Other Alternatives

UPDATED, see further down

OK, so you made your RC2014 classic or mini, what can you do with it? Sadly, not much. You have no way to save or load programs. You do not have any graphics or sound capability. You are limited to running BASIC, and saving and restoring through the terminal. If you are satisfied with this, then the classic or mini is just right for you. If you want to explore the capabilities, add functionality or run many of the software packages which is available for the platform, you need a different type of kit. (need 64k RAM and storage device)

Many of the alternatives mentioned in a previous article are excellent for further exploration, but a bit expensive. If you want to make a more budget friendly retro computer the following alternatives may suit you.

Unfortunately, the modules in the classic is not very suitable for an expanded system, however the 8-slot backplane is OK and can be reused. The ICs and other components can be salvaged from the classic or mini and reused in a new setup.

If you are able to make a working rc2014 mini or classic kit, you should also be able to go the alternative route.

Complete kits (at Tindie)

LiNC80 - SBC …………………………………… $139.00

SC114 - Z80 SBC ………………………………. $48.00

Both of these kits are great value. They lack storage option, but this can be easily remedied allowing to run CP/M.

Bare PCBs (at Tindie)

SC201 - 2 Modules + 3-Slot Backplane …………………………… $15.00

SC202 - 4 Modules + 2 6-Slot Backplanes ……………………….. $25.00

These kits are great value, but you need to source the components yourself. Fortunately, how to obtain the parts is very well described in the documentation. And if you have a classic/mini you can recycle the parts. Also, here you need to separately obtain a storage device. The RC2014 Compact Flash Module is a good option.

To conclude, by going the alternative route you can get a powerful RC2014 system at a reasonable price. But you need to put a bit of time in sourcing your components.


UPDATED (May 2019)

A lot has happened this sping (2019) which has forced me to change the recommendation for buying a retro system. All these parts are available as full kits at Tindie. See below for links to products and store.

option 1:
$44 - SC108 Z80 CPU and memory
$39 - #61c Serial Comm., Clock and CF storage
$18 - SC112 Modular Backplane
$101 total

option 2: (w/o a storage device)
$45 - SC111 Z180 CPU
$30 - SC119 Linear memory
$18 - SC112 Modular Backplane
$93 total

Both these options give great value for money, plus they are capable and slot saving.

#61 The Missing Module (for RC2014)- 39

SC108 Z80 Processor Module Kit for RC2014 - $44

SC112 Modular Backplane Kit for RC2014 - $18

SC111 Z180 CPU Module Kit for RC2014 - $45

SC119 Z180 Memory Module Kit for RC2014 - $30