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Thread: ANNOUNCE: VCF East XIII 8085 Single Board Computer

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  1. #1
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    Default ANNOUNCE: VCF East XIII 8085 Single Board Computer

    Some of you may have noticed that I've been extra busy/slow to reply lately. It's not just because of taxes This is on my bench:



    We got together on the idea of a special edition vintage computer project for VCF East last year, but there wasn't enough time between when someone mentioned the idea and the event to actually get it done. This year, I've revised my 8085 SBC design into a larger, more full-featured board as seen above. Specs as follows:

    • 8085 CPU
    • 64K Static RAM
    • 32K ROM available in 4K pages
    • Autoboot/ROM switchout circuit
    • 8251A USART for console port
    • DS1233 EconoReset
    • Baud rates from 300 - 38400, baud clock independent of CPU clock
    • GlitchBus expansion header
    • Single 5V power supply


    The board is 8x5 inches, the GlitchBus expansion stacking area provides for a 4x5 inch board. Currently I've got the prototype version running GWMON, my ROM monitor, from Ferroelectric RAM in the ROM socket. The goal is to have a customized monitor and fully functional BASIC by VCF East. This is also the first board to commit to a GlitchBus pinout/layout -- several of us have been working together offline and through IRC to get it nailed down. Eventually, you'll be able to add a storage controller (CF, floppy, etc.) via GlitchBus and boot/run CP/M! The ROM can be switched out under software control, so the full 64K of RAM will be available to user programs. The board also supports FeRAM, so it's possible to have a core-like setup for main memory. If you use FeRAM or an EEPROM in the ROM socket, the board can update its own firmware.

    This revision is going to be released at VCF East XIII and is a special edition that will probably be limited to the show. We'll be doing an event-long workshop to build and test the SBC at InfoAge during VCF East, just like we did with the XT-IDE and Apple II prototyping workshop last year. If you choose to assemble your board at VCF East, you'll leave with a 100% tested and working 8085 SBC. I may bring a very few CRT terminals to make available to builders of the 8085 SBC.

    Evan got me a high-res PNG version of the VCFed logo, which I was able to work into a copper-and-silkscreen graphic for the PC board:



    I haven't nailed down a price for parts kits yet -- that will be forthcoming.

    NO PALs, GALs, CPLDs, OR FPGAs! NO SPARE GATES!

  2. #2
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    Somewhat off topic question: What is the part family for those red connectors? I have a board with a 3-pin connector that looks like the same family and I need a matching plug for it. What tool and die set do you use to crimp the pins for those connectors?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gslick View Post
    Somewhat off topic question: What is the part family for those red connectors? I have a board with a 3-pin connector that looks like the same family and I need a matching plug for it. What tool and die set do you use to crimp the pins for those connectors?
    Molex KK-100 (now KK-254) series. I use a Paladin PA1645 to crimp them. Don't waste your time on a really cheap hand crimper, they're garbage -- I've got a $30 and a $40 set in the "tools to use as bludgeons" drawer. I found my PA1645 used for a good price, I want to say under $75. It'll work with many types of crimp connectors, but is the tool specified by Molex for KK-100 and KK-156.

  4. #4

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    I'm just curious as to its' capabilities and what are the output options?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lyonadmiral View Post
    I'm just curious as to its' capabilities and what are the output options?
    Well, it's an 8085 (8080 compatible instruction set) computer with 64K RAM It can do roughly what an Altair or IMSAI can do. The onboard serial console is RS-232. With the GlitchBus expansion header, though, just about anything can be wired up to it.

    I started thinking about the central idea to GlitchBus apparently in November 2010:

    http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthrea...ther-8-bit-kit

    The idea being, the bus structure is optimized to allow most 8-bit CPUs to be in control of it. I'm working on a set of boards to provide all of the basic functions you need for a computer -- RAM, ROM, serial, parallel, counter/timer, disk storage, etc. The 8085 SBC integrates CPU, RAM, ROM, and a serial channel all on one board, but will be fully compatible with any future GlitchBus boards I or anyone else designs. Personally, I'd like to get a CF card interface going so I can run CP/M on my 8085 SBC

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by glitch View Post
    Well, it's an 8085 (8080 compatible instruction set) computer with 64K RAM It can do roughly what an Altair or IMSAI can do. The onboard serial console is RS-232. With the GlitchBus expansion header, though, just about anything can be wired up to it.

    I started thinking about the central idea to GlitchBus apparently in November 2010:

    http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthrea...ther-8-bit-kit

    The idea being, the bus structure is optimized to allow most 8-bit CPUs to be in control of it. I'm working on a set of boards to provide all of the basic functions you need for a computer -- RAM, ROM, serial, parallel, counter/timer, disk storage, etc. The 8085 SBC integrates CPU, RAM, ROM, and a serial channel all on one board, but will be fully compatible with any future GlitchBus boards I or anyone else designs. Personally, I'd like to get a CF card interface going so I can run CP/M on my 8085 SBC
    I've been a big fan of Gary Kildall, RIP, but have never used CP/M ever before. Only copy I ever had was for a Xerox machine that I didn't possess.

  7. #7

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    It's a gorgeous kit; I can't wait to put mine together.

    "It's a me-too, 8-bit machine with good graphics and a disk system nobody will support."
    -- Bill Gates, about the Sony SMC-70 with the new 3.5" floppy drives (InfoWorld; June 7, 1982)

  8. #8
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    Glad everyone seemed to enjoy building this little kit! Everyone who built one at the show left with a fully functional board Full writeup, schematics, source code to follow -- I just have to find the time to finish writing it up and do a manual.

  9. #9

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    I look forward to it! I sprung for the bare board, so the scavenger hunt for parts I don't have on hand is already underway.

    This is going to be fun -- glitchbus in particular is relevant to my interests.
    Last edited by CommodoreKid; May 23rd, 2018 at 07:12 PM.
    Current projects: The Cactus 6502 front panel homebrew computer 🌵, reviving a DG Nova 1200, upgrading an OSI Challenger 4P, fixing a Hero 1 robot, upgrading an AST Bravo, monkeying with VIC-20s, reverse-engineering a Decitek paper tape reader/punch, among other things...

  10. #10
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    Yeah, I need to get some sort of little Interfacing to Glitchbus document put together, too.

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