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Please read the DISCLAIMER before continuing !

Here are the properties of my Z80 project:

  • Uses windows based software and EPP mode printer port to load /retrieve the code
  • A total of 16kb memory is available. It can be all RAM or 8Kb RAM/8Kb ROM. RAM and ROM are interchangeable without any modifications to the hardware.
  • It is possible to alter the memory map of the system ie. Z80 can start execution either from the RAM or ROM.
  • 2 8255 chips provide 48 I/O pins
  • A 2*16 dot matrix LCD,8 buttons and 8 LEDs occupy 27 I/O pins and 21 I/O pins are available to connect other I/O devices.
  • May double as a an EPROM programmer, because it actually has a built in EPROM programmer (the one published in Elektor, March 1997). 12,5 V EPROMs can be programmed easily. It is also possible to program EPROMs up to 64Kb, but this feature was not implemented since It will require dip switches and probably some glue logic.

My project has a very simple operating principle. Both the Z80 and the programmer are connected to the memory the usual way, but there is a simple logic circuit that controls their access to the memory. While the programmer has access to the memory, Z80 is hold in reset state. In this state, it is possible to program/read any memory cell to place the code and data for Z80 to process. When the programmer releases the memory, Z80 recovers from the reset state and starts executing the code in the memory. Switching between the programmer and the Z80 run modes is done by toggling a switch. When one part is active, the other part goes tri-state.

The first Z80 board I built did not have an EPROM programmer to load the code. I used 8 switches to write the code in binary and used a programmable counter to access the whole 8 Kb of memory. Then I built a keyboard using a 74C922 chip and a simple circuit to convert the 4-bit output of the 74C922 to 8-bit data. This dramatically increased the time it took to load the code into the memory. But I still had to use the programmable counter to set the adress. Later I discovered that the EPROM programmer designed by A.Rijfkogel (published in Elektor, March 1997) employed a programming algorithm perfectly suitable to program RAM chips. So I added a small buffer circuit to my first circuit to use it with the EPROM programmer. I managed to get them to work together without any modifications to the EPROM programmer. Is this what they call "applied reverse engineering" ?

By now, I referred to this project as mine but this year I did not work on the school project alone. I had a partner, Caner Buyuktuna. His major input was in PCB design and some coding.

After designing and building our circuit, we could not get it to work. We had made a mistake and we had to cut some tracks and add in two 74245 buffer chips to make the circuit work. The time we had to finish our project was limited and we did not have time to correct our PCB/Schematic and build a new circuit. This is why schematics and complete PCBs are not available here. All we can supply are the subcircuits we used with a few modifications to create our project .

When we got the circuit to work we started to code small programs to show our teachers/friends what can be done with our project. Here is what we did:

  • Interfaced a Hitachi HD44780 based 2*16 dot matrix LCD module
  • Made simple animations on that display
  • We converted the analog position of a potentiometer in to a number relative to its position(i.e. we digitized it) without using an ADC chip(Very useful for a lot of applications)
  • Played WAVE files with a R-2R DAC connected to one of the 8255 ports
  • Made a simple keyboard to play simple music notes. I can not say it is calibrated. My ear is not good at such stuff. We only wrote code that produces a different frequency on every key pressed
  • Turned a step motor, and made its speed adjustable with that pot we digitized
  • Made some LEDs blink /scroll and some other simple stuff

Click HERE to see a the pcb from a Traxmaker screenshot .
Click HERE to see a photo of the first Z80 board I built.
Click HERE to see/get the available project files


Source for most of the stuff mentioned can be found HERE
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