Desktop Friday: BMOW

What’s on your desktop this week? I’ve got a big mess of wires.

Big Mess of Wires

The Big Mess of Wires, or BMOW is a home brewed CPU built by Steve Chamberlin from dozens of discrete logic chips, all wire-wrapped together with care. This is how prototypes were built in the old days. Rather than etching board after board and soldering and soldering only then to discover that the thing doesn’t work, wire-wrapping relied on twisting thin wires to very long pins, and could thus be adjusted quickly. Many early computers were built using this process, and automated wire-wrapping machines were once common.

The BMOW includes 64K of RAM, VGA out, a BASIC interpreter, and it also sings:


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One thought on “Desktop Friday: BMOW”

  1. Same as last week. I don’t change my wallpaper.

    As for my desk, it is covered with papers, books, a pen, a card reader, 2 screwdrivers, a Vernier caliper and a multimeter. Soemothe rthings too, but I can’t see them.

    I built my own, from scratch, controller for a programmable power supply back in 1985, wirewrapped on three 6″x12″ (?) boards. Lesson learned was never rely on other people to do good work. I let my project partners wire up two of the boards. They came back hopeless – one was wired backwards, so it had to be completely redone – both were riddled with errors. I should have just done it myself. A few months later I redesigned the whole thing using a Z80 as the controller.

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