Altair 8800 Emulator Kit


(Fully assembled and tested is available for $249.95.)

The Chinese New Year holiday just ended (which backs up all shipments for a few weeks), and a few of my parts come directly from China, so my kits will probably be out of stock until mid-March. Please check back or sign up below and I'll send a reminder when they're available.

Out of stock



New in revision 1.4:

  1. Circuitry to install 2nd serial port
  2. Circuitry and audio jack to support Processor Technology’s Music System for the Altair (1970’s computer music!)
  3. Expansion port for upcoming internal serial/video interface
  4. And best of all: No need to desolder or otherwise abuse/molest your Arduino Due to use an SD card!

All Altair-Duino kits now come standard with a Bluetooth* serial module (connect to a terminal program like PuTTY or TeraTerm for Windows, or CoolTerm for Mac OS.)

The MAX3232 Serial Module option provides a DB9 serial connection, a Micro USB extension, and a laser cut panel for the back of your Altair-Duino that mounts your DB9, USB, power jack, and audio jack. (See installation instructions here.)

I’ve also added an option to include a micro SD card pre-loaded with disk images and tested. A few people have told me they’ve had difficulty finding an SD card that works. I’ve found that low-capacity cards work best, but they are becoming increasingly hard to find. These cards are 256MB – 1GB. Don’t worry about it being too small, I doubt there is 256MB of software for the Altair in existence! (An Altair 8″ floppy he;d 330k, and a 5.25″ “Mini-Disk” held 75k…)

David Hansel has also made some awesome updates to the software that will enable you to upload and save software to the SD card, emulate a 5MB hard drive, support multiple serial ports, and more!

This is a beginner to intermediate kit for people with experience soldering. It can be built in approximately 4-5 hours. Please read the Build Instructions to familiarize yourself with the construction of the kit, and don’t be afraid to email me with questions.

International Customers (outside the USA):
This kit includes a 12 volt power adapter made to connect to a Type A electrical socket (used in the USA, Canada, Mexico & Japan). If you want to use another power adapter, make sure it has a 5.5×2.1mm plug and provides 9v-12v at 1 amp. You can also power the Altair-Duino from a USB port.

Parts List:

  • 1 x PC Board
  • 36 x 5mm Red LED
  • 36 x 12mm LED Standoff
  • 36 x NPN Transistor
  • 36 x 150Ω Resistor
  • 36 x 10kΩ Resistor
  • 17 x Mini Toggle on-off
  • 8 x Mini Toggle (on)-off-(on)
  • 1 x 470Ω Resistor
  • 1 x 47µF Capacitor
  • 2 x 1kΩ Resistor
  • 2 x 0.1µF Capacitor
  • 1 x Pre-programmed Arduino Due
  • 1 x Front Panel
  • 1 x “Altair 8800” Metalic Sticker
  • 15″ x 6″ x 2″ Bamboo Project Box
  • 1 x HC-05 Bluetooth Module
  • 1 x Micro SD Module
  • 1 x DC-022 Power jack
  • 1 x 12v Power Supply
  • 1 x 6 Pin Cable
  • 4 x 14mm Standoff
  • 4 x 20mm Standoff
  • 4 x 3mm Screws
  • 4 x 3mm Nuts
  • 1 x Dual Pin Header
  • 2 x Single Pin Header
  • 1 x 6 Pin Female Header
  • 1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • 1 x USB Cable
  • OPTIONAL: MAX3232 DB9 Serial Module, USB Extension, with laser-cut rear panel
  • OPTIONAL: Micro SD card pre-loaded and tested

*Please note: due to licensing issues the Bluetooth module will not connect to iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) but will connect to Mac and Windows computers.

Additional information

Shipping Weight 2.625 lbs

5 reviews for Altair 8800 Emulator Kit

  1. 5 out of 5

    Very easy to build as long as you pay attention to the instructions and advice. Nothing beats the pictures to verify what you’re reading. That was a good tip to install the LEDs last using the panel to align. I suggest the same panel alignment technique with the switches before they are soldered or you will be unsoldering and moving them. I know, I broke one. The PCB design is very clean with minimal jumpers. Definitely fun to take control the computer using switches like the old days.

  2. 5 out of 5

    I was able to quickly build the kit and had it working in a matter of a few hours. Well documented and well put together.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amazing kit. Had a bit of trouble with the header pins as outlined in the instructions, but i was able to overcome that with thinner rosin solder and a finer tip. The kit creator has great response time, is extremely helpful, and shipping time was rather fast!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Easy to build kit, well documented apart from the audio connector is not mentioned !

    Led’s are too bright probably change the 150ohm resistor for 220 or 270 ?

  5. 4 out of 5

    L1: It’s beautiful! Even the circuit board is nice to look at. It’s truly a work of art.
    L2: It’s fun to put together. It reminds me of the old Heathkit kits.
    L3: Some extra resistors, LEDs, and standoffs were provided.
    L4: It’s not powered by a Raspberry Pi, which would seem like cheating compared to an Arduino.

    D1: The LEDs are far too bright, especially in dim light.
    D2: Don’t run your fingers along the bamboo frame or you will get splinters.
    D3: You can’t easily access the SD card after completing the kit.
    D4: The 12V power supply seems unnecessary when it works with only 5V connected to the programming port. Can anyone suggest a panel mount micro-USB or USB-B female port for the round hole in the MAX3232 rear panel?

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