December 27, 2017
Christmas came slightly early this year when a big box of PCB’s arrived.
Inside the box where a bunch of PCB’s for making guitar effects boards.
As well as a bunch of PCB’s for my take on a RC2014 Z80 based retro computing system.
More pics to follow when I’ve built them up.
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:
http://www.ndr-nkc.de/compo/index.htm //very similar system from 1980’s
February 22, 2016
As many may already know I’ve built a number of Raspberry Pi based arcade systems over the last few years starting in 2012 with R-Kade, last year with R-Kade Mini and now my latest endeavour R-Kade Zero which fits into the palm of your hand.
So after receiving encouragement from a number of members at our local Maker Space I’ve took the plunge and started my first kickstarter for the R-Kade Zero mini arcade platform.
You can check it out at:
April 20, 2012
At Wednesday’s Open Session at our Maker Space, Jon was giving a Commodore 64 an MOT and I had a Raspberry Pi on show.
By the end of the session, the C64 was sorted and we had gotten VICE a C64 emulator working on the RPi. So we had a good old fashion face off between them.
March 14, 2012
** UPDATE: You can get the next generation board at tindie.com in the DTronixs store
Now, I’ve got a few simple boards under my belt and built a useful component library in DesignSpark PCB, my next board is a little more complicated. For this I go back in time to the original BBC Micro for inspiration.
I remember using the BBC Micro back in the day while at college. The BBC was the first computer I used for “physical computing”, that is interacting with the real world through external sensors and outputs. Sure you can do that today, with any number of embedded boards such as the Arduino or PICAXE but this was 1983.
The BBC Micro made it easy, it had a digital 8-channel general purpose I/O User Port and a 4-channel 8/12-bit Analogue input Port. BBC BASIC had commands to talk to those ports to make the real world interaction come to life. For me, the BBC micro through its user and analogue ports brought physical computing into the classroom.
RPi UserPort interface board duplicates the User Port and Analogue Port of the BBC Micro for the RasPi but uses more modern components such as the MCP23S17 and MCP3204 from Microchip.
First draft of RPi_UserPort schematic is here
January 31, 2011
I’ve neglected my list of homebrew video game consoles, so here’s a update:
- www.xcores.orgMy friend Yvo’s site related to the awesome Xmos chip.
- mikronauts.comPropCade is a self-contained and affordable Propeller platform for emulating old computers (Z80, 6809, etc) and old game consoles.
- www.retrode.orgNot a console as such but a handy way feeding games to your SNES or Mega Drive / Genesis emulator from your original cartridges.
- www.4dsystems.com.auPoGa, a Portable Game Development console looking a lot like a SNES controller.
- www.chameleon-dev.comChameleon PIC 16-Bit and the Chameleon AVR 8-Bit are yet another Propeller based systems this time with the addition of a standard Microchip PIC or Atmel AVR microcontroller.
- www.fpgaarcade.comA site dedicate to recreating gaming hardware from the past in modern programmable FPGA devices.
- www.lucidscience.comA beautifully documented insight to designing and building your own classic console
- www.microvga.coma design offering a low-cost Microcontroller to VGA interface
- www.ladyada.netA new system from LadyAda offering a 320×240 TFT color display with resistive touch screen.
- rossum.posterous.comRBox: A diy 32 bit game console for the price of a latte
- www.linusakesson.net linusakesson “craft”
the original list is still here:
December 29, 2010
I’ve been following Chris Smith’s zxdesign.info web site for a number of years. His redesign of a ZX Spectrum ULA using only logic IC’s was an awesome achievement.
In addition he’s wrote a wonderful account “The ZX Spectrum ULA: How to design a microcomputer” on the forerunner of programmable logic – the Uncommitted Logic Array (ULA). I was lucky enough to get his book as an early Christmas present and I found it a great read.