Friday, September 1, 2023

RC2022/10 Results

The popular vote results for RC2022/10 are in! Eek... we almost started RC2023/10 without the write-up for 2022.

Remember, if you didn't finish the month but made progress on a project you should be proud. If you did finish, you should be very proud.

Stay tuned for details on the RC2023/10!

Results (grouped by category, then grouped by final status, no particular order besides that) after the break:

Category: Endurance Challenge


Paleoferrosaurus's avatar
twitter : @Paleoferrosaur
Platform: Wright Line 2600 Card Punch - IBM 024 Keypunch - Related Unit-Record Equipment

Project : An endurance challenge utilizing punch card equipment, unit-record equipment, and batch processing in a mainframe environment.

Initial Comments: Paleoferrosaurus is back with an endurance challenge with... punch cards?! I cant wait to see this!

Halftime Update: Paleoferrosaurus is battling aged rubber and plastic in his Documation M200, but has given us a wonderful series of videos and posts documenting his various card and tape punch systems and his card scanning technique. He even shared a small library of BASIC programs that he has managed to liberate from their punched cards. Awesome job, keep up the great work! MSW: Paleoferrosaurus sure has some nice toys. The YouTube videos are short and sweet demonstrating various paper to computer interfaces.

Final Comments: Great work on a variety of card and paper tape readers, minicomputers, and even some more modern microcontrollers. Still battling the ravages of decaying rubber, Paleoferrosaurus managed to establish some useful workflows, and get a few conversion and transfer utilities programmed up and shared. What a wonderful look at this era of computing!

Final Status: Prize "Winner"!!


epooch's avatar
twitter : @ep00ch
Platform: Radio Shack TRS-80 MC-10

Project : Change of plans! I just bought a Radio Shack TRS-80 MC-10 Micro Color Computer and I intend to spend the month using it, connecting it, and upgrading it.

Initial Comments: Last time it was a mouse-based project and we know how well that went...

Halftime Update: Good series of posts demonstrating how epooch is getting aquainted with his TRS-80 MC-10 and getting it connected to his Mac. MSW: epooch has a cassette server online, something I would consider if I had an FC-6 for the FX-850P. They appear to be fairly rare! BASIC programming on his Tandy MC-10 rounds up the entry so far.

Final Comments: epooch started strong with his new MC-10, with lots of progress and updates on connectivity projects. He was able to program up an MC10 binary to audio conversion utility, a cassette server, and a small Minesweeper game. Although he lost momentum at halftime, he ended with a schematic for an MC-10 to EXORbus adapter. Great effort!

Final Status: Finished the Month!

Category: General


ShaneMcRetro's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
twitter : @ShaneMcRetro
Platform: 386/486/P1

Project : My goal is to create an all-in-one GeoCities Apache web server that fits in the palm of your hand. RetroChallenge 2021/10 was a test run, it went darned well. We need our retro hardware, 386/486 and newer, to be able to revisit the internet of our past.

Initial Comments: Recreating the 1990's internet wasn't enough for Shane McRetro. Now he wants to put it in his pocket!

Halftime Update: Despite Ubuntu version incompatibilities Shane continues last year's project with some great blogging and a sweet looking Argon One server using a Raspberry Pi 4. MSW: Shane makes good progress recreating a corner of vintage t'internet in a tiny box.

Final Comments: Shane had an awesome entry last year and followed it up with more! His dial-up portable geocities is the perfect blend of nostalgic internet and modern tech. I am very impressed at the amount of data he had to merge and modify to get all of the links working. Make sure to check out his finale video and the randomizer "Mega Jump" link.

Final Status: *** Grand Prize! ***

Mark C

Mark C's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
Platform: Heathkit ET-3400 Microprocessor Trainer

Project : Create an improved ETA-3400 Memory I/O Accessory with more RAM and relocated ROM. Patch and port 8K ALTAIR 680 BASIC to run on the improved Memory I/O Accessory using the established Fantom II monitor.

Initial Comments: Mark C is back with another practical ET‑3400 Trainer upgrade. At what point will he be fully trained on the MC6800?

Halftime Update: Lots of great updates here with everything from GAL address decoder programming to some Tiny BASIC. Mark is really making great progress and doing some informative blogging here! MSW: Mark is working around TinyBASIC limitations to bring us a version of Star Trek - oh and lots of PCB design work too!

Final Comments: So great to see the little Heathkit ET‑3400 trainer finally grow up to be a real computer! Mark C provided some great blogging on his very successful project.

Final Status: Prize "Winner"!!


urbancamo's avatar
twitter : @urbancamo
Platform: Casio FX-850P

Project : This project is to create a parser for BASIC using the programming language Scala and the parser library fastparse.

Initial Comments: println("Good luck urbancamo!!")

Halftime Update: Urbancamo made the jump from mini-computers to pocket computers and started with the laborious work of getting all his Casio BASIC documention into an easy-to-use state. Great start! MSW: As for me, I'm still transferring the Casio FX-850P manual online, covering all parts that are interesting from a Casio BASIC perspective!

Final Comments: urbancamo gave us an entertaining deep dive into the CASIO FX-850P. From publishing an online manual for BASIC programming and creating a CASIO character set to Unicode converter, and a serial cable for the very capable calculator, he really stuck to his project this time. Great work!

Final Status: Prize "Winner"!!


SuperNick's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
Platform: 386

Project : I’m going to attempt to restore functionality of a Data General Dasher 386-25K Model 91862 PC from the early 1990s. There’s no POST as far as I can tell but it does power on, even though there looks to have been some liquid damage after opening it. I’d be keen to play some Microsoft Solitaire if I can get this beast purring again.

Halftime Update: SuperNick started late, but already has put in the time to give us some background on his Dasher, and clean the motherboard. Lots of intricate trace repair work in his future!

Final Comments: SuperNick gave us a ton of photos while documenting his progress restoring a Data General Dasher 386-25K PC. After a bunch of capacitor relacements and hard work, the computer ended the month with the same problems it started with. Oh well, RetroChallenge is all about the journey (in circles)!

Final Status: Prize "Winner"!!

Abraham Vreugdenhil

Abraham Vreugdenhil's avatar
twitter : @a_avretro
Platform: 1 Bit microprocessor

Project : Last winter i build a system around the mc14500b 1-Bit Motorola 1-Bit microprocessor. Now it is time to organize all the information about this project to make this available for the wide audience.

Initial Comments: We 8-bitters have it good... Let's see what Abraham can do with just 1 bit. I'm looking forward to some ladder logic for that line-following robot!

Halftime Update: Abraham gave us one great post on the MC14500b processor. We want to see more videos and details on your robot!

Final Comments: Abraham's project ended up being a great reference and 'how-to' for development with the MC14500b 1-bit microprocessor. This little processor has intrigued me in the past, but the learning curve seemed steep with its very limited market niche. Abraham's great posts are encouraging me to take another look at it!

Final Status: Finished the Month!


CDP1802's avatar
twitter : @Cosmac1802
Platform: NEC PC-9801/9821

Project : Diving deep into PC-9801 sound cards, specifically the PC-9801-26(K). Cloning hardware, learning the Sound BIOS, learning how the computer communicates with the card, and maybe even interfacing a new sound chip to the system! Also possibly various other small PC98-related projects in case of downtime or burnout.

Initial Comments: Welcome to the RetroChallenge! We can't wait to hear that PC-9801!

Halftime Update: Looks like CDP1802 might be just getting started at the halfway point.

Final Comments: CDP1802 made some great progress after halftime, but he removed his project posts. Too bad.

Final Status: Finished the Month!

Tim Holyoake

Tim Holyoake's avatar
twitter : @psychotimmy
Platform: Compukit UK101

Project : A re-implementation from scratch of “The Valley“, as published in Computing Today magazine, April 1982. I originally started working on this during August, but the project has fallen by the wayside since. The RetroChallenge seems an ideal opportunity to start this project again. No cheating – everything will be / has been typed in by me (and debugged!), just as I did in 1982 on my Sharp MZ-80K.

Initial Comments: Projects that have "fallen by the wayside" are our speciality here at the RetroChallenge! Hopefully you get more nostalgia than carpal tunnel doing all of that typing-in.

Halftime Update: Great screenshots show off Tim's progress on this BASIC adventure. MSW:After the marathon typing event that saw Tim enter 14 pages of BASIC, Tim has been ticking off his to-do list for this fun little adventure/barbarian game on his UK101.

Final Comments: Tim excelled this RetroChallenge, giving us great regular posts and awesome progress. After typing in the game, he made some nice improvements and ended with getting it to run as a 16K version. Awesome job- one of my faves!

Final Status: Finished the Month!

Harry Culpan

Harry Culpan's avatar
twitter : @hculpan
Platform: MS-DOS

Project : Redoing a programming project I did 30ish years ago: Implenting CARDIAC for MS-DOS using Turbo C++ to experience how the programming experience and I as a programmer have changed in 3 decades.

Initial Comments: Emulated cardboard! Is this "the metaverse” that I have been hearing so much about?

Halftime Update: Wow, looks like Harry is almost done and we are only at the halfway mark! Clean-looking interface for his CARDIAC emulator. MSW: Harry is implementing a simulator of a card based educational aid and decided he needed vintage PC hardware to match his Turbo C++ dev environment.

Final Comments: Harry made amazing progress on his CARDIAC cardboard computer empulator project and topped it off with a neat looking paint program named "Splatter". He showed tons of dedication, using Turbo C++ and MS-DOS. Be sure to check out his half-time CARDIAC video. Great work!

Final Status: Finished the Month!


jrbtrs80's avatar
Platform: TRS-80 Model 4

Project : Repair and upgrade Universal Computer Interface System (UCIS) components and connect to I/O bus of TRS-80 Model 4. Confirm successful execution of BASIC test programs as described in the book.

Initial Comments: "Universal Computer Interface" - Oh no! Now there are 15 competing standards!

Halftime Update: Some great photos here of jrbtrs80's repairs and modifications to his UCIS boards.

Final Comments: jrbtrs80 spent the month adapting his UCIS system to run on his TRS-80 Model 4. After the delicate task of connecting up an external bus using an IDC50 Breakout Board, he repaired some of the accessory cards and ended up with a working system! Great intro to this unusual system.

Final Status: Finished the Month!


Pawlicker's avatar
Platform: Sun4u (Sun Ultra 45 Workstation)

Project : I'm going to make a Pleroma instance (, same protocol as Mastodon) run on the last Sun SPARC workstation model made, a Sun Ultra 45. I literally came up with this idea last night right before October 1st but tomorrow is Saturday and I'm off work and I'll be able to start on it and have a nice post up then. If I can't get it working there, I've got various other vintage non-x86 systems I can attempt it on. This is also interesting because Pleroma and ActivityPub/the fediverse is the true future of social media and decentralized like e-mail is. It's also much better than Twitter.

Initial Comments: I like the Twitter vs. Pleroma/Mastadon rivalry going on this year. Welcome to the RetroChallenge Pawlicker!

Halftime Update: MSW: Debian and BSD variants on vintage Sparc hardware - impressed so much progress has been made knowing what a massive time sink this sort of thing is!

Final Comments: Pawlicker's project / free speech manifesto took on a whole new light upon the release of twitter files shorrtly after he wrapped up. That he managed to get his Sun Ultra 45 /SPARC "ewaste" running Pleroma and had some time left to do some work on installing GNU Social.

Final Status: Finished the Month!


48kRAM's avatar
twitter : @48kRAM
Platform: BBC Master 128

Project : An amazing friend sent me a BBC Master 128 earlier this year, but it needs some TLC. Let's see if I can get it up and running fully in a month.

Initial Comments: Who's this friend, how do I meet them, and do they have any more vintage computers lying around?

Halftime Update: 48kRAM has his BBC Master 128 on the bench and is documenting his progress via his twitch live streams... This might be a first for the RetroChallenge!

Final Comments: Although we did not see many blog posts, 48kRAM kept us updated on his entertaining twitch streams. After lots of probing and chip swapping he made great progress, and ultimately ended up with a working BBC Master 128!

Final Status: Finished the Month!

leaded solder

leaded solder's avatar
twitter : @leadedsolder
Platform: NEC mini5 word processor

Project : In Japan, NEC released a series of word processors that are actually secret CP/M computers. I've bought two, so I will try and run Zork on one, and fix another. Why bother buying a broken one? It came with Tetris. Yep, Tetris for a word processor, which I plan to dump.

Initial Comments: Word processor Tetris? Is it text based? Like, you drop the L's and T's and I's down the display? I need to see this...

Halftime Update: Leaded Solder has a great start here with an extensive write-up on the shipping damage repair of his NEC "wapuro". MSW: Fascinating blog on restoring Japanese vintage word processors!

Final Comments: Leaders Solder had another solid RetroChallenge entry. What great coverage of the NEC mini5 lin e of CP/M-based word processors archiving software and the instrucitonal video, assembly programming and repairing a mini5SX! Nice work!

Final Status: Finished the Month!

Colin Maykish

Colin Maykish's avatar
Platform: Zilog Z180

Project : I'm building a single-board computer based around the Zilog Z180. My goal is to have a working prototype by the end of the challenge that includes serial ports, an LCD display and PS/2 keyboard input. Stretch goals: USB storage, and getting a PCB manufactured.

Initial Comments: Another fish-named project from Colin! I just bought a CH376S dev board for my MC-10! Excited to see how far he gets...

Halftime Update: MSW: The Z180 PCB has gone to production. Schematics, PCBs, firmware, breadboards oh my!

Final Comments: Colin Made amazing progress on his Flounder SBC. Starting with a mess of wires, to a CAD PCB, to real PCB, to working computer all in a month! Awsome job!

Final Status: Finished the Month!


Dare's avatar
Platform: Xenix

Project : Add support for Xenix filesystems to my retro-fuse project. Retro-fuse is a user-space filesystem (FUSE) for accessing ancient unix filesystems on modern OSes. I need to learn how to install and run Xenix systems in simulation, reverse-engineer their filesystem layouts, and adapt existing ancient Unix code to read and write these filesystems.

Initial Comments: TIL that Microsoft licensed XENIX expecting that UNIX would be its operating system of the future when personal computers became powerful enough. Oddly, it was Apple that ended up with the Unix OS. Anyway, looks like a useful project!

Halftime Update: Dare is just getting the ball rolling here. Hopefully we will see some progress as the month progresses.

Final Comments: Even though jay had some IRL prorities that limited his time with the RetroChallenge, he made some prgress documenting the start of of his XENIX FUSE module and getting an emulator up and running. See you next time!

Final Status: Finished the Month!


Digitalrampage's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
twitter : @digitalrampage
Platform: Apple AIX

Project : I want to get my Prototype ANS 300 AppleNetwork Server running and sharing some files! I want to explore AUX/AIX and see what the 90s had to offer

Initial Comments: What a cool machine! I always though A/UX was so strange and cool. I can't wait to see this running.

Final Comments: DigitalRampage overcame alot of obstacles just to get AIX to boot. A lot of helpful blogging here. Good thing he had 3 (!) ANS logic boards lying around.

Final Status: Finished the Month!


Sergey's avatar
twitter : @SergeKise
Platform: Intel 486

Project : Design an open-source integrated ATX 486 motherboard with built-in graphics, Ethernet, and sound

Initial Comments: Sergey decided to become a PC clone manufacturer in the 1990's. Sounds like a complicated and wonderful project!

Halftime Update: MSW: Sergey is creating an open source 486 mboard. Back in the day I worked for a company that did the same thing. Kudos!

Final Comments: Serge is well known for his expertise with vintage Intel systems. Awesome to have him join us and make great progress, ultimately releasing v0.4 of his open-source ATX 486 motherboard. Great work!

Final Status: Finished the Month!

phil butler

phil butler's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
Platform: SC/MP Miniscamp and Maximite

Project : Like me, you may have a 1977 EA Miniscamp microcomputer tucked away. It is fun to get out every now and again, but it is very tiresome having to enter in the machine code via the front panel switches. And also like me, you probably have a Maximite computer tucked into the same cupboard next to the Miniscamp. This simple interface will allow the Maximite to drive the front panel switches of the Miniscamp, thereby allowing the tedious procedure of programming the Miniscamp to be programmed, and for those programs to be stored on the Maximite and quickly loaded into the Miniscamp. Other goals: - Expand the RAM - Run KITBUG - Add a USB serial interface

Initial Comments: Well that definitely is an handsome scamp of a microcomputer! I love that the "Mini" scamp is 10 times the size of the "Maxi" mite. What a pair!

Halftime Update: Phil gave us a ton of documentation on what appears to be a completed project. More than enough details here to make your own interface.

Final Comments: So much beautiful brushed metal! In fact Phil's entire project write up and pictures are a beautiful how-to for his multi--generational hobby computer solution.

Final Status: Finished the Month!


CraigB's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
twitter : @craigtbradley
Platform: Apple II and Macintosh

Project : I will be attempting to boot an Apple IIe from an AppleShare file server. The twist is I will be using an Apple IIe Card installed in a 68K Macintosh to boot via LocalTalk to AppleShare Server 3.03 running on an SE/30. I will also be trying to do it all with original hardware and software. I have a stretch goal of trying to do this via firstly LocalTalk and then Ethernet.

Initial Comments: Great convoluted project... I love this idea!

Halftime Update: As with many RetroChallenge entries, Craig has encountered a repair project just start his actual project. MSW: CraigB is having to call on his parts bin to get a MAC LC475 to play ball!

Final Comments: I love that CraigB used an old Mac to netboot an even older Apple IIe inside another old Mac! It is surprising to recall the longevity that the Apple II had in its various forms. Nice work with this Rube Goldberg configuration!

Final Status: Finished the Month!


Mars's avatar
Platform: CAT-644

Project : Continuation of previous 8-bit retro computer project from RC 2018 and RC 2019

Initial Comments: Mars has dusted off his SBC to make some more progress. We can't wait to see how it turns out and if he can get that OS finished.

Halftime Update: One post from Mars to get us up to speed with his SBC project. MSW: Mars solved his VGA sync problem with the old 'turn it off and on again!

Final Comments: Mars made some good progress on his KittyOS for the CAT-644. This is certainly a big project to tackle. We hope to see him again next time!

Final Status: Finished the Month!

Cameron Bonde

Cameron Bonde's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
twitter : @Octamed
Platform: Vectrex

Project : The Captrex! How do you take a screenshot of a vector based games console? Hmmmm

Initial Comments: Vectrex + plotter = a match made in heaven!

Final Comments: I loved this idea, and I am even more impressed that Octamed had such great results. It is really nostalgic to watch that plotter working away.

Final Status: Finished the Month!


Pendleton115's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
twitter : @pendleton115
Platform: iMac G4

Project : Learning how to “recolor” an iMac G4 Chassis

Final Comments: No working iMacs were injured in the making of Pendleton115's Jack O' Lantern! I was horrified for a moment, but the cute pumpkin face speaks for itself, and very appropriate for the month!

Final Status: Finished the Month!


mich181189's avatar
twitter : @mich181189
Platform: Windows 2000/XP

Project : I want to make a Twitter client for Windows 2000/XP (maybe also 98 if I can find time to make some widgets that work on 2000 but not 98). I started this a while ago but didn't get all of it finished. Maybe Retro Challenge is enough of a motivation to revive it? It's going to be an awful twitter client, but I think it should work!

Initial Comments: Grackle68K was born from the RetroChallenge too! Great project idea.

Halftime Update: mich181189 might have bitten off more than he can chew with this project, but he has given us a few posts keeping us upated on his struggle. MSW: mich181189 uses the phrase 'discustingly modern' to describe what he is planning on doing - for his 'awful' twitter client. Just remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Final Status: Stalled


@thejpster's avatar
twitter : @therealjpster
Platform: Neotron Pico

Project : I will get the system booting to a prompt with “load” and “dir” commands reading off the SD card.

Initial Comments: I suggest making up new file system command names to really make your DOS stand out from the others. Oh, and cryptic errors when someone gets it wrong! Ahh, the good ol' days...

Halftime Update: "You can now apply to be a Beta Tester and get a free Neotron Pico Kit!" MSW: jpster makes progress with keyboard and sound on the Neotron Pico.

Final Status: Stalled

John Honniball

John Honniball's avatar
twitter : @anachrocomputer
Platform: 6502/6809/68008

Project : Design and build a retro-computer using an 8-bit microprocessor. Stick to 5V and 2.54mm DIL parts. Complete the schematic and PCB design so that I can send it off to be manufactured. Make a start on the firmware too.

Initial Comments: Ambitious project to design and build a computer! Some of my favorite choices in processors represented here.

Halftime Update: MSW: John ponders on what goodness he should have for his 6502/6809 SBC design.

Final Status: Stalled

Tom Raidna

Tom Raidna 's avatar
twitter : @traidnacomputes
Platform: TI99/4A with 1 meg SAMS card and TIPI

Project : Setup TI99/4A with 1 Meg SAMS side car and TIPI drive emulator, run my MUMPS from last RetroChallenge, and code an embedded text editor into MUMPS utilizing SAMS card which will require use of memory mapping techniques.

Initial Comments: Another great looking MUMPS project from Tom. Let's see how wide that TI99 can get!

Halftime Update: MSW: Tom gets his hands on a NOS TI99 - well jeal!

Final Status: Stalled


ryfox's avatar
twitter : @ryfoxbread
Platform: Macintosh

Project : I intend on using this month to learn how to program for vintage Mac OS, specifically System 7 and Mac OS 8/9. Most likely will be some simple game like Pong, or some kind of useful utility application. I've wanted to do this for a while but never had enough motivation, so RetroChallenge seems to be the perfect time to get started on this :3

Initial Comments: RetroChallenge IS the perfect time to get started on learing Classic Mac programming... that's when I learned!

Halftime Update: After a very rewarding start, ryfox seems to have stalled a bit. Hopefully we have more updates. MSW: Need to see more on vintage MacOS programming ryfox!

Final Status: Stalled


BleuLlama's avatar
twitter : @yorgle
Platform: Amiga, C64

Project : Finally play through all of the Activision game "Hacker"

Initial Comments: 1337 H4x0r BleuLlama pwned 7h3 47421v1510n! This is super rewarding to finish a game as an adult that you could never quite finish as a kid. Good luck!

Halftime Update: Wow! Taking a very dilligent approach to tackling this game, with great maps and a google sheet with all of the actions available in any location. Unfortunately, I missed the twitch live stream. MSW: BleuLlama is playing Hacker on Amiga, mapping it and streaming at times.

Final Status: Stalled


Johann's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
twitter : @thebasement___
Platform: Macintosh OS 6.0.8

Project : My goal is to create a drag and drop file sharing network between my 1989 Mac SE (6.0.8) and my 2017 iMac (13.6)

Initial Comments: I need this! Very practical project from Johann. I hope he gets it working.

Final Status: Non Starter


jl2022's avatar
Affiliation: Australian Computer Museum Society
Platform: Apple II

Project : Using a modern dev language such as Python to recreate an Apple II adventure game and to learn more about Python and also how Apple II adventure games were structured, designed and built (GULP!!!!)

Initial Comments: Ah, the great adventure of whitespace syntax errors!

Final Status: Non Starter

If you were initially tagged as a "Non Starter," we likely stopped checking up on you. But, if you did make some progress that we did not consider, please let us know!

All winners will be contacted soon so we can send out your mousepads and prizes!:

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