Heathkit H8
Announced:July of 1977
Available:Fall of 1977
Price:$379 (0K RAM)
CPU:Intel 8080A @ 2.0 MHz
Interface:16-button keypad
9-digit LED display
Storage:optional audio cassette
or floppy drive (1978)

PRESENTING HEATHKIT PERSONAL COMPUTERS - The new value standard in personal computing systems featuring two powerful computers with exclusive Heath-designed software plus full documentation and service support. - 1977 Heathkit catalog.

Heathkit had always been know for its useful and quality electronics kits. Dating back to 1926, they first offered a light airplane in kit form, moving to war surplus components in the 30's, and eventually to more modern audio and electronics test equipment, small projects, and HAM radio communications systems.

The H8 was the first computer available from Heathkit, released in late 1977. Computer systems from other manufacturers were also available as kits, but the practice was quickly falling out of favor. Most were available only as fully-assembled systems.

Although the H8 was relatively inexpensive at $379, the stock H8 included only the chassis and the CPU card.
  • At least one H8-1 memory board with 4K of RAM ($140) must be installed to run any appreciable software programs.
  • To use an audio cassette drive for data storage, the H8-5 Serial I/O card ($110) must be installed.
  • To upgrade to the floppy drive system, at least 16K of RAM must be installed.

  • For reliability, the CPU board came pre-assembled, but everything else was available in kit form. In 1978 the H-17 dual-floppy drive ($675) became available - previously only an audio cassette recorder could be used for data storage.

    The Heathkit-designed H8 hardware was not compatible with any other computer system, which was not unusual for the day. While some systems used the the common S-100 bus scheme, Heathkit designed their own "Benton Harbor" 50-pin expansion bus, with ten expansion slots available in the H8.

    Tired of pushing buttons to program and operate your H-8? The Heathkit H-9 terminal will make your life much easier!

    Two years after the H8, Heathkit released the Heathkit H89 "all-in-one" computer.

    1977, 1978 Heathkit prices
    part number description   price  
    H8Heathkit computer kit$379
    WH8H8 assembled and tested$475
    H8-18K static RAM board (4K installed)$140
    H8-2Parallel ports PCB w/ 3 ports$150
    H8-34K of static RAM chips for H8-1 board$95
    H8-5Serial I/O and cassette interface (1200 baud)  $110
    WH17Floppy drive system - includes one drive
    and I/O card, requires 16K RAM
    H17-1Additional floppy drive for WH17$295
    H17-2Package of five 5-1/4 inch diskettes$25
    H8-17Disk Operating System software$100

    Related Links

  • Society of Eight-Bit Heathkit Computerists
  • Omaha Heathkit Store in 1979 from Bill Wilkinson's Heath page
  • Dave Wallace's H8
  • Heathkit review from People's Computers (1977)
  • Heathkit catalogs from Richard Pestinger's site

  • Return to the Obsolete Technology Homepage