Bringing retro 8080 retro computer on Stellaris Launchpad

Some people have passion on building old gear simulators on modern hardware. Some of you may remember old BASIC machines that run on 8080 processors. If you look at hardware specs – they were really scarce: 1k of user RAM, 1k of display RAM, 8k for BASIC ROM and 2k of monitor ROM. Simply speaking almost any modern microcontroller can house such parameters inside memory and have more than enough of processing power. jscrane have built an emulator for this machine on Stellaris Launchpad. Launchpad has 16k of RAM which was divided in two parts – 12k for main memory and 2k for the display. It has plenty of flash (256k) where all ROMs can be placed. Simulator supports 30 lines of 40 characters on a display, which is a bit less from original (32×48) but this limitation seems to be on a 240×320 display. There is also an SD drive attached, and PS/2 keyboard. Programs can be loaded from SD card really fast as the programs are limited to 14k. For more info and source files refer to GitHub. Continue reading

Running BASIC programs on ARM

BASIC language is pretty old but still popular probably because of its simplicity and information background. Most of popular microcontrollers have BASIC compilers like BASCOM for ARM. But these are compilers that like other code is compiled and then loaded. But what about running BASIC programs inside chip. This is where Coridium is headed. They designed ARM BASIC chip in a DIP package with LPC1114 inside. Chip works as a BASIC machine that can be connected to PC serial port weather using RS232 or serial to USB adapter. All you need is to connect 3.3V power supply and attach serial adapter for loading programs. Users can access 20K and 2K of RAM. Operating at 50MHz chip ensures running 10 million BASIC lines per second. IT has also full floating point support. They also provide free BASIC tools. If you feel nostalgic about doing basic but with hardware access try it. Chips are pretty cheap to try. Continue reading