Sunday, 15 June 2014


Yesterday was spent digging through the archives, along with pot-holing the darkest depths of D-Block at TNMOC, and my efforts was truly rewarded with some remarkable discoveries...

These are original ETI (Electronics Today International) magazines featuring the Armdroid prototype.

Armdroid Part 1, September 1981 - pages 50 - 57
Armdroid Part 2, October 1982 - pages 43 - 46

There are a number of copies of Part 1 floating around the internet, although most are fairly blurry, so can be difficult making out the circuit & timing diagrams.

I've never seen the October issue before, so this was especially exciting....  Part 2 covers the full component listings, PCB overlays, and Power Supply in more detail.   Interestingly, they must have changed this design because the PSU is described as providing +12v and +5v power outputs, whereas on my Armdroid (prototype), the power connector takes a single +12v input and regulates to +5v using a 7805 bolted to the chassis.  The later single interface models incorporate this regulator on the circuit board itself.

There are no other hardware differences between what's presented in these articles, with the exception of the base unit which appears to have changed from a rectangular steal box.

BYTE reviewed the Armdroid in May, 1982, Vol 7, No. 5 titled "Japanese Computers" - pages 286 - 294

The review is really interesting, the reviewer (Steven Leininger) had the kit to assemble, plus a factory assembled Armdroid for reference.  He had preliminary version of the construction manual, but I suspect this didn't improve for the final version...  A criticism was made about the manual specified part numbers, but didn't refer to drawing numbers - something that's caused me a great deal of headaches.

He had problems assembling the duel-race ball-bearing assembly, something I've never attempted, but this might have been easier with better quality drawings with detailed close ups.

The reviewer interfaced his Armdroid to the TRS-80 Model I - that's not really a surprise because Steven Leininger was actually the design engineer for this microcomputer.  The rest of the article covers the LEARN software and some of editing features for designing movement sequences.

Scanned copies of these articles and can be found in the resource section.  Because of age and quality of paper, the quality of these scans are not perfect.

Other Publications

I'm still researching the archives, the only other magazines which feature articles relating to the Armdroid are:
The Home Computer Course, part-work magazine - pages 314 - 315 (published 1983/4).

If any additional material comes to light trawling through the library & archives, I will update this Blog post.  If anybody else knows of any other published material relating to Armdroids, please let me know.