Stone Age Commodore KIM-1 On eBay
By James Grahame
Lawrence Bezuska emailed me the other day, wondering if I would be interested in buying his early Commodore computer. My first instinct was to eagerly purchase it, but common sense (and a lack of closet space) prevailed and he listed it on eBay. I told him it would probably fetch around $400.
The KIM-1 was the first computer made by MOS Technologies (Commodore). It came as a fully assembled bare board, with a six-digit LED display and a hexadecimal keypad (with 1152 bytes of RAM and 2K of ROM). They were produced until 1981, enjoying considerable success as low-cost hobbyist and educational machines. The incredibly successful Commodore PET-2001 was based on the KIM-1 architecture but included niceties such as a case, power supply, monitor, keyboard, and cassette drive.
I first encountered a KIM-1 in Heaven, a dusty computer graveyard that occupied storage space on the top floor of a University building while I was a teaching assistant. Heaven was filled with stacks of old KIM-1 boards that must have been removed from a computing lab, along with old Northstars, Decwriters, VT-100 terminals, and all manner of unidentifiable minicomputer hardware. Part of me likes to think that all that history is still there, waiting to be rediscovered, although it was probably scrapped years ago.
Lawrence's Rev E board appears to be in excellent condition (although untested) and the auction closes in just over a day.