View Full Version : ICE's: Zac ICD-378 and others

IBM Portable PC
February 6th, 2013, 04:15 PM
I have recently been given one of these and do not have a manual?

The ICD-278 manual can be found on the web, however it's almost like Zac Corporation didn't exist given how little can be found.

What ICE's are people using? I know the Nicolet ICE appears popular (and it's contempory clone kit) long with the Fluke 9010a, any others I should be aware of? How do these compare to one another?

IBM Portable PC
February 8th, 2013, 01:31 PM
Someone on Earth must have a complete 378 setup surely? Zax advertised in Byte, Computerworld etc and seemed to be leading the market.

February 8th, 2013, 03:59 PM
While I don't have a Zax, I do have the other two. The Nice is fairly easy to use, cheap ( for the kit version which is what I have ) and plugs into the z80 socket. It seems to work fairly well, sometimes doesn't stop, break points are hit and miss. The Fluke 9010A are usually expensive, require pods which are also expensive, I have not had much luck getting it to work. I also have a Fluke 9100 which also uses pods, but I haven't really spent the time to know and use it. If I was getting one now and had $2k or more to spend the iSystem units look good, the Lauterbach ones are great but lots more spendy. I've also been looking at embedding No-ice into a rom and using that. Too many projects and not nearly enough time.

IBM Portable PC
February 8th, 2013, 11:35 PM
If I was getting one now and had $2k or more to spend the iSystem units look good, the Lauterbach ones are great but lots more spendy.

iSystem looks pretty good, they even make an 9bit CPU specific ICE still in 2013! I suspect it's at least a couple of grand though.

The Lauterbach supports a narrower range of processors and so should be cheaper, however I'd still expect $$$$.

Both are probably way overkill, and perhaps overly complex, for vintage machines, still it's nice to have more than you need.

The Fluke 9010a seems to be a bit old in the tooth, the manual are dated around 1982 whilst the Zax 278 is about 1985 and the 378 perhaps around 1987.

February 9th, 2013, 09:20 AM
A Fluke 9010A really serves a different sort of purpose than a typical ICE. It is more aimed at debugging hardware problems than software problems. You could use it to detect RAM errors, dump and checksum ROMs, check for stuck address and data lines, things of that nature. When it is executing the target software you can't really set execution breakpoints, or single step through the code, or inspect the CPU state. If the hardware has problems a Fluke 9010A can be useful to troubleshoot the problems. If the hardware is working fine but you need to debug the software then a typical ICE would be more helpful.

Another tool for debugging software and system issues is a logic analyzer with a CPU probe. For example I have an HP 10300B (64683A) Z80 probe for use with my HP logic analyzers. With that you also cannot set breakpoints or inspect the internal CPU state, but you can record traces of the external CPU code fetches with disassembly listings, along with data reads and writes. For debugging most software issues a typical ICE may be a better tool, but a logic analyzer CPU probe may be a better tools in some cases. I don't have an actual example off the top of my head.