What was your first micro programming experience?

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I'll tell you mine (and date myself).

 

Back in the mid 70s the price of 8080As had finally dropped down to something a student could afford, at $39.95 (James Electronics).  So I drove down there and bought one, along with the 8224 and 8228 support chips.  I wired the chips together on a large protoboard along with 16 bytes (yes!) of TTL memory (2 16x4 chips, part number now lost to memory) and some LEDs.  For programming the whole thing I built a box with some 7-segment displays and some octal thumbwheel switches I found in a surplus store.  Yes, we were all doing octal back then!  My first program was, yes, an LED blinky program - actually an LED counter program.  It fit into 16 bytes with a whole byte or two to spare!  And just like that, I was hooked.

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I started on the company's Motorola Exorciser development system around 1979?? with the 6800 chip, it was a "luxurious" system with paper tape reader for both the assembler and the editor, around 1 hour loading time!

 

But most of my early work was done with the Signetic's 2650 because one of my workmates was moving to a S100 board so he donated the Electronics Australia magazine designed board to me, 1K EPROM with the monitor program in it and 1K ram.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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I think back then most of us separated pretty decisively into the 8080 or 6800 camps.  I remember thinking, in my vast ignorance, that the 6800 was pretty lame because it had fewer registers (although looking back I think it was probably a nicer chip to program).  Then the 6502 came out with its unbelievably limited register set, and I ended up writing my largest assembly program on it, the Syncalc spreadsheet.  That's when I finally accepted processor multilingualism as a good thing.

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Speaking of paper tape readers, I somehow got ahold of a 6800 paper tape BASIC, so I built a 6800 board and built a paper tape reader with photo-transistors set in perfboard, and the light source was a desk lamp.  I loaded BASIC a few times but was never able to get it to run completely.  I think that's about when the Z-80 came out, and I quickly followed its siren song.

 

EDIT: BTW, by then I was using 4k x 1 dynamic memory chips that I had blowtorched out of surplus memory boards.  I could get 16k x 8 on one S-100 board.

Last Edited: Mon. Jul 22, 2019 - 12:35 AM
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Yep, like John, it was initially the Exorciser and then our own 6803 and then 6809 boards. The "good old days"...

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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kk6gm wrote:
I think back then most of us separated pretty decisively into the 8080 or 6800 camps.
in college then RCA CDP1802 (CMOS instead of NMOS)

https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/philae#comment-1369021

Microprocessors & Peripherals | Renesas Electronics

Harsh Environment

 

...

CDP1802A

...

80C86

...

CDP1802ACD3 Renesas / Intersil | Mouser

CP80C86-2Z Renesas / Intersil | Mouser

 

edit :

The avionics version of CP80C86 is MD80C86.

https://octopart.com/search?q=MD80C86&avg_avail=(1__*)&start=0

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Mon. Jul 22, 2019 - 01:20 AM
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I, too, had an 8080 in the mid-late 1970's.

I was in college and a bunch of us all chipped in to get the PCB made, which was quite expensive back then.

I didn't design the schematic or the PCB, but I ended up debugging several non-working boards assembled by others.

It had the interrupt controller, USART, Baud rate, and timer chips on the board, ram chips, two EEPROM sockets, and some expansion ports.

One EEPROM held the monitor program.

It took a lot of support chips to make a working micro back then.

 

I just looked for it in the basement, but I couldn't find it.

My basement flooded a few years ago, and I lost a lot of stuff, and had a bunch of stuff "reorganized".

Perhaps it will show up some time.

 

In the late 1970's I took a microcontroller class and lab.

Each lab station had a big box to work on, with some I/O ports accessible for interfacing stuff.

I truly just can't remember the micro, but I know it was an Intel chip.

 

I also had an original, kit, Sinclair ZX80, (and one or two Timex/Sinclair ZX81's, eventually).

It, too, is not locatable within the basement.

 

The first micro that I recall using for stand-alone projects, designed from the board up, used the Basic Stamp module.

That was in the early 1980's IIRC.

 

If I find the missing items I'll add a photo or two.

 

JC

 

Edit:

I do still have an old ASR33 Teletype terminal in the basement, complete with a paper tape punch / reader!

 

Edit, (Again!):

Yes, EPROM, not EEPROM.

I remember using the UV eraser and the glass window on the chips.

 

JC

Last Edited: Mon. Jul 22, 2019 - 09:58 PM
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Started with 68000 which we used for embedded programming lessons at school. In parallel I played a bit with a 8051 variant.

After years and years not doing anything with it I played a bit with a pic controller that I no longer know the number of. I do know the tools then were a PIA which most likely made me stop.

Then at work a bit of C codeing on a NEC processor, but only high level application stuff ( needed to test a receiver chip but the FW guys had no time to help me, so I said give me a processor board ( which turned out to be a full existing project, hahahaha and the source code and made a special project which had MSL-stuf.c were I could do my thing.

and finally at my previous job they worked with the mega128/ mega64 and mega168. There I got really interested again, and as at my current job we also use these chips and I could get hardware to play with and help from colleagues I now work with these a lot.

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Like most folks - late 70's. In my case a kit built Cosmac 1802 with 256 bytes RAM and no ROM whatsoever (1802 had a clever DMA mechanism which meant that bytes latched from a hex keypad could simply be "clocked in" to the RAM).

 

Next up was a Sinclair ZX80. We ordered the day the first advert appeared (PCW magazine) and got unit number 000385.

 

Also had Tangerine Microtan 65 and Acorn Atom around then too. (technically the Microtan was my twin brother's and the Atom was mine).

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It had the interrupt controller, USART, Baud rate, and timer chips on the board, ram chips, two EEPROM sockets, and some expansion ports.

Brings back many memories (pun?)  I bet those were EPROM sockets...reason, in late '83 I was assigned a newbie task to evaluate the "brand new" EEPROM's that had literally just arrived on the scene, perhaps the year (or two) before.  I think I had some of the first samples (since we had a $$$ budget for some defense work).    My job was to report to management whether we could "bet" on on these newfangled parts.  I remember those ELF and 8080 boards, and throwin the switches to program routines that had to be completely re-entered, when things went haywire.   The sounds of wire-wraps guns happily filled the air & an unmarked cabinet had a "secret" coffee maker that was prohibited in the lab.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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Around '76 or so, I was working for a company that operated video games in pubs. Atari and Midway started using microprocessors in their games, and the company sent me on a short course at some uni in London to learn about programming them.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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Mine was a 6800 kit from a San Antonio company called SWTPC or SouthWest Technical Products, that started out selling audio equipment. That first system had a rom monitor and 2k of ram.  Since real terminals were way too expensive, SWTPC had kitted a TV typewriter from a magazine article, it could display 16 lines of 32 characters on a b/w tv screen, later modified to display 16 x 64.  That little system grow from 6800 to 6809 with 768K of ram with four 5-1/4" floppies, two 8" floppies and color impact printer.  The old TV typewriter was soon replaced with a memory mapped video card, i/o includde serial ports, parallel port, eeprom burner, music (sound) card, and a vector graphics cards and more. 

At work I was introduced to and become manager of a PDP-11/45, that was used to cross compile Fairchild F8 and 8085 code which I wrote to support optical character recognition systems (OCR-A, OCR-B) used in check sorting machines, and POS price tag readers(Sears and JC Penney).  The RT-11 experience lead to VAX and later Alpha VMS systems management for over two decades.

Only after Y2k did I rediscover micro programming again using AVR's in small sensor and control systems. 

Today I'm mostly involved with PIC's in building automation systems with a little ARM linux just to keep me on my toes.

 

Jim

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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from #3

I think back then most of us separated pretty decisively into the 8080 or 6800 camps.

Am I the only 6502 guy ?

My first computer was a commodore Pet in 1980, and very fast I was into ASM.   

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sparrow2 wrote:
Am I the only 6502 guy ?

Not hardly with all those apple ]['s and commodore systems out there!  

I too did some projects in 6502 assembler!

 

Jim

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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sparrow2 wrote:
Am I the only 6502 guy ?
Nope I had Microtan 65 and Acorn Atom (the thing that eventually lead to ARM!) - both 6502.

 

The Atom was brilliant - it was BASIC but it had an exceedingly easy way to insert 6502 code segments. I wrote a whole Pacman in 6502 - the zero page was one of the nicest things ever - bit like having 256 accumulators! Even the BASIC was great having essentially PEEK/POKE operators as ? and !

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Martin Research "Mike 3" in 1976 at Junior College. The Electronics department had to be careful that vendors labeled them "Microprocessor Systems" otherwise, the Business Department would block the purchase.

 

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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I did 6502, amongst many other chips.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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sparrow2 wrote:

from #3

I think back then most of us separated pretty decisively into the 8080 or 6800 camps.

Am I the only 6502 guy ?

My first computer was a commodore Pet in 1980, and very fast I was into ASM.   

No.   I started with Commodore Pet 3032 in 1980 or 1981.

 

Likewise,   I first bought an Assembler ROM and then wrote my own Assembler.

I bought the first Atari M68k.   And had to learn C.

 

I remember buying a Z80 SBC called MPF-1 as a foray into "embedded".   ASM keyed into a Monitor via HEX keypad.

But the first microcontroller was a Mitsubishi 740 which was a 6502 with peripherals. 

 

I was never brave enough to build hardware from scratch.    R6502 and M68000 will always be "favourite".

AVR and ARM might be capable designs but never with the same affection.

 

David.

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sparrow2 wrote:
Am I the only 6502 guy ?

Nah, but the 6502 came a couple of years after the 8080 and 6800 (about the time of the Z-80).  I distinctly remember the 8080 and 6800 being the main chips discussed in the magazines and offered in products for the first few years, until the KIM-1 started appearing in ads.  As I mentioned, having to program the 6502 after coming from the 8080 really taught me that there were very different ways to skin a micro cat.

Last Edited: Mon. Jul 22, 2019 - 02:41 PM
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6800 kit in mid-late '70s

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So, to this day what was everyone's favourite CPU architecture?

 

I've tried many and I liked things like two stacks on 6809 for implementing Forth. PDP11 had a nice auto increment indexing instruction and, as above, the 6502 had that really great zero page. The 68000 had wonderful homogenous instruction set (pretty much every op on every register) and ARM is nice for pretty much conditional everything. I did a lot of Asm for 8086/80286/8036 back in the day but the segmentation drove me bonkers. For me "best" has to be Z80 purely from use/exposure - I wrote Z80 Asm for 10+ years and used to be able to hand dis-assemble code (about all I remember 3+ decades later is 0x21 being LD HL,nnnnn :-(  that's what age does to brain cells!) but it was things like the wonderous EX (SP),HL and LDIR that really did it for me. The DD/FD thing for the hidden IX/IY things was kind of cool too.

 

(PS: AVR is nice too ;-)

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I thought the 6809 was a dream machine back when, and loved writing assembly on it.  I remember going to a Motorola presentation and bringing home a big stack of documentation on it and the 68000.  Never did program the 68000, but sure was excited about it as well (and that 64-pin DIP package, wow!).

 

Another chip I dreamed about was the CP1600 (instruction set a lot like the PDP-11).  I think it was the first 16-bit micro.  I actually bought one mounted on an IBM PC board.  It sure was a lot faster than the 8086.  Mostly I used it to run Mandelbrot programs - who remembers that craze?

Last Edited: Mon. Jul 22, 2019 - 04:12 PM
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BTW, did anybody else pour over these for countless hours?

 

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BTW, did anybody else pour over these for countless hours?

Got the 4/8 bit edition on a shelf a few feet away, along with some Rockwell AIM_65 (6502) books  & some CDP1802 data books. Buried under a bunch of empty cardboard boxes in a remote corner is a file cabinet I've had since around 1977---I used to collect all electronics & computer catalogs (including MITS catalogs)...I don't think I've opened it in 25 years (and even then it had sat 15 years), but certainly some oldies in in there.  I probably have some really old Polypaks & Digikey catalogs in there too.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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avrcandies wrote:
some really old Polypaks & Digikey catalogs

PolyPaks, they used to sell a 55 gal drum of misc parts (always assumed they were rejects and floor sweepings), never could figure out who would buy such a thing....

until I walked into my first electronics lab in college and guess what was by the door, yes a 55 gal drum of parts, and next to that was the curve tracer!

The first lab was how to use a curve tracer to find the semiconductor part you needed for the following labs.

Spent many spare hours identifying parts I needed and taping them into my lab note book.  I used to be pretty good at using a curve tracer, but that has faded......

 

Jim

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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6809 early 1980s.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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clawson wrote:
So, to this day what was everyone's favourite CPU architecture?

 

From the ones I know (Z80, x86, ARM, AVR and a bit of Xtensa) I have to say ARM (full ARM, not thumb) because of it's elegance. AVR comes 2nd. I guess I just like the simplicity of RISC.

And you are right, segmentation was (is) quite a mess in x86.

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I liked the 8096 (timeframe latter 80's) for some products we developed...those were fun times.  Working with the 8096 made my Apple II seem so slooow.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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El Tangas wrote:
And you are right, segmentation was (is) quite a mess in x86.
Indeed for assembly though hidden by a HLL.

Reading the Intel manuals was a learning experience though just enough assembly language to call "main" for an embedded 486.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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So, to this day what was everyone's favourite CPU architecture?

 

it's hard  but like cliff the zero page on the 6502 and clean instructions set of the 68000.

 

And then I will say I had a fun challenge programming a 4 bit Samsung LCD micro. (SAM4).

I think it was missing 48 instructions, that could be made into a combo of 2 one byte instructions, or 1 two byte instruction.

And if you had same kind of load instructions after each other, they would be executed as nop's (skip) so :

L1    LD    A,#5

L2    LD    A,#2

L3    LD    A,#1   

would leave A with 5 if you jump to L1 and 2 for L2 (a bit like the flags on a ARM7 in 32 bit mode).

 

and it had a skip if a function returned false (RET for normal and RETS for return false).

It had HW where bit's either could be part of a byte or flags in 8 address.  

 

I can tell you that that the code could be very compact :)

And with a good structure it was easy to read and write code for it.  

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90S1200.  As a UART to provide a serial bus interface to a bunch of dedicated logic chips.  I didn't dig 'down' to get into microcontrollers - I went up.  As a COF (cranky old fart) I still think of assembler as a 'high-level language'.  S.

 

Edited to add:  The best hardware architecture is the one I built for the job it had to do.  So there...  ;-P  S.

Last Edited: Mon. Jul 22, 2019 - 11:40 PM
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Motorola HC12 (assembly and C) was my first. Since then I've used Atmel AVR (C and C++), an Intel 8051 derivative (assembly), and the Parallax Propeller (assembly, Spin, C, and C++). The Atmel AVR is definitely my favorite out of these.

github.com/apcountryman/build-avr-gcc: a script for building avr-gcc

github.com/apcountryman/toolchain-avr-gcc: a CMake toolchain for cross compiling for the Atmel AVR family of microcontrollers

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2904 bit-slice for the win

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In mid 70’s, I started designing and selling simple light controllers (via triacs) for outdoor panels (of theatres, nightclubs, big stores...) by using discrete components only.

After about two years, I heard of TTL ICs and my boards became smaller with more functions.

Then, after hearing of EPROMs, most boards I sold consisted of a 555 timer, a CMOS counter, an EPROM and triac drivers.

The introduction of Z80 CPU in my local market (late 70’s) gave me the chance to build controllers for outdoor moving message signs. Although the project had to stop soon after I finished it, I used Z80 to build various industrial controllers for special tasks (besides the simple light controllers).

My last product which had Z80 was a standalone controller for satellite dish motor. The user could program it to accept its commands from any IR remote set he had. But its board was rather complex because I had to also include on it an EPROM programmer to save, during the last milliseconds (a few tens), 3 status bytes at mains cut-off. Yes, since the EPROM was 64K*8, the End of Life of the product would be after about 21,000 cut-offs :) assuming 2536 bytes for code. This was around mid 90’s when someone sent me the datasheet of AT89C51. By using this MCU, I had the chance to design also a smart dish positioner ;) which let the dish point at a satellite by just entering its angle (in degrees); as long it is between two satellites whose positions and angles were set properly...

 

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Of course, when we had nothing better to do, we'd mess around with our HP-41 & try out new "synthetic programming" tricks upon our pals.

 

https://www.hpmuseum.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/hpmuseum/archv005.cgi?read=9180

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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I lusted after assorted microcomputers, but they always seemed a bit out-of-reach.  Besides, I had mainframes to play with...  The COSMAC Elf was one of them; I wrote 1802 assembler, on paper, that was destined never to run...

 

In college, there were assorted CP/M and S100 systems floating around, but I was rather mainframe-bound.  But I was programming the mainframes in Assembly language, so "having my own computer" didn't seem like too much of a stretch.  (but still, there seemed to be more important things to spend money on.  So... lots of "book knowledge and exploration", not so much actual "micros."

 

(I'm not quite sure that these are in order:)

I wrote an 8085 emulator for the PDP-10, and typed in Kilobaud's Forth implementation to run on it.  I think it almost worked.  (the 8085 emulator later "inspired" a company to release a similar but greatly expanded "CP/M Emulator" for the same mainframe.

 

I guess somewhere in there, I keyed in the "kit car" blinking lights program to an Intel 8080 or 8008 box via front panel switches (once!), worked "lightly" on a "terminal" driver for the new video card in a Cromenco that was "around" (did you know that a raw video display doesn't understand "CR" or "LF"?), and played with a Votrax speech sythesizer.

 

But I guess the first actual "ran meaningful code on a micro" was when the EE Seniors got Intel SDK-86 boards that we had to assemble, and hopefully do something with.  (mind you, at this time, there was essentially an "EEs don't program" mentality.)  With my "fiddling" background, I shortly had my board scrolling "PLEASE HELP" across the 8279-controlled 7segment display, and the professor saw it and made me explain to the class how it worked...  I did my "Senior Design Project" based on that board - I added an Interrupt Controller (using SSL TTL) and an external ADC, implementing a "grab some timed samples" and a "voltmeter."  It was a bit toy-ish for such a project, IMO, but I'm probably lucky they didn't OK my "Async Serial Ring Network" proposal ("Too much software!"), which would have been biting off more than I could chew.

 

I wrote the mainframe side of an XMODEM file transfer protocol.  ( http://quux.org:70/Archives/usen... )

 

The mainframe side XMODEM got re-written for a different OS at my first job ( http://www.oocities.org/westfw/m... ), and was used by SIMTEL-20 to support US Army (and maybe other people) downloading of CP/M and MSDOS "shareware."

 

When the IBM-PC came out, I did a rather locally-specific client-side terminal emulator/download utility ( http://www.oocities.org/westfw/i... ), which I attempted to turn into a commercial venture that would have competed with the likes of CrossTalk version 1.  Unfortunately (or perhaps not), that failed rather spectacularly on the business side of things (all pre-production), leading me to learn quite a bit about software publishing, copyrights, and How to Pay a Lawyer.

 

The x86 background turned out to be pretty important in getting me my "forever job" as my favorite mainframes Went Away...

 

(I excitedly followed PICs and Basic Stamps and AVRs and BASIC52 and etc as they came out and/or were covered in the hobby magazines, but never really did anything with them; I was busy doing other things.  Likewise, my piecemeal CP/M system was never quite completed. (first it was going to use a serial connection instead of dialup, and then I gave up and ordered 8inch floppies (or maybe just 1?), and then the IBM PC came out and things moved REALLY FAST in that area...  Sigh.)

 

 

to this day what was everyone's favourite CPU architecture?

The PDP-10 (9bit opcodes!  SO many instructions, so elegantly structured)(didn't scale very well to larger memories, though), and the 68k for something more micro-y.

PDP-10 instruction set diagram

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6809 still my favourite. If someone made one with built-in memory and I/O, running at 16mHz, I'd still be using it.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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Dream 6800 with CHIPOS monitor and ASM. Early 80s.
Much later met the designer, Michael Bauer at his 40th (I think it was) birthday party.
Dusted it off and took it along with happy birthday running across the screen.

Last Edited: Tue. Jul 23, 2019 - 09:09 AM
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My most thumbed book was a copy of the Z80 opcodes but sadly I cannot find a picture of it online (and my actual copy must be hidden in a box in my loft these days) but in searching I was reminded of:

 

 

The Zaks book about Z80 was the "bible" in the same sense that K&R was/is to to C!

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John_A_Brown wrote:

6809 still my favourite. If someone made one with built-in memory and I/O, running at 16mHz, I'd still be using it.

Hellsyeah.

 

clawson wrote:

The Zaks book about Z80 was the "bible" in the same sense that K&R was/is to to C!

My brother and I called this 'the book':

https://www.google.com/search?q=Color+Computer+Assembly+Language+Programming+William+Barden

https://archive.org/details/Color_Computer_Assembly_Language_Programming_1983_William_Barden_Jr

 

Our copy looked very much more loved than that one.

 

Of course there was always this:

https://www.google.com/search?q=6809+Assembly+Language+Programming+lance+leventhal

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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Joey, I was going to post a photo of my copy of Lance's book, but couldn't lay my hand on my camera fast enough.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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valusoft wrote:

Joey, I was going to post a photo of my copy of Lance's book, but couldn't lay my hand on my camera fast enough.

Do it anyway!  That's just a random jpg from the tubes... not a snap of my own copy... which is I don't know where...

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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joeymorin wrote:

John_A_Brown wrote:

 

6809 still my favourite. If someone made one with built-in memory and I/O, running at 16mHz, I'd still be using it.

 

Hellsyeah.

 

From what I gather, maybe it exists in an horribly mutated form as NXP's S12Z series. These register maps do show some similarities:

 

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You guys are going to make me find my 6809 programmers reference card now! 

Jim

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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I'm actually quite surprised there are so many 6809 users. In what form did folks use them? 

 

In the UK your access to "micros" tended to be what designers had built into readily available kits or systems.

 

So for Z80 you had things like Nascom, TRS-80, Sinclair ZXs/Spectrums, Amstrad CPC's and PCWs,  Enterprise (anyone remember??), Jupiter Ace, Sharp MZ, Einstein.

For 6502 you had things like the Acorn machines (Atom, BBC-B), Commodore (C64, VIC20, PET), UK101, Microtan 65, Oric. 

 

But for 6809 the only one I can actually remember was the Dragon.

 

So did everyone get their 6809 fix with a Dragon or were there other systems?

 

EDIT Ah Ha - this list on Wikipedia is very illuminating (especially if you use the sort arrow on "Processors" to group machines of the same CPU). So was it "TRS-80 Color" computers that everyone was finding 6809's in?

 

EDIT2: I'm now reminded of OS/9:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OS-9 which then went on to be a multi-platform OS from humble beginnings on 6809. I remember flying to US once to visit Microware in Iowa - it sticks in the mind as it was near the bridges of Madison County. We had hoped to use their OS as the kernel in our satellite TV systems but that was later over-ruled by Sky TV anyway. I still have an OS9 mug somewhere. In fact what also sticks in the mind was blagging the goodies from them. Our technical director and I went away from there with bags full of stuff including a really nice branded jacket (about 3 shirt sizes ago!)

Last Edited: Tue. Jul 23, 2019 - 04:19 PM
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I never used a 6809.   But it certainly looked very attractive.

 

I don't think that the 6809 went into any mass market hobby computers.

 

David.

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Yep, I did my 6809 stuff on a TRS-80 Color Computer.  Kind of a funky machine, built to cost as little as possible.  I actually designed a box to plug into it that had a floppy controller, memory, and a Z-80 so I could run CP/M or Flex9.

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MattRW wrote:

2904 bit-slice for the win

 

2901's.  Still used in a production board...  (40-pin DIP, too!)  S.

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clawson wrote:
But for 6809 the only one I can actually remember was the Dragon.

I don't remember the Dragon, but in the US there was the Radio Shack (didn't they OWN the micro market at one time, yes they did) Coco, SWTPC and other SS-50 bus machines, Heathkit, Altair 680( I think there was an 09 upgrade), and some single board systems as well, but can't remember any details.

There were some others but memory is fading......

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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clawson wrote:

Also had Tangerine Microtan 65...

 

Snap. Bought as a kit and hand delivered as the director used to pass my house on the home to and from work. Then a Nascom 2, which got heavily expanded to run CP/M and which morphed into a full Gemini system.

#1 Hardware Problem? https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

#2 Hardware Problem? Read AVR042.

#3 All grounds are not created equal

#4 Have you proved your chip is running at xxMHz?

#5 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand."

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clawson wrote:
So was it "TRS-80 Color" computers that everyone was finding 6809's in?
Guilty

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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I designed a couple things using Motorola 68000 series, but never got to make either. In the first case, I was told, "We don't use non-Intel processors."

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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My 6809 experience was initially on an SWTP computer with the 09 card. Later I built my own. I also did a fair few re-writes of one-armed-bandit stuff on PCBs that use the 6809. The original games were, I believe, programned in Forth. I used assembly.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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Gawd, ancient history.

 

Started with an SCMP 8060 in a Sinclair MK14 (which I still have) and then a 6502 Microtan 65 (that makes three of us here, I think) expanded just as far as I could to fill a 19" rack with self-designed boards. Played with 6800, 6809, 8080, Z80 (hated the opcodes on the Z80 and always considered it awkward to program) and then 8086 and its descendants - though the 386 was really the last thing I programmed in machine code. Let's add the early ARM chips, 12 and 14 bit PIC, AVR, 8047 controllers. Currently 32 bit ARM in the day job.

 

Had the MK14 and Microtan; used a 6809 on a project modified from a cash register, of all things; Sinclair ZX80 (delivered broken but I fixed it); BBC micros in bulk as I used them at work for all sorts of things; one of Cliff's Amstrad 512k PCs (the OU swore that it would be suitable for all my courses - it wasn't).

 

Built a couple of DIY processors, and the latest - see the gloating thread - is heavily based on an 8080. Things go round in circles... and my favourite was still the 6502 which is the processor to which all others aspire.

 

Neil

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ki0bk wrote:

You guys are going to make me find my 6809 programmers reference card now! 

Jim

 

I will save you the trouble Jim.

 

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Started home computing "late" in 1984 with a $50 Radio Shack little version Color Computer known as the MC10.  It had a Motorola 6803 CPU {which was a 6802 with a UART and an I/O port}, along with a Motorola 6847 composite-video graphics and 40x32 ASCII character generator chip. 

 

  It was a simple BASIC-trainer with a chicklets miniature keyboard.  The BASIC internal code was hand-written by Bill Gates before IBM contracted his "company" Microsoft Inc. {which at that time was just Bill and a shared receptionist} to do the OS on their new PC business computer.  IBM decided to let their noisy little upstart Boca Raton Florida division make their silly little "personal" computer just so that it would go down in flames spectacularly and they would just shut up and let the boys get back to making real computers: the "big iron" room-fillers like the model 360 that real men paid millions of dollars to use.

 

  After a short while I realized that you couldn't "do" anything with a Radio Shack miniCoCo and so moved up to my first serious computer: the Commodore 64.  I actually bought the book (at $60 in today's money) Compute!'s Machine Language for Beginners 2 that had a fully working symbolic assembler along with a detailed explanation of every line of assembler code.

 

  Never had a 6809 machine, but I reviewed its instruction set.  I still have a MIDI tone module that is based on the Motorola "Hershey Bar" CPU: the 68000.

  So what happened to Motorola?  Did they get bought by Microchip as part of the Atmel deal?

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I think Motorola spun off its semi division into Freescale, and now they're part of NXP.  Hard to keep track!

 

And speaking of the 6847, I built a fair number of home-brew video cards using the 6845, mostly connected to 8080s or Z-80s.

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6502 in an Arari, I recall it being a fun little machine.

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kk6gm wrote:
I think Motorola spun off its semi division into Freescale, ...
some or all of the remainder to ON Semiconductor.

ON Semiconductor Corporate History

Microcontroller Devices | ON Semiconductor

Microcontrollers | ON Semiconductor

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Mon. Aug 3, 2020 - 11:07 PM
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ron_sutherland wrote:

6502 in an Arari, I recall it being a fun little machine.

I had -finally- saved enough money to buy an Apple II and they went and raised the price, so I bought an Atari 800 instead (with Star Raiders!).  Then I got hired by an Atari-centric game company to design them a floppy disk duplicator, which was a large PCB that plugged directly into the Atari cartridge slot and cranked out 8 floppies at a time.

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Created a fair amount of 6502 projects, on our own boards, also a few that plugged into an apple II.  Later moved on to some 68HC11 projects...was excited since it included built-in EEPROM....amazing!   

 

The MC68HC11A8 was the first microcontroller to include CMOS EEPROM

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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moved on to some 68HC11 project

I ave around 20,000 boards spread all over the world with that chip.  The original version fitted everything inside the 2K EEPROM, (E2?), then we moved to the E9 when some of the chips were no longer available and the feature creeps started to come in.

 

Everything written in ASM of course, the C compiler costed several months of mortgage repayments!

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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We made some signs using an 8085 variant, it was the first controller that only required single supply +5V, rather than an assortment of voltages.   We also used it in some systems with bubble memory for storage (I have some pics of that system lurking in a folder in a box in a cabinet somewhere).   

 

Let's ask Intel to bring it back!

 

an interesting read:

http://smithsonianchips.si.edu/ice/cd/STATUS98/SEC06.PDF

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

Last Edited: Wed. Jul 24, 2019 - 07:32 AM
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I was interested to know where that graph went next. This table is quite interesting:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transistor_count#Microprocessors

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I'm curious as to the significance of the 320 bit hex string on the chip.  Never seen anything like that before.

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I'm curious as to the significance of the 320 bit hex string on the chip.  Never seen anything like that before.

I'd suspect it is some sort of encoded marker for bad bits, though I might be way off my rocker switch.

 

Let's bring back bubble memory, they said it was the future.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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It's actually an encoding of the text "I know the meaning of life is ... (damn, no more room)"!

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According to contemporary records, the first commercial bubble memory module was the TBM0103 announced by Texas Instruments (TI) in 1977. Oddly, its apparent prototype TBM0101 was mentioned instead, in this article in the BYTE magazine issue of June 1979. The TBM0103 was a 92 Kbit module that was used internally in some TI products. My image shows a pair of modules in such a TI device. The string of hexadecimal digits printed on the label stuck on each module is a mask that specifies which of the minor loops should not be used because of defects. The device's nominal capacity is less than its true physical capacity so that defective loops can be left unused. This is a feature of most of the modules shown below, although later types had the mask pre-stored in one of the minor loops by the manufacturer, so that the user did not have to read the label and program an EPROM on their board. Of course this meant that, instead, the module manufacturer had to test and program each module.

 

FROM

http://www.wylie.org.uk/technology/computer/bubblmem/bubblmem.htm

 

INTEL HANDBOOK

https://archive.org/details/IntelBubbleMemoryDesignHandbook/page/n1

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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Wow, interesting about the bad loops.  I'd have thought, if they were going to mark the bad sections on a label, they'd at least make a label that was easily machine readable.

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 they'd at least make a label that was easily machine readable.

I think reading UPC barcodes were only about 10 years old in 1981.....we probably forget it was a "miracle" to read a simple code to look up the price for a can of hearty soup.  A few cash registers then were still 200 pounds of gears.

 

 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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avrcandies wrote:
.we probably forget it was a "miracle" to read a simple code to look up the price for a can of hearty soup.  A few cash registers then were still 200 pounds of gears.

That was what I was doing in '81, making OCR price tag readers for retail cash registers!

 

Jim

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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I remember entering the bad sector list into Netware before installing the new hard drive. Then thought, "This is nuts!"

 

Instead, I just put it in with all the bad sectors, started up the server, then ran a program to write to a file till some error happened. Of course, the correct error is "out of space." Netware would happily hot-fix all the bad sectors, mapping them to good and the task was done without having to read all those tiny smeared numbers poorly printed on a shiny label.

 

Remember the Doctor Who episode "Logopolis" where they pulled all the bubble memory boards out of the alien computer and brought them to earth to run the program that was holding back entrophy?

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

Last Edited: Thu. Aug 1, 2019 - 05:01 PM
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I'm a bit late to the game with 6809 stuff - when I was a spotty teenager I did many add-on cards for this computer:

 

http://murcam.byethost5.com/peac...

These were a high end home computer - very nice keyboard and video display (for the time). 

 

When the hitachi double density disk drives became available, I looked at the MP1802 dual controller card and thought - 'I can do that in one'. It was done in 2/3 the size of one card. Sold a few of these as my card interfaced to 'normal' floppy drives.

Next was the MP1806 - 8" DD floppy, again, this was done on a pcb 2/3 the size of one of Hitachi's. I added connectors for both the 50pin and 34pin interfaces for the then new high density 5 1/4" floppies.

 

Everyone wanted to run cp/m, so I designed a board with a Z80, 64k dram and some back to back i/o ports so the 6809 was used effectively as a terminal and disk controller. The hitachi natively ran Microsoft level3 basic from rom and with the disk drives you got disk basic. With the Z80 card, you could map the punch and reader under cp/m to read/write any of the hitachi devices like the keyboard, printer, disk drive etc. The guys who wrote the code had it when you first accessed the punch or reader it would ask what you wanted it mapped to. You could be running cp/m on one disk drive and transferring data to/from the hitachi disk basic drive. We sold a few hundred of these Z80 boards. Even had a picture appear in a japanese magazine!

 

Most of us will remember the SPO256/AL2 speech synth chip - I put one of these along with two AY-3-8910 PSG (programmable sound gen) chips, A battery backed real time clock, two Atari compatible joystick interfaces and 16 bits of i/o onto a board. Unfortunately, this board was not super popular. The guys that did the software did a splendid job of text to speech and sound effects. I can remember the demo code saying 'eat lead sucker!'

 

The last board I did was a hard disk interface (10MB!) and a networking interface using RS485 with manchester encoded data at 125kBit/s. This was supported under cp/m and the disk basic.

 

All this before I turned 18!! I was lucky I had a number of skilled people to help me, especially with the pcbs and the software.

 

As for processors - started with the sc/mp, to the z80, to the 6809 and as time went on I did more embedded stuff with 8051 and Z180. In the early 90's it was hc11 as well then the AVR around 2000 then ARM7. There was some 68K mixed in along the way.

 

Atmel had a good range of flash 8051 micros. The AVR was a step up from these. When the AVRs were released, they were a stunning product and luckily there were a couple of low cost C compilers.

 

 

 

 

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Going though some boxes and found this.  This is the book that changed my life.

 

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My first microcomputer was the Radio Shack color computer.  I ran Microware's OS9 on it.

 

The first microcontroller I bought was Microchip's  PIC16F688-E/P kit.  I looked at it and decided it was a POS and vowed to never buy anything from Microchip.  crying  The first microcontroller I actually used was a kit with Motorola's HC11. 

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Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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Pencils? You 'ad pencils? Eee, we used to dream o' pencils.

In our 'ouse we only 'ad slates an' chalk, an' we din't 'ave no chalk so we 'ad to scratch us slate's wi' us fingernails...

 

Neil (why yes, I am from Yorkshire! Why do you ask?)

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kk6gm wrote:

Going though some boxes and found this.  This is the book that changed my life.

 

 

I wore one of those books out!

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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kk6gm wrote:

Going though some boxes and found this.  This is the book that changed my life.

 

I don't even have to open a box; these live on the shelf in front of me...

 

 

...along with this...

 

#1 Hardware Problem? https://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/...

#2 Hardware Problem? Read AVR042.

#3 All grounds are not created equal

#4 Have you proved your chip is running at xxMHz?

#5 "If you think you need floating point to solve the problem then you don't understand the problem. If you really do need floating point then you have a problem you do not understand."

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I chucked all my assembly language books out last year. I figured all that stuff's on the net these days.
I looked on eBay first, to make sure they weren't collectible...

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

Last Edited: Sun. Aug 4, 2019 - 08:50 AM
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On the bookshelf next to me, I can still see Dos Programmer's Reference; 8086/8088, A Small C Compiler, Programming with QT, QT Programming, Android for Dummies, Java, Microsoft Foundation Classes, Windows API New Testament... judging by the dust I obviously haven't used them recently. In the attic are Zaks and Leventhal's 8-bit references.

 

The internet is wonderful, but try looking for a generic guide to writing an assembler for a generic processor. Not so easy - I may have to do it from first principles.

 

Neil

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My first code was for the 4004. For an IEEE class. First production code was for 6801. (Actually a 68701). This was the board controller for all the line  and trunk cards for the Ericsson MD110 EAPBX USA interfaces. After designing the hardware I wrote the call processing firmware in assembly using a Motorola EXORMACS system

 

Used the 6809 for the main CPU in the Ericsson MD110 EAPBX. I did not write any for production but did assist an engineer debugging the code. He was not interested in my help to fix a random issue where the CPU would reset. He knew I was working on the controller side of things. I was looking at the 6809 pocket reference guide and noticed that one instruction had a note besides it saying it could be used incorrectly. I looked at his code printout and found an incorrect usage. I showed this to him and it was the issue. He seemed to think more of me after that. Especially since I never took any credit for the find. RTFM, I always say.

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barnacle wrote:

On the bookshelf next to me, I can still see Dos Programmer's Reference; 8086/8088, A Small C Compiler, Programming with QT, QT Programming, Android for Dummies, Java, Microsoft Foundation Classes, Windows API New Testament... judging by the dust I obviously haven't used them recently. In the attic are Zaks and Leventhal's 8-bit references.

 

The internet is wonderful, but try looking for a generic guide to writing an assembler for a generic processor. Not so easy - I may have to do it from first principles.

 

Neil


I have done so in the past. I also wrote a "universal" disassembler. Although I expect it was only 8 bit capable.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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Regarding universal assemblers, I know of one: "flat assembler g" https://flatassembler.net/docs.php

But it has a quite complex syntax, as would be expected.

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In my mid twenties I had an SWTP 6800 system at work. We bought a symbolic assembler on floppy, complete with the source.
One lunchtime, after a beer, I announced my intention to rewrite it to cope with the 6502 instruction set that afternoon. I was ridiculed by a couple of my co-workers, and rightly so, as I didn't finish until after 7:30, which is early evening in anyone's book.
If somebody asked me to quote for a task like that today, I'd probably ask for a week.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

Last Edited: Mon. Aug 12, 2019 - 11:48 AM
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6502 assembly on a KIM-1 back in college in the early 80's

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If somebody asked me to quote for a task like that today, I'd probably ask for a week.

Now, it takes that long to get a valid datasheet 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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Good point. I had a book on 6502 assembly language already. I seem to remember it was from MOS technology, but might have been the Lance Leventhal book. Long time ago. Probably all false memories. No doubt I was actually Prime Minister at the time, but my brain is blocking out painful recollections.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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Such is still alive on ASIC though the FPGA version has advantages.

MyMENSCH, Mymensch, Max10, FPGA, IoT, W65Cx65MMC (Western Design Center)

 

edit :

IIRC, Z80 doesn't have a zero price C toolchain though 6502 does.

6502,65C02,65C816,Tools,WDCTools,Download

 

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Tue. Aug 13, 2019 - 11:02 PM
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There are free C compilers for cp/m.

(In that case I would probably use a turbo pascal, as I remember it was given free a while back  )

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For me I ordered the STK500 and was quite pleased to figure out how to get it to blink!

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For me I ordered the STK500 and was quite pleased to figure out how to get it to blink!

 

Blink, or blink backwards...  (inverse logic).

 

 

I get it, its really a nice design, and the LED intensity is independent of the uC's operating voltage.

 

But still, my brain works best with NPN transistors and true, (non-inverted), logic.

 

JC 

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Right you are JC - I remember scratching my head at off to turn on early on!!!

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We knew that you weren't from Dover 'cause every child there picks up a piece of chalk from the white cliffs on their way to school.

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DocJC wrote:

But still, my brain works best with NPN transistors and true, (non-inverted), logic.

JC 

 

The old OTP programmable logic chips had (they still have, I just don't use them much anymore...) the odd detail that they could drive harder (sink more current) low than they could drive (source) high.  So for signals in noisy environments or lots of fan-out, active-low logic was preferable.  I guess that warped my brain the other way.  I like inversion.  S.

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Scroungre wrote:
The old OTP programmable logic chips had (they still have, I just don't use them much anymore...) the odd detail that they could drive harder (sink more current) low than they could drive (source) high.  So for signals in noisy environments or lots of fan-out, active-low logic was preferable. 

Yes, a holdover from the RTL / TTL days.  We would never have thought to drive an LED or small relay with a high output.  The world became a better place when high-current CMOS output stages arrived.

 

BTW, and apropos of nothing, the entire Apollo guidance computer was built of RTL 3-input NOR gates.  1 gate to a package originally, later 2 gates to a package.

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kk6gm wrote:
... Yes, a holdover from the RTL / TTL days.  We would never have thought to drive an LED or small relay with a high output.  The world became a better place when high-current CMOS output stages arrived....

Not to mention the original (low-current) metal gate CMOS. After using that, I knew the days of Toasty Top Logic were numbered.

 

These days, 4000-series CMOS does just fine directly driving LEDs, which have gotten much more efficient. It is hard to believe that 50 years after introduction, it is still being used for new designs.

- John

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These days, 4000-series CMOS does just fine directly driving LEDs, which have gotten much more efficient. It is hard to believe that 50 years after introduction, it is still being used for new designs.

That old metal gate CMOS has really really super low quiescent current (like 10 nA & 0.000001 uA pin input current)...at least at room temperature.  I think most other families were magnitudes higher.  you could also run 'e,m from a 9V battery.

You can also bias some of them to use as linear amplifiers!  In fact somewhere I have a databook (appbook) for that purpose. 

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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And you only had to look at them, and they was killed of static :(

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avrcandies wrote:
You can also bias some of them to use as linear amplifiers!  In fact somewhere I have a databook (appbook) for that purpose. 

 

Here are the archived appnotes from former Fairchild Semi:

https://web.archive.org/web/2015...

 

The most interesting are the older ones with 2 or 3 appnote digits. In this particular case, AN-88.

 

Last Edited: Sat. Aug 17, 2019 - 10:32 AM
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sparrow2 wrote:

And you only had to look at them, and they was killed of static :(

On that basis I have to say I must be the luckiest person on the planet. I have NEVER lost a single 4000 series chip handling/soldering thousands of them by hand. I guess YMMV.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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By the time I got to touch 4000 series cmos, they were up to the B series. They were pretty robust for me. They did have a nasty habit of coupling faults on the output back to the inputs. This made fault finding tricky.

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The first 50 ICs I pulled out of an old parts box were half A-series and half B. I was similarly lucky and never zapped a part.

- John

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Today, purely by chance, I discovered that the first two computers I had - a Sinclair MK14 and a Microtan 65 - are both now available as replicated boards. More to the point, I can get 74s571 4x512 memories filled with the original Sinclair code - which is handy as mine have severe bitrot.

 

Neil

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All you old timers make me chuckle.  My first micro programming experience was on an ATmega128, and I promptly joined AVRFreaks for help.  My first programming experience was on a CDC6600 in the early '70s, just when it gave up it's title as the fastest computer in the world, according to Wikipedia, to the CDC7600, which I did my thesis calculations on.  I went to the University of Minnesota, and CDC was a Minnesota company, so we always got the latest and greatest from CDC, probably beta versions.  If I had been smarter I would have learned assembler, but our group did everything in FORTRAN.  I still dont know assembler.  That's what compilers are for.  I seem to remember the maximum memory I could request was 107k octal, but I think those were 64 bit words.

 

What are the first mainframes all you old timers worked on?

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I am probably still a little young to be an old timer.

 

For about four months, from 2200 until 0300 each night, I was essentially the only user on a Cray 1. It had a magnificently fast FORTRAN compiler and mass storage, that chewed through a (virtual) 100 000 card deck in 0.7 seconds.

- John

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I have a friend who worked at Cray in the early days, and he liked to say he had the fastest FFT in the world.  I would tell him that wasn't such a huge honor seeing how he was doing it on the fastest computer in the world.  I never got to work on a Cray, but lots of Prime's and IBM's.

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Speaking (indirectly) of Seymour Cray, a while back I read a great book, "When Computers Went To Sea," about the digitization of the US Navy in the 50s and 60s.  Cray designed the original hardware, the AN/USQ-17.  Apparently (IIRC) it was intended to be a 32-bit computer but the germanium transistors available just didn't have the drive (for what?  carry?), so it ended up being a 30-bit design.

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 I have NEVER lost a single 4000 series chip handling/soldering thousands 

The lead poisoning probably erased your memory...surprise  Actually, how did we survive flux, lead, trichor cleaner, acetone & everthing else that is banned.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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The CD4000 chips were great because they could drive LEDs directly. 

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So could TTL. The 4000 series cmos had really poor current drive coupled with old tech LEDs, meant very average brightness.

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Indeed, if you powered it at TTL supply voltages. Traditional CMOS does much better at 12–18V. Or you can use 4049/4050 buffers which, driving an LED, have minimum sink and source currents of 10 mA at 5V, or 20 mA typical.

 

I am currently designing a simple digital camera tether, with 4000-series CMOS, to see what I have learned and forgotten over the years. It will directly drive its LEDs without resistors. At 5V, the first half dozen, recent production ICs I have tried, all source and sink a bit better than the typical values in their datasheets. As does some good, socialist, new/old stock from the former East Germany. I suspect manufacturing tolerances have tightened a little over the last five decades.

 

So far the controller needs three more parts than an AVR-based design, with the BOM costing about the same, at least in Digikey quantities. I am pretty sure I could eliminate a couple more parts at a roughly 10% loss in timing accuracy.

- John

Last Edited: Fri. Aug 23, 2019 - 05:04 AM
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avrcandies wrote:
Actually, how did we survive flux, lead, trichor cleaner, acetone & everthing else that is banned.
Some of you didn't.

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

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I had almost forgotten about "tricho". I wonder what happened to my can of it from the late 60s. Was a great cleaner for pcbs.

Ross McKenzie ValuSoft Melbourne Australia

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When I was in jr/high school, I etched a PCB in the garage with some ferric chloride in a tray.  Very amazed & happy that it produced my first board, I quickly ran off to the house to build it up.  Maybe a week or 2 later, I want back in the garage & noticed every wrench & screwdriver hanging above was extremely corroded & dripping rust, like they had been recovered from the Titanic.    I made sure that didn't happen again!           

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

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valusoft wrote:

sparrow2 wrote:

And you only had to look at them, and they was killed of static :(

On that basis I have to say I must be the luckiest person on the planet. I have NEVER lost a single 4000 series chip handling/soldering thousands of them by hand. I guess YMMV.

 

Never had trouble with that either, though I did not do thousands of them. Once lost some by accidentally touching the 9v battery to the snap the wrong way around. Did lots of projects in high school and junior college with 4000 series "cosmos." Many projects started with a 6.3v transformer, diode, capacitor and add the logic from there.

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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Torby wrote:
Never had trouble with that either, ...
We (team members) were shown a micro-photograph of the damage to a CMOS device due to ESD that led to the production cessation (IIRC, one skipped a step in a procedure)

The result was another round of ESD prevention training for all.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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My first experience was 8bit pic mcu from microchip, well that actually very first time i ever wrote code when started with that.

 

Made a voltage monitor for my car to shutdown amplifiers if voltage did drop below X level, which was adjustable. I had to get the paid version of XC8 to fit the code in the mcu, its funny how the free version insisted that my code takes +100% of space, but the "paid" version said 40% of space used(yes it does bloat the code, or atleast did in past).... needless to say i moved to AVR after that. 

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Talking of old timers, who remembers the 9062?

 

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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gchapman wrote:

Torby wrote:
Never had trouble with that either, ...
We (team members) were shown a micro-photograph of the damage to a CMOS device due to ESD that led to the production cessation (IIRC, one skipped a step in a procedure)

The result was another round of ESD prevention training for all.

 

 

Get regular ESD training here at my new job. Odd that they don't consider bare feet to be adequate contact with the grounded floor mat

If you don't know my whole story, keep your mouth shut.

If you know my whole story, you're an accomplice. Keep your mouth shut. 

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There was the fairchild 9602 monostable, as for the 9062, whose chip was that?

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Old timers/monostable - is Mr Brown making puns?

 

Neil

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Kartman wrote:
There was the fairchild 9602 monostable, as for the 9062, whose chip was that?

You're right!
I should have said, "who misremembers the 9062?".

Should have gone with 555. Transposition proof.

Thought it was too obvious, though.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

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Many years ago i had a circuit that used a 74ls123 that would falsely trigger on power-up. A friend suggested using a 9602 - this cured the problem. Was the first and last time i used a 9602.

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Kartman wrote:
... A friend suggested using a 9602 - this cured the problem. Was the first and last time i used a 9602.

I have used the CD4528, CD4538 and CD14538, which were and are, metal gate CMOS one-shots with the same pinout. The latter two address a couple quirks of the 4528.

- John

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"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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A bit late to the dance...

 

Mine was RCA 1802. You basically had to key in the program, one instruction at a time. That was not that different from the PDP8/ASR33 (?) that I played with about the same time. Just manual instead of punched tape. Never built a complete project with it :=(  

 

Much later, there was 8051. Did LOTs, all assembly language.

 

Jim

 

Until Black Lives Matter, we do not have "All Lives Matter"!

 

 

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ka7ehk wrote:
Mine was RCA 1802.
Likewise immediately after college via a cross-assembler on a DEC PDP-11/34 (edit: maintenance of BIT on dual 1802 with dual-port RAM)

Today and if one's so inclined on the Atom editor (edit, link to the cross-assembler)

https://atom.io/packages/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=keyword:1802

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Tue. Aug 4, 2020 - 12:08 AM
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Mine was RCA 1802. 

Maaaann...  That wan't the first processor I used, but CDP1802 was the first I used a lot for an extended interval...knew every microscopic aspect of that chip, like a walking timing diagram & opcode lookup table in your head. We bought some expensive logic analyzer & I was "in charge" of learning all about it.  For fun, we were shooting paper clips in the lab & one zoomed right into the slots....we about dropped our drawers & to rip it apart, hoping for the best...got verrry lucky.

When in the dark remember-the future looks brighter than ever.   I look forward to being able to predict the future!

Last Edited: Tue. Aug 4, 2020 - 12:33 AM
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I lived in a small town in S.C., and the only place to get anything electronic was the TV repair shop. (yeah, they still had those)  Go in and ask for a Z80, and they'd look at you like you had three heads.   Other than being a microprocessor, I didn't know much about it, but I wanted to know everything about it.   (the Popular Electronics aritcle on building the ELF, got me started, but I never built it, I have the plans and most of the parts, so maybe one day..... another unfinished project)

It took a long time, I figured there was some sort of conspiracy to keep people from learning about microprocessors. (no internet had not been available yet).  I finally started working at a medical electronics company, and worked with a guy that had the same interest in micros, and the same problems.   Never did get far, we just couldn't find good information.  Like what the heck is the "stack" and where the heck is it?  Drove us crazy.

I wanted a Sinclair "build it yourself" so bad, but just couldn't get one.  Plus, they had custom chips, so it wouldn't have done me much good.

Then I found something called the "MMicroprofessor".   Still have it.  (plus two more!)   Single Z80 board, 7 segment display, cassette interface.   By then I had tons of data books (still have most).  I worked with that thing day and night.   Built a EPROM programmer to go with it, built a speech processor using the SPO256 (still have that and several other boards/chips), and LED "graphics" displays, all kinds of stuff.

 

I never looked back.   In those days, I couldn't get stuff.   Now I can't let stuff GO!

 

 

Just gettin' started, again....

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clawson wrote:

My most thumbed book was a copy of the Z80 opcodes but sadly I cannot find a picture of it online (and my actual copy must be hidden in a box in my loft these days) but in searching I was reminded of:

 

 

The Zaks book about Z80 was the "bible" in the same sense that K&R was/is to to C!

 

You mean this one? 

 

Or the little one (maybe 5"x 5")?   I had this one downstairs, I thought the smaller ones were there among the other Z80 books, but didn't see them.  I saw some of the small ones on eBay I think it was, for something like $45 each.

Just gettin' started, again....

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Apropos of nothing at all, my 6502 emulator has sprung to life. It doesn't pass the standard emulator tests yet - something in the rather odd handling of the break bit (which apparently doesn't actually exist in the status register but is generated on the fly - still trying to work that out - and it doesn't do a proper reset or interrupts yet, but it's usable.

 

Works on both Linux and Windows, though is five or ten times faster on my slower Linux machine... I suspect that the windows debugger or the text terminal is the culprit as the code shouldn't be massively different...

 

Note: the 'b' option is not yet implemented. The virtual machine contains 16k of ram from 0-0x3fff and 16k prom from 0xc000-0xffff - feed it an intel hex file that fits in there and see what breaks - probably plenty.

 

Neil

Attachment(s): 

Last Edited: Tue. Aug 4, 2020 - 06:38 AM
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"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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I still know way too much about these computers. I built a floppy disk controller and ram upgrade for these at a spotty young age.

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My first personal computer was the Radio Shack MC-10, a "BASIC trainer" with a Motorola 6803.  For $50 in 1984.  There was no internet and it was very difficult to get beginners information on the subject of microcontrollers and personal computers. Then, like everyone else, I got a Commodore 64 in 1986.

 

Finally a PC in 1989;  Turbo C in 1991,  an AVR assember in 1998, and an Arduino in 2014.  Currently I'm trying to get the Arduino UNO to "provide the utility" of a Commodore 64 since they are both on the same technology level.   Except for the cost:  a Commodore 64 "system" would set you back about 100 hours of Minimum Wage Units  (meaning you had to work about 100 hours at min wage to buy one).  Currently an Arduino system will set you back about 0.3 to 0.5 hours worth of Min Wage Units, which is several orders of magnitude of performance-for-price increase.

 

In 1975, a professional-level Intel 8085 Microprocessor Bond-Out-CPU development system with software, support, and training would cost about $30,000.  Forty-five years later, an Atmel/Microchip ATTiny10 (which is rather roughly about the same as the 8085 in general computing power) costs $0.30, with internet-based software, support, and training.  But the complexity of the ICs is about the same.

 

This is really bad for STEM workers like electronics technicians because a tech company will invest thousands of dollars and hours in the training and support of electronic engineers and embedded-system programmers for a skilled (and profitable) operator of a $30,000 development system.   But no company will invest anything to train or support an employee to productively use a 30 cent IC.  STEM workers are expected to learn everything on their own: either through long hours of unfocused web-based research (like YouTube video watching) or expensive unfocused electronic engineering University classes (where you are expected to learn advanced Calculus along with anything useful to a prospective employer).  

  STEM sucks as a career, especially embedded systems programming.  For a high-IQ individual, it has the lowest financial return for the amount of time invested in mastering the complex and ever-changing details of the profession.  The only people who succeed and prosper are the few who have the "nerd" personality disorder that prevents them from a career in the legal, medical, or financial fields, and the raw intelligence to absorb and retain twice as many technical details as all the other people with "nerd" personality disorder.

   Were it not for the constant order-of-magnitude performance-over-price increases, embedded-systems programming would have died out back in the 1980s.

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Ah the SDK-85, I remember her well!

I recall adding the edge card connectors and jumper needed to make an S-100 bus slot so more memory ram and rom could be added to the system.

Not to mention more power supply to support the card slot(s).

 

Jim

 

 

(Possum Lodge oath) Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

"I thought growing old would take longer"

 

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valusoft wrote:

Joey, I was going to post a photo of my copy of Lance's book, but couldn't lay my hand on my camera fast enough.

 

I still have my Leventhal , but it's black & green , not yellow

 

Had a DIY (Solder) 6800/6809 system "Swedish CÅ System"  finished in 81' - Running Flex w. a whopping 48+8K Ram.

 

Before that i used a Moto D2 kit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ME...

 

 

/Bingo

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I built a Sinclair ZX81 as a teenage electronics hobbyist, decided I preferred computing, and spent a career with datacentre-scale systems. They are basically very boring, as they do nothing tangible other than consume electricity, flash LEDs, and create noise and heat ;) I did enjoy working with robotic tape libraries for a few years, and you could always amuse yourself playing with (very slow) sorting algorithms.

 

I came back to hobby electronics a few years ago and discovered Arduino. It's a remarkable time to be an electronics hobbyist compared to 40 years ago. My teenage self would be amazed by the variety, capabilities and costs of current technology, although most AVRs have the same RAM as my first computer !

 

STEM teaching is a world away from my experience at school, where 'computing' was punched cards sent away somewhere, with the results a couple of weeks later on reams of music-ruled paper.

 

With the industrialisation of commercial computing (i.e. cloud), it's no longer a career I'd recommend unless you can develop a niche skillset as a consultant/contractor, or are commercially-minded and find money more interesting than technology.

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In 1975, a professional-level Intel 8085 Microprocessor

It don't match!

either 8080 or at least 1976 

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With 8085's you didn't need a bond-out. Maybe the 8048? or 8021??