• Retro Challenge 2017/4 – ICE ICE Maybe

    I decided the easiest thing to tackle first would be the three ICE (In-Circuit Emulators) as they’re quite bulky things to get out of the way early.  There are two non-identical versions of the same model Adtek ICE Engine BX and a Zax ICD278 – all with manuals! Although they all have PAT stickers on […]

  • Retro Challenge 2017/4 – Getting The Excuses In Early

    So, once again Retro Challenge is upon us, and, yes, the timing is offset , but an April challenge should mean that more people are able to participate. To try and stay ahead of the curve this time, I thought I’d get in early and give my excuses for why I failed to complete the […]

  • Retro Challenge January 2016 – Preamble

    So, you may well remember that I entered Retro Challenge 18 months ago, and what a fun crazy busy time that was!  Well, the January Retro Challenge competition is about to kick off in just over 2 weeks. If you’re not familiar with Retro Challenge, shame on you!  But you can de-shame yourself by heading […]

  • Ace adventures on Jupiter

    So, before I dive in to this, a quick history lesson for those of you that aren’t fully up to speed on your rare 80’s vintage 8 bit computers.  In the beginning, there was Clive Sinclair, and he invented the Sinclair ZX80.  From the ZX80, the ZX81 and indeed home computing was born.  From the […]

  • RC2014 SD Bootloader Update

    Just a quick update to about the SD Bootloader I designed a few posts ago.  Well, the PCBs have arrived and last week I took a soldering iron to one of them and gave it a quick test One side of the board is effectively an Arduino, so without plugging it in to the RC2014, I […]

  • RC2014 Bootloader for SD Cards

    So, the RC2014 is great.  I can run Microsoft BASIC and program it from there, and as long as I am using a terminal emulator, I can copy & paste to save and load programs.  Alternatively, I can write Z80 code using an online compiler then download it, copy it to USB stick, move it […]

  • RC2014 with ZX Printer interface

    My original plan had never been to design and build my own computer.  I had, however, planned to build a clone of the Sinclair ZX80, which has been on my bucket list of things to own for year, and which I had found plans for online.  Whilst collecting the parts and reading up on simple […]

  • Assembly Language Vs Lego

    I guess this is kind of a follow up to my Retro Challenge posts, as it was thoughts that stemmed from teaching myself Assembly Language for my Z80 project.  Essentially it is a comparison between programming in the 70’s and today against building with Lego in the 70s and today. But before I get stuck in, can […]

  • Retro Challenge – Closing Thoughts

    Wow! What an awesome month July has been.  The whole Retro Challenge thing has been great, and despite moments of stress or despair, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part and seeing what everyone else has been up to.  Before I sum up my project, I should make a few honourable mentions. Retro Challenge – A […]

  • Retro Challenge – Challenge Complete

    With over 24 hours to go before the end of July deadline the final piece of the puzzle fell in to place! But, first, a quick catchup from the last blog post;

  • Retro Challenge – Finishing Post Within Sight

    Despite a late start today, things have gone well so I actually feel like I’m ahead of the game right now.  Certainly not finished, but with most of the major hurdles now behind me, the only thing left is writing a bit of Z80 assembler code.  And even that is starting to look manageable.

  • Retro Challenge – PCBs arrived and built

    So, exactly 3 weeks after they were ordered, the PCBs from OSHPark arrived today.  It’s just as well, as I was running low on things to do without them, and with just 6 days left of the Retro Challenge I would have struggled to finish in time. Well, that’s my weekend planned out for me […]

  • Retro Challenge – Matrix Interface Finished

    Just a little update as I’ve only done a little bit of work on the Z80 this evening; The LED matrix board now plugs in to my Z80 backplane!

  • Retro Challenge – Z80 Assembler Breakthrough

    Sorry I’ve not made any updates for a couple of days, but there’s not been much of significance to report of late.  Until today, that is.  Although, as far as the PCBs I’m waiting for are concerned, the only news to report there is that there is no news to report.  I will report tomorrow […]

  • Retro Challenge – The Matrix Reloaded

    The 5 matrix board has now been finished. And no one could be more relieved than me.  There’s a LOT of soldering going on in there!

  • Retro Challenge – New IDEa

    just a quick update about my Z80 development environment. If you look down a couple of blogs, you’ll see that I found an online Z80 emulator and I’d written a couple of bits that executed in it, so I was going to do my Z80 learning and development on that.  However, there were two issues. […]

  • Retro Challenge – Half-time Catch-up

    We’re at the halfway mark of the Retro Challenge, and there’s a slight lull in activity, so this seems like a good chance to catch up on what’s been done so far, and what’s still to come. Firstly, a quick review of the challenge I set myself; write my name in LED lights.  These must, […]

  • Retro Challenge – A Glitch In The Matrix

    I knew there would be some stumbling blocks with this Retro Challenge, but, hey, it wouldn’t be a challenge if everything was just nice and simple.  However, I seem to be beset by little stupid technical issues that aren’t necessarily retro in nature. However, the fact that you’re reading this does at least mean that my […]

  • Retro Challenge – The inbetween days

    So, after a flurry of activity, blog posts and updates at the start of the month, things have got a bit quiet. That’s not to say I haven’t been doing anything.  I have.  Lots.  But nothing really specific or bloggable. Until the batch of PCBs arrive, I am kind of in limbo land.  However, I’ve […]

  • Retro Challenge – Font Selection

    So, if I’m going to write my name on a bunch of 8×8 LED matrix displays, I have a couple of options; Write my name on grid paper, colour in the squares, convert it to binary and transpose it to hexadecimal.  Or… I could use a font that’s already out there.  Like the one that […]