Front panel switches - what did they do?

Brent Hilpert hilpert at
Tue May 24 12:22:00 CDT 2016

On 2016-May-24, at 9:34 AM, William Donzelli wrote:
>> The improved reliablity of LSI logic over discrete and SSI, and the creation of ROM chips of reasonable capacity (to hold the bootstrap or a monitor), would bring about the demise of the blinkenlight  front panel.
>> Note that only a couple of the first microcomputers had blinkenlight front panels, and they were pretty much gone from minis and mainframes by the late-70s.
> The demise was really about money. All those lights, switches, wiring,
> metalwork, etc. for a full panel was EXPENSIVE.

Well, everything is about money, so to speak.
Reducing costs was one motivation for eliminating the front panel, but not what made it practical or feasible to do so.

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