- ... Joe, This is the same kind of thing that I am planning to do... :) Digital Computer Electronics by Albert Paul Malvino. The 1st edition, printed inMessage 1 of 32 , Jun 11, 2007View SourceJoe Giliberti wrote:
> After being somewhat inspired by VCF, I would like to try and continueJoe,
> this pursuit. Can anyone recommend any books or webpages to look at,
> aside from the TV Typewriter Cookbook? I have decided to build
> completely from scratch, although I'm not sure about actually building
> a processor out of TTL yet. After viewing a project online, the
> Magic-1, I think that would be the best way to go. And not only would
> it give me the experience of finding out how a computer works on the
> hardware level, but the process of programming the thing would teach
> me something on a software level.
> Basically, I would like to be able to tell colleges next year that I
> built a computer out of raw components (without outright lying) when I
> go out for my degree in electrical and/or computer engineering.
This is the same kind of thing that I am planning to do... :)
"Digital Computer Electronics" by Albert Paul Malvino. The 1st edition,
printed in 1977 is what I got.. (but I am thinking of eventually
getting the next two editions to see what was changed/added.. All used
of course!) He presents three SAP (Simple As Possible) computers, which
each adding more complex features. Another book I got is "Logic and
Computer Design Fundamental" by M. Morris Mano and Charles R. Kime.
This book is a little newer (1997) but it goes into Karnaugh maps and
state diagrams, which is where I am at now in the book.
Another book I bought recently - "How to Design & Build Your Own
Custom TV Games" by Davie L. Heiserman shows you step-by-step how to
make something like Pong and other more complex games all using logic
chips! :D I was reading this book but stopped because I was just
reading about it but not making anything.. (soon......!)
I had initially wanted to do something like a Pong game but couldn't
find an appropriate book at the time (and was told by someone from
Xgamestation.com that I would have to be a "master engineer", have "many
years of experience" and understand "sequencing, data paths, complex
timing, etc." which is "a lot to tackle for a MS or even Ph.D in EE or CS".
So then I bought a bunch of books from AbeBooks.com and one of the
books had a list of books on the back cover "which may be of interest to
you". One of these was the "How to Design & Build Your Own Custom TV
Games", which I immediately found and ordered.. :) IMHO, it is very
well written (although there are some errors, but a basic understanding
of logic helps them) and does not present "half projects". I have read
other books where the author shows a very basic project, talks about
something more complex but then goes onto say "that is an exercise for
the reader." :( This book keeps building more and more complex things,
but only after the author has fully explained what that more complex
thing is based on.. Yay!
> On 4/22/07, *Herb Johnson* <hjohnson@...
> <mailto:hjohnson@...>> wrote:
> "Joe Giliberti" <Starbase89@...> wrote:
> > I'm not talking about a PC, first off. I want to try building
> something from
> > scratch, as in a blank, wire-wrap circuit board, based around an
> > technology. Maybe a 6502 or a Z80. Does anyone know of a kit, of a
> good set
> > of instructions and schematics, for building a computer?
> > Basically, I'd want a display, and a means of input and storage.
> I don't
> > care if I use, say, a VGA monitor for display, or an old disk
> drive for
> > storage, but I want to build the computer itself, myself. I just
> want to
> > learn something more about computer science, outside of what you can
> > on a PC.
> > Thanks
> > Joe
> (Note: I think this is somewhat on-topic, as some people collect and
> USE old computers, in order to learn about computing or to use a
> computer for specific tasks. Some old computers may help Joe learn
> what he wants to learn. - Herb Johnson)
> Joe, I've been involved with microcomputer design since the 1970's,
> when I got an EE degree and started programming, designing and
> repairing Z80, 8086, and related systems. (Not bragging, just stating
> that I'm qualified to talk about Z80 designs.) I've seen this question
> asked more or less in this way pretty often. But there is no simple
> answer to your question or request. Here's why.
> 1) you are asking for year 1985 specifications to build with a 1978
> chip. "Of course" a computer has to have a VGA display, and a hard
> drive, right? Well....that was not the case before the mid 1980's and
> earlier, when these processors first came out: and when people were
> building at the chip level as you wish. (The problem is the chips of
> the 1970's used a whole BOARD of chips to do functions like "VGA" or
> "hard drive", and so on: you'd end up with an S-100 computer of boards
> to use that technology.)
> 2) You want to "learn about computer science..outside of a PC".
> Building a computer from chips may, or may not, teach you " computer
> science". You'll learn about construction, about testing digital logic
> with an oscilloscope or digital logic probe, things of that sort. This
> is interesting work, but it's not "computer science". Computer science
> is mostly about programming, operating systems, languages and so
> forth. When you say "...outside of a PC", then I think you are not
> talking about computer science, really, but something else, as you can
> do a LOT of "computer science" on a PC. Maybe you mean "engineering"?
> 3) Most computer kits I see today, are made by very small companies,
> or individuals. You can do some Web searching on "microprocessor kits"
> by processor; also check the hobby electronic magazines. Most "kits"
> are small assembled processor boards, these days: most are of modern
> processors, not the old 8-bit procs. There ARE some "educational" kits
> which require assembly. To my knowledge, there are NO Z80 CHIP kits
> available. There ARE some retrokits for the 6502, like the Apple 1
> replica, and so on. Some of the COSMAC 1802 fans have offered any
> number of projects to scratch-build small computer boards - I think
> those are neat.
> You'll have to hunt through some of the processor-oriented discussion
> groups on the Web to find most of these kits. You may find some under
> "educational kits" on the Web.
> 4) As I suggested above, chip-level computing was popular in the
> mid-1970's to mid-1980's. You could do worse, than to buy some books
> about those projects from that era. Steve Circia (sic) had a "build
> your own Z80" from scratch book, so did many others. Check an older
> library, at a university or in a large town, and get some of those
> books, browse through them on site, get them through interlibrary
> 5) consider another kind of hardware project. S-100 systems let you
> build a computer at the BOARD level. They and other OLD COMPUTERS
> provide lots of opportunities to work at the "nuts and bolts" level.
> Digital logic kits may give you the hardware or assembly experience
> you are looking for, possibly. Simulators of computers which run on
> PC's may be a way to get some software or systems programming
> experiences with 8-bit processors.
> A reasonable example of a fairly "raw" computer which is Z80
> compatible, and a partial hardware kit, is the P112 project revived
> recently, and discussed in Usenet group comp.os.cpm. See
> This is typical of a single board 8-bit computer project, these days.
> Some modern chips, modest price, runs old hardware.
> Also, CHECK THE DIGITAL HOBBY MAGAZINES, the ads in the back have some
> kits too. Any big new bookstore has several of these magazines.
> Bottom line. You can learn more about what YOU want, and what's out
> there, by reading Web pages of people who have done what you are
> suggesting, or related stuff. Also read the discussion groups which
> talk about this project or that, but not GENERAL DISCUSSIONS or WISH
> LISTS. Look for SPECIFIC ACTUAL PROJECTS - stuff DONE, not talked
> about. Otherwise you'll get confused by people who talk about features
> and argue about what "should" be included in a design - but it goes
> nowhere. Look for results.
> There is no shortage of either hardware, or software, that you can
> obtain TODAY in order to learn something TODAY. The challenge is in
> deciding EXACTLY what you want to learn, and to know what bits of
> hardware or software YOU NEED to learn that. Also, it may take SEVERAL
> projects to achive your eduational goals: don't get stuck on the
> notion that ONE kit or project will give you "the answer". That's not
> how it works.
> Herb Johnson
> Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
> <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/
> <http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/>"> web site</a>
> <a href="http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/
> <http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/>"> domain mirror</a>
> my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
> if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
> "Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
> S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"
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- Like many discussion threads, this one is going in several directions. 1) University libaries. People local to a university can often get limited privledges byMessage 32 of 32 , Jun 17, 2007View SourceLike many discussion threads, this one is going in several directions.
1) University libaries. People local to a university can often get
limited privledges by paying a deposit, or an annual fee. Check the
library's Web site for more information, or ask a "senior" staffer at
the library (student staff may not know this stuff). University
libraries are good sources for books a few decades old. But you won't
get "interlibrary loan" privledges as a "depositer" at a Univ. library
- but you can do that from your local public library.
2) The microKIM uses a few odd parts, and of course some ROMS. Joe, if
you make one from scratch, better plan on a way to get those ROMS, and
make sure you can get ALL the chips on the schematic. The ROM source
and binaries are available from the microKIM site.
For fun, if you do make a list of parts and prices, I'd be curious to
know the total. Betcha the kit price will be close to your onesie's
parts prices! ;)
3) The microKIM does not normally have a cassette port; programs are
downloaded from the serial port, which one would generally connect to
a PC where you can load and save programs in hex format. Consequently,
using a PC with the microKIM is just fine. But you can of course load
programs in hex from the keypad.
My advice was to program from the keypad, by the way, as a way to
learn coding at the bit level. That seemed to be your interest.
4) Building a TV Typewriter, or the II, will be harder than building
the microKIM from scratch. I'm not sure what your objectives or
priorities are, my apologies.
5) Please read the microKIM manual to get a better idea of what you'll
need to use it. If it's not on the Web site, ask for a copy from the
seller. Chances are he'll send a file, or if he charges for a printed
version he'll deduct it from your kit purchase.
This ends my advice. Joe, you are a good guy, but you want to do many
things for many reasons. That's fine, but it's more than an old guy
like me can keep up with. No disrespect meant.
Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com/herbs_stuff/ web site
http://www.retrotechnology.net/herbs_stuff/ domain mirror
my email address: hjohnson AAT retrotechnology DOTT com
if no reply, try in a few days: herbjohnson ATT comcast DOTT net
"Herb's Stuff": old Mac, SGI, 8-inch floppy drives
S-100 IMSAI Altair computers, docs, by "Dr. S-100"