NS32032 Design Kit

A closer look at the 35 years old NS32032 Design Kit with the Flagship CPU of the National Semiconductor ns32k seriens.

Looking into some long forgotten corners in the attic yields sometimes some very interesting things. Last week I was up there looking for something and found something I had bought about 35 years ago! It is a processor kit with the amazing real 32 bit processor, the National Semiconductor 32032 with an actual 32 bit external data bus.

NS32032 Design Kit

At the time I had built a Z80 system from scratch and was ready to explore the future with this amazing new technology. Sadly with a lot of other things happening, I never got around actually doing something with it.
As we know now this CPU design didn’t win the race for the next big thing and today hardy anybody heard anything about this ns32k family and even the company National Semiconductor doesn’t exist anymore. It is now a part of Texas Instruments.
This makes it even more exiting to take a look at what is inside the box.


Of course, I had opened the box when it arrived in the mail and I’m sure not all the paper content is still in there.

Well, there isn’t that much of documentation or even a how to get started manual, but hopefully there will something out there in he internet or I might have to spend some more time in my attic trying to locate the missing documents. I don’t know anymore if there actualle was that much more.

A closer look

Let’s see what the small boxes contain. I’m quite certain that I didn’t remove anything from electronics in there.

The NS32032 CPU

The most important part is still in there and as well protected as it ever was. Even a socket is there, so no interesting SMD soldering will be necessary here.

Support chipset

The supporting chipset is also still complete and hopefully everything is still in working order.

Even some software in EPROMs

Looks like everything is there to build a system. I wonder if the content of the EPROMs is still good, but the sticker seem to by quite thick so that no uv light seeped through and pushed some bits back no neutral. I wonder what this software is supposed to do and what additional hardware it might need to actually start the system.

What is next

I think the next thing, I will do is to read the content of the EPROMs, so if anything happens I can at least restore the program in there.

Ein Kommentar

  1. Nice find! I am working on reviving two PC-ISA board made by Opus. These are Ns32k based co-processor boards used in standard IBM PC or compatibles. I managed to install the software so at least the NS32016 board runs Unix SysVr2. The software and manual was to be found on bitsavers.org. I didn’t have that much luck with the 32032 board. It seems to fail the selftest unfortunately. Did some initial probing with a scope and has not yet been able to figure out the failing component.

    Just a friendly reminder regarding that foam. By age this foam tend to eat up the legs of the ICs if you are unlucky. The polymer breaks down and acts corrosive. I would recommend getting some new foam to store the chips in. I have had too many cases when the pins are all corroded off when removing them from old foam.

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