Saturday, January 10, 2009

Propeller and CP/M: A perfect match.


Question: What does a Propeller chip have in common with this old machine?
Answer: They both can run Wordstar 4. (Well sort of)

I've been playing with a board called the N8VEM, a 6"x4" mini CP/M computer with a Z80 processor, powered by 5v. The N8VEM's output device is a standard serial port, this is where the Propeller chip comes in. I've been creating VT100 terminal software for the Propeller, translating all those old Vt100 codes into a window into the past.

Pictures of the project as it progresses can be found here. The Propeller PPDB board is compliments of Parallax, (Thank you Ken!) and the N8VEM board was compliments of James Moxham (Thank you James!)

This is a truely interesting project combining my love of Retrocomputing with modern microcontroller technology. Playing with CP/M 2.2, Wordstar, and BASIC-80 feels a little like being a technology archaeologist at a dig site.

3 comments:

Dr_Acula said...

What a great little project. I got something similar working in the last few days with a PockeTerm (which I think was your VT100 code, right?) and a N8VEM. The Propeller group are making great headway shrinking things further with a view to getting most of the N8VEM board into a single propeller chip. I'm working on wireless networking at the moment and pondering using BBS software to get boards talking to each other. Keep us posted!

Jim said...

asinsThis is great!!! I grew up in these days, working with Godbout, Morrow, Macrotech - I still have a 14 user S-100 computer with a Compupro Montherboard, Macrotech 286/Z80H dual CPU, Macrotech ADIT I/O board and 256K of S-RAM, 2 eight inch floppys (Shugarts) as well as a 8 inch phoneix hard disk - another machine I still own is a Morrow Micro Decision with a Z80 CPU 64K or memory 4 - 5/1/4 floppys and they all run. CP/M, MP/M, Whitesmith C, Pascal, Fortran, Forth, Wordstar, Supercalc - wow the memoruies..
Jim Scharfe

Douglas W. Goodall said...

Things go well with N8VEM and a wealth of new and interesting boards have been developed. A vibrant and enthusiastic community of builders help each other learn about hardware and software, and enjoy a piece of the past.