• 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 […]

  • The Future I AM IN YOU

    As a child growing up in the 1970s, I had no idea of what the future held.  I didn’t know if Mr Benn would be able to get back from his adventures, or if Scooby Doo could catch the Evil Swamp Monster, or even if we were going through the round or square window in PlaySchool. […]

  • Man Cave 2.0

    Recently I’ve read a few posts about other peoples working environments, office setups, man caves or work benches.  I’ve also had a couple of people ask about mine, since I tweeted about the redecoration and overhaul of my old “spare room” as it transformed in to “Man Cave 2.0”.  I had intended to write it […]

  • 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 – 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 – 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 – Keep Calm and Solder On

    The mounting of the LED matrix has probably caused me the biggest turmoil so far on the Retro Challenge.  First, I was going to design a custom PCB for them, but I missed the window of opportunity to get it manufactured at a reasonable price.  So, for simplicity, I decided to use breadboard until I […]

  • 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 – Getting inside the matrix

    So, today I finally did some hands-on retro wires and programming stuff instead of sitting at a PC doing CAD stuff. I thought I knew how the LED matrix modules would work, in theory, but before I commit anything to copper and fibreglass, I’d like to test things out a bit.  So I dug out […]

  • Retro Challenge 2014 – Day 5 – First PCBs Ordered

    Hokey cokey, that’s the first 4 printed circuit boards for the RC2014 (Oh, did  tell you I’ve named my homebrew Z80 computer “RC2014”? Pretty catchy name, eh?) ordered with OSHPark.  If they arrive as quick as other boards I’ve had from there before, then I should have 11 days to get everything put together and […]

  • Pre-RetroChallenge – The story so far

    Ok, so tomorrow the Summer RetroChallenge 2014 starts, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring you up to speed with what I’ve got so far so that you know where I’m starting from. I will also outline where I’ll be taking things for the RetroChallenge as well as where this project […]

  • Retro Challenge 2014

    I have always wanted to enter Retro Challenge, ever since I first heard of it nearly 24 hours ago. I followed a link that took me to http://retrochallenge.net/ and I read up on what it was all about, scrutinised the rules and checked out what others were doing. I quickly came to the conclusion that […]

  • Home built Z80 video on Computerphile

    In posts to come I’ll go in to some details about the breadboard Z80 computer I built recently, but, in the mean time, here’s a video that Computerphile made about it Be sure to check out Computerphiles Youtube channel too!

  • Minimus 1.0 AVR Programming

    A little while back, Nottingham Hackspace got the opportunity to buy a bunch of Minimus V1 AVRs at a very good price.  Not being one to turn down a bargain, I bought a few of these little critters to see what they can do. On paper, they look great.  USB programmable micro running an Atmel […]

  • Z88 32kb to 512kb Memory Upgrade

    As mentioned in a couple of other posts here, the Z88 is a great machine.  It comes with 32k of RAM, although this can be expanded with plug in cartridges.  An alternative, however, is to replace the internal 32k with something larger.  This photo tutorial shows how you can expand the onboard memory to 512k. […]

  • Z88 as a USB keyboard using a Minimus

    If you’ve been reading this blog in cronological order, you’ll know about the FTDI adapter I made for the Z88.  If you don’t read this in order, you’ll know about the Minimus programming I’ve been doing and what the Minimus is (note that I’ve not blogged about that yet… be patient!)   Now to turn […]