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Microsystems International Ltd. Collection

Historical Note: Microsystems International Ltd., or MIL (1969-1975) was a semiconductor company based in Ottawa. MIL developed three microcomputers: the CPS/1 (1972, 4-bit), MOD8 (1974, 8-bit), and MOD80 (1975, 8-bit).

The CPS/1 was one of the earliest microcomputers. It was based on the 4-bit MIL MF7114 microprocessor developed by MIL between mid-1970 and mid-1972. Only a few CPS/1 systems were built and sold.

The MOD8 microcomputer, developed in 1974, was based on the MIL MF8008 8-bit microprocessor. The MOD8 (as well as its refinement -- the MOD80) consisted of of the MOD8-8 PCB backplane mounted in an aluminum case. The backplane contained the Eprom programmer and nine connectors for the CPU, memory, interface, and I/O cards.

The MOD8 computer and its MONITOR8 software were aimed at the development of the MF8008-based applications. To MIL's surprise, it was the North American computer enthusiasts who made the MOD8 a popular 8008-based microcomputer kit in 1975-1976. MIL's MF8008 Applications Manual which, among other things, contained the MONITOR8 listing, was one of the most widely read early documents on 8-bit microprocessors.

The MOD8 influenced other early microcomputer designs for the hobbyists' market such as the Mike2 computer from Martin Research or a range of C-MOD computers from Celetron Corporation which were sold by MiniMicroMart of Syracuse, NY. "While MIL is long gone, their system concept will live on." [MiniMicroMart, Product Bull., September 1976.

Scope and Content: MIL collection concentrates on MIL microcomputers: CPS/1, MOD8, and MOD80. The collection contains hardware, software, manuals, technical reports, and other documents. For research purposes, the collection also includes a list of important related items that, at present, are not in the collection.

Acquisition: The artifacts were obtained by YUCoM from several individuals including John Freeman, John Hackman, Kelly Hamilton, William Kindree, Mark Silver and Zbigniew Stachniak.

Index Terms: microcomputer, microprocessor, computer hobby movement, CPS/1, MOD8, MOD80, MF7114, MF8008

Collection Content

  • MOD8 microcomputer
  • MOD80 microcomputer with a variety of additional home made boards and passive backplane
  • MP-1 chip set (it includes the MF7114 microprocessor)
  • MF8008 microprocessor
  • various MIL integrated circuits including MF7114 and MF8008 CPUs and MF1702A Eproms.
  • MOD8-8 backplane
  • MF8080 microprocessor
  • C-MOD 8 system by Celetron
  • C-MOD 6800 Mini System by Celetron
  • C-MOD Z80 CPU System by Celetron
  • C-MOD 80 and C-MOD 80-1 (8080 CPU cards), C-MOD 6800 (Motorola 6800 CPU board), C-MOD Z80 (Zlog Z80 CPU board), C-MOD 8-2 (P/IO board), C-MOD 8-4 (2K 1702A PROM board), C-MOD 8-5 (2K-2102 RAM board), C-MOD 8-5-4K (4K RAM board), C-MOD 8-6 (input ports board), C-MOD 7 (output ports board), C-MOD 8-9 (4K RAM/PROM/ROM board), C-MOD 8-18 (backplane, bus system for C-MOD 8/80 system)
  • C-MOD 8-22 interface board
  • C-MOD Audio Cassette Interface
  • C-MOD Scientific Calculator Interface
  • C-MOD 8-118-1702A PROM Programmer
  • ASCII to BAUDOT converter board interfaced to C-MOD bus structure
  • C-MOD PIA/ACIA board
  • Short Form Catalogue Catalogue, Bulletin 80001, Microsystems International Ltd., March 1971.
  • Selected Linear I.C. Catalogue, Bulletin 80004A, Microsystems International Ltd., 1974 edition.
  • MF8008 Central Processing Unit Applications Manual, Microsystems International Ltd., preliminary edition, 1974(?).
  • MOS Memory Catalogue, Bulletin 80005, Microsystems International Ltd., 1974.
  • MF8008 Central Processor Applications Manual, Bulletin 80007, Microsystems International Ltd., 1974 edition.
  • MOD8 Manual, Moducomp Inc., 1975(?)
  • MOD80 Supplement, Moducomp Inc., 1975(?)
  • GNC 8: Modular Micro Computer User's Manual, Great Northern Computers Ltd., 1975
  • The MOD 8 Data Package , by Robert Swartz (1975). It includes:
    • The MOD 8 Data Package cover page
    • MOD 8-8 Backplane/PROM Programmer documentation
    • Audio Cassette/MOD8 Interface
    • Errors in MIL Application Manual, Bulletin 80007 - 1974 Edition
    • Helpful Hints in Getting a Running System
    • MOD 8 Parts List, 1/5/75
    • Additional Notes on MOD 8MIL.htm
  • The MOD 80 CPU board schematic diagram and board layout; designed by Robert Swartz (1975), layout by Nano Systems, manufactured by Space Circuits
  • The MOD8 software and notes by Brother Thomas McGahee (1975/76):
    • Notes on Using the MIL-MOD 8 System, 6 pages
    • Minimal Monitor for Scientific Calculator, 12 pages
    • How it Works: Parallel I/O for MOD-8, 14 pages
    • Monitor-8P Parallel I/O, 8 pages
    • Scientific Calculator Software, 36 pages
    • Proposed C-MOD8-2P, (February 1976), 7 pages
  • Datapak: LED Display, MiniMicroMart, 1976 (discusses LED display board for MOD80, C-MOD 80)
  • MONITOR 8 (on eight Intel 1702 Eproms)
  • MONITOR 8 (2K x 8, 8316 ROM) from MiniMicroMart (not in the YUCoM's collection)
  • MONITOR 80 (3 2708 Eproms) from MiniMicroMart (not in the YUCoM's collection)
  • Microsystems International Ltd. share certificate, February 23, 1970.
MOD8/80 related articles in MiniMicroMart publications
  • MOD8 discussed in MiniMicroMart Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 2-3
  • Monitor-8 Software including Audio Cassette Interface, MiniMicroMart Technical Bulettin B101-4/75
  • MOD8, C-MOD8/80 discussed in Special issue C A 75
  • MONITOR 8 and Tape Cassette Interface for MOD8 discussed in MiniMicroMart Newsletter, special issue C101A-5/75
  • C-MOD 8 Boards, C-MOD 80 Boards: Modular 8 Bit Microprocessor , MiniMicroMart Product Bulletin-A103-9/75
  • RM 6800 -- C-MOD 6800 Mini System, MiniMicroMart Product Bulletin (preliminary), November 1975
  • C-MOD System>, Product Bulletin, Sep. 1976
  • Monitor 80, 80A, and RM 8080 discussed in Product Bulletin, Nov. 1976
  • C-MOD 80 system discussed in Product Bulletin, July, 1977
MOD8/80 related articles in Toronto Association of Computer Enthusiasts (TRACE) Newsletter
  • TRACE group purchase of MOD8 and MOD80 PCBs as well as MOD 80 based TV typewriter and color graphics terminal; a note by B. Kindree, TRACE Newsletter nr. 3, May 1976.
  • MOD8/80 user group; a note by J. Szilock, TRACE Newsletter nr. 4, June 1976.
  • B. Kindree, MOD 8 and MOD 80 Bus Display Board. TRACE Newsletter nr. 5, July 1976.
  • B. Kindree, The MOD 8 and MOD 80 Microcomputers: a short summary. TRACE Newsletter nr. 5, July 1976.
  • A note on MOD80 CPU board by B. Kindree. TRACE Newsletter nr. 7, August 1976.
  • MOD 80 Tips, TRACE Newsletter nr. 8, October 1976.
  • B. Kindree, From the Editor's Desk. A note on the status of TRACE MOD8/80 User's Group. TRACE Newsletter nr. 13, March 1977.
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