Technology
Homemade computer

Z80
Blake built his own computer completely from scratch – the Z80 Microcomputer!
“This is an actual computer, built completely from scratch. I began the project in the spring of 2006, while I was taking a course on microcomputers. My Z80 system will remain a work in progress as long as I can think of new things to add to it.

The current specs are:

  • 2MHz 8 bit Zilog Z80 processor
  • 56 KB static RAM (7 x 8k x 8)
  • 8 KB EEPROM
  • 1 Mb Flash Memory “hard drive”
  • Interrupt controller with 8 interrupt levels
  • 20 character x 2 line backlit LCD with contrast control
  • RS232 serial port
  • 2 programmable timers
  • Programmable beeper
  • 8X DIP switch and 8X LED’s for general purpose I/O
  • Strobe button for clocked input from the DIP switches
  • Parallel port programming interface with parity

I am often asked “what does it do” when I show this to someone. The answer I always give is, “Whatever I program it to.” “

Source and schematic included – Link & other electronic projects from Blake.

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From the pages of MAKE:

12 thoughts on “Homemade computer

  1. VoiceOfWisdom, how is that outdoing anything?

    It’s a question of the scope you choose to work at. I build microcontroller based projects all the time that have more computing power than the project linked here and yet only take a few square inches of circuit board. Am I outdoing this project by packing more power into less space or is he outdoing me by using more primative technology?

    By your logic, http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~harry/Relay/index.html outdid us all. He built his computer entirely from relays. The person in your link cheated and used IC chips.

    The bottom line is it’s all about the scope of what you’re trying to do.

  2. Awesome.I am always inspired by techno-tinkerers.Imho there is no such thing as outdoing each other in tinkering – it’s all endless fun and discovery.

  3. Old computers are awesome.

    In most cases, they are more interesting to use, update and generally muck around with then new computers. These days everything’s really monotonous inthe pc world; there isn’t the variety of different achitectures and platforms than there were 20 years ago.

  4. I was thinking of building my own processor, but I’m not very experienced, I’m planning to build a Z80 computer and then eventually make my own processor using the same architecture and hooking it to the socket.

  5. Nice job. Good to see the old art of constructing hand built systems is still alive. A small z80 controller was my first microprocessor project in high school, in 1988. I have wanted to revisit it, and attempt to get a version of the CP/M operating system running on it.

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