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N > NATIONAL RADIO INSTITUTE > 832     


NATIONAL RADIO INSTITUTE
832

The National Radio Institute 832 was probably the first commercially available computer kit. It was sold as part of a correspondence computer course.

We don't know much about this machine, but Jason Anderson, the proud owner of the pictured machine sent us a letter from Lou Frenzel, the designer of the NRI-832:

I did design the 832 back in 1970-71 time period.
It was part of a home study course on computers offered by National Radio Institute, a school owned by publisher McGraw Hill. It was delivered as a series of kits, 5 if I remember correctly.

The memory was a diode switch matrix with 16 bytes programmable with slide switches. It also had an additional 16 bytes of TTL SRAM which was very expensive at the time. It was made with TTL digital logic which was very expensive, but I couldn't bring myself to use any of the older but cheaper RTL or DTL chips.

All processing was done serially with a total of 8 instructions. Amazingly, you could program almost anything if you could get it into the limited memory. This turned out to be a very popular course and kit surprising all of us at the time. We packaged the kits ourselves.

NRI went out of business in 1999 but McGraw Hill is still around, but I imagine all that 832 stuff is long gone.

I had been hauling around a fully wired 832 for years and even offered it to the Boston Computer Museum as an example of early computer kits but it was rejected. I eventually threw it away after it suffered damage during hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1994. I think I still have one of the memory boards and a set of manuals somewhere in my storage unit. Haven't seen them for years.




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.
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Re the manual link below: the comment receipt system seems to have turned spaces in the URL into dollar-20 instead of what''s needed (just space, or percent-20).

          
Friday 8th June 2012
Chris

If people still want the manual, there seems to be one here:

http://www.hartetechnologies.com/manuals/Digital$20Electronics/Model$20832$20computer$20RefMan10KX.pdf

          
Friday 8th June 2012
Chris

I have obained an NRI 832 and need the costruction manual. Can someone please share that with me. Thank you

          
Friday 27th January 2012
phillyskyline (USA)

 

NAME  832
MANUFACTURER  National Radio Institute
TYPE  Home Computer
ORIGIN  U.S.A.
YEAR  1971
BUILT IN LANGUAGE  None
KEYBOARD  139 switches
CPU  No processor
RAM  17 Storage locations for 8-bit words, expandable to 32 words with an optional semiconductor memory kit.
ROM  No ROM
TEXT MODES  Lightbulbs
SIZE / WEIGHT  22 lbs
I/O PORTS  No connectors
POWER SUPPLY  Built-in power supply unit
PRICE  $503





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