PICL National Industrial Basic Language computer by Karen Orton

I’ve just done a small PCB for Karen’s 2007 PICL design, which is an SC/MP emulation in a PIC, running the genuine National NIBL interpreter code from 1976. Karens SC/MP emulation is cycle-perfect and enables a two-chip genuine NIBL machine to be built very cheaply and easily.
The PCB is under 3" square and has all the Flag and Sense lines brought out to LEDs, buttons and a header, and talks via the usual USB-to-serial CH340 module rather than Karens original MAX232. The chips are a 6264 static RAM and a PIC16F877 (I dont think an ‘877A’ will work).

For anyone fancying a look at NIBL or a trip down memory lane, this computer is really simple to make. Its nice to make one of Karens many projects as a tribute to all she achieved.

Here’s a video:


The channel also has a video of the strip-board version, another running a Geoff Graham terminal chip and one using a re-coded Xbox chatpad keyboard.

Ultimately I’ll post the gerbers but first I need to check some changes I made for the next batch (If there is a next batch! ). The change is minor, just repositioning the serial board so its flush against the edge of the PCB. Its electrically identical but I’d like to test one first.

If anyone would like a board, please email me and I’ll send a PCB at cost, strictly non-profit.

Here’s Karens original PICL page from 2007:

Phil email: рhі[email protected]аlk21.соm
Note that to avoid spam, the address above is unsearchable text & cant be copy-&-pasted into the ‘to’ field, you need to manually retype it.


A splendid project, thanks for sharing and for the links.

I see there’s a collection of signposts to threads about her other published (retro) micro projects here:
The Computer Projects of Karen Orton - UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Forums

Yes Tim has posted a handy reference, its not absolutely complete but most of Karens projects are listed. Frustratingly, however, its almost impossible to post anything on that particular forum without being moderated - the mods will even remove an off-topic sentence from within a post, often ruining the flow of conversation. This is why many former members are posting elsewhere.
Karen asked that her projects be preserved and I noticed that her techlib.com site has a few broken links and missing photos. I took the liberty of taking a mirror, replacing missing pictures and repairing links. This mirror isnt published, but its safe.


I think it’s all there on archive.org, though