Vintage Single Board Computers - Now I have a mint HP 5036A MicroProcessor Lab


I have owned Kim-1, Sym-1 and many other single board computers. There is something about working at the lowest level of software and hardware development that attracts me to these.

I have just obtained a mint HP 5036A Microprocessor Lab. Now, to find something to do with it. Perhaps I'll use it to help me understand programming issues, for the HP-IL design that I'm working on.

Anyone ever see one of these? Some info on the HP-5036A MicroProcessor Lab

Edited: 31 May 2006, 2:39 p.m.


Hi Mike,

I also have one of these, as well as an Intel SDK-85, which I obtained via Employee Purchase while working at Intel in the early 80's ($499, if I remember correctly -- well more than I could really afford, but I was young and foolish!). Intel sold these as trainers to 8085 developers, and they became quite popular in college computing labs for teaching microprocessors. The HP 5036A is very similar, but much nicer, IMO. It has 1K RAM vs. 256 bytes on the Intel board, LEDs on the address and data lines to visualize logic states, and DIP switches to set different conditions for testing and troubleshooting. Do you also have the manual that accompanied the kit? It's titled "Practical Microprocessors" and is one of the best introductory texts I've ever seen on uP operation and programming. I believe it was written by Michael Slater, who went on to become the founder of Microprocessor Report, one of the most influential newsletters in the industry. The kit I got had both the manual and an HP logic probe, but I don't think the latter was part of the basic kit.

These are a lot of fun to play with, but programming gets tedious after a while without a storage device. There are other trainers that offer tape drives and even more advanced features. Check out, for example, for some SBCs with even more bells and whistles -- literally!


Yes, I have that manual. Only problem is, it's still in shrinkwrap and I hate to open it.


Better seal up that upper right corner -- 21st century air is getting in! :-) Check your email.



I remember playing with one of these at school in the 80s.

There is a great snake game - bounce the segments on the LEDs backwards and forwards.

It also played music ... a ROM to sound routine



Either that or someone is reaching for the moon.

Edited: 5 June 2006, 2:45 p.m.

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