Z80 computer with toggle switches as input

We normally call “computer” a device which has processor, display and input like keyboard and mouse. But this them cover much more than personal computer. Single microcontroller chip can be called a computer because it’s main purpose is to compute something. This following project definitelly breaks the understanding on how computer should look like. Jim MacArthur shared pretty interesting concept of computer. He used Zilog Z80 microprocessor which has only 256 bytes of ram. Then he built interesting user interface that consists of toggle switches as input and LED bards as visual feedback. Computer can be programmed with toggle switches where you can store commands and data in different memory addresses and then run same program by pushing clock button. There isn’t much practical use of it, but can be great tool to learn how processors work. Computer is built in laser cut plywood case which comes with rotary handle connected clocking mechanism. So by cranking it you can run program. It think it might serve as nerdy wearable accessory. Continue reading

The Marvelous Homebrew Z80 Computer!

Do you have any idea, what is the use of Z80 computer for? Basically, it’s a classic Z80 microprocessor that mostly being used to build large TTL DIP components instead of SMD devices. Z80 computer is slightly different from the Z80 processor based computer, as the latter one normally uses a printed circuit board to connect all the components together. This means, the Z80 computer is built based on prototyping board. For your information, the Z80 computer is running at 4MHz and 32k of RAM. Honestly, it’s very impressive, especially if you loves to see thousands of grey wires running through the circuit board. Some of the great features for the Z80 computer are: ZiLOG Z80 CPU@4HHz 32 kBytes of RAM 32×32 char B&W alphabetic display adapter 1kBytes of Video RAM Full stroke keyboard Built-in monitor program Technically, the machine contains two boards (CPU and video) and a keyboard. You can connect the components to each other via ribbon cables. The character generator and the system ROM can be burning into two 27C256 UV EPROMs. The best way for showing… Continue reading