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Thread: D.R.E.A.M. 6800 Build

  1. #1
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    Default D.R.E.A.M. 6800 Build

    Waiting for parts (again) for the TVT. I've been getting more into Aussie stuff and came across the DREAM 6800, published in Electronics Australia. http://www.mjbauer.biz/DREAM6800.htm

    Seems like kind of a neat one, especially with the graphics capability. No idea where I'll get a 4x4 hex keypad of correctish vintage. Anyway, I decided to grab the artwork from the fourth PDF of the magazine articles and make up a board:

    dream6800ooardscan.jpg

    It's just a single side board with jumpers on the back. The design kind of appeals to me.. I'm amazed at how much it can potentially do using such a compact area! The board is not big at all!

    Anyway, came out pretty nicely! Looking forward to building this one day - some of the games look rather interesting!

  2. #2
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    Scored another piece.. an actual vintage memory expansion kit board for $46!

    20190112_203450.jpg

    20190112_205013.jpg

    Also found a hex keypad made by Grayhill. It looks very close to the Digitran the article in Electronics Australia mentioned.

    20190112_203839.jpg

    I'd really like to get going on this... my efforts at building a Mark-8 foundered on drill press problems. And I'd really like to try out CHIP8 programming. Just need a few more parts.

  3. #3
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    I am constantly amazed at how you "sniff out" boards like this!

    I have come across CHIPOS/CHIP8 before. I wonder if I can make a variant for this 6800 card that is being designed?

    Either that, or it is another set of ROMs to get working in my 6800 emulator - or both!

    Dave

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    Waiting for parts (again) for the TVT. I've been getting more into Aussie stuff and came across the DREAM 6800, published in Electronics Australia. http://www.mjbauer.biz/DREAM6800.htm

    Seems like kind of a neat one, especially with the graphics capability. No idea where I'll get a 4x4 hex keypad of correctish vintage. Anyway, I decided to grab the artwork from the fourth PDF of the magazine articles and make up a board:

    dream6800ooardscan.jpg

    It's just a single side board with jumpers on the back. The design kind of appeals to me.. I'm amazed at how much it can potentially do using such a compact area! The board is not big at all!

    Anyway, came out pretty nicely! Looking forward to building this one day - some of the games look rather interesting!
    falter,

    My first microcomputer was the COSMAC ELF - which I solder-wrapped in 1976 from the Popular Electronics article by Joe Weisbecker.
    There was no ROM in the Elf - and only 256 bytes of RAM!
    No hex keyboard - just eight toggle switches - one for each bit and a LOAD button to enter that byte code into memory.

    The display was two red LED Hex Displays.

    The RCA CDP1802 CMOS microprocessor had an extremely simple 8-bit instruction set with (as I recall) sixteen opcodes that operated on sixteen CPU registers - also made it easier to write the assembly code - no assembler was available.

    I upgraded my initial build with the cassette tape interface and later the RCA video interface from Joe's later articles in Popular Electronics.
    This brought my build up to the level of the RCA video game machine - without the cartridges

    Very fun little computer - then I got a Tektronix 4051 at work and stopped playing with the RCA and began writing programs on the Tektronix.

    Your DREAM 6800 should be a lot of fun!

    Monty
    Last edited by nikola-wan; January 13th, 2019 at 04:57 AM.

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    I have three original ELFs.. one is the standard wirewrap. The second is a Quest one.. not the super elf with the keypad... just the one they made a single pcb to eliminate the wirewrap. And the third is a Netronics ELF II. Frankly of the three I prefer to use the first two. The ELF II's keypad is a bit inaccurate and I found myself constantly having to go back and make corrections in programs.

    Did you ditch your own ELF Monty?

    I don't know how I keep finding these unbuilt boards. I originally intended to avoid them... I'm very practical and my brain doesn't like the idea of something staying unassembled and never achieving its purpose. Luckily my inner historian won't let me just build them.

  6. #6
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    Dog's sniff out truffles - Falter sniffs out unbuilt vintage PCBs !

    Any chance of you picking the lottery numbers for me this week!

    Dave

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    My luck just extended further. A post on an Australian vintage computer forum about my find had a gentleman message me about an original DREAM 6800. He is offering it for the cost of postage! I offered money for it but he declined. The cover is broken but who cares.. this a DREAM built on the original kit boards!! Really, really grateful there are still folks like this out there!

    received_225335471747649.jpg

  8. #8
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    I definitely want 6 lottery numbers from you!

    Dave

  9. #9
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    Uhh... 08 13 19 22 28 29?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    I have three original ELFs.. one is the standard wirewrap. The second is a Quest one.. not the super elf with the keypad... just the one they made a single pcb to eliminate the wirewrap. And the third is a Netronics ELF II. Frankly of the three I prefer to use the first two. The ELF II's keypad is a bit inaccurate and I found myself constantly having to go back and make corrections in programs.

    Did you ditch your own ELF Monty?

    I don't know how I keep finding these unbuilt boards. I originally intended to avoid them... I'm very practical and my brain doesn't like the idea of something staying unassembled and never achieving its purpose. Luckily my inner historian won't let me just build them.
    falter,

    No - I still have my ELF.

    I just powered it up and the HEX LEDs are working - but I tried loading the six byte program in the original ELF article - and it didn't work.

    Here is a photo of mine - that I took this morning:

    IMG_7833.jpg

    I didn't label the two headphone connectors - likely for cassette input and output.
    The RCA phone plug and cable on the right are/were video output

    The case was from work (USAF) - I replaced the panel and guts with my ELF

    Here is a photo of the solder-wrapped insides:

    IMG_7835.jpg

    The transformer was a center tapped 12VAC 2A transformer. The TO-5 5V regulator and power caps are fine - output voltage 5.00

    And a closer shot of the back of the board and components:

    IMG_7836.jpg

    IMG_7841.jpg

    That insulated wire is too fine for my old eyes to debug now - without a board microscope.

    More likely it is an IC failure - or just corrosion in a socket - all ICs are socketed.

    Monty
    Last edited by nikola-wan; January 13th, 2019 at 10:07 AM.

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