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Welcome to the Gigatron!

The Gigatron TTL microcomputer is a minimalistic retro computer. It is special in its own oddball way, because it has absolutely no complex logic chips in it, not even a microprocessor! Instead, its CPU is built out of a handful of classic 7400-series ICs, colloquially known as the TTL logic series. In the Gigatron these simple chips not only form a CPU, but this CPU in turn performs all tasks that normally require dedicated peripheral chips. Despite its simple and small design, the Gigatron works as an 8-bit single-board microcomputer that you can play video games with.

Now you can build one yourself. Learn what happens inside a CPU and enjoy playing the built-in retro video games or write little programs in BASIC. You can also hack it in any way you like if you have a taste for that.


[Click on the image to enter the Gigatron emulator by Phil Thomas]

About

Gigatron is a TTL microcomputer that you build yourself. What you need is the following:

  • The kit, containing the printed circuit board, all the electronic parts, a retro game controller, a full-color assembly manual also containing schematics and a soldering course and the shiny, mahogany colored, wooden case with plexiglass viewing window;
  • A soldering iron, solder and a multimeter;
  • Side cutters and optionally (but handy) some needle-nose pliers;
  • Something that provides USB power (laptop, USB charger, ..);
  • A VGA monitor (or a VGA-to-HDMI converter and an HDMI monitor);
  • Optionally a PS/2 keyboard for using BASIC
  • A couple of hours to complete building the kit.

If you are interested in one, check out “Get one!” page for pricing and ordering information.

How it works

We have given in-depth talks at several hacker spaces. Here is one Walter did at Hackerhotel 2018 explaining both concept choices and design details.

Duration: 52m22s

For a PDF version of the slides and for more materials, check out the Tutorials section.

About us

Gigatron is a project by Marcel van Kervinck and Walter Belgers.

In this talk recorded at VCF Berlin 2019, Marcel discusses the background of this project: from the earliest breadboard experiments to the version that can run Micro-Soft BASIC.

Duration: 40m

For general questions, feel free to drop us an e-mail. We are also on Twitter, Hackaday and GitHub, all links are listed below under “Find us”. If you want to get a kit, you can find the pricing and ordering information on the”Get one!” page.

Blog

500+

Recently we passed a milestone that far surpasses our stretch goals. Originally we said we’d be content if were to ship 50 kits and call it a day. Our tongue-in-the-cheek stretch goal was 200, because that’s the number of Apple 1’s ever produced. Now, a little over one year later, more than 500 Gigatron kits …

Full circle

Today, a circle closed at the Centre for Computing History in¬†Cambridge, UK. How? Well, one week before this project started on Hackaday, I was at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, US, and jokingly posted the following remark on Facebook: That’s an original Apple-1. The Apple-1 next to the Gigatron is a beautifully done …