[vcf-midatlantic] Heathkit H8

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Fri Feb 5 20:31:08 UTC 2021

On 2/5/21 9:54 AM, Bill Degnan via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> I am interested in buying (or borrowing) an H8 at some point if the price
> is right to explore the model and its workings.  I remember talking to Alex
> Bodnar about them, and I told him then I had always "avoided" this model
> but it must be a past life or something that has always caused me to avoid
> getting involved with the H8's.  Are they reliable?

   Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  Any that were built from kits will have 
been at the mercy of the soldering skills of the builder.  I've seen 
some very good soldering on the insides of Heathkits, but also some 
abysmal soldering...it's a crap shoot.

   The other issue with H8s is the backplane connectors.  Earlier ones 
used cheaper pins which were not gold-plated.  These are enough of a 
problem that many people end up desoldering them (which is quite a job, 
especially without proper tools) and replacing them with gold-plated 

   Other than that, the machines have a lot of personality and are a lot 
of fun to run.  The front panel user interface is very good.  They can 
run HDOS or (if properly equipped) CP/M.  HDOS is a highly advanced OS 
for its day.

   Overall I'd say these machines are worthwhile.  You'll find that they 
tend to fetch quite a bit of money on the used market, though.

   I recently restored both my personal H8 and one at LSSM, both with 
H17 floppy subsystems.  I very much enjoyed doing that work, and the 
resultant running systems are great too.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

More information about the vcf-midatlantic mailing list