Development system continues Z80 legacy

TechOnline India - August 25, 2010

The ZiLOG Z80 is a 8-bit microprocessor made and sold by ZiLOG from July 1976 and is one of the most popular microprocessors that a whole generation of electronics and programmers has grown up with. It found usage in desktop and embedded computers – a wide spectrum from game console up to military applications. The Z80 derivatives and clones make this CPU the most used processor of all times.

The ZiLOG Z80 is a 8-bit microprocessor made and sold by ZiLOG from July 1976 and is one of the most popular microprocessors that a whole generation of electronics and programmers has grown up with. It found usage in desktop and embedded computers – a wide spectrum from game console up to military applications. The Z80 derivatives and clones make this CPU the most used processor of all times.

To face the obsolescence of Z80 development tools System TRAINZ (Erfurt, Germany) has come up with a simple form of development system. During conception of System TRAINZ the key problem was to load a binary file (mostly this is Z80 machine code) into the RAM, test it and burn it into the on-board flash EEPROM.

System TRAINZ can be used software development (assembly, C, ...), learning the basics of computer engineering, programming, repair and maintenance, control and measurement as well as the assembly and troubleshooting of complex electronics.

Use of ICs on sockets, through-hole technology and moderate clock frequencies of less than 11 MHz the user has a robust and easy to repair computer system. System TRAINZ can be operated in the targeted application without any modifications.

History:

The system provides an RS232 interface to host computer, operation via terminal program running on host computer not dependent on any operation system of the host computer, hardware that can operate in the targeted application and testing of the user written program in the system RAM. The user written program is uploaded into the systems 32-kbyte flash EEPROM and is executed at system start. An open system bus is provided for user made hardware extensions and IC provides support for peripheral devices.

The user can change mountings of components, to make customize the configurations of both hardware and software.

It does not include Z80 assembler, compiler or interpreter software, or provide single step program execution, debugging functions, breakpoints or video interfaces such as VGA or FBAS.

This module can be used with any computer that is equipped with a serial RS232 interface and a terminal program. So System TRAINZ can be operated with Linux, UNIX, MSDOS and MSWindows. Terminal programs of these operating systems are for example Minicom or HyperTerminal.

The physical assembly consists of two EuroBoards (100 x 160 mm), the main board and the memory board memory management unit (MMU).

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