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MITS Altair 8800b Turnkey ("8800bt")

See below for specifications and information on this system.

Specifications and information

Introduced: October 1977
Original Price:  
CPU: S-100 card (stock CPU: Intel 8080A)
Memory: S-100 cards (1K-64K)
Operating System: Various, CP/M
Input/Output: S-100 cards (serial, parallel, etc.)
Bus: Altair bus (a.k.a. S-100 bus)
Cards Installed: Turnkey Module Board (8080A CPU, serial port, 1K RAM, 1K ROM)
Other Items in Collection: N/A
Items Needed: Drive units, RAM cards, documentation, spare parts

The 8800b Turnkey, or 8800bt, was a version of the Altair 8800b without the full front panel. The special Turnkey Module card contains boot ROMs that automatically boot the system from a floppy disk drive at power-on. The Turnkey Module could, alternately, jump to the address of a boot ROM on a floppy disk controller card. It contains DIP switches to set the power-on jump address.

Some dedicated hackers took exception to the lack of a front panel, and called this unit the "Turkey" instead of "Turnkey", but with 20/20 hindsight it's obvious that self-booting computers were the wave of the future.

This particular 8800bt has never been used. It has the factory unpacking instruction sheet still taped to the top of the case (see photo above). The only cards installed are the Turnkey Module card and the 8800b CPU card. They're protected by the original foam-backed cardboard shipping material (see photos below).

Additional Altair 8800b Turnkey Photos

Here are some more detailed photos of the Altair 8800b Turnkey. Click a thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture.

Side view of the interior. Note the system keys still taped to the power supply.
Rear view with the cover off. Note the cardboard/foam packing as shipped from the factory.
The MITS Altair 8800b CPU board
This shot shows the 8800b Turnkey "front panel" -- just a 2" square PC board for the switches and key lock
Here's the 8800bt serial number label. The 8800bt was announced in October 1977, a few months after the May 1977 acquisition of MITS by drive maker Pertec. This unit has the MITS logo on the front panel, and Pertec on the serial number label.

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