Robert M. Tripp, Ph. D.
The Computerist
P.O. Box 3
S. Chelmsford MA 01824   Is the KIM-1

For Every-1 ?

… find out if it’s for you?

MOS Technology was recently purchased by Commodore Business Machines, Inc., 901
California Ave., Palo Alto CA 94304. Commodore will be manufacturing
and distributing the KIM product line, and is expanding the production
facilities to double or triple the number of KIMs produced. – Ed.


national computer hobbyist magazines (which is part of my motivation for writing this article). Second, until recently, the dealer discount structure was such that very few dealers were interested in handling the KIM-1. This has been changed and a lot of computer stores are starting to carry the KIM product line. A number of computer clubs now have formed KIM-1 sub-groups, and there is a national publication, KIM-116502 User
Notes, which is hobbyist oriented and has a rapidly growing subscription list – currently over eight hundred. Assuming that about 25% of the KIM-1s sold to date have been to hobbyists, then there are about two thousand currently in hobbyists’ hands, and perhaps one
hundred or more being added each month. This is a significant portion of the computer hobbyist population. I do not know how extensive the international distribution of KIM-1s is, but I have received orders for software from Germany, Italy, Sweden, Taiwan and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!

Since you have read this far, you are probably at least considering the KIM-1 for your own. So let me discuss the features in detail. The 6502 has a good general purpose instruction set. in many ways similar to the 6800. It has one of the best sets of addressing modes available. These include Relative Branching, Indexed Indirect and Indirect Indexed modes useful in table processing, Stack Addressing, and others. The6502
microprocessor has been selected by a number of independent companies for use in their hobbyist oriented systems. These include the APPLE-1 by Apple Computer Company; BABY! by STM Systems; the Challenger by Ohio Scientific Instruments, and Micromind by ECD Corp. to name a few.

These are all assembled systems. The 6502 is also found in a number of kit systems

Of course not!
No single microcomputer can serve everyone’s requirements. But, the  MOS Technology KIM-1 microcomputer is a well integrated package that
has features which have appeal to hobbyists, educators, and industrial users. How much do you think it will cost you to buy this complete computer system with the following features:

  • 6502 MOS Technology Microprocessor
  • HEX Keypad plus seven Control Keys.
  • six digit LED Display.
  • 110 to 2400 baud 20 mA Current Loop
    Teletype Interface.
  • 800 baud Audio Cassette Interface.
  • 2K ROM Monitor which works with the
    Keypad/ Display or Terminal.
  • over 1 K bytes of RAM.
  • two independent Programmable
    Interval Timers.


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  • thirty (30) Programmable I/O Lines.
  • extensive Hardware, Programming, and  User Manuals.
  • capable of expanding the I/O Ports.
  • capable of expanding the Memory to a full 65K bytes.
  • completely assembled and tested.

How much does it cost?
Five hundred dollars? Eight hundred? More? Less! Would you believe $245? Look at the features again. That’s quite a bundle of goodies for the price. If you have priced other systems with comparable features,
you are probably wondering what the catch is. “This is a new, small, fly-by-night operation which will either have gone out of business or raised its prices by the time I place my order. Right?” Wrong! The history

of the KIM1 is a bit unusual. MOS Technology which manufactures the KIM-1 also manufactures the 6502 microprocessor and other related microcomputer oriented chips. When their 6502 was first ready to be introduced to industry, they decided to make a powerful “evaluation kit” which, unlike those offered by most other vendors would be completely assembled, tested, and would be capable of performing real applications. There are now over seven thousand KIM-1s in the field. These are being used mostly by industry, but many units are also being used for educational purposes and by computer hobbyists.

The hobbyist appreciation of the KIM-1 has been a little slow to develop for two main reasons. First, there has not been very much published about the KIM-1 in the


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