Philips CL 1600 and 6400 computer experiment kits

CL 1650
CL 1650
CL 1601
CL 1602
CL 1603
CL 1604
CL 1605
The CL 1600 series at its largest.
CL 1601 prototype
Prototype CL 1601 from the 1972 catalog
Microcomputer Master Lab
The only kit in the later Microcomputer series

In 1972 the CL 1600 series consisted only of the basic kit CL 1601, while the expansions CL 1602 and CL 1603 were planned. The following year not only these two, but also a third expansion appeared: CL 1604, and a fourth was planned: CL 1605. This was released the next year, but only after a smaller basic kit, CL 1650. This year the unrelated CL 1640 kit also appeared. It is uncertain how long it stayed in production; in any case it is so rare that I have never seen any reference to it outside the 1974 catalog. It was gone in 1976, while the rest of the series survived unchanged until 1980, and was discontinued in 1981.

These kits does not contain anything remotely like a complete computer, but just show the basic use of digital logic circuits. Constructions are made by wiring together a power supply containing 6 on/off input switches with a number of logic units. Each of these units has three inputs and one output (whose state is indicated by a lamp), and can be programmed to act as various gates and flip-flops through simple internal wiring.

According to the description, CL 1640 was an entirely different kind of kit than the other ones, aimed at teaching basic set theory using pre-programmed punch cards on an electronic control panel. I have no idea how this looked, as unlike the other kits I have never seen pictures of its interior, and the box lid use the picture from CL 1650.

The later 6400 or ABC series consisted only of 6400: Microcomputer Master Lab, appearing in 1983 and staying in the catalog until 1986. In a supplement to that year's catalog, the number series was taken over by 6401 Töpferei (Pottery) and 6402 Holzgraveur (wood engraving). The kit probably never sold very well, as I have never seen a version bearing the Schuco logo.

Unlike the CL 1600 series, 6400 contained a complete computer with CPU, 4 kB EPROM, 1 kB RAM and an 8 digit display.

I have never seen any Quelle versions of any of these kits.

Instruction books

As the series grew, the CL 1601 manual was gradually extended to cover all kits, except the unrelated CL 1640 kit, for which I have never seen a manual.
CE 1601 CE 1601/50/02/03/04 CE 1601/50/02/03/04/05

Early versions of the add-on kits included the necessary new material for use with an older main manual.
CE 1601/02/03/04 CE 1605

The Microcomputer Master Lab manual:
Microcomputer Master Lab



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Tor Gjerde <i@old.no>