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IMSAI 8080


Donor: (Looking it up...)
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia


Think of the Imsai as the Altair's better looking and more popular younger cousin. Generally accepted as the second personal computer, after the Altair, the Imsai was much more popular. It also received more fame, with a starring role in the seminal movie War Games.

Visually, nothing beats those funky red and blue toggle switches. As you can see in this particular model, the switches are, in actuality, just plain old metal toggles. The red and blue plastic just snaps over the existing switches. While it's tempting to think that the plastic covers add no functional value, they do. It's much easier to tell which switches are on or off, which is pretty important when that's your main way of entering information!

This particular model has seen some obvious wear, including the loss of several toggles. But it did clean up quite nicely. The dual disk drive unit that came with it, however, has been a bit more of a challenge. Some sort of animal or insect took up residence in it at some time. I've been trying to clean it out, but if I spray air in the front, I'll just push the debris in further. The strong metal casing prevents me from blowing air into the rear of the drives. And the screws holding the drives in the unit casing are rusted tight. I'm still working on getting it opened up and cleaned out. But this might take awhile, as I certainly don't want to damage it while trying to clean it.



Earlier comments

Owner: M. Friese
Location: Orange, California (where it's been for quite awhile)


This is what early personal computing looked like. The IMSAI found a nitch with computer