Vince Briel has been selling a replica of the Altair 8800 for a few years. As the front panel requires some custom manufacturing, the kits are offered in batches. Late last year pre-orders were taken for the fourth batch of the kits, and I placed my order for a kit (he also sells fully assembled systems). I also ordered the optional RAM disk that emulates two floppy disk drives and allows the system to run the CP/M operating system.
I've made a series of YouTube videos documenting my experiences with the system:
- The Briel Altair 8800 Kit, Part 1: Unboxing
- The Briel Altair 8800 Kit, Part 2: Assembly
- The Briel Altair 8800 Kit, Part 3: Initial Powerup Tests and Basic Operation
- The Briel Altair 8800 Kit, Part 4: RAM Disk Board and Running CP/M
While I tried some original Altair programs like BASIC, and toggled some programs in with the front panel switches, mostly I have been running the CP/M operating system. I used CP/M back in the 1980s on several platforms, including an Apple II with a CP/M card. The old dial-up Bulletin Board (BBS) Systems, predating the Internet, often used CP/M and gave users command line access to it.
I'm having fun running old CP/M programs like the Star Trek and Zork adventure games and WordStar word processor.