Microsystems International Limited (MIL) Collection

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Microsystems International Limited (MIL) Collection



This collection documents corporate history of Microsystems International Ltd. (MIL).


In October of 1968, with $48 million package from the Canadian Treasury Board, Northern Electric transformed its Advanced Devices Center into a new company called Microsystems International Ltd. (MIL). In March of 1969, MIL opened its doors with its headquarters in Montreal and the manufacturing facility in Ottawa. The company's focus was to be on new  semiconductor technologies and products. In a short period of time, MIL acquired state of the art integrated circuit technologies and the second source rights to a number of products. The company's memory products, such as MF1101, MF1103, MF1701, or MF1702, and the MF8008 microprocessor, placed the company among the semiconductor leaders on the international market.

Between 1970 and 1972, MIL developed and manufactured Canada's first microprocessor -- the MF7114. It also produced three microcomputers:  the CPS/1 system designed around the MF7114 microprocessor as well as the MOD8 and the MOD80 computers. The MOD8 microcomputer, developed in 1974, was based on the MIL MF8008 8-bit microprocessor. This computer (as well as its refinement -- the MOD80) consisted of the MOD8-8 PCB backplane mounted in an aluminum case. The backplane contained the Eprom programmer and nine connectors for the CPU, memory, interface, and I/O cards. The MOD8 computer and its MONITOR8 software were aimed at the development of the MF8008-based applications. To MIL's surprise, it was the North American computer enthusiasts who made the MOD8 a popular 8008-based microcomputer kit in 1975-1976. MIL's MF8008 Applications Manual was one of the most widely read early documents on 8-bit microprocessors. The MOD8 influenced other early microcomputer designs for the hobbyists' market such as the Mike2 computer from Martin Research or a range of C-MOD computers from Celetron Corporation which were sold by MiniMicroMart of Syracuse, NY.

The company closed its operations in June 1975. However, MIL's demise seeded the Canadian high-technology sector with scores of semiconductor, computer, and telecommunications start-ups founded by former MIL employees.

Acquisition: The artifacts have been donated to YUCoM by several individuals including  John Freeman, John Hackman, Kelly Hamilton, William Kindree, Mark Silver, Zbigniew Stachniak, and Candi Trefero.

  • MOD8 microcomputer
  • MOD80 microcomputer with a variety of additional home made boards and passive backplane
  • MP-1 chip set (it includes the MF7114 microprocessor)
  • MF8008 microprocessor
  • various MIL integrated circuits including the MF7114 and MF8008 CPUs as well as the MF1702A Eproms.
  • MOD8-8 backplane
  • A set of replicated MOD8 printed circuit boards
  • MC-1 Microcomputer Handbook (Preliminary), MIL (197?)
  • How to Use the CPS/1 Micro-Computer System, Bulletin 50001 (MIL, 1972)
  • Techniques for the CPS/1, Microsystems International Ltd., preliminary edition, 1973(?)
  • CPS/1 Application Guide, Microsystems International Ltd. , June 26, 1972
  • Short Form Catalogue Catalogue, Bulletin 80001, Microsystems International Ltd., March 1971
  • Selected Linear I.C. Catalogue, Bulletin 80004A, Microsystems International Ltd., 1974 edition
  • MF8008 Central Processing Unit Applications Manual, Microsystems International Ltd., preliminary edition, 1974(?)
  • MOS Memory Catalogue, Bulletin 80005, Microsystems International Ltd., 1974
  • MOS LSI Memory, Bulletin 23006, Microsystems International Ltd., 1972(?)
  • MOS LSI Memory Fully Decoded Static Random Access 1024 Bit Memory MF2102, Bulletin 23032, Microsystems International Ltd., 1972
  • MF8008 Central Processor Applications Manual, Bulletin 80007, Microsystems International Ltd., 1974 edition
  • Microprocessor Control of the Singer Telerex 30PMI Matrix Printer, MIL Applications Note, HRM 1468-00, November 16, 1973
  • J. Freeman, MF 7114 Central Processing Unit Product Specification, Design Report P-F-7114, Issue 1, Microsystems International Ltd., October 1973
  • J. Freeman, MF 7115, 64x4 RAM Product Specification, Design Report P-F-7115, Issue 1, Microsystems International Ltd., October 1973
  • MOD8 Manual, Moducomp Inc., 1975(?)
  • MOD8/Audio Cassette Interface Manual  (Moducomp?)
  • MOD80 Supplement, Moducomp Inc., 1975(?)
  • GNC 8: Modular Micro Computer User's Manual, Great Northern Computers Ltd., 1975
  • L. Schweizer, MPS/1, Mini Processor System/First Try, Microsystems International Ltd. (1972?)
  • CPS/1 Software Notes, draft copy, Microsystems International Ltd. (1973?)
  • New Super Component: MOD8-9 (MIL?, 6pp)
  • MOD 8-8, Backplane/PROM Programmer (MIL?, 16 pp)
  • Notes on the MOD-80 version2, revision 1 and other 8080-related hardware/software by Tom Dale (c. 1977)
  • B. Warren, 4006 Design Report, Intel, December 16, 1971
  • J. Freeman, A Microprocessor Prototyping System for the 8080 (1974?)
  • J. Heckman, Interupts for CPS/1 (handwritten notes)
  • J. Heckman, Tech Note - COMBUS (handwritten notes)
  • The MOD 8 Data Package , by Robert Swartz (1975). It includes:
    • The MOD 8 Data Package cover page
    • MOD 8-8 Backplane/PROM Programmer documentation
    • Audio Cassette/MOD8 Interface
    • Errors in MIL Application Manual, Bulletin 80007 - 1974 Edition
    • Helpful Hints in Getting a Running System
    • MOD 8 Parts List, 1/5/75
    • Additional Notes on MOD 8MIL.htm
  • The MOD 80 CPU board schematic diagram and board layout; designed by Robert Swartz (1975), layout by Nano Systems, manufactured by Space Circuits
  • The MOD8 software and notes by Brother Thomas McGahee (1975/76):
    • Notes on Using the MIL-MOD 8 System, 6 pages
    • Minimal Monitor for Scientific Calculator, 12 pages
    • How it Works: Parallel I/O for MOD-8, 14 pages
    • Monitor-8P Parallel I/O, 8 pages
    • Scientific Calculator Software, 36 pages
    • Proposed C-MOD8-2P, (February 1976), 7 pages
  • Datapak: LED Display, MiniMicroMart, 1976 (discusses LED display board for MOD80, C-MOD 80)
  • CPS1-1, February 6, 1973
  • MOD-4 CPU board, Microsystems International Ltd., June 25, 1974
  • MOD-4 Exoander board, Microsystems International Ltd., June 21, 1974
  • MOD-4 debug board, Microsystems International Ltd., June 21, 1974
  • MONITOR 8 (on eight Intel 1702 Eproms)
  • MONITOR 8 (2K x 8, 8316 ROM) from MiniMicroMart (not in the YUCoM's collection)
  • MONITOR 80 (3 2708 Eproms) from MiniMicroMart (not in the YUCoM's collection)
  • Microsystems International Ltd. share certificate, February 23, 1970
  • Minutes of CPS/1 Meeting, May 18, 1972
MOD8/80 related articles in MiniMicroMart publications
  • MOD8 discussed in MiniMicroMart Newsletter, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 2-3
  • Monitor-8 Software including Audio Cassette Interface, MiniMicroMart Technical Bulettin B101-4/75
  • MOD8, C-MOD8/80 discussed in Special issue C A 75
  • MONITOR 8 and Tape Cassette Interface for MOD8 discussed in MiniMicroMart Newsletter, special issue C101A-5/75
  • C-MOD 8 Boards, C-MOD 80 Boards: Modular 8 Bit Microprocessor, MiniMicroMart Product Bulletin-A103-9/75
  • RM 6800 -- C-MOD 6800 Mini System, MiniMicroMart Product Bulletin (preliminary), November 1975
  • C-MOD System>, Product Bulletin, Sep. 1976
  • Monitor 80, 80A, and RM 8080 discussed in Product Bulletin, Nov. 1976
  • C-MOD 80 system discussed in Product Bulletin, July, 1977
MOD8/80 related articles in Toronto Association of Computer Enthusiasts (TRACE) Newsletter
  • TRACE group purchase of MOD8 and MOD80 PCBs as well as MOD 80 based TV typewriter and color graphics terminal; a note by B. Kindree, TRACE Newsletter nr. 3, May 1976.
  • MOD8/80 user group; a note by J. Szilock, TRACE Newsletter nr. 4, June 1976.
  • B. Kindree, MOD 8 and MOD 80 Bus Display Board. TRACE Newsletter nr. 5, July 1976.
  • B. Kindree, The MOD 8 and MOD 80 Microcomputers: a short summary. TRACE Newsletter nr. 5, July 1976.
  • A note on MOD80 CPU board by B. Kindree. TRACE Newsletter nr. 7, August 1976.
  • MOD 80 Tips, TRACE Newsletter nr. 8, October 1976.
  • B. Kindree, From the Editor's Desk. A note on the status of TRACE MOD8/80 User's Group. TRACE Newsletter nr. 13, March 1977.
  • T.A. Dale, Monitor 68 Users Guid, University of Waterloo, 1977
  • Phoenix-8 promotional brochure, HRB (Goderich, ON), 197?


Zbigniew Stachniak

Collection Items

MOD 8 Microcomputer
Historical Context(by Z. Stachniak)In October of 1968, with $48 million package from the Canadian Treasury Board, Northern Electric transformed its Advanced Devices Center into a new company called Microsystems International Ltd. (MIL). In March of…

MIL MF7114 microprocessor
Historical context(by Z. Stachniak)The MF7114 was an early 4-bit single-chip microprocessor designed and built by Microsystems International Ltd. (MIL) of Montreal between 1970 and 1972. It was the first microprocessor designed and manufactured in…
View all 2 items