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CompuPro - History

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CompuPro started out as a company call Godbout Electronics founded by one of the legends of the early micro-computer era, Bill Godbout.  Unlike some of the other S-100 computer founders Bill had quite a bit of experience in building and selling computer/electronic equipment. He started in the business working as a manager and buyer for a guy named Mike Quinn who had a legendry electronics equipment store near Oakland Airport in California. Mike's store in the early 70's was a hive of activity where pioneers in the field like Lee Felsenstein, Bob Marsh  & Gordon French (Processor Tech) , George Morrow (ThinkerToys, Morrow Designs) , Chuck Grant & Mark Greenberg (Northstar Computers) , Howard Fulmer  (Equinox-100), Brent Wright (Fulcrum)  and many others hung out.  Eventually Bill started his own mail order business in the early 1970's selling electronic experimenter kits.  He setup in the building behind Mike Quinn -- thereby always being in contact with new products, ideas and people. 
Bill started in the S-100 board business in 1976 by selling RAM memory boards out of his Godbout Electronics mail order business. His contacts and experience in getting chips fast and at good prices help him get going quickly and allowed Godbout Electronics to fill a market need for boards that Altair, IMASI and even Processor Technologies could not meet in those early days.  In the end Godbout/CopmuPro had more different types of S-100 RAM boards than anybody else in the business. All their boards were static RAM boards. As the business grew the evolved into most other S-100 board types eventually putting together complete S-100 systems. Their S-100 boxes were arguably the most solid and reliable ever made. His innovative products played a large part in the success of the S-100. Bill played a major role in setting the specs for the S-100 bus IEEE-696 standard, being one of its authors.

8-16 Box

CompuPro made a number of complete systems over the years.  The CompuPro 8/16 came in various forms of capability and probably represented the best example of a S-100 boards cooperating with each other. It was one of the last commercial systems to come out for the S-100 bus. There are still some of these boxes around still working! At a late point in the companies history CompuPro started to call themselves Viasyn.  Late boards were labeled with this name.

The CompuPro 8/16 was probably the last commercial system to come out for the S-100 that was marketed to both hobbyists and commercial users in the mid to  late 1980s.  However like Cromemco, Compupro designed and sold even more advanced systems based on the S-100 bus to commercial users up until they went out of business in 1990/91. These systems were of little interest to hobbyists because of their extreme cost, and the fact they were primarily designed to support connections to multiple users each working at a “dumb terminal”.

A note of caution: some of the later Viasyn boards and systems were run without the voltage regulators on the boards. Instead, 5V was supplied on a non-standard S-100 bus.  If you put these boards into a standard S-100 system without the regulators reattached, you will fry the board IC's.

Some notes about CompuPro Boards.
Without checking the revision number of a motherboard, you can tell if you have a late model Compupro Motherboard.  Is there a cross-hatch pattern grounding grid showing on the motherboard?  If so, then that is a late motherboard.
There is a difference in CompuPro motherboards between the early and late ones.  On a late Compupro Motherboard, some pins may be grounded, while others are no-longer grounded when compared to early, non-IEEE motherboards.  This can result is that some S100 boards or board sets will not work without modifications.
The "SR-1504 label" if present, often denotes that this motherboard was once a service replacement that was held by one of the Third Party Service Companies that Compupro was contracting with.  At one time, Compupro tried contracting third party companies (probably TRW and Xerox), for warranty and extended service contracts.  Compupro was required to furnish replacement parts to those Companies, and the parts were marked so they could be identified.  The Experiment was a failure, as those Companies were not able to furnish techs. who were competent in S-100 computer repair.  Eventually after the agreements with those companies ended the parts came back to Compupro and were liquidated.
 ECO label
An "ECO Label" denotes when a Factory Engineered Modification was done.  Many Authorized System Centers did not apply stickers if they did field modifications however.  The Compupro Factory always applied ECO Labels, including newly built boards on the Factory assembly line.
An "SP-XXXX Label" denotes a CompuPro S100 board that was sold as a Factory 2nd for some reason (usually after about 1985).  Prior to about 1985, a Dremel tool was used to hand etch a mark (usually on the rear of the board) on 2nd quality boards that were later sold at the San Jose Computer Swap meet or from a magazine ad.  SP-XXXX boards passed all production tests at the time they were made, or after they were repaired, and could simply be an old revision, or a returned defective, and repaired.  These boards worked at whatever standard at the time that board revision was in production, when they were sold by Compupro.
A new board that has passed all production testing would have three colored dots along the top edge on the front of the board:  yellow, green, and blue.  A "CSC "(certified system component) board got a longer burn-in, longer warranty, and were trans-shipped in the case that a board failed under warranty.  CSC boards had an orange dot added, plus a CSC serial number added in felt marker, or later on a white label.
A red color dot signifies a DEFECTIVE BOARD or the LOCATION of a DEFECT.  Occasionally you might see a board with one or two color dots, and a red dot. That board was never completed, never worked completely correctly, failed in production testing and was not repairable.  These kinds of boards were occasionally disposed of at the San Jose Computer Swap meet, or by Silicone Valley Junk Dealers.  They never worked!

Information kindly supplied by Michael Louie.

Other CompuPro S-100 Boards

CPU8085-88  CPU86-87  CPU-Z  Disk1  Disk1A  Disk1B  Disk2  Disk3   EconoROM2708  Interfacer 1  
RAM Boards   Interfacer 3  Interfacer 4  Interfacer II  M-Drive  MPX-Board  PC-Video  
System-Support1  System-Support2   SPIO  Spectrum  SP186   CPU-286
   68000  32016  SPUZ


his page was last modified on 10/16/2017