No more Maker Faires ?

June 10, 2019

Very sad to read that TechCrunch reports financial troubles have forced Maker Media, the company that runs the Maker Faires and also the company behind Make magazine, is laying off its entire staff and stopping all operations.

This follows on from the sad news last year that Maker Faire UK had stopped.

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RC2014 enhanced prototype board

May 30, 2019

If you’re into making I/O cards for the RC2014 than this enhanced prototype board might be of interest to you.

It features circuitry (see schematic) to for selectable decoding the I/O address and also gates to generate !IORD and !IOWR signals, as well as two spare OR gates.

The IC’s used are:

74LS32 Quad OR gate
74LS688 Octal (8-bit) magnitude comparator


Big Box of PCB’s

April 29, 2019

Earlier in the month I got big box of PCB’s for the most recent RC2014 boards I’ve been working on.

In amongst the PCB’s were a couple or three new designs. The first is an enhanced prototyping board. As well as lots of PCB pads for building stuff it also features some decoding logic to make your design a little easier. The other PCB was for a Z80 PIO digital input/output card and the final new PCB was for a minimal chip computer inspired by Grant Searle popular Z80 design but featuring an enhanced RC2014 bus (x3).


10-years of blogging

March 26, 2019

Wow, it is 10-years to the day, on this day back on 26th March 2009 that I first wrote not only my first blog entry but also started my first blog here.

This blog started as way to share some of the projects I was working on and also some of the techie things that interested me.

Much has changed in these last 10-years. We’ve seen the rise of the maker community. The establishment of the maker ecosystem. The adoption of cheap development platforms such as the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Beaglebone Black and many others as not only great educational devices but also serious tools.

So what have been the highlights?

Helping start Makerspace Northeast in Newcastle

Attending and meeting numerous makers at the various Maker Faires and maker events I visited and participated at.

Making many new friends through the maker communities.

Getting one of the very first Raspberry Pi’s back in April 2012 and then being persuaded to give one of the very first public talks about what a cool thing its was.

Spreading the maker idea and gospel via our own local eDay events.

I wonder where will the next 10-years take us?


Z80 SIO2 Dual-UART Card for RC2014 bus (with clock)

February 25, 2019

Following on from last months Z80 CPU module for the RC2014 bus, here is a dual-serial SIO UART board.

So what makes it special?

It will work with either the standard RC2014 bus or the latest enhanced bus where all the Z80 CPU signals are available.

It includes several options for generating a Baud-Rate clock clock: Crystal, Oscillator or taken from RC2014 back plane.

The schematic is here:

and you can find it on Tindie here:


Z80 CPU Card for RC2014 (with clock and reset)

January 21, 2019

This is the Z80 CPU module I demonstrated a few months ago. It is designed to work with the RC2014 bus.

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So what makes it special? Well, the module includes a number of extra features and enhancements designed to simplify a system build. These include:

It will work with either the standard RC2014 bus or the latest enhanced bus where all the Z80 CPU signals are available.

It includes several options for generating a signal clock: Crystal, Oscillator or taken from RC2014 back plane.

A reset circuit is included.

And the signals INT, NMI, BUSRQ and WAIT feature 10K pull-up resistors.

The schematic is here:

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and you can find it on Tindie here:


8052 CPU card for RC2014 Bus part 2

December 31, 2018

It’s been a while since I posted about the 8052 CPU card for RC2014 Bus and heres a update to where i got to with this interesting RC2014 project.

The original 8052’s are still available but originally used UV erasable EPROM or OTP PROM for their program memory. So instead I’ve been using a modern FLASH memory version of the 8052, a AT89C5252 with great success.

The original 8052-BASIC has was good but had a number of software bugs. Fortunately, there had been a number of improvements over the years and the version I’ve been using is V1.31 which can be found here:

8052-BASIC needs a couple of K’s of RAM to operate. For this I’ve been using a standalone 32K-byte SRAM card.