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Z80-Based Project Ideas

qazxsw21000

Mar 23, 2023
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Mar 23, 2023
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I designed a Z80 computer and found myself at a lack of ideas to use it for. I have to rewrite my “firmware” due to accidentally corrupting it and then finding a kind of a major bug in it, but that’s beside the point. Once I get it reprogrammed, I have a script written to calculate the Fibonacci sequence up to 16 digits (because they’re being displayed on a 16x2 LCD), but I want to do something a bit more..impressive, let’s say. I want to have something like a sensor that the computer can grab data from, then process it and do something in response.

So my question is what do I do with it? I have a 32x64 graphic LCD that I’ve attached before. I have a 16-bit color display that can be communicated with using the 8080-parallel standard (but I need help interpreting the data sheet).

An alternative phrasing of the question:
If a video came across your YouTube feed titled “I Forced My 8-Bit Computer to [blank],” what (reasonable thing) could fill in the blank to make you want to click it?
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
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Plenty of source information out there on the internet as it's been going now for over 50 years.
Some have re-furbished the older Z80's and some have used things like Rasberry Pi to do the same processes.
Plenty of ideas out there also and with details that will make everything much easier to get first model up and going in the shortest time.
You will need this I'm sure.
 

qazxsw21000

Mar 23, 2023
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Mar 23, 2023
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You misunderstand. The system is—for the most part—already built. I put the CPU, RAM and ROM (and supporting circuitry) onto a PCB to allow a more rapid building of IO stuff. I’ve already made a few circuits and wrote the code to make it all work. But everything I’ve done so far feels…bare, or unimpressive. Most of it was adding numbers together and “print” them to some LEDs. Anything with the graphics display has just been testing it by sending patterns to it (again, the pattern was generated by adding numbers together).

The main issue I’m facing is that most sensors (for example) have an analog output or use serial communication; two things not (directly) supported by the CPU. I’m sure I can get synchronous serial communications to work with a few devices, but “a few” would be about it. What I need the absolute most are things that utilize the 8080-parallel interface or an easy way to emulate the interface side of a hypothetical device. I’d also like to skip out on using microcontrollers or other processors because I want the system to be as independent as possible.
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
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You misunderstand.
No, I understand completely.....and reply above still applies.

If you want to get a simple understanding of analog devices and programming of same, then perhaps start with Arduino systems, which are or at least mostly are, independant (depending on what you perceive as independant)
They also support serial communications if that's where you are headed.

I think you need to do some more reading and study first.
 

qazxsw21000

Mar 23, 2023
4
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Mar 23, 2023
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Oh, I think I see what you was saying now. I had to reread it a few times because my brain be a little slow atm. I thought you was trying to point me towards beginner-level stuff to learn. I’ll see what other people have done to see if I get inspired by something.

In terms of analog and serial stuff, I’d like to avoid that as much as possible. I will toss an Arduino in the mix to act as a “middle man” if I absolutely need to (I have before), but I’m wanting my Z80 circuitry to be independent (as in the processor does all of the work itself). The exception to this being the LCD displays, which have controllers built into them.
 
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