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 chips, also known as the TTL logic series. In the Gigatron these simple ICs not only form a CPU, but this CPU in turn also performs tasks that normally need dedicated peripheral chips. Despite its simple and compact 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. 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]
Gigatron is a TTL microcomputer that you can 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);
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.
For a PDF version of the slides and for more materials, check out the Tutorials section.
Gigatron is a project by Marcel van Kervinck and Walter Belgers. If you want to get a kit, you can find all pricing and ordering information on Get one!
For general questions, feel free to drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also on Twitter, Hackaday and GitHub, all links are listed below.
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 …
Oscar brought his Gigatron, with our prototype keyboard adapter and Tiny BASIC, to VCF West 2018 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. He came back with the “Judge’s Special Choice Award”. How cool is that! Utterly flattered… Thanks Oscar and thanks VCF!
We’ve recently celebrated a dream milestone: there are now more Gigatrons out there than Apple-1’s ever produced!