The Story of Commodore’s SuperPET (Personal Electronic Transactor) #Retrocomputing
Robert Ferguson collected some remarkable back-story on the 1970s-era SuperPET, with some incredible ‘gut’ shots of the interior of the personal computer and some of its accompanying peripherals:
The story of the Commodore SuperPET has always been something of a mystery to me.
The SuperPET was the last of the original PET computers, but was oddly unrelated to its siblings; it featured hardware and software that were radically different from every other machine in the series.
Commodore’s key manufacturing strength was vertical integration – they even went so far as to design and build their own semiconductors – but the SuperPET prominently featured a competitor’s microprocessor.
Somehow, just as Commodore was making a strategic move away from building high-end machines to focus on low-end computers like the VIC-20, they produced the most expensive and complex PET ever.
Stranger still, the key software for the SuperPET came from an academic software team at the University of Waterloo, and much of the hardware design seems to have been Waterloo’s as well.
How did a group at a small university in Canada end up designing their own microcomputer, and how did they convince one of the largest personal computer manufacturers in the world to build and market it?
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.