Retro Computing with the RC2014 Bus

November 29, 2017

I have very fond memories of using and building 8-bit computers during the 1980’s, so I’ve been following Spencer Owen’s RC2014 modular 8-bit computer project with some interest. For those interest the RC2104 is a simple but very modular 8-bit microcomputer based around the Z80 microprocessor.

In its most basic form it uses a number of single row 40-pin headers (or sometimes a 39-pin header) to make a computer backplane and which takes various “computer” and add-on cards to build a system. The add-on cards currently have a choice from various Z80 CPU cards, a 6502 CPU, various sizes of RAM and ROM memory cards, serial I/O and digital I/O cards.

I was fortunate to meet Spencer at Maker Faire UK back in April 2017 and chat with him first hand about the RC2014 project and he was very open and enthusiastic about sharing all aspects of his project. So much so, a small community of fellow builders has popped up and added to the project with their own add-on cards.

 

I’ve put together a short list of RX2014 related web-sites:

https://rc2014.co.uk/
https://github.com/semachthemonkey/RC2014
https://github.com/RC2014Z80
http://www.sowen.com/tag/retro-challenge/
https://github.com/RFC2795

http://www.smbaker.com/
https://github.com/sbelectronics/rc2014

http://ancientcomputing.blogspot.co.uk/
https://github.com/ancientcomputing/rc2014

https://github.com/electrified/rc2014-ym2149

https://github.com/mattybigback/RC2014

https://github.com/anachrocomputer/RC2014tester
https://github.com/mooped/rc2014_bank_switcher
https://github.com/mooped/rc2014_tools
https://github.com/trcwm/rocket2014

Other Platforms
http://www.ndr-nkc.de/compo/index.htm //very similar system from 1980’s
http://hschuetz.selfhost.eu/ndr/doku/buch/index.html
https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/forum/index.php?t=msg&goto=2148&
https://www.funkenzupfer.de/CMSimple_4-7-2/?NDR-Klein-Computer

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eDay6

October 18, 2017

A few weeks back we were in eDay6 at Gateshead Central Library. This is the 6th year we’ve been at this great event.

For those who don’t know what eDay is: eDay is a local digital skills day where various digital technologies are demonstrated to an enquiring general public. A sort-of geeky show and tell where local groups and individuals meet at Gateshead Central Library and show off their projects or what interests them.

Maker Space has played a mayor role since it first started 6-years ago with demonstrations on 3D Printers, CNC machines, Arduino’s and Raspberry Pi. Other were there with Quad Copter racing, Ham Radio and retro.


Guitar Effects Pedal 3PDT Breakout PCB

September 27, 2017

Way back in 2015 I started making guitar effect pedals for my own education and amusement. I built a couple of classic pedals in the familiar 1590B enclosure where I hardwired input / output jacks and foot switches to the effects circuitry. From this experience one of the things I went on to design was a breakout board for the 3PDT foot switch. This is it here:


ESP32 Book

August 31, 2017

Members of ESP32.com forum will recognise Neil Kolban as one of its more prolific commentator and posters. As well as his great contributions to the forum he has also put together a great book on the ESP32 hardware and software. He constantly reviews and keeps it up to date so its a bastion of ESP32 knowledge. You can find a copy here:

 

https://leanpub.com/kolban-ESP32


Setting up RPi MIDI #2

July 27, 2017

In a previous post on setting MIDI baud-rates on the RPi I used a slight of hand (i.e. init_uart_clock etc.) to trick the RPi in setting the UART to a 31250 baud needed for MIDI. While browsing the Raspberry Pi forum I spotted this nugget of information from PhilE:

in config.txt add:

enable_uart=1
dtoverlay=pi3-miniuart-bt
dtoverlay=midi-uart0

 

This combination does three things:

1) Enables the UART. It isn’t strictly necessary when combined with pi3-miniuart-bt
2) Reassigns the weaker UART (ttyS0) for Bluetooth and frees ttyAMA0 for our MIDI interface
3) Using an DT overlay to achieve the same UART clock settings as our init_uart_clock etc. trick

It makes things a lot simpler 🙂


ESP32 getting started..

June 28, 2017

I’ve been playing around with the ESP32 modules I got last month. Getting ESP32 working with Arduino IDE was pretty easy (see link below). I’ve now on to harder things, getting the ESP32 SDK and Eclipse installed.

Here’s a few links to ESP32 sites I’ve found useful:

http://esp-idf.readthedocs.io/en/latest/get-started/index.html
https://github.com/espressif/arduino-esp32
http://randomnerdtutorials.com/installing-the-esp32-board-in-arduino-ide-windows-instructions/
https://www.esp32.com
ESP32 Tutorials
How to Get Started with the ESP32
View story at Medium.com
https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/esp32-thing-hookup-guide

 

 


ESP32 at last

May 29, 2017

After a couple of failed attempts I’ve finally got my hands on a ESP32 module.

My first couple of ebay purchases failed to arrived, which is becoming a regular thing with ebay at the moment.

I’ve got a couple of ideas for using the WIFI in a standalone WIFI hub, so its time to fire up the soldering iron