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Paul Carpenter writes...
I recently pulled my Sol-20 out of storage. It powered up and worked fine except the keyboard had gone bad due to degradation of the original foam pads under each key. I was able to pull the keyboard apart and renew the pads. The computer works like a charm now. I connected up an old tape deck and was able to load programs from my collection of cassette tapes. I need to convert these tapes to .wav file!
Posted on June 6, 2021 - 06:13:32 PDT
Michayla writes...
I came across a picture of the Sol-20 on Pinterest while looking at 1970s computers, and was filled with absolute delight as I scrolled through this amazing website! I was with my partner at the time as we both share a love of old computers and instantly ran the emulator, it is wonderful! The amount of dedication and love for these computers that has been put into this site is admirable and made my month!
Thank you so much!
Posted on April 30, 2021 - 22:52:51 PDT
Jeff writes...
I've just become the steward of two Sol-20s and a Helios II drive. This site is invaluable as I am new to the Sol platform, having spent most of my time on Apple II. Thanks for putting this site together.
Posted on April 10, 2021 - 13:12:59 PDT
Mike Friese writes...
I built several SOL-20 on contract to Computer Mart Orange and/or Byte Shop Westminster. I was always impressed that everything fit together well. I rarely had a difficult time bringing up a new SOL-20. Of note were those SOLID walnut end caps. They came fairly well sanded but the wood was bare. I would do a little finish sanding and then rub linseed oil deeply into the panels to make them look gorgeous. I was impressed by the capacitive keyboard and at the time, I thought it would last forever. Wrong!
Posted on January 17, 2021 - 20:51:04 PST
Mike Zahorik writes...
I purchased my Sol-20 from a chemical company in 1980. They were having trouble with it and upgraded to an Apple setup. The computer would work but after a while it would fail. I found out that it was a heat problem. They had 4 memory boards in it and they were producing heat to beat the band. After designing a single board 48K memory board, these 4 boards could be removed and the machine worked great again. It has a Sanyo monitor and 3, 5 1/4 inch hard sector disk drives. There is also a serial board to drive a ASR 33 teletype. I have a few programs, BASIC and mail merge, plus a few others I do not remember. As time wore on, the keyboard started to fail, one key at a time. Now it is not usable. Hopefully this winter I want to try and replace the foam disk and insulators and maybe this machine will come back to life. Anyway, it's a neat little machine and I had a lot of fun with it, maybe again.
Posted on August 29, 2020 - 14:41:28 PDT
Charlie Pavitt writes...
I had a SOL-20. I was a Ph.D. taking a hiatus from academe due to my wife's job starting in 1983. My father bought it for me as a Ph.D. completion present from a techie he knew. I used it to write and publish four research articles, which gave me the opportunity to return to get a professorial job in 1987 that I maintained for 31 years before retiring, plus the beginning of what became my first book I bought it from a techie who jury-rigged connections to two 5 1/4 floppy disk reader/writers. I also had a card that gave be CP/M which in turn allowed me to write some simple statistical programs in BASIC that were incredibly helpful. I had WordPerfect 2 which took up 56k of the 64k available RAM. Unfortunately the techie mailed it to me, and in so doing some of the extra cards became dislodged and scratched the motherboard. As a consequence, the computer eventually became dysfunctional and I ended up replacing it with an Apple 2.
Years later my wife and I were at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and they had an excellent multi-room exhibit of the history of computers, starting with looms that worked by what were equivalent to data cards. We got to a room with early microcomputers. Most were on a table and labeled; Altair, Commodore, Apple 1, etc. Under one of the tables, on the floor, unmarked, was a Sol. I was thrilled to see it again. I'm sorry that it became dysfunctional, because if it hadn't I'd still have it to play with.
Charlie Pavitt,
Posted on July 20, 2020 - 17:56:51 PDT
Tom Bittman writes...
Glad I found this. The Sol-20 is what fired up a 36-year career in the computer industry. I still have the entire original working setup - including the cassette recorder I used back in 1977 for I/O (I don’t have the original AM/FM radio I used for sound effects - you know, phasers and stuff with for-next loops - but I can probably find one!). I fired the system up about a decade ago, and we recently moved, so I plan to do it again soon. I have all of the original manuals and a lot of software - so as I “poke” around, if I find something that isn’t here, I’ll post it. Here’s hoping my cassettes haven’t degraded.
Posted on October 5, 2019 - 11:20:31 PDT
Ben Bibb, NO5K writes...
I have a SOL-20 which I Purchased January 1, 1978 in CA (working on remembering the computer store, in the LA Area.).
Since I celebrated my 80th this year, it is time to reduce my technical hording. Today, I started on cleaning up and restoring the SOL back to Original, however after finding your Site and reading a bit, it may be that not restoring or at least providing the Mod Parts to a new owner would be best.
The SOL was used from day one by two Engineers one S/W and one H/W. Modified with a front Panel Display (Hex) and Address Switches. Bus expansion and a big 5V Supply also.
I have Photo/Video-Documented what I have as well as what I am doing. In the interest of finding a buyer I would be pleased to share that information with you and your associates should you be interested.
Best Regards,
Ben Bibb, EE, NCE
Cedar Park, TX
Posted on August 25, 2019 - 09:25:41 PDT
Michael Brian Bentley writes...
I still have the Sol-20 I bought back in 1979, I think. Someone else assembled the main board, I bought that from him and bought the rest of the kit and assembled it. It is in my closet, I'm sure it no longer operates, it's had a rough storage life.

I would like very much to find another keyboard, a modern USB one, that feels similar to the Sol-20 keyboard. Most of the ones I've encountered are loud and feel rough and sound echo-y.
Posted on August 10, 2019 - 19:44:35 PDT
Sam Freed writes...
Thank you for keeping all this alive! Can we port the simulator to Linux? Windows.... just isn't the right spirit!

I still have some punched tape off of a TTY33 that was connected to 4 SOLs, in a youth club in Jerusalem, 1979/...
Posted on July 10, 2019 - 01:43:36 PDT
BenRedic writes...
I was just a baby when these things came aroud, so I never tinkered with any of these computers, and I've never seen a Sol. I never even heard about the Sol-20 until some time ago when I started digging into the history of one of my hobbies, which is computer chess. I am trying to emulate some of the old systems, inlcuding mainframe-stuff from the 60s and 70s. Some of those things are a pain to get working and operate. But then I came across 8080 Chess for Sol-20. It was significant because it was the first micro computer chess program entered into competitions with chess programs running on larger computers, in the 8th North American Computer Chess championship. It even scored a point, although the way this happened was rather embarassing for anybody involved: In the first round, 8080 Chess was completely outplayed by it's opponent, Ostrich running on a custom multi-processor beast. But right before Ostrich was about to deliver the fatal blow, the program locked up due to a bug, and 8080 Chess was awarded the full point.

Digging around for the program and emulator I found this site, which contained both an easy to use emulator, the full program _and_ full documentation! I wish all of these programs were this easy to get up and running today! I've played quite a bit with this program. Chess-wise, it is quite weak, probably on par with the more commonly known Sargon which came out the next year. The interface also has some quirks, such as the cumbersome control character commands used for special moves and operations such as castling, and square names not being rotated when you swap sides. But the documentation is a pleasant surprise; It is very thorough, and even quite entertaining in places.

So, a big thank you for maintaining this site, keeping the Sol-20 legacy alive and introducing it to generations that knew nothing about these computers when they were around!
Posted on September 23, 2018 - 04:27:22 PDT
Don writes...
Hello Everyone:

I remembering playing Targ on the Sol-20 that my Dad bought. I just found The Sol-20, cassettes, and users manual. Not sure if it works and don't have the power supply cord. What kind do I need and where could I find one. I have a monitor, cords, and cassette player. It is in Colorado. If anybody is interested in buying, let me know. Thanks.
Posted on July 23, 2017 - 19:45:45 PDT
Rick Downs writes...
I built my first SOL-20 in 1976, and thus began my career in related computer industry. I still have the original with many upgrades! My thanks to the early pioneers for bringing at great product to us hobbyists.

Posted on July 1, 2017 - 19:06:28 PDT
Tucker Zischka writes...
My Grandfather had built one of the Sol-20 from the kit. The computer has been sitting in my grandmother's garage since the day they upgraded from it. I finally decided to take it down and start working with it. Haven't quite figured it out yet, but Ill get there.

Thank you for the awesome resources!
Posted on May 9, 2017 - 19:53:47 PDT
Jay Box writes...
I needed the manual for the 8K Static Ram board (version with the switches at the top right corner) and found it in your "Manuals" download section. Thanks. Nice looking website; I've stored its URL in my Vintage Systems links.
Posted on March 21, 2017 - 18:39:44 PDT
Justin McDermid writes...
I had two Sol 20 computers, just sold one of them. I still have lots of other old equipment.

Posted on February 27, 2017 - 14:46:29 PST
Earl Baugh writes...
I have 2 of the Sol 20's and SW and manuals... what are you still looking for?
Posted on January 13, 2017 - 14:34:05 PST
Walt Perko writes...
I guess I should mention that I am selling off the rest of the vintage S-100 and Apple stuff I have to get the seed money I need to build-up a couple hundred RoboGuts™ Kits so I can start teaching classes at the local Boys & Girls clubs, Scouts, YMCA etc...

No I do not want to break up this bundle.
Posted on November 19, 2016 - 18:08:15 PST
Walt Perko writes...

Long time since I (sadly) sold the Sol-20 I built from a kit. My first computer was a MITS Altair 8800, then I got a Motorola MEK6800D1 (still have it), then after selling the Altair I had money to build the Sol-20 and like a fool sold it to get an Apple II. I had lots of fun with the Apple but wish I had kept the Altair and Sol-20.

Anyway now I've been developing beginner robotics S.T.E.A.M. program for young children 5+ ... and any other beginners.
Posted on November 19, 2016 - 18:05:01 PST
Gil Gutierrez writes...
Great site! Thanks Mr Battle! I found this web-site a few years ago when I was restoring my Sol-20. I come back from time to time and always enjoy the new information that is periodically added. I bought a Sol-20 a few years ago and set it up every now and then to relive the early days of computing with my sons and grandsons. They like to hear the stories of how computers and computer gaming have evolved over the years. They get a kick out of playing Target. The latest Sol project I have in mind is to make a reproduction Sol-20 manual. Anyone ever make their own manual?
Posted on October 9, 2016 - 08:38:59 PDT

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