Books & Papers

"Captain Cosmo's Whizbang" by Jeff Duntemann 

If you threw together your own ELF back in the 70s, odds are good that you were motivated by fun more than anything else. Captain Cosmo's Whizbang is an entertaining collection of articles and meanderings that really captures the spirit of the day. Jeff went on to professionally edit and author many other magazines, stories, and books. We're grateful to him for making this available to the world once again. Over 30 years later, it's still a fun read!

"Design Ideas Book for the CDP1802 COSMAC Microprocessor" by the RCA Applications Team 

One of the authors, Juergen Pintaske, scanned this one in. Juergen is a former Microprocessor Applications Engineer with RCA in Brussels. For a better reading experience and cleaner text, Juergen has also made this available in both print and Kindle form on Amazon stores, such as Amazon US and Amazon UK(Paul Sferazza of Intersil kindly granted permission for to publish this PDF for the community.)

"RCA Microprocessor/Memory Applications Briefs" by RCA 

This collection of application notes was culled from RCA's Solid State News and published in July of 1981. (Permission granted by Paul Bernkopf, Intersil Legal Dept., July 1, 2013.) 

"A Short Course In Programming" by Tom Pittman 

This may well be the best tutorial on 1802 programming ever written. Without resorting to technical jargon, Pittman introduces microprocessor features and instructions, with hands-on experiments each step of the way. We're proud to reproduce this work here with the author's help and permission. Thanks go also to Lee Hart, who meticulously translated the OCR scans to HTML for publication.

“A Tale of Two Processors” by Steven and Michael Gemeny

The day of the 1802 had passed, yet space probes such as Galileo continued to function decades later. The longevity of such projects presents challenges in retaining intimate knowledge of systems that cannot be replaced or upgraded once deployed. In this July 2003 paper prepared for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Steve and Michael Gemeny explore the resurrection of a COSMAC ELF and an HP 2000 minicomputer for lessons applicable to the New Horizons mission to Pluto. (Published on by permission of Steve Gemeny of Johns Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory.) 

“Programmer’s Guide to the 1802” by Tom Swan

The link above will take you to Tom Swan’s GitHub repository, where this eBook is available for download. With a readable, casual style, Tom starts out with a good tour through number systems and binary arithmetic, then begins his introduction to 1802 assembly language. With the overall framework in place, the book then discusses each instruction of the 1802 in detail, with frequent usage tips. The main text of the book concludes with detailed source code for the author’s own assembler/disassembler program, but an appendix collects some useful subroutines. Please support the author; link to his site, but do not upload this content elsewhere.

“Operator Manual for the RCA COSMAC Development System II CDP18S005” by RCA

This user manual tells you everything you wanted to know about a system that you probably don’t have, including use of its UT20 monitor software. A commented listing of UT20 is provided in an appendix. A downloadable version of UT20 may be found on the Software page. (Permission to publish this manual on was granted by Paul Bernkopf, Intersil Legal Dept., July 1, 2013.)

“Microprocessor Manual System 00” by Joseph A. Weisbecker

In 1971, before RCA produced its first microprocessors, Joseph Weisbecker was prototyping his ideas for an 8-bit microprocessor using 7400-series TTL logic. This is the manual for that prototype, provided courtesy of the Hagley Museum and Library. In his book “Inventing the PC: The MCM/70 Story,” author Zbigniew Stachniak documents this as being the “first incarnation” of Weisbecker’s concept of a home computer (Stachniak contributed some photos of System 00 here). The System 00 manual is available as a searchable PDF, or a smaller non-searchable PDF. (Permission to publish this on granted by the Hagley Museum and Library on July 18, 2016; see the cover page of the document for further details.)

“FIG-Forth Manual: Documentation and Test in 1802 IP” by Dr. Chen-Hanson Ting

Juergen Pintaske worked with Dr. C-H Ting to make his FIG-Forth manual available in Amazon’s Kindle format. The 1802 specific content is a few paragraphs about a FIG-Forth test setup and a hex dump, but FIG-Forth remains an interesting and useful language for many vintage CPUs. The link above is for the U.S. Amazon page; if you’re in Europe, you may want this this link instead. Search for “Juergen Pintaske” on your favorite Amazon site to find other Forth eBooks he’s helped make available in Kindle format, including Leo Brodie’s classic “Starting Forth” and early work by Charles Moore himself. Downloads for 1802 FIG-Forth on the Lattice FPGA board are on the Forth-eV Wiki. We ❤️ Forth!

“COSMAC ELF Microcomputer Trainer User’s Manual” and build documentation by Paul Schmidt

When Popular Electronics detailed the original COSMAC ELF in 1976, the article was enough to get a curious person started, but Paul Schmidt’s contribution takes the build to the next level. Paul not only built a museum-quality version of this ELF, he created first-class documentation for it to help others make the journey as well, then shared his work with the vintage computing community. The result is the ZIP archive you can download from the link above, which contains his user manual, a freshly drawn schematic, and even a template for the machine’s front panel. You can also click here to just browse the PDF of the COSMAC ELF Microcomputer Trainer User’s Manual.

© Dave Ruske 2001-2022, except where noted