IMSAI 8080


Earlier this week I picked up another IMSAI - this time the classic 8080.


This is really a special machine in multiple ways. Not only is it in wonderful cosmetic condition (save for one minor issue I’ve since corrected - more on that in a bit), it came complete with the original documentation binder, which contains warranty cards, schematics, instructions, etc. not only for the IMSAI parts, but every third party card as well. In addition, every single sales receipt for every component in the system is tucked into the binder’s rear pocket - all dating from the late 70s from various historic shops around the Silicon Valley (The Byte Shop, Anchor Electronics, Sunnyvale Electronic, Recreational Computers, The Soldering Iron, etc.). It’s a wonderful piece of history.


The computer was purchased from Stewart Chiefet, the creator and host of The Computer Chonicles. That alone is pretty darn cool!

The minor cosmetic issue I’d mentioned earlier was that it was missing three of the blue paddle switch handles (two Address Data toggles and the Examine/Examine Next momentary contact) Amazingly enough, the Fischer-Freitas Co. - which has owned the IMSAI trademark since 1979 - still sells replacement parts for the 8080, including the paddle switch covers! While ordering the paddles, I also bought four zinc mounting screws for the top cover as those were missing as well (the top cover was just resting on top when I got it). As you can see from the photos, I’ve already installed the new paddles and screws and they are absolutely spot-on perfect. Special thanks go to Thomas “Todd” Fischer for continuing to offer replacement IMSAI 8080 parts - very much appreciated!


I haven’t powered the machine up just yet as I still need to pick up a Variac so I can slowly bring the power supply online; don’t need any unnecessary explosions.

Here is the list of cards currently installed in the machine:

  • IMSAI MPU-A Rev 4
  • IMSAI MIO Multiple Input/Output board
  • Solid State Music Prototype Board (this currently contains a wire wrap implementation of a “Video Display VII” card according to included schematics)
  • Ithaca Audio 8K Static RAM
  • Thinker Toys SuperRAM 16K-A
  • Solid State Music MB6A 8K RAM Board
  • Solid State Music VB1-B Video Interface
  • IBEX 16K EPROM Board
  • Tarbell Elect MDL-1011A floppy controller
  • Active Terminator No. 106B (CompuKit/Godbout)


What a great find! I will be watching your progress with this a great deal. I Have to ask.. what can be accomplished with the Music boards for the IMSAI?


I am currently in the process of bringing up an IMSAI 8080 I bought on eBay last year. I have a variac; I'm also taking all the cards out first for good measure. I found them to be a bitch and a half to remove, after 25+ years of not moving; let me know if you want to discuss the process of getting the thing running again. :-)

(I found your site when I was googling for a photo of the card slots, to complain to my friends on IRC about how hard removing the cards was.)

Glenn Willen


Firstly, I would like to congratulate you for your wonderful site!

Secondly, I am wondering if you are interested in selling this wonderful computer, (with the user manual and with all the cards listed in your blog).

If so, please contact me:

Sérgio M. De Iudicibus.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by nekonoko published on October 11, 2008 4:55 PM.

N8VEM Completed was the previous entry in this blog.

Taking Inventory of the IMSAI PCS-80/15 is the next entry in this blog.

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