These are the random jottings of Andy Collins, a Fifty-something bloke who still thinks a blog or website is a good idea.
Here you will find small nuggets of information about Hovercraft, retro-computing and other stuff that amuses me or appeals to my sense of wonder.
In my last two posts I wrote about how I made an adapter for my 1980’s Interak-1 computer so that it could make use of USB keyboards as the original Alphameric keyboard had failed. Those posts were a bit rushed and the adapter was still a work in progress. It’s finished now and so in … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016/2 – Interak keyboard wrap-up
In my last post I started setting up my stall and wrote a simply Arduino sketch to read a character from the Hobbytronics USB keyboard adapter and squirt it to my PC. My Interak-1 has a 15 way D-type connector for the keyboard as I’ve decided that my keyboard solution will plug into that rather … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016/2 – Oh-oh we’re half way there
So RC is upon us and I have decided to replace the failed keyboard on my newly acquired Interak-1 with a modern USB item. The Interak keyboard uses a 7 bit parallel interface to present an ASCII character to machine itself with a strobe line to say that the data is ready. It’s a bit … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016/2 – Interak keyboard
It’s Retrochallenge time again and how quickly it comes around and how ill-prepared I am. Recent competitions have seen great entries by talented retro-folks the world over whereas my contributions have been less glorious but filled with enthusiastic zeal. This time around will be no different 🙂 I’m not sure what I will do to … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016/2 – Throwing my hat into the ring.
Back in the day, manufacturers of small computer were legion. There were myriad little companies trying their hand at getting into micros. If you look back through the pages of Electronic Today International, Practical Wireless etc. you will find adverts for these small companies selling their kits, PCB etc. It was usual in those pre-web … Continue reading Interak 1
Like so many of my machines, the Sharp MZ-80K was out of my reach the first time round and by the time I could have afforded it, I was on to something else. This example was passed on to me recently and had previously been used for developing a pharmacy system years ago. The years … Continue reading New arrival – Sharp MZ-80K
Well, another RC comes to an end an if there’s any truth in the saying “It’s not the winning, it’s the taking apart” then all is well. If, however, it is the winning then we have another “success deficit” on our hands. So far I have the VT-180 in pieces. I looked at a few … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016 – End of the line. All change.
So here we are, one week in to RC2016-01 and what do we have to show for it? As you saw in my previous post, I have taken the lid off the VT180 and it sits as a bare metal cage while I try to figure out what’s wrong. The initial display (shown on the … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016 – Week 1 done. Some progress.
Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start – Apparently. According to the documentation, the VT180 is a VT100 serial terminal with a VT18X add on board. This add on is a Z80 single board computer that talks to the VT100 though one of its communications ports. this make for … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016 – First look.
On the eve of ‘challenge I have retrieved my VT-180 from the “shelf of good intentions”. I have taken photos of the two main boards and powered the machine up to see what happens. The first board basically the Z80 board. The second is a VT-100 terminal (if I remember correctly) and they talk to … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016 – Setting up my stall.