Re:Looks complicated (1)

slowbad (714725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25781829)

You would really need to be a Bomar Brain [computerhistory.org] to do such work.

Sued (0)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776445)

He'll end up getting sued under a non-compete clause. It's all the rage in Silicon Valley.

Oblig. (0, Redundant)

omuls are tasty (1321759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776459)

Now imagine a Beowulf cluster of those...

Linux (4, Funny)

mcnazar (1231382) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776621)

yes.. yes.... but does it run Linux?

Re:Linux (1)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776759)

Yes, but it was a very early version Linus wrote when he was two.

Re:Linux (4, Funny)

tsjaikdus (940791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776781)

10 print "but does it run Linux?"
20 wait for new article
30 goto 10

Re:Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25776975)

Wow, i never knew about that value for wait!

This solves EVERYTHING!

Re:Linux (2, Funny)

mustafap (452510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776997)

10 wait for new article
20 print "but does it run Linux?"
30 goto 10

There, fixed that for you

Re:Linux (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777425)

'wait' is not a BASIC keyword. The usage of 'for' is illegal.

I've never understood the proclivity of people to not even code BASIC properly. Let alone people who correct said people improperly.

You need:

10 $newarticle = $inkey
20 if $newarticle = "y" then 40
30 goto 10
40 print "but does it run ASM80 on Isis?"
50 goto 10

and so on.

Re:Linux (1)

tsjaikdus (940791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777653)

It's not Basic. It's Busic.

Re:Linux (2, Informative)

IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25777723)

"WAIT" is a valid keyword in Commodore BASIC 2.0. Recall the famous easter egg Microsoft planted in the first version they sold to Commodore: WAIT 6502, n

Re:Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25785259)

Okay, you opened yourself up to this one... unless you're using some sort of BASIC dialect I'm unaware of, your correction is also invalid.


10 N$ = INKEY$
20 IF N$ = "Y" THEN 40
30 GOTO 10
40 PRINT "BUT DOES IT RUN MINIX?"
50 GOTO 10

(Assumes that your system does not support lowercase; if so, add: 25 IF N$ = "y" THEN 40 to program. Also assumes dialect does not support variable names longer than two characters.)

Some dialects (GW-BASIC) would let you use a WHILE/WEND loop for the INKEY$ read instead of the IF/GOTO construct.

Hey, if you're going to be pedantic, I'll have to respond in kind.

While a novel project... (2, Funny)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776769)

I'm afraid he's going to have a lot of trouble finding printer cartridges for that thing.

Re:While a novel project... (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25781063)

I'm afraid he's going to have a lot of trouble finding printer cartridges for that thing.

Eh, I know you're kidding, but if it's anything like many other old printing calculators, it's probably just got an ink pad or ribbon or something other good ol' well-understood stone age technology.

I've often wondered about our fancy new printer cartridges - how did these bloody things become so complex. But then again, I'm old enough to remember an age when thingies were actually user-serviceable. Back in the day, my father could fix everything, and now he's just as puzzled about some of these newfangled things as I am. =)

Re:While a novel project... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#25781523)

how did these bloody things become so complex.
because we moved away from impact printing to inkjet printing due to it's far better handing of images that had more than one bit per color channel.

but inkjet printing requires ink to be delivered in a very pricise and bubble free manner. That means either integrating the printhead in the cartridge (HP style) or having relatively complex systems for ensuring bubbles don't block the printhead (epson style)

Link to article (2, Informative)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25776821)

The link posted is to the main site 4004 site; the actual project article is here: http://www.4004.com/busicom-replica.html [4004.com]

Wire wrap (1)

tuxicle (996538) | more than 5 years ago | (#25778947)

Funny how TFA talks about wire wrap boards giving projects a "vintage" look. I saw, as recently as 2004, an Augat wire-wrap board being used as a part of a PhD student's research work. This isn't so bad in itself, except it had about 20 ECL logic chips, carrying 80 MHz signals. There were runt pulses and false triggering all over the place. I replaced it with a single Xilinx Coolrunner II.

Re:Wire wrap (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25779629)

For ECL we preferred wirewrap. You can twist two wires together and have a differential controlled impedance line as short as possible. Parallel printed circuit lines were the ones that picked up crosstalk.

I recognize that printer (1)

pjwhite (18503) | more than 5 years ago | (#25785477)

After looking at the photos, I recognized the printer as being exactly like one I got as surplus around 1977. I adapted it to work with my Dad's Commodore PET through the parallel port. It had a spinning drum covered in raised numbers and symbols, and solenoid hammers for each column. By firing the hammers at the right time as the drum spun, I could make it print any number. I wonder what ever happened to it...

he cheated on the eprom (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786011)

He used a 2716 eprom in the re-creation. That was a part NOT available in the time of the 4004. He should have used a 1702 eprom. These parts are not THAT rare, though he would have needed 8 of them to replace a single 2716.

Use By... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25786477)

Aren't those chips well past their Use by date.
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