Z80 Assemblers on Linux for RC2014

Z80 Assemblers on Linux for RC2014

Here’s a quick post on how I got some Z80 assembly code onto my Z80 SC114 SBC from Linux. This is using the fantastic Small Computer Monitor software that comes pre-installed. First, install the necessary packages. Be sure to use z80asm and z80dasm from the repositories rather than the one that comes with z88dk if you have that installed. From Linux: –   sudo apt install z80asm z80dasm srecord Or from MacOS: –   brew install z80asm z80dasm srecord Here’s…

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Programming in C on the ZX Spectrum

Programming in C on the ZX Spectrum

Back in the 1980’s, if you were writing code for the ZX Spectrum, you could use the built-in basic interpreter or Z80 machine code for better performance. Now there are other options, including higher level languages such as C. z88dk is a great project that allows you to compile C for the ZX Spectrum and ZX Spectrum Next. It also includes some libraries to make doing common things easier. There’s a great getting started guide here and I’ve included my…

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Compiling Z88DK on the Raspberry Pi

Compiling Z88DK on the Raspberry Pi

The Z88DK project provides C compilers and libraries for over 100 Z80 machines, including the RC2014, ZX Spectrum and ZX Spectrum Next. Here are some quick notes showing how I got Z88DK working on my Raspberry Pi 4. Just installing z88dk via apt resulted in an old version, so I opted to install from source instead. Dependencies First I installed some dependencies: – Code Download Then I downloaded and uncompressed it: – Compilation Here is how I compiled the software…

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Built-in Emulators on the Raspberry Pi

Built-in Emulators on the Raspberry Pi

Here are a few emulators that I’ve found that are easy to install on a standard installation of Raspberry Pi OS (formerly known as Raspbian). To install them, use the following command: – sudo apt install <package-name> Without further ado, here’s the list: – fuse-emulator-gtk – ZX Spectrum osmose-emulator – Sega Master System / Game Gear stella – Atari 2600 openmsx – MSX nestopia – NES desmume – Nintendo DS dosbox – DOS yabause – Sega Saturn mame – MAME…

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Best Books for Intro to Computer Architecture

Best Books for Intro to Computer Architecture

If you’re interested in the architecture of computers and how CPU’s, RAM etc. are built from logic gates, then here is my selection of some good books to read. Not only do they explain the fundamental hardware needed, they go on to explain assembly language, operating systems etc. But How Do It Know? by J Clark Scott This is a great book that explains how computers are built, from NAND gates up. Each chapter goes through how a particular component…

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Resources for Programming the Z80

Resources for Programming the Z80

Books on Z80 Programming The classic book is Rodney Zaks’ Programming the Z80 from 1979-1981. It is freely available (with the author’s blessing) here. Another Z80 book from the late 70’s is “Z80 Assembly Language Programming” by Lace A. Leventhal. You can download a copy from the internet archive here. A more modern book for Z80 programming is “Jumpstart Z80 Machine Code” from 2016. It has mixed reviews on Amazon and focuses on the Ti-83 calculator but it may be…

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Starting Emulator Development

Starting Emulator Development

Writing an emulator for a CPU or entire system is a great programming project. Some of the old 8-bit CPU’s can be emulated fairly easily and running them at a decent speed isn’t a problem for modern PC’s. In addition to the CPU, code will be needed to emulate any graphics and sound hardware too. Here are some notes on where to start. CHIP-8 Chip 8 is usually the first place to start – its actually an interpreted programming language…

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Zilog Z80 CPU Part Numbers

Zilog Z80 CPU Part Numbers

The Zilog Z80 CPU is still being produced – not bad for a CPU introduced in 1976. When buying a Z80 CPU, it helps to understand the format of the part numbers used. For example, “Z84C0008PEG” The Z80 most commonly used for hobby projects is the “CMOS” version. This CPU starts with the six characters “Z84C00” (the “C” means “CMOS”). The 7th and 8th characters determine the speed in Mhz. The 9th determines the package type (in this case, “P”…

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Z80-based Single-board computer kits

Z80-based Single-board computer kits

Here are some links to some single-board computer kits using the Z80 CPU that I have found. The RC2014 is a SBC kit built with a backplane so that numerous modules are available to expand it. Firstly, the RC2014 Classic II kit (around £76) contains 5 modules (CPU, ROM, RAM, Serial I/O and Clock/Reset) all connected separately to a backplate. The RC2014 Mini kit (around £64) combines all of these modules onto the same board to make things easier to…

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Kits to build Z80 Retro Computers from the 80’s

Kits to build Z80 Retro Computers from the 80’s

There are various kits available to allow you to assemble a computer that’s compatible with various systems from the 80’s. Here are a few that I have found. The Minstrel 2 by Tynemouth Software is a self-assembly Sinclair ZX80 compatible computer kit that comes with its own keyboard. The Minstrel 3 (also by Tynemouth Software is a similar self-assembly kit, but based on the Sinclair ZX81. Another kit from Tynemouth Software is the Minstrel 4th which is a Jupiter Ace…

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