“This instructable is the steps to setup and run an Altair 8800 emulator that runs on an Arduino Mega 2560 or an Arduino Due. Connect your computer to the Arduino Mega or Due. No other components required. No other wiring required. Download the emulator program files. From your Arduino IDE, click Run to compile and upload the emulator. Your ready to go.
You’re Ready to Run Altair 8800 programs.
The emulator includes MITS Altair 4K Basic, the first software product of Microsoft, written by Bill Gates and two partner programmers. You can run a Star Wars version of the popular Star Trek text based game. Above, there is a screen print from the Stars Wars game. The left photo is the virtual front panel of switches and LED lights. Next, is a photo of my hardware version of an Altair 8800 front panel.
When the emulator runs, it flashes the virtual LED lights on(*) and off(.). Use your computer’s keyboard to press keys to toggle the virtual front panel switches to control the emulator. The controls work the same as an Altair 8800 from 1975.
Emulator interactions are managed through the default Arduino serial port. Below, is a print of the Altair 8800 virtual front panel where the Star Wars game program is currently loaded and ready to run. To interact with the panel, for example, press the 8 key on your keyboard to toggle the S8 switch on(^) or off(v). Below, toggle switches S10 and S8 are switched on. The address lights, A10 and A8 are on(*). The other address lights are off(.). This translates into the 16 bit binary address: 00000101:00000000 (the value, 1280). The data lights, D5, D4, and D0 are on. That translates to binary, 0011001, which is the Intel 8080 LXI machine instruction located at the memory address, 1280.”