The Coleman Z80 Is A Fashionable Take On A Nineteen Seventies Pc | Tech Bea

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[Joshua Coleman] he likes to design his personal computer systems. Generally meaning designing bus architectures, reminiscence maps, and I/O port pinouts. Different occasions, he could focus his efforts extra on general aesthetics, in addition to constructing an awesome set of peripherals, as proven in his newest ColemanZ80 undertaking. Because of the RC2014 structure that defines a lot of the important options of a traditional Z80 computing platform, [Joshua] he was capable of design a contemporary retrocomputer that isn’t solely genuinely helpful, but additionally appears prefer it rolled off a manufacturing line yesterday.

The exterior design is a sight to behold: shiny purple laser-cut acrylic items type a smooth, semi-transparent case with air flow slits on the perimeters and plenty of flashing lights on the entrance. Impressed by Nineteen Seventies classics just like the Altair 8800, the entrance panel offers the person a direct view of the machine’s inside standing and permits for easy command inputs through a sequence of toggle switches. The CPU, RAM, and different primary gadgets are housed in a single field, with all growth modules in a second, linked to the motherboard through a 40-wire ribbon cable.

The motherboard of a handmade Z80 computer
A number of classic chips, but additionally loads of hand-routed cables grace the ColemanZ80’s motherboard.

Though the motherboard carefully follows the RC2014 design, [Joshua] He went to nice lengths to tailor the system to his particular wants. The growth boards he constructed embody an NS16550 UART to exchange the default 68B50, a battery-backed real-time clock, a YM2149-based sound card, and even a speech synthesizer module constructed across the traditional SP0256 chip, from converse and spell fame. An much more uncommon function is the presence of an AM9511, one of many first math coprocessors ever made, to hurry up floating level calculations. All of those modules have been constructed fully by hand on prototype boards: we will hardly think about how lengthy it should have taken.

Output gadgets embody a VGA adapter courtesy of a Raspberry Pi Pico, in addition to an everyday 4-digit 7-segment LED show and a set of traditional HP “bubble” LEDs. [Joshua] he runs varied demos in his video (embedded under), starting from computing the Mandelbrot set to enjoying chiptunes on the YM2149. There’s additionally loads of scope for additional growth: [Joshua] he plans to construct extra peripherals, together with a floppy drive interface and a module to function a robotic automotive.

This isn’t the primary Coleman Z80 laptop – the earlier model ran on an structure [Joshua] designed all by himself. We have seen a number of different spectacular 2014 RC derivatives, like a small micro model and this Altair-inspired case.

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