Date   
Re: Z80 based Microboard from RCA

somaspack
 

That's pretty cool, I did not know that.

Scott

Re: What BUS do we take for RCA Microboards?

somaspack
 

RCA developed their own standard. RCA provided their own racks: one for the 5-card backplane and the MCS Development System rack that contained 25 cards. The pitch on the original slots was .4" pretty dang slim. Vector provided generic 44-pin cards but they were not Microboard sized.  I'm not aware of any commercial racks with correct width and pitch for Microboards.

Scott

Re: What BUS do we take for RCA Microboards?

cmdrcosmac
 

Look at the Vectorboard products at
https://www.vectorelect.com/plugbord-card-edge-44-contacts.html

This stuff is not cheap but if you have the card cage already it should do.
-Chuck

Re: VIP Monitor/OS Dissassembled?

Joe Blackburn
 
Edited

Josh - 

Yes, the MCDS is the main project. I like the ELF and the tools that are available, and that I can use Marcel's emulator to test. I have some production MCDS boards - the control-display, the 18S604 and a UART. The rest are bare boards, and I have to source the parts, and build them.

There was a bare floppy controller board for the series on eBay, but it uses 8" disks (I have two, still in shrink-wrap). There is no "DOS" it uses pure read/writes by position. My thoughts were, if I need to add disk capability, I'd sooner use a more modern controller and drives.

As an aside, I recently acquired the MCDS-8051. It's in very dirty condition, but seems good otherwise. I think someone dipped it to seal the traces at some point. And I have the MCDS-85 Development Kit as well.

Also, CCE-6809, and CCE-6800 boards - were used for my teaching days at Conestoga College. The 6800 board is the same or similar to the Kilobaud Classroom computer from the Kilobaud magazine article series (later book). The 6809 has similar layout and functionality, was used to teach techs at Electrohome when developing Telidon Decoder Boards (MC6809).

Also have a model 1 TRS-80 that I need to finish recapping. I built the Expansion Interface with disk controller, power, and communication board from Steve Ciarcia's plans/kits in BYTE.

We had the most fun at Electrohome, who, in addition to consumer products, also developed a number of Canadian firsts under contract to CRC Canada. We made the first digitally deflected colour monitor in N. America. Thing was as big as a fridge, with caps like coffee cans, to drive a 13" screen! We developed ESAT Television Receivers. Pay-TV boxes. Projection TV's (later became Christie Digital). And Telidon Decoders, and Receiver/Monitors. They also built hardened displays for NASA, and the display portion of Atari Arcade games - including the famous Formula 1, Lunar Lander, and Space Attack.

Around 1980, my career shifted (as the jobs trickled to Mexico, then Asia) from Hardware Engineering to Software Engineering, ending up teaching and designing database software and applications with Software AG of Canada, and then later as independent consultant using SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle et al. 

I did some work also for General Dynamics Land Systems in London, on the Stryker mil vehicles. (Weapons System Support), where we reported to GM/GDLS in Detroit.

Re: What BUS do we take for RCA Microboards?

Joe Blackburn
 

Haha! I know exactly what you mean, Lee!

When I worked at Electrohome, we used to do CSA certifications for various brands.

Beyond that, standards were "project specific" - although we did do a number of fed contracts. Nobody beats the rigamarole of fed contracting, and compliance!

They even had "standards" for the billing cycle and project reports...

Was hoping to share loose something that help me narrow down what racks and perf boards are correct for using COSMAC MBDS boards like the 18S020 and 18S604...

I have a number of these, and I have the five-card chassis. For prototyping was thing to connect to protoboards in their own rack of compatible format.

"44 pins (dual 22) on 0.156-inch centres" semi just a bit "loosey goosey"!

Re: VIP Monitor/OS Dissassembled?

joshbensadon
 

Joe,

Sounds like you're well on your way. The ELF2K is great but stick to the MCDS... not because it's easy, but because it's hard! (If that phrase worked to get us to the moon, it will be very satisfying for you!).

If you do get it running before September, consider joining us at VCF MW. We are driving right by Kitchener... I can pick you up on the way!

PS. I used to use Avocet simulator/assembler for the 8051... loved the simulator, helped me develop a lot of software.

Regards,
Josh
Toronto

On Thursday, July 18, 2019, 3:38:08 p.m. EDT, Joe Blackburn via Groups.Io <josephjohnblackburn@...> wrote:


Thanks guys! (Lee, Josh & Walter)!

I did find the ROM listings, and the commentary in VIPER, as well.

Sounds like I'm on the right track. I do seem to be following somewhat in Ed Keefe's footsteps - but only as far as the VP-711 is concerned. My interest is programming, so not really after colour/sound support or VIP emulation.

I have an ELF2000, and the emulators.  And I am resurrecting an MCDS. I have the 18S604 and the Display/IO Cards. And I have a number bare boards for other options.

I have a (DOS) version of the Avocet cross-compiler. I was a bit spoiled by the wonderful IDE of the older Crossbow cross-compiler for the Mac, but it is no longer supported (only ran on PowerPC Macs). So using the DOS-ish and Linux compliers is a bit "retro" even for me.

For this original VP-711, if I can get one board in the Expansion Interface slot, with the 1854 UART, 32K RAM/32KROM and a USB-Serial hook, and a second for the BYTE-IO to plug in the Keyboard, I will be able to run FPBASIC, and possibly connect to the MCDS I am resurrecting.

After that, I'll see about controller applications with stepper motors, servos, sensors, etc.

It has potential - though perhaps the ELF2000 is a better venue for expansion.

Re: What BUS do we take for RCA Microboards?

Lee Hart
 

Joe Blackburn via Groups.Io wrote:
What - if any - BUS standard do RCA Microboards (Microboard Universal
Backplane) follow?

Specifications:

"Size: 4.5 inches x 7.5 inches (114.3 mm x 190.5 mm)

Backplane Connector: edge fingers, 44 pins (dual 22) on 0.156-inch centres"
Just like everyone else back then, RCA invented their own. "Standards? We don' need no steenkin' standards!"

The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. :-)

--
In software development, there are two kinds of error: Conceptual
errors, implementation errors, and off-by-one errors. (anonymous)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com

Re: Confused about OUT command, vs RESET conditions

joshbensadon
 

Erturk,

Your curiosity is well founded. This CPU is an extremely rich collection of features cleverly put together to use a very small number of transistors (about 5,000 if memory serves). Why? The answer is with Joseph Weisbecker. This man was very much into digital electronics since 1950. He worked on many transistor based computers and in 1968 wanted to build a home made computer, like the kits for radios you would see from Heathkit. Of course, Heathkit did eventually put out a computer kit.... in 1978! So Joseph was a decade ahead! Did he know he was a pioneer? He knew well enough that computers were strange things to many people and avoided talking about his plans. On his own dime, he designed and bought all the parts for his home made computer, the FRED. Oh, I guess I should add, he was very much into developing games and other tools to facilitate learning. So FRED stands for Friendly Recreational Educational Device. He saw the value in games and education. Well, long story short, the FRED soon became the COSMAC 00 (check that name?), it was a discrete logic computer. Being discrete logic, he found what features it needed and the best way to do it with the smallest IC count. Something that has inspired a whole generation of engineers, probably (definitely) everybody on this forum! I should mention that Lee Hart has an incredible knack for small IC count solutions.

I did a talk about him at VCF MW last year, I think it's on You Tube. Please have a look.

PS. Congrats on your fine work with the Arduino Mega CPU collection.

Regards,
Josh Bensadon


On Thursday, July 18, 2019, 2:48:58 p.m. EDT, Lee Hart <leeahart@...> wrote:


Erturk Kocalar wrote:
> Bringing up 1802 taught me a lot about 1802. I am more curious now
> because it is different from the 8-bit micros. I like to understand more
> why it was built this way and I also like how CPU helps in I/O and DMA
> operations at hardware level.

The 1802 has always fascinated me as a wonderful example of "just right"
design.

The other micros of the time (and today) seem to be designed by
committee. The emphasis was on "hurry, hurry, ship it now, Now, NOW".
The people on the committes were smart; but had little practical
experience in either hardware or software design. They may have
"perfected" one area, but left other totally inept.

Here are some guiding principles I like:

1. "Things should be kept as simple as possible; but not too simple".
(Albert Einstein)

2. "A design achieves perfection not when there is  nothing left to add,
but when there is nothing left to take away. " (Antoine de Saint Exupery )

3. "Beware of the Turing tarpit, where everything is possible but
nothing  of interest is easy." (Alan Perlis)

4. "Verschlimmbessern" (German, verb) - To make something worse by
trying to improve it. (English translation: "Microsoft")

Joe Weisbecker took the time to "perfect" the 1802 design. It has
everything you need, and no more. Its hardware features make it easy to
interface to just about anything with a minimum of chips. The
instruction set seems odd in comparison with what later became "normal";
but it has a consistency and regularity that makes it easy to learn and
use. It can easily do things that were difficult to do with other CPUs
of the time.

--
In software development, there are two kinds of error: Conceptual
errors, implementation errors, and off-by-one errors. (anonymous)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com



What BUS do we take for RCA Microboards?

Joe Blackburn
 

What - if any - BUS standard do RCA Microboards (Microboard Universal Backplane) follow?

Specifications:

"Size: 4.5 inches x 7.5 inches (114.3 mm x 190.5 mm)

Backplane Connector: edge fingers, 44 pins (dual 22) on 0.156-inch centres"


Re: Z80 based Microboard from RCA

Joe Blackburn
 

RCA made two Z80 cards for the MCDS development systems.

The MBZ80C is 2.5 MHz CMOS Z80. The MBZ80N is a 4.0 MHz NMOS Z80. Both are fully compatible with the other MCDS cards, and the 5-Card Chassis MCDS.

"The Z80 Series also offers TPM, a powerful operating system functionally equivalent to CP/M with enhancements that take full advantage of all the Z80 instructions."

~ Microsystems Product Guide and Price List, April 1 1983. (MPL-200B)

Re: Z80 based Microboard from RCA

Lee Hart
 

David Schultz wrote:
While looking through the manual for the CDP81S651 floppy disk
controller card I noticed some mentions of the Z80. Then there was a
monitor program (UT80) I hadn't heard of. Google revealed:

https://kundoc.com/pdf-cmos-nmos-choice-for-z80-boards-.html

I had heard of hanging an 1802 off the S100 bus but this is the first
time I have seen anything about hanging a Z80 off of RCA's bus.
Hughes Aircraft was a licensed second source for the 1802, and built many aerospace-certified parts for various programs. I had a Hughes HMDS 1802 development system. It used S-100 bus cards, and had both an 1802 and Z80 CPU. The Z80 was used to run the disk controller and video boards.

So that's another data point for an 1802 on the S-100 bus, and both the Z80 and 1802 in the same system.

--
In software development, there are two kinds of error: Conceptual
errors, implementation errors, and off-by-one errors. (anonymous)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com

Z80 based Microboard from RCA

David Schultz
 

While looking through the manual for the CDP81S651 floppy disk
controller card I noticed some mentions of the Z80. Then there was a
monitor program (UT80) I hadn't heard of. Google revealed:

https://kundoc.com/pdf-cmos-nmos-choice-for-z80-boards-.html

I had heard of hanging an 1802 off the S100 bus but this is the first
time I have seen anything about hanging a Z80 off of RCA's bus.


--
https://web.archive.org/web/20190214181851/http://home.earthlink.net/~david.schultz/
(Web pages available only at the Wayback Machine because Earthlink
terminated that service.)

Re: A18 1802/3/4 cross assembler / DOSBOX #Assembler

Mark Abene
 

No problem. On Herb's site, he includes some notes of mine for compiling it on linux. Same should apply for Mac.

Regards,
Mark


On Thu, Jul 18, 2019, 12:11 AM Joe Blackburn via Groups.Io <josephjohnblackburn=yahoo.ca@groups.io> wrote:

Mark - LOL - that didn't even occur to me!

I assumed the code would be specific to PC's...

Re: VIP Monitor/OS Dissassembled?

Joe Blackburn
 

Thanks guys! (Lee, Josh & Walter)!

I did find the ROM listings, and the commentary in VIPER, as well.

Sounds like I'm on the right track. I do seem to be following somewhat in Ed Keefe's footsteps - but only as far as the VP-711 is concerned. My interest is programming, so not really after colour/sound support or VIP emulation.

I have an ELF2000, and the emulators.  And I am resurrecting an MCDS. I have the 18S604 and the Display/IO Cards. And I have a number bare boards for other options.

I have a (DOS) version of the Avocet cross-compiler. I was a bit spoiled by the wonderful IDE of the older Crossbow cross-compiler for the Mac, but it is no longer supported (only ran on PowerPC Macs). So using the DOS-ish and Linux compliers is a bit "retro" even for me.

For this original VP-711, if I can get one board in the Expansion Interface slot, with the 1854 UART, 32K RAM/32KROM and a USB-Serial hook, and a second for the BYTE-IO to plug in the Keyboard, I will be able to run FPBASIC, and possibly connect to the MCDS I am resurrecting.

After that, I'll see about controller applications with stepper motors, servos, sensors, etc.

It has potential - though perhaps the ELF2000 is a better venue for expansion.

Re: VIP Monitor/OS Dissassembled?

waltermi@rogers.com
 

Happy to join the fun with my JVIP, which is basically a VELF with the switch input circuitry removed.  But I kept the 2 hex displays. J standing for Josh, as it’s a stripped down version of his design. (He’s a righteous dude!   

On Jul 18, 2019, at 9:17 AM, joshbensadon via Groups.Io <joshbensadon@...> wrote:

Hi Joe,

Like Lee said, back in 2003, I used his disassembled VIP ROM, he had some comments in there, but I added more for my own understanding,
Then I went on to disassemble and comment CHIP-8, as I was putting these programs together into 1 ROM for my 2nd ELF build, which I called the VELF.

If you can't find it online, please feel free to make the trip to Toronto and visit me here!  I promise to entertain you with a few 1802 computers.

CHeers,
Josh



On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 4:59:35 PM EDT, Lee Hart <leeahart@...> wrote:


Joe Blackburn via Groups.Io wrote:
> Do we have a disassembled/commented version of the VIP Monitor/OS
> anywhere? This is the VIP's on-board ROM. The machine-language code is
> in Appendix B of the VIP-311 Instruction Manual.

Long ago, I disassembled the VIP ROM code, and had my handwritten
listing. Josh Bensadon entered it, and I think it's in the cosmacelf
files section somewhere.

> I know that both the VP-700 Tiny BASIC hardware board and also the
> VP-701 Floating Point BASIC both use the keyboard connected via the
> Byte-IO Connector.

That's right; they assumed a parallel ASCII keyboard. RCA made some nice
keyboards, that in fact continued to be produced even after RCA itself
ceased to exist. There was a parallel version, a serial version, and one
that was a complete color video terminal that even included a modem.
Some model numbers were the VP600-VP606 series, and VP-3300 series (if I
remember correctly).

I connected a surplus parallel ASCII keyboard to my VIP. Each key had a
reed switch. The moving keycap contained a magnet. Press a key, and the
magnet moves close enough to close the reed switch. Pullup resistors
pulled the ASCII data bits high. Each key then had a bunch of diodes
that pulled the needed data bits bits low, plus a diode on every key to
pull a strobe line low. The strobe line had a capacitor, so it went low
a little bit after the data bits. That's all there was to it -- no ICs
or transistors or anything! :-)

--
In software development, there are two kinds of error: Conceptual
errors, implementation errors, and off-by-one errors. (anonymous)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com



Re: Confused about OUT command, vs RESET conditions

Lee Hart
 

Erturk Kocalar wrote:
Bringing up 1802 taught me a lot about 1802. I am more curious now
because it is different from the 8-bit micros. I like to understand more
why it was built this way and I also like how CPU helps in I/O and DMA
operations at hardware level.
The 1802 has always fascinated me as a wonderful example of "just right" design.

The other micros of the time (and today) seem to be designed by committee. The emphasis was on "hurry, hurry, ship it now, Now, NOW". The people on the committes were smart; but had little practical experience in either hardware or software design. They may have "perfected" one area, but left other totally inept.

Here are some guiding principles I like:

1. "Things should be kept as simple as possible; but not too simple". (Albert Einstein)

2. "A design achieves perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. " (Antoine de Saint Exupery )

3. "Beware of the Turing tarpit, where everything is possible but nothing of interest is easy." (Alan Perlis)

4. "Verschlimmbessern" (German, verb) - To make something worse by
trying to improve it. (English translation: "Microsoft")

Joe Weisbecker took the time to "perfect" the 1802 design. It has everything you need, and no more. Its hardware features make it easy to interface to just about anything with a minimum of chips. The instruction set seems odd in comparison with what later became "normal"; but it has a consistency and regularity that makes it easy to learn and use. It can easily do things that were difficult to do with other CPUs of the time.

--
In software development, there are two kinds of error: Conceptual
errors, implementation errors, and off-by-one errors. (anonymous)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com

Re: FW: New Interpreted Programming Language Called CHIP-12 and a BASIC Compiler for it

Lee Hart
 

Joe Blackburn via Groups.Io wrote:
Lee

Apparently CHIP-12 and its BASIC Compiler have been replaced by CHIP-16
and a newer BASIC Compiler which supports the Intel Numeric Coprocessors/
They both appear to be INTEL only.

Marc and his brother Gilbert developed this over a long period, based on
the original CHIP-8 and Weisbecker's documentation.

They are intended as a more modern version for more modern hardware. It
does not appear that an 1802 version is there.
Thanks, Joe. I see... It would be hard to implement this on an 1802. First, the memory requirements are considerably more. Second, no 1802 system has that complex a video or sound system.

It looks like he used CHIP-8 as a starting point, and has morphed it into an entirely different language (like Tiny BASIC morphing into Visual BASIC).

--
In software development, there are two kinds of error: Conceptual
errors, implementation errors, and off-by-one errors. (anonymous)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com

Re: VIP Monitor/OS Dissassembled?

joshbensadon
 

Hi Joe,

Like Lee said, back in 2003, I used his disassembled VIP ROM, he had some comments in there, but I added more for my own understanding,
Then I went on to disassemble and comment CHIP-8, as I was putting these programs together into 1 ROM for my 2nd ELF build, which I called the VELF.

If you can't find it online, please feel free to make the trip to Toronto and visit me here!  I promise to entertain you with a few 1802 computers.

CHeers,
Josh



On Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 4:59:35 PM EDT, Lee Hart <leeahart@...> wrote:


Joe Blackburn via Groups.Io wrote:
> Do we have a disassembled/commented version of the VIP Monitor/OS
> anywhere? This is the VIP's on-board ROM. The machine-language code is
> in Appendix B of the VIP-311 Instruction Manual.

Long ago, I disassembled the VIP ROM code, and had my handwritten
listing. Josh Bensadon entered it, and I think it's in the cosmacelf
files section somewhere.

> I know that both the VP-700 Tiny BASIC hardware board and also the
> VP-701 Floating Point BASIC both use the keyboard connected via the
> Byte-IO Connector.

That's right; they assumed a parallel ASCII keyboard. RCA made some nice
keyboards, that in fact continued to be produced even after RCA itself
ceased to exist. There was a parallel version, a serial version, and one
that was a complete color video terminal that even included a modem.
Some model numbers were the VP600-VP606 series, and VP-3300 series (if I
remember correctly).

I connected a surplus parallel ASCII keyboard to my VIP. Each key had a
reed switch. The moving keycap contained a magnet. Press a key, and the
magnet moves close enough to close the reed switch. Pullup resistors
pulled the ASCII data bits high. Each key then had a bunch of diodes
that pulled the needed data bits bits low, plus a diode on every key to
pull a strobe line low. The strobe line had a capacitor, so it went low
a little bit after the data bits. That's all there was to it -- no ICs
or transistors or anything! :-)

--
In software development, there are two kinds of error: Conceptual
errors, implementation errors, and off-by-one errors. (anonymous)
--
Lee Hart, 814 8th Ave N, Sartell MN 56377, www.sunrise-ev.com



Re: A18 1802/3/4 cross assembler / DOSBOX #Assembler

Joe Blackburn
 

Mark - LOL - that didn't even occur to me!

I assumed the code would be specific to PC's...

Re: A18 1802/3/4 cross assembler / DOSBOX #Assembler

Mark Abene
 

There's no reason why you couldn't compile and use a18 in a terminal window on the Mac, unless there's some special reason you want to use DOSBox...

-Mark



On Wed, Jul 17, 2019, 10:09 PM Joe Blackburn via Groups.Io <josephjohnblackburn=yahoo.ca@groups.io> wrote:

Has anyone used/tested the A18 Cross Assembler on the MAC with DOSBOX for OS/10? Is so, what's the verdict?


I was used to Crossbow on the older, PowerPC Mac, but there is no version for the new Intel Macs or OS/X. I liked the IDE.

 

Any other MAC Cross-Compilers out there?