Synertek Systems Corp. SYM-1 Single Board Computer  
Written by AnubisTTP on 2006-09-24  


The SYM-1 is a single-board computer originally developed as a 6502 microprocessor evaluation board. The SYM-1 is an enhanced clone of the official MOS KIM-1 evaluation board, adding true RS232 and other improvements. The SYM-1 also shares the same I/O connectors as the Rockwell AIM-65, another 6502 evaluation system.

SYM-1 Reference Manual (PDF)
SYM-1 BASIC Reference Manual (PDF)


The unit pictured here, serial number 1791 of about 50,000 produced, is an early example manufactured in 1978. Four ROM sockets are provided for the operating system and API's; on this unit one socket is occupied with a ROM chip containing the SUPERMON 'operating system'. The other three sockets are empty. A vast 1KB of memory is provided by two 2114 RAM chips, but sockets allow the memory to be upgraded to 4K. Additional memory, up to 65KB, can be added by means of an edge connector. For input, an injury-provoking membrane keyboard is attached to the front of the unit. One slip during data entry could spell disaster for the naked CMOS-based components around the keypad. Output is through a six-digit, seven-segment display that combines all the readability of a homemade flip-book with the comfort of a vicious poltergeist attack. Fortunately, the board is bristling with edge connectors and solder pads: there are 51 I/O channels available for the user to connect their own devices. Some areas of the board include specialized connectors designed for the attachment of more humane input devices, like a teletype or a RS232 based dumb terminal.

Although the manual includes helpful instructions to interface the SYM-1 with such devices, teletypes and dumb terminals were not exactly household items in 1978. As a consolation, the SYM-1 includes the special ability of being able to use an oscilloscope as a 32-character display. After all, if you do not own an oscilloscope, what business do you have buying a computer? The SYM-1 includes the necessary driver hardware, in the form of silkscreened component locations on the board, where you can solder in your own oscilloscope display connectors. The computer also comes with display drivers, in the form of hexadecimal code included in the manual. The user must manually enter the four pages of driver code on the keypad.

Synertek SYM-1 Computer
The Synertek SYM-1 6502 evaluation board. This unit includes Option 27, and has had a DB25 connector added to the solder pads provided for serial output.

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