Vintage Sol-20 Restoration

After years of searching, I have found a source for some rare parts to restore my rare Sol-20 microcomputer. It is in perfect operating condition except for the keyboard. The Sol keyboard used foam pad contacts, the pads decompose after about 20 years and the keyboard stops working. A fellow Sol owner located some spare pads for me, for only $5 yay!

sol20

I built my Sol-20 from a kit in 1975, it took me weeks to assemble it, it was the first computer I owned. I couldn’t afford the fancy (and expensive) Helios 8″ disk drives or 3rd party drives like the 5″ Northstar system. But I could afford a few gadgets, like a 300baud acoustic coupler and a GraphicAdd card. I did a few nice art projects on my Sol, I’m dying to get the machine back up and running, and see if I can still read my 20+ year old data tapes.

Update: My parts source informs me the parts he found are the wrong type and will not work. So I am still searching for some pads.

Update August 29, 2007: A generous donor supplied me with the correct pads and my Sol is now restored to working condition. You can view the results here.

One thought on “Vintage Sol-20 Restoration”

  1. Hi Charles, I’m just beginning a restoration project of a Sol 20 computer (I think just the keyboard) for a friend and the first thing I want to do is simply verify that the computer works, and displays a video signal, etc…
    Can I ask how exactly you connected it to your tv? I suppose there is some kind of adapter that would make this easiest, perhaps some kind of fairly odd threaded UHF to composite (phono plug) adapter or cable?
    Any/all help and/or advise is greatly appreciated!
    -Steve
    I still had the original adapter that I used when I first owned the computer. This made it easy to connect to my TV through a monitor input using regular RCA cables. You can probably find an “N Type Male to RCA Female” adapter at a specialized cable supplier. –Charles

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