View Full Version : Z80 processor exerciser?

October 14th, 2009, 01:41 PM
I was looking through the recycling pile at the university and came across this in a suitcase which once was filled with foam but was not filled with a brown sludge and this:

From what it says, it's a Z80A tester and I'm assuming that means it's for the Zilog Z80 line of processors and all I have to do is unplug the processor, drop it in the TEXTOOL socket and plug the ribbon cable into the socket in the computer and then I can select the tests by the three buttons.
Uhm, would anyone else be able to explain what this is or better yet, supply some sort of manual?

October 14th, 2009, 05:59 PM
Rare Rare Rare

October 17th, 2009, 12:14 PM
I don't know much about it myself, but I'm wondering if a Z80 machine is strictly necessary. There is a switch there for Internal or External ROM; my guess is to simply just test a Z80, the unit is complete, but if you want to check in-system you can use the plug. But don't hold me to that, just a guess...

October 28th, 2009, 04:45 AM
You can use the chart on the top as the 'manual'

This does look like an in-circuit emulator. Yes you'd remove the z80 from your computer, put the cable in it's place and install the z80 into the slot on the exerciser. When you run your computer you can monitor the processor activity, check what's in memory locations (probably in HEX).
These can be used in place of a front panel, as I just mentioned in a different thread on this board, in the S-100 section.

You need to blow out the foam dust before you power it on, carefully open it to clean the dust from the insides too. Hopefully it'll still work. Very useful if it works.


October 28th, 2009, 06:24 AM
I'll give it a good cleaning then and try to see if it shows life when I plug it into my TRS-80 Model II and cross my fingers nothing blows up.

October 28th, 2009, 02:44 PM
I plugged it in, powered it up and it does....something. Unfortunately with no manual I have no idea what I am doing and I'm assuming that I did it wrong anyways as with the exerciser in place, my system powered up but displayed nothing on the screen.


October 28th, 2009, 03:07 PM
Not helpful but that looks awesome lol. Maybe helpful http://www.hparchive.com/Journals/Low-Resolution/HPJ-1982-01-Low-Resolution.pdf seems to have a bit of very generic instructions on using this device and how to determine your CPU is getting voltage, etc. You'll probably need to double check the pins but at least the theory is correct.

October 28th, 2009, 03:28 PM
Well that indeed sheds a bit more light on this. I guess I finally have a reason to invest in a scope and signal generator.

December 21st, 2009, 06:41 AM
Try the ROM switch on Internal - the External mode might mean a chip plugged into that second socket, which you have none. This is purely guesswork, so don't blame me if I'm wrong!

Cool acquisition either way.

Oh and finally I know what that brown sludge is now that I find on things sometimes, it's decayed foam! I got a case of floppies with that stuff on the bottom of each one, and it puzzled the hell out of me, but apparently it just means there was some foam under them... a long time ago... :P

January 15th, 2010, 12:27 PM
Hey hey, I got one of these, complete with all the foam -> sludge reaction!
It's all clean now, just got to re-make a new foam compartment from non-discombobulating foam.

By the way, there are also (9, I think) probes that attach to the port above the one where the ribbon cable goes.

January 23rd, 2010, 04:51 PM
Yeah, I got probe connectors on mine as well and in fact, that whole side looks like it can plug into some other device.
Would you by chance have any information/documentation regarding how it works?

January 24th, 2010, 02:31 PM
No, sorry; only the article in an old HP Journal: http://www.hpl.hp.com/hpjournal/pdfs/IssuePDFs/1982-01.pdf (starting page 9)

Those Journals are actually good reads; a lot of retro stuff! :)