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Pt 10994-1

Heathkit is getting back in the kit business it seems!

By popular demand, Heathkit is bringing back the kit building tradition.  Successfully building your own products provides a sense of pride and accomplishment, not realized by simply buying something off the shelf.

In late August, Heathkit will debut their new line of Do-it-Yourself kits for common around-the-house items.  The first kit will be a Garage Parking Assistant (GPA).  The Garage Parking assistant kit lets you build your own system that uses ultrasonic sound waves to locate your car as it enters the garage.  The system signals to the driver using LED lights mounted on the wall when the car is detected and in the perfect spot for parking.
 
The GPA-100 kit consists of two primary assemblies – The LED Display in kit form and the pre-assembled ultrasonic range module.  the kit will include everything you need to complete the project except a soldering iron and hand tools.
 
Next on the market will be a Wireless Swimming Pool Monitor kit followed by many more.  Heathkit wants to continue to bring to its customers interesting, unique Heathkit products.  Heathkit is interested in learning what types of products kit builders would like to build.  Kit builders can submit their suggestions through this website using the Contact Us email.

From Wikipedia:

Heathkits were products of the Heath Company, Benton Harbor, Michigan. Their products included electronic test equipment, high fidelity home audio equipment, television receivers, amateur radio equipment, electronic ignition conversion modules for early model cars with point style ignitions, and the influential Heath H-8, H-89, and H-11 hobbyist computers, which were sold in kit form for assembly by the purchaser.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Alfredo Jara says:

    Neat! I remember when I was a kid and I saw my father building some pretty hardcore kits from heathkits. Just great fun!

  2. Alfredo Jara says:

    Neat! I remember when I was a kid and I saw my father building some pretty hardcore kits from heathkits. Just great fun!

  3. Joe says:

    This is great news.  I built several Heathkit kits.I have the design experimenter still sitting on my desk.

    Reviving DIY electronics hopefully will get more kids interested in science and engineering.  Great for the  future economy of our country.
       

  4. Chris Miller says:

    Great news! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for something interesting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I remember great times building Heathkit products with my dad. We built a neat color TV build that failed the smoke test. That was fun. Dad did get it working afterwards too. (board had a bad trace)
    Their mainstay products were (i think) kit versions of common consumer products (tvs, hi-fi, etc) as well as the test equip and others you quote. They were great ways to learn electronics. However, I wonder if Heathkit can compete with MakerShed, AdaFruit, SparkFun, EMScience and others in the current DIY market. The first couple offerings dont seem all that remarkable. I hope they get more interesting.  Maybe a Heathkit Microwave Oven?

    1. Mike Keech says:

      Great news from Heathkit. I still have a scanner I built and also my 19 inch Heathkit Color TV from 1981 and it works perfect to this day. Also have my Heathkit AR-1429 Stereo Reciever and that still works great. I would like to see Heathkit starts designing new Stereo Recievers again. Also new Flat Screen TV’s you build would be awesome. Also a laptop computer kit would really be great. And the famous heathkit catalogs again. How I miss those.

      Mike

  6. Tremendous! I actually got light-headed reading this!

  7. Bryan says:

     I hope they have some ham radio related offerings.

    1. Mark Grenade says:

      Thanks a lot Bryan, without you, it sure never happens.

    2. Mark Grenade says:

      Thanks a lot Bryan, without you, it sure never happens.

    3. Anonymous says:

      I just paíd $20.87 for an íPad 2.64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasoníc Lumíx GF 1 Cámera that we got for $38.79 there arriving tomorrow by UP S.I will never pay such expensive retail príces in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LCD T V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
      Here is the website we use to get it all from : http://BidsBit.com

  8. Robert K says:

    Dad remembers these from when he was a kid. This is good to know.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is a dream come true! But as the Wikipedia article mentions, the economics of kits changed. It’s no longer cheaper to make it yourself vs. buy it.

    The fun and educational value of making it yourself can justify some of the added expense. Making the kits different from retail products in interesting ways could help too. For example, make the kits hackable and document a few different possible hacks. E.g. a clock kit that can get time from WWVB, cell phones, or GPS (Heathkit could sell add-ons for your choice of time source). Its heartbeat could come from a choice of 32kHz crystal or A/C power, based on how worried you are about power outages.

    1. The price breaks you get for ordering circuit boards and electronics in bulk can bring kits into a competitive price range with finished products of similar quality. Of course it’s hard to beat the price of electronics with boards printed on cardboard with other super cheap shortcuts. Who really wants junk like that anyway?

  10. Gregg says:

    Great news! They should also revive the entire computer line. Reason being is that the popularity of the operating systems that those machines ran is far greater then the bulk of existing machines out there.

  11. Gregg says:

    Great news! They should also revive the entire computer line. Reason being is that the popularity of the operating systems that those machines ran is far greater then the bulk of existing machines out there.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Gregg, do I understand you as saying they should bring back 8080 based machines (like the Heathkit H8), on the rationale that although CP/M is not in great demand, there is a larger demand for it than can be satisfied by the existing Altair and IMSAI machines still in existence?

      If so, I think you’ve got a great idea. However, companies that were making and selling Altair and IMSAI reproductions have not survived (altairkit.com and imsai.net haven’t been updated in years). I don’t know if they were losing money or if the company owners just lost interest. But it doesn’t bode well for an H8 revival. If Altair and IMSAI can’t make a comeback, despite their name recognition, would the H8 have a chance?

      1. Gregg says:

        Actually yes I do. And I’m not just thinking of the H8, I am also thinking of the H89 (Which taught me CP/M-80). And the H11 which was an LSI-11 adaption. (They took the basics behind the LSI-11 which is supposed to be the core behind the PDP-11 and shoehorned their ideas into the H11.) I can not recall how far along and what differences existed between the regular LSI-11 and the H-11, plus the operating system available for both.

        There was also a preliminary 8086 system that was reasonably close to the IBM PC 5150. That is you could do everything the PC could do on it, but I’m not sure what, I never got that far into Heathkit systems by that time You can guess why.

        1. WestfW says:

          Hmm.  Front panel for Arduino.  Lights & switches based bootloader :-)  Maybe it should run an interpreter for a more switch/light friendly instruction set…
          The Arduino is a more capable machine than most H8s ever were.  A computer that you have to talk to through a terminal emulator on your 2GHz PC doesn’t seem all that exciting; you might as well emulate the whole thing.   In fact, there’s a project out there somewhere that runs CP/M on an AVR via a Z80 emulator…

  12. Gregg says:

    Great news! They should also revive the entire computer line. Reason being is that the popularity of the operating systems that those machines ran is far greater then the bulk of existing machines out there.

  13. Dan Braun says:

    Does anyone know when the kit’s will be available?

  14. Chuck Luciano says:

    A whole new generation of kids will say, “I gotta what?”

  15. Fred Cousins says:

    At one time Heathkit WAS the maker revolution .   Many a Ham built a complete station all out of “Benton Harbor green” – Including my assistant scoutmaster.  I remember sending away for their catalog as a kid – and wanting at least half of the stuff in it. Alas I was only 7.   Heathkit MAY succeed- but NOT by building rigs that compete with the likes of Icom or Yaseu, but perhaps by bringing back a modern version of the HW-8 with DDS synthesis using a AVR or some other simple CPU. Imagine the possibilities of the sub 200 dollar SSB rig in a  kit form. Not only would this be salable in the US –  but  overseas in upwardly moving third-world countries like India and China.

  16. Is it too much to hope for a HERO 2?  ::Gleeeee::

  17. Is it too much to hope for a HERO 2?  ::Gleeeee::

  18. Jay Arrrr says:

    I took a control head from a Motorola 5V motorcycle radio, a HA-202 amplifier, and a HW-202 2 Meter rig and made a 6-channel, 45-Watt 2 meter ham rig for my Harley Davidson back in the late 70′s.
    Still have a HW-16 and matching HG-10B in the line up here in the shack The 16 has one of the best CW receivers I’ve ever owned.

  19. Jay Arrrr says:

    I took a control head from a Motorola 5V motorcycle radio, a HA-202 amplifier, and a HW-202 2 Meter rig and made a 6-channel, 45-Watt 2 meter ham rig for my Harley Davidson back in the late 70′s.
    Still have a HW-16 and matching HG-10B in the line up here in the shack The 16 has one of the best CW receivers I’ve ever owned.

  20. Jay Arrrr says:

    I took a control head from a Motorola 5V motorcycle radio, a HA-202 amplifier, and a HW-202 2 Meter rig and made a 6-channel, 45-Watt 2 meter ham rig for my Harley Davidson back in the late 70′s.
    Still have a HW-16 and matching HG-10B in the line up here in the shack The 16 has one of the best CW receivers I’ve ever owned.

  21. Jay Arrrr says:

    I took a control head from a Motorola 5V motorcycle radio, a HA-202 amplifier, and a HW-202 2 Meter rig and made a 6-channel, 45-Watt 2 meter ham rig for my Harley Davidson back in the late 70′s.
    Still have a HW-16 and matching HG-10B in the line up here in the shack The 16 has one of the best CW receivers I’ve ever owned.

  22. It
    is nice looking for different ways. It have good topics ofor business.

  23. It
    is nice looking for different ways. It have good topics ofor business.

  24. It
    is nice looking for different ways. It have good topics ofor business.

  25. Anonymous says:

    As a builder of Heathkits beginning in 1967, and still using most of the test equipment today, I welcome them back, hoping they can make it in todays cut throat business environment.

  26. kentkb says:

    w00t! I made many of these kits as a kid. I still own a multiband tube radio that still works, though the solder points look crude to me now! 
     Also diggin’ the dudes hair, I used to have hair….

  27. Anonymous says:

    Heathkit did make a kit microwave. Based on Amana.

  28. Anonymous says:

    This is a pretty sweet thing. I am big fan of the reinvention of the heathkits and also one of the most gorgeious places on earth is the St.Joe/Benton Harbor area, well that is if your looking at it from lake michigan if your in the town of benton harbor it looks more like hell and it needs the jobs and prosperity that this will hopefully bring to the community. Go HEATHKITS !

  29. Anonymous says:

    This is a pretty sweet thing. I am big fan of the reinvention of the heathkits and also one of the most gorgeious places on earth is the St.Joe/Benton Harbor area, well that is if your looking at it from lake michigan if your in the town of benton harbor it looks more like hell and it needs the jobs and prosperity that this will hopefully bring to the community. Go HEATHKITS !

  30. Kathleen Ley says:

    Have long lost the 1978 soldering iron for that ancient Heath-kit computer. Anyone remember the Trash 80?  Er, TRS 80? Sigh!

  31. Bert Mathews says:

    Glad to see they are back at it!! – - – THAT MICROWAVE I BUILT  WAS GREAT!!! Years before anybody else had one. . . .

  32. Bert Mathews says:

    Glad to see they are back at it!! – - – THAT MICROWAVE I BUILT  WAS GREAT!!! Years before anybody else had one. . . .

  33. Bert Mathews says:

    Glad to see they are back at it!! – - – THAT MICROWAVE I BUILT WAS GREAT!!! as Kay Bursley Remembers – - – - – Years before anybody else had one. . . . G(.)(.)D CoffeeCake  ;)

  34. larry says:

    DOES ANYONE COLLECT ASSEMBLED HEATH KITS??
    I WOULD LIKE TO SELL MY WHOLE COLLECTION..
    ALL WORKING..SHORT WAVE RADIO, TUBE TESTER, ETC.
    VACUUM VOLTAGE TESTER, REEL TO REEL RECORDER, ETC

  35. masimons says:

    Nice to have you back. Had kits as a kid, now I’m a EE. 
    And having a vacation place in Benton Harbor probably helped too.

  36. masimons says:

    Nice to have you back. Had kits as a kid, now I’m a EE. 
    And having a vacation place in Benton Harbor probably helped too.

  37. Brian Harris says:

    I would love to see some more HI-FI kits produced by them such as stereo amplifiers and tuners etc.

    1. T. Krysty says:

      I’d love to see those items come back. Built many of them.

  38. T. Krysty says:

    Surround sound pre-amp and amp kits seem to be a natural for today’s flat screen (and mediocre sounding) tv’s.

  39. Pat Shotwell says:

    I am an old school HAM and think it would be great if Heath Kit would reintroduce some of the HAM equipment. With the small cars of today, I would like to see some Linear Amps for multiband hand helds (UHF/VHF) that would use the hand held for a control head and a linear mounted else where for the higher wattage output. That would make the handheld more flexible in applications for new HAMs..

  40. dan says:

    Although Heathkit seems to have faded again, the tradition lives on (in a small way) at http://www.akitika.com. We make a Heathkit style Stereo power amplifier…you build it from a kit, following a detailed assembly manual. We supply everything but the solder!

  41. Carol says:

    I didn’t know Heathkit had gone and do hope it can make a comeback. I was looking for a wind generator and have no idea how to make one without a kit. If anyone knows of this contact me at caroleeann@live.com. Just a small one to go on my roof. CAROL

  42. MARK D FUNK 21LOMBARDY DRIVE BALTIMORE MD 21222-2309 PHONE 410-781-8096 says:

    I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HEATHKIT RETURN VTVM IM-5228 ASAP! NEED PROBES

    1. ted krysty says:

      Wha about pre amps amps and receivers? Love that.

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