AI Electronics Corp. (Japan)

Established in 1962, Ai Electronics was one of the earliest computer manufacturers in Japan. It specialized in minicomputers and microcomputers for scientific and industrial markets. Its first minicomputer line was the AICOM E-1, which was first sold in 1963 mainly to universities and research organizations.

The bulk of the company’s business was in Japan, but it did have a presence in North America and Europe.

The AIDACS series of microcomputers began in 1973 with the 1000 line. It was the first micro designed and built in Japan. In 1976, the AIDACS-2000, based on the Intel 8080, was introduced. It came in three variations. The basic AIDACS-2000 was sold as a development system. The AIDACS-2000D was a rack-mount system, and the AIDACS-2000E was a sold as a standard microcomputer for professional use. Each came in 6 model configurations, though it is not clear how those models are distinguished.

At the same time, the 3000 line came out and offered the option of three CPUs: the Z80A, 8080A, or (eventually) 8085. (Although the 8085 is referenced in some literature, spec sheets do not show it as an option.) The AIDACS-3000 came in two series, The FDPS-10 and FDPS-20. The former was sold as a development system, while the later as a standard microcomputer for professional use. Both series were two-piece units: microcomputer and terminal. The terminal was optional with the FDPS-20 series. A floppyless version called the AIDACS 3000E that could be rack-mounted was also available.

Both the AIDACS 2000 and 3000 series used the redundantly named Disk Operating System for Diskette (DOSKET). CP/M or UCSD Pascal were options for the 3000 series.

Ai Electronics’s first system aimed solely at the home and business market was the AI Business Computer (ABC) line. It’s unclear how long Ai Electronics sold the ABC after its introduction in 1979, but some specs seem to have changed. Different literature for the lower end of the ABC family, for example, sometimes show either a 9-inch or 12-inch monitor. My guess is that the systems were originally sold with 9-inch monitors and eventually were upgraded. Similar differences appear about the keyboards with some references showing a 58-key rather than a 90-key unit.

Several variants of the ABC family were available. The ABC-24S came with one 5.25-inch floppy drive rather than two. The ABC-26D had two thin 8-inch floppy drives, and the ABC-26DW had a single thin 8-inch floppy drive and a 7.8MB hard disk drive as well as 320K of RAM.

In the early 1980s, the company introduced the ai-M16, an 8086-based system that optionally could run on two CPUs. It was a two-piece unit consisting of a video terminal and the main system unit.

At roughly the same time, Ai Electronics came out with a compact development system called the Micro Communicator Model 177. It featured a built-in mini-cassette recorder, a full membrane keyboard, built-in paper tape printer, and a single-line LED display. It also had its own PROM writer.

Ai Electronics microPAC-30 (single-board microcomputer)

Ai Electronics AIMAX (early microcomputer)

Ai Electronics AIDACS-1000 (1973, early microcomputer)

Ai Electronics AIDACS-2000 FDPS (1976, early micro)
Base Configuration: 8080 CPU, dual 8-inch floppy disk drives, TTY and parallel ports
Software: DOSKET-2000 operating system
Important Options: video terminal, rack-mount enclosure. Micro-Pac -20 Micro Controller, FDU external floppy drive unit

Ai Electronics AIDACS-2000 FDPS (left) and AIDACS-2000E (right)

Ai Electronics AIDACS-2000 FDPS (left) and AIDACS-2000E (right)

Ai Electronics AIDACS-3000 FDPS-10  (1976, early micro)
Base Configuration: 8080A, 8085, or Z80 CPU; 32K RAM (64K max), two (Model 12) or four (Model 14) 8-inch floppy disk drives, video terminal, TTY and parallel ports, programming manual
Software: DOSKET-3000 operating system
Important Options: multi-channel interrupt control card, multi-channel digital I/O card, multi-channel digital input and output cards, external FDU floppy drive unit, CLP-1 printer

Ai Electronics AIDACS-3000

Ai Electronics AIDACS-3000

Ai Electronics AIDACS-3000 FDPS-20  (1976, early micro)
Base Configuration: 8080A, 8085, or Z80 CPU; 32K RAM (64K max), two (Model 22) or four (Model 24) 8-inch floppy disk drives, TTY and parallel ports
Software: DOSKET-3000 operating system
Important Options: VDU-404 video terminal, multi-channel interrupt control card, multi-channel digital I/O card, multi-channel digital input and output cards, external FDU floppy drive unit, CLP-1 printer

Ai Electronics ABC-10 (1979, early microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, built-in cassette drive, real-time clock, GB-IB bus, serial and parallel ports, 12-inch built-in monochrome monitor, built-in keyboard, DOSKET operating system
Important Options: External expansion unit with up to 3 more cassette drives

 

Ai Electronics ABC-10

Ai Electronics ABC-10

Ai Electronics ABC-20 (1979, early microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, 32K RAM, 4K ROM, 2 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, real-time clock, GB-IB bus, serial and parallel ports, 12-inch built-in monochrome monitor, built-in 90-key keyboard
Software: DOSKET operating system or CP/M
Video: 80 x 32
Size/Weight: 19W x 21D x 13H inches, 57 lbs.
Important Options: light pen, color display, printer, plotter, terminal, card reader

Ai Electronics ABC-20

Ai Electronics ABC-20

Ai Electronics ABC-21 (1979, early microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, 64K RAM (1MB max), 2 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, real-time clock, GB-IB bus, serial and parallel ports, 12-inch built-in monochrome monitor, built-in 90-key keyboard
Software: DOSKET operating system or CP/M
Video: 80 x 24
Size/Weight: 19W x 22D x 13H inches, 64 lbs.
Important Options: light pen, color display, printer, plotter, terminal, card reader, external cartridge disk, external cassette unit, tape unit

Ai Electronics ABC-22 (1979, early microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, 64K RAM (1MB max), 2 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, real-time clock, GB-IB bus, serial and parallel ports, 9-inch built-in monochrome monitor, built-in 90-key JIS keyboard
Software: DOSKET operating system or CP/M
Video: 80 x 24
Size/Weight: 19W x 21D x 13H inches, 57 lbs.
Important Options: light pen, color display, printer, plotter, terminal, card reader, external cartridge disk, external cassette unit, tape unit

Ai Electronics ABC-23 (1979, early microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, 64K RAM (1MB max), 2 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, real-time clock, GB-IB bus, serial and parallel ports, 9-inch built-in monochrome monitor, built-in 90-key APL keyboard
Software: DOSKET operating system or CP/M
Video: 80 x 24
Size/Weight: 19W x 22D x 13H inches, 64 lbs.
Important Options: light pen, color display, printer, plotter, terminal, card reader, external cartridge disk, external cassette unit, tape unit

Ai Electronics ABC-24 (1979, early microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, 64K RAM, 4K ROM, 2 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, real-time clock, GB-IB bus, 2 serial and 1 parallel ports, 12-inch (sometimes listed as 9-inch) built-in monochrome monitor, 101-key keyboard
Software: choice of DOSKET operating system, CP/M and MP/M, or UCSD Pascal
Video: 80 x 24
Size/Weight:
21W x 22D x 13H inches, 66 lbs.
Important Options: light pen, color display, printer, plotter, terminal, card reader, external cartridge disk, external 10MB hard drive, external cassette unit, tape unit

 

Ai Electronics ABC-24 (top) and ABC-26 (bottom)

Ai Electronics ABC-24 (top) and ABC-26 (bottom)

Ai Electronics ABC-25 (1979, early microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, 64K RAM, 2 5.25-inch floppy disk drives, real-time clock, GB-IB bus, 2 serial and 1 parallel ports, 12-inch (sometimes listed as 9-inch) built-in monochrome monitor, 101-key keyboard
Software: choice of DOSKET operating system, CP/M and MP/M, or UCSD Pascal
Video: 80 x 24
Size/Weight: 19W x 22D x 13H inches, 64 lbs.
Important Options: light pen, color display, printer, plotter, terminal, card reader, external cartridge disk, external 10MB hard drive, external cassette unit, tape unit

Ai Electronics ABC-26 (1979, early microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 4MHz Z80A CPU, 64K RAM (1MB max), 4K ROM, 2 8-inch floppy disk drives, real-time clock, GB-IB bus, 2 serial and 1 parallel ports, 12-inch (sometimes listed as 9-inch) built-in monochrome monitor, 101-key keyboard
Software: choice of DOSKET operating system, CP/M and MP/M, or UCSD Pascal
Video: 80 x 24
Size/Weight:
23.5W x 26D x 14H inches, 90.4 lbs.
Important Options: light pen, color display, printer, plotter, terminal, card reader, external cartridge disk, external cassette unit, external 10MB hard drive, tape unit

Ai Electronics AI-M16 (1983, desktop microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 8086 CPU, CP/M-86, 512K (1MB max) and 16K ROM, 8-inch floppy disk drive, 5MB hard disk drive, color CRT, keyboard, IEEE-796 expansion bus, two serial and one light-pen port
Video: 640 x 400 resolution
Important Options: Genix, Concurrent CP/M-86, MP/M-86, MS-DOS, or UCSD p-System; hard disk drive, second 8086 CPU or 8089 CPU, 8087 co-processor, 20MB hard disk drive

Ai Electronics ai-M16

Ai Electronics ai-M16

Ai Electronics ai-MM16 (1983, desktop microcomputer)
Base Configuration: 8086 CPU, CP/M-86, 256K (1MB max) and 16K ROM, two 8-inch floppy disk drives, color CRT, keyboard, IEEE-796 expansion bus, two serial and one light-pen port
Video: 640 x 400 resolution
Important Options: Genix, Concurrent CP/M-86, MP/M-86, MS-DOS, or UCSD p-System; hard disk drive, second 8086 CPU or 8089 CPU, 8087 co-processor, 20MB hard disk drive

Ai Electronics ai-MM16

Ai Electronics ai-MM16

Ai Electronics Micro Communicator Model 177 (1980?, development system)
Base Configuration: mini-cassette drive, built-in paper tape printer, integrated membrane keyboard, PROM burner, LED display
Size/Weight: 3H x 12W x 8.25D inches, 8.6 lbs.

 

Ai Electronics Micro Communicator Model 177

Ai Electronics Micro Communicator Model 177

Literature

1979 ai electronics company backgrounder 4-79
1979- ai electronics AIDACS family 2000 3000 brochure
1979- ai electronics AIDACS-3000E and FDPS brochure
1979- ai electronics AIDACS-3000 FDPS model 10 brochure
1979- ai electronics AIDACS-3000 FDPS 20 series brochure
1979 ai electronics AIDACS-3000 FDPS system description and price list
1979- ai electronics abc model 20 spec sheet
1979- ai electronics abc family brochure
1979- ai electronics abc ai small business micro computer systems brochure
1979- ai electronics abc-24 spec sheet

1979- ai electronics abc-20 postcard
1979- ai electronics abc-10 postcard
1983- ai electronics micro communicator 177 brochure
1983- ai electronics ai-m16 super adaptive interactive 16-bit brochure
1983- ai electronics VDU-140 intelligent display system brochure

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: