Launched in 1976, the Introkit appeared to be very popular. It was the first affordable all-in-one computer everyone could acquire to know a bit about computers.
The basic version was really minimalist: one SC/MP (or "Scamp") microprocessor, one 512-byte ROM containing a monitor program and 256 bytes of RAM for user's programs.
The system was designed to connect to a Teletype - the CPU had serial In and Out pins, but very few hobbyist could afford this massive and expensive equipment. N.S. thus released an optional display kit which was comprised of an add-on card that fitted onto the main board, and a modified calculator for keyboard and display. The machine also needed a dual voltage PSU
Once everything soldered and wire-wrapped, the Introkit was a complete computer and an efficient learning tool. The novice programmer could enter, modify and run programs and thus learn all hardware and software basic concepts of any computing system.
Several of these kits - and other SC/MP machines, were connected to larger computers thanks to the unique and advanced ability of the SC/MP CPU to completely share its system bus with other processors, and thus run smoothly in a multiprocessor environment.
Chris Curry took the Introkit as a starting point to design the MK-14 training board, first Sinclair computer.
Ben Mullett recalls:
I joined NSC Bedford in '77 when the SC/MP was the latest in micros, my first task was to get an Introkit working, with help from Dave Brown. I can still recall some of the Hex opcodes for this machine.... C4 was LDI or 'Load immediate'...
The Introkit was indeed a TTY machine, with a modified NSC calculator case and keys forming the (extra cost) KBDkit and a patched ROM to scan the keys.
The Introkit/KBDkit to MK14 development liaison to Science of Cambridge was Tony Amendt, another National Semiconductor Field Applications Engineer.
He helped me get an MK14 running - allegedly the first kit made - since I was fortunate to be given the task of checking out the kit and instructions. All that was missing were some pullup resistors on the bus. Ran well, but what a weird keyboard! Very Sinclair.....
The SC/MP LCDS was the official development tool - 'Low Cost Development System' and there was a multiprocessing card demo for it that was quite impressive. Might even have that in my attic somewhere!
The multiprocessing architecture reappeared on the Series 32000 (aka NS16000) micros that were used in the Sequent 'Balance' series of Unix machines a decade later.
We need more info about this computer ! If you designed, used, or have more info about this system,
please send us pictures or anything you might find useful.
Special thanks to Jorge Montalvâo Fernandes who donated us this computer !
I used to have a Sinclair MK14 - and I have acquired all the bits to make another SC/MP micro of some description for ''old times sake''. I would certainly be interested in anything SC/MP related for the Introkit (especially the keyboard interface and monitor ROM listings).
The question is - how to get it posted?
Friday 4th March 2016
Dave Roberts (UK)
I have a big stack of documents, incl. code and Assembler for this Computer. Somedocs are in Dutch, but the stuff from NS is in English. Also I still have the complete hardware of a µC based on SC/MP II, in a medium state, sertainly partly working, but the powersupply is missing. Little damaged during Transportation. let me know what you Need.
Wednesday 4th February 2015
Wim-Jan van Rooijen (Germany)
The SC/MP was the first microprocessor I laid my hands on, sometime around 1976. The National guys were at one of the West Coast Computer Faires in San Francisco, and they were GIVING away the MCU - you then paid a small amount for the eval kit. I turned it into a simple music sequencer, and learned a lot in the process! I''ve always felt that National invented the eval kit culture with this product.