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Re: [cosmacelf] What do you use your elf for.

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  • Richard
    Well I for one, mainly used it as a learning tool. I bought mine from my electronic teacher, when I was in the 10 grade. It was my first computer. at one time
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 12, 2005
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      Well I for one, mainly used it as a learning tool. I bought mine from my
      electronic teacher, when I was in the 10 grade. It was my first computer. at
      one time I had it programmed (in tiny basic) to play monopoly. I haven't be
      able to recover this. It was nothing fancy. but thought me alot.

      The main appeal of these little machines, Is you build it, you repair it.
      you create and expained.
      before you know it, you know how every part of this works, and how to
      program it. Sence I bought one already assembled, I learn most of the stuff
      out of order, I learn Tiny basic first, then assemble, then how every part
      worked. Had to repair it a few times. And because of It I am still learning.
      for example, had to program the TMS9118, learning about new chips that have
      came out.
      there are more but the list would be long. I have used about 10 different,
      kinds of computers. and I still come back to the ELF.

      I am shure there are many similar stores here.

      Richard

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Dana" <big_d_316@...>
      To: <cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 10:38 PM
      Subject: [cosmacelf] What do you use your elf for.


      >
      >
      > I notice lots of people still play with their little elfs for one
      > reason or another. We always hear what one can use their elf for,
      > but those that do have or have had elfs what did you use it for?
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ========================================================
      > Visit the COSMAC ELF website at http://www.cosmacelf.com
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Al Winfrey
      Over the years I have built several Elfs ranging from a copied version using the original magazine article to others of my own design. I have some store-bought
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 13, 2005
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        Over the years I have built several Elfs ranging from a copied version
        using the original magazine article to others of my own design. I have
        some store-bought VIPs, Netronics Elf IIs, one fully functional Quest
        and a partial (missing some keys) Quest Elf. They served as learning
        tools, fun tinker toys and expansion bases.

        The last one that I built from scratch was a one-size-fits-all model
        with a keypad to run VIP programs, a fully latched address and data
        bus displayed on leds and as many features from other Elf designs as I
        could cram onto the large wire-wrap perf-board. It has 32/64k ram, 2 x
        eproms with neat monitor tools, two serial (1854) ports, a parallel
        printer port, a toggle-switch register, TOD clock, fixed(1.789mhz) and
        variable(1-20hz) cpu clocks, 1861 video, cassette tape, speaker
        etc,etc,etc.

        My home written software includes a tape oriented OS called elfos with
        9600bps console, editor(s), data monitors and dinky low-resolution
        games. The assembler that I used most of the time is an IBM 370
        cross-assembler that I wrote several years ago. It runs under Hercules
        on a Mac OS X system right now. Lately I've been using Crossbow also.
        I hope to write a native 1802 assembler/editor someday but there are
        just too many alligaters nipping at my tail right now! Also have put a
        considerable amount of time into several other large and smaller scale
        systems.

        Hey, it's only a hobby!

        al winfrey - wa9hsl
        ....


        --- In cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com, "Dana" <big_d_316@y...> wrote:
        >
        > I notice lots of people still play with their little elfs for one
        > reason or another. We always hear what one can use their elf for,
        > but those that do have or have had elfs what did you use it for?
      • Gemeny, Steve
        Well, I ve been quit for a while, but regularly reading the mail from the group. Since I feel I have a moment and something to add, I ll send in my 2000
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 13, 2005
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          Well, I've been quit for a while, but regularly "reading the mail" from the group.

          Since I feel I have a moment and something to add, I'll send in my 2000 Milli-cents...


          Originally, I built my elf also as a learning tool. This was the only "computer" I could afford (and I had been oogling the ads for the Altair and the IMSI for quite some time.) At first, it was sort of an odd little machine but I quickly stared realizing that I could DO things with it.

          The idea of changing the on/off duration of the Q line to move a radio control servo was one idea that I tinkered with. It worked fairly well but I was having trouble getting smooth motion and fine control since the processor speed was slow. Next I played around with controlling 120 volt lights through a solid state switch from Radio Shack. Having success with that I decided to expand the system and moved up to a Super ELF (since it had an expansion slot for plugging in interface circuits.)

          For my next effort I wired up a four bit interface that could control 4 120 VAC lights (about 5 amps each) based on the value of the HEX keypad input. This system was then connected into a large theatrical lighting system in the Grand Ballroom at the University of Maryland Student Union to act as a lighting sequencer for one of the bands I was "doing lights" for (may have been Face dancer, or Talking Heads... too long ago.) The program kept evolving as I thought of more patterns and options and finally I got bored and ended up getting a real job fixing word processor equipment (Lexitron).

          After a few months fixing daisy wheel printers we ran out of workstations because there were not enough test beds for exercising the printers. I built an interface that plugged into the expansion slot on the Super ELF from spare parts around the office and programmed the Super Elf to function as one of the test beds. This became my work station and the supervisor as well as the facility manager were suitably impressed.

          This string of events gave me sufficient credibility to gain employment with Comsat Corporation as an Engineering Technician with only a year of Engineering school under my belt. Based on my experience and the knowledge gained from working with the 1802 I was assigned many Associate Engineer level tasks and within a year was acting as lead engineer on a dual Z-80 based controller for a shipboard satellite communication system.

          To say that the Elf was the starting point for my career is absolutely accurate. More over, I'm sure that this group is loaded with similar stories.

          Who would have thought that tinkering around with the ELF would have lead me to be working on the first mission to explore the last planet?

          There is much more power in this little micro than it's given credit for... It has demonstrated the power to change peoples lives!

          Steve
          AA3NM

          Steve Gemeny
          New Horizons
          Ground System Engineer
          http://pluto.jhuapl.edu <http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/>

          Business Development Manager
          Satellite Communication Facility
          Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

          240-228-4864
          http://www.scf.jhuapl.edu <http://www.scf.jhuapl.edu/>






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Stewart
          ... Hello, I do more lurking than responding but am a regular visitor. I also probably have more working Elf style machines than most, at last count about 14
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 13, 2005
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            --- In cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com, "Dana" <big_d_316@y...> wrote:
            >
            > I notice lots of people still play with their little elfs for one
            > reason or another. We always hear what one can use their elf for,
            > but those that do have or have had elfs what did you use it for?

            Hello,

            I do more lurking than responding but am a regular visitor. I also
            probably have more working Elf style machines than most, at last count
            about 14 or 15, most of them BASYS single boards from Lee Hart's old
            company, but also four completely custom wirewrap jobs of my own with
            various configs of ROM, ports, etc. One of them has been looking
            after the security for my machine shop for about a decade now,
            continously monitoring a large number of window and door switches in
            all weather, round the clock year after year. Great little machines
            for customizing into a special duty like this. And, as others are
            pointing out already, wonderful for learning on. Quite a few of us
            got our start with an 1802 based machine years ago. I use a number of
            Lee's BASYS boards tied thru their parallel ports to standard parallel
            interface relay, I/O, and stepper driver boards for a number of
            special jobs on machines like engravers, etc. I can knock out a piece
            of test code in CrossBow on my Macintosh, dump it straight out to my
            serial interfaced eprom burner or paper tape punch, then right over to
            one of the Elfs within minutes if necessary. Three of my Elfs have
            simple optical tape readers fashioned after the old Olivers, where you
            just hang a light overhead briefly, run a very simple tape loader
            program hiding somewhere in ROM, then drag the tape thru by hand.
            1802 code is so small normally that the tapes are always quite short
            (albeit punch tape storage is not very efficient by modern standards;
            it takes 4.7 miles of it to store what a 1.4 mb floppy will hold. BUT
            it is the one media that you can hold up and read visually! Also very
            durable over time in rough environments like machine shops, especially
            if Mylar tape was used instead of paper.) Well, just my two cents
            about my own use of my Elfs! All those years later, I still enjoy
            messing with them, which I can hardly say about my other modern
            computers. cheers, Stewart
          • rmsrmsrmsrms
            I built my ELF in highschool, and soon found a use for it: One of the first 1977-78(?) Kilobaud issues (BLAST FROM THE PAST ALERT! How many of you still have
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 13, 2005
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              I built my ELF in highschool, and soon found a use for it: One of
              the first 1977-78(?) Kilobaud issues (BLAST FROM THE PAST ALERT! How
              many of you still have Kilobaud copies???) had an article on using a
              computer to control a home solar heating system.

              It presented a diagram of a simple solar heating system, with a
              number of pumps and valves, and a few temperature sensors, and gave a
              logic table showing the desired state of the pumps and valves given
              the possible temperature relationships. For instance, if the solar
              collector was hotter than the storage tank, you would turn on the
              pumps and valves so as to circulate water between the collector and
              the tank.

              Anyway, my science teacher was pressuring us to enter the Science
              Fair, and given that I had this little computer already built, I
              thought this would make a great application for it. Having no
              experience with science fairs, all my project amounted to was
              presenting the hardware and the control program (I used LEDs and
              small motors to simulate a real system, mounted on a board), and
              included no analysis of operation or 'data collection', which is all
              the judges are really interested in.

              Despite that, I won my division in the local fair, and got to travel
              to the State Science Fair, where I won a blue ribbon. Very exciting
              for a naive kid.

              Some years later, in a college Microprocessors course, I returned to
              the Solar Heating simulator for the final project, this time using
              the class-supplied 68000 singleboard computer to do the logic table
              programming (still using assembly language tho). But I incorporated
              the ELF once again, by adding a Radio Shack Voice Output chip (I
              forget the part #) to the ELF computer, and sending the text I wanted
              spoken from the 68000 to the ELF, which then sent it to the voicechip.

              I had programmed the 68000 with a simple menu system, so you could
              query the current temperature probe temperatures, or the status of
              valves, and it would speak the results to you in a full sentence!
              Great stuff.

              So my old ELF computer is pretty special to me.

              rms
            • rileym65
              I use my Elf machines for development fun. In the past year i have written a DOS for it, FORTH and LISP interpreters, an Assembler and many other small
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 19, 2005
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                I use my Elf machines for development fun. In the past year i have
                written a DOS for it, FORTH and LISP interpreters, an Assembler and
                many other small programs. My main development Elf at the moment is a
                Pico/Elf with an address/data display adapter board with a hex keypad.
                I have a 64mb CF card that i run my OS from and also a TMS9118 color
                graphics board. Just because 1802s are old does not mean you cannot
                still have fun with them! :) This year i plan on porting CHIP-8 to
                work under my OS, build a CHIP-8 assembler (more likely an extension
                of my existing 1802 assembler), and whatever else i can squeeze in! :)

                In addition to the Pico/Elf i am currently using, i have a fully
                expanded Micro/Elf (ide/serial/1861,32k upper rom)(takes too much
                space on my desk, which is why i went to the Pico/Elf), and a Super
                Elf (broken at the moment the :( )

                Mike


                --- In cosmacelf@yahoogroups.com, "Dana" <big_d_316@y...> wrote:
                >
                > I notice lots of people still play with their little elfs for one
                > reason or another. We always hear what one can use their elf for,
                > but those that do have or have had elfs what did you use it for?
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