On August 1976, the hobby magazine "Popular Electronics" featured the article titled "The COSMAC 'Elf' - A microcomputer trainer that's powerful, expandable and cost as little as $80".


The article showed a home hobbyist how to build this simple and very straightforward microcomputer system based on RCA's then new CDP1802 microprocessor.

Featuring 256 bytes of static RAM, two hex LED displays for output, eight simple toggle switches for user input, three more toggle switches for system control and a button for programming and user input.  The 1802 microprocessor was clocked with a blazing one to two MHz.

Programs where toggled in though the eight switches. Truly programming at its most fundamental level.

One of the interesting innovations supported by the 1802 was the inclusion of four software testable inputs labeled EF1 through EF4 and one programmable output labeled Q.

Three more articles where released in the upcoming months expanding on the basic design and giving more coding examples.

The CDP1802 microprocessor was first introduced by RCA in early 1976. This 8-bit microprocessor was based around COSMAC (Complementary Symmetry Monolithic Array Computer) concept pioneered by Joseph Weisbecker (who also wrote the Popular Electronics article on the Elf) back in 1970 and 1971.

The RCA CDP1802 COSMAC microprocessor went on to be the core for several hobby systems like Quest Electronic's Super Elf and Netronic's Elf II along with several others released between mid 70s to the early 80s.