I like retro-style microprocessor coach boards. These have been widespread again when microprocessors have been nonetheless comparatively new, and coach boards have been a great way to learn to use them. Primarily, they have been single-board computer systems, however they have been typically kits that needed to be assembled (good soldering observe!) and so they typically had options particular to their mission of educating, slightly than attempting to be general-purpose single-board computer systems. The PLC14500-Nano 1-bit Single Board Pc Package is taking that very same concept of a microcontroller coach board and making use of it to the distinctive Motorola MC14500 1-bit CMOS processor.
“How can a 1-bit pc be helpful?”, chances are you’ll be considering. Properly, whereas it technically is Turing-complete, that wasn’t the supposed goal behind these chips. They have been designed to exchange relay logic and different electromechanical management methods the place the features are comparatively easy. As a result of a lot of the design is determined by the selection of exterior chips (it doesn’t even comprise a program counter — that is contained in an exterior chip!) it was an especially versatile and cost-effective design that was briefly very fashionable earlier than microcontrollers got here alongside and took over.
So what are you able to do with this equipment? Properly, initially, similar to coach boards from the Nineteen Seventies, it’s important to solder it collectively your self. It is a nice alternative to check the schematic and learn the way the system is designed. As soon as it’s constructed, you’ve gotten a whopping 256 bytes of RAM to put in writing any packages you need! Properly, any program that may slot in 256 bytes, anyway. It has 7 inputs and outputs that might be related to absolutely anything. It even has management of the clock, permitting you to single-step by your program, which is a vital function on a coach board. This fashion, you may see the system working one step at a time. With an oscilloscope probe in hand, you may study an terrible lot about microprocessor internals.
Sure, there’s a sneaky fashionable intruder — an Arduino Nano is there merely to make improvement simpler by offering a approach to add code to the board. The designer recommends soldering it to the again of the board in order to not destroy the phantasm of a retro machine! This could make an amazing present for anybody eager on studying about processor know-how or any hacker who’s fascinated by oddball, distinctive designs.