The COSMAC “ELF” was a microcomputer design by Joseph Weisbecker that was announced in the pages of the August edition of Popular Electronics . This is an implementation of the COSMAC Elf, constructed in going by the issues of Popular Electronics, with additional articles in March and July Popular Electronics was famous for the article introducing the Altair ran on building a very simple computer called the COSMAC ELF.

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You might want to look at the based Dodo machine that is in the works also. If you don’t like toggle switches, the Elf can also accommodate a Super Elf style hex keypad and push button controls.

The 80 Column Text Video Board replaces a separate terminal! Cheers, Josh Bensadon Toronto. A series of newsletters and small booklets offered by Netronics and Quest cosmmac machine language and CHIP-8 programs, along with schematics for expanding the Elf and adding peripherals, including a light pen. Entering a byte via the toggle switches and pressing the “input” button would enter a byte into RAM and display rlf on the pair of hex LEDs, then advance the DMA counter to the next location.

In AugustNuts and Volts magazine, along with Spare Time Gizmosreleased a project to build the “Cosmac Elf ,” based on the original Elf, with some newer and easier to find components and enhanced features, modules, and functionality, including the STG Pixie Graphics Replacement board that is electeonics equivalent to the now-rare RCA CDP integrated circuit.

A Forth interpreter, also written by Mike Riley. The is a great processor to play with.

It lends itself to simple, low power, controller applications with no, or limited RAM. Packaging, however, is up to you. And The Embedded Elf is an Elf for embedded systems! Performance … well, did we mention that the hw was easy to work with? Hi Jim, I want to just say that the 16 bit registers in the are not majorly used for memory data pointers. Believe me, I’ve seen all those requests before and all I have is what I’ve just described here.


The hardware to do this was rather simple since, in general, the different buses all had the same signals available. But this CPU is rather slow it need 16 clocks per instruction or 24 for long jumps and branches.

The instructions are very simple, and in fact, this processor is considered a RISC. While jumping subroutines was easy by changing the PC to point to a different register, the lacked a real stack.

Control of the KuBand dish antenna was done using a mil spec processor running at, as I recall, 1. As I recall the software development team was about 8 programmers. All the design files are at www. A lot of people, including me, built a COSMAC Elf as their first computer and still have fond memories of toggling in little programs with the front panel switches. The computer was built in a day by visitors to our table, and then raffled off. It was radiation hardened on purpose to be used on space probes and it was used on space probes because it was the first CMOS CPU available on market.

It featured two hexadecimal LED displays for byte data value output and a set of 8 toggle switches for input. Views Read Edit View history. You have all the information you need to build your own Elf from scratch, but Spare Time Gizmos can make your life easier by selling you a beautiful PC board that will make wiring a snap. Relatively speaking—the also hold up well against things like the Z A “memory protect” switch could be used to disable memory alteration. The result looks awfully close to the original.


By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. ACE then started selling cassettes loaded with an implementation of the Forth language as published by the Forth Interest Group.

Is the author willing to share his Front Panel Express files, so we can replicate his nice-looking switch panel? Like the Altair, the Elf was another “build it yourself” computer project published by Popular Electronics magazine.

Like Tiny Basic, figForth was small enough to be practical on computers with limited resources.


This is true for just about all microcomputers, new and old. Other languages available are noted at the RCA Wikipedia entry, including interpreters, compilers and assemblers. The best movies released on Blu-ray are the old classics. Now, forty-something years later, he finally got around to it.

Vintage COSMAC Elf is Pretty Close to Original | Hackaday

Through the back pages of electronics magazines, both Cosmav and Quest Electronics offered low-priced, enhanced kits that were based on this design. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Nonetheless, s all over the world remained hard at work.

I have most of the chips already. New technology lured members away, and ads for based microcomputers disappeared from the back pages of electronics magazines.

If you wanted to expand it to something really useful with RAM, disk drives, and a terminal you were still talking lots of cash. One of the nice things about this processor is the multiple clocks required to complete each instruction. The bottom line, the is definitely much more ppopular to computing better addressing modes and easily out performs an with the right coding.