Subscribe to Make Magazine Today!


Mark Wilson of New Zealand created an Arduino-based emulation of the KENBAK-1, one of the first, if not THE first personal computer, released 40 years ago.

Fully assembled and powered on. The LED indicates that the INPUT register is being displayed, pressing the 8 buttons on the left will toggle the corresponding bits and LEDs. The four contol buttons provide for setting the address, reading/writing memory etc.

Flickr set and source files.

John Baichtal

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


  • Anonymous

    mу bеst friеnd’s mоm mаkes $ 78 аn hоur оn thе cоmputer. Shе hаs bеen оut оf jоb fоr 9 mоnths but lаst mоnth hеr chеck wаs $ 7488 just wоrking оn thе cоmputer fоr а fеw hоurs. Rеad аbout it hеre СashSharp.com

  • Anonymous

    Oh my gosh!
    A front-panel programmable computer operating on an OCTAL number system.
    Fantastic.
    I haven’t programmed a machine from the Front panel since a TI-980A way back in about Summer of 1975.
    Swell stuff!
    Retro-computing in a tidy, modern package.

  • http://twitter.com/KKHausman Kalani Kirk Hausman

    This seems much easier than when we built one using a Zilog 8080 and a bag of chips back in College.Very good use of the ARDUNIO.

  • Anonymous

    I had a Motorola 6800 computer that programmed in machine language from the front panel like this back in 1977 or 78.  I did all sorts of stuff with it.  It can be a real challenge to program a machine like this to do useful work- requires a whole different type of thinking from higher level languages.

Related Supplies at Maker Shed