RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

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RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby lizardb0y on Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:51 am

Now that we're steaming full-speed into summer, entries for the RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup have opened. It runs over January 2012 and pretty much anything goes; you set your own goals, and the only requirement is that you regularly blog your progress.

I'm definitely entering, and plan to build my Briel 8800micro kit. If you're keen, head along here and enter.
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby tezza on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:17 pm

Events like these give people incentives to tackle a project. It makes me think we should have our own local one in our winter, when days are short and evenings are long.
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby lizardb0y on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:22 pm

The Retro Challenge runs twice a year, but I found it impossible to make time for it in June. I'm hoping January will be more fruitful :)
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby Gibsaw on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:39 pm

mm.. could be interesting.
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby lizardb0y on Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:02 am

I've started on my Briel 8800micro build, and am logging it here. My plan is to do something every day this month, whether big, small or indifferent. Today there are big thumbs up to [url=nz.element14.com]Element 14[/url] for being consistently the best place to order parts from, ever.
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby tezza on Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:00 pm

lizardb0y wrote:I've started on my Briel 8800micro build, and am logging it here. My plan is to do something every day this month, whether big, small or indifferent. Today there are big thumbs up to Element 14 for being consistently the best place to order parts from, ever.


Andrew, reading your blog (and watching the video) makes ME want one. All those geeky switches and lights!

Does the Briel 8800 come with a cabinet to mount the faceplate and board, or do you have to do that yourself?

I'm assuming if the SD card was working it would boot to CP/M, yes?
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby lizardb0y on Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:14 pm

tezza wrote:
lizardb0y wrote:I've started on my Briel 8800micro build, and am logging it here. My plan is to do something every day this month, whether big, small or indifferent. Today there are big thumbs up to Element 14 for being consistently the best place to order parts from, ever.


Andrew, reading your blog (and watching the video) makes ME want one. All those geeky switches and lights!

Yeah, it's great isn't it? It took less time to build than I'd expected, but all those chip sockets, switches and LEDs took a fair bit of effort!

tezza wrote:Does the Briel 8800 come with a cabinet to mount the faceplate and board, or do you have to do that yourself?


Everything is (in theory) supplied with the kit. Mine was missing a couple of caps and the 16Mhz crystal, but that was completely accidental.

tezza wrote:I'm assuming if the SD card was working it would boot to CP/M, yes?


Using this boot method it boots into it's own bootloader, from where you can load binaries directly off the SD card by specifying the filename. It only has 32K SRAM as supplied so CP/M isn't possible. Vince has just annouced an expansion card that takes it to 64K SRAM and two RAM disk emulated floppy drives which will allow CP/M: http://www.brielcomputers.com/wordpress/?p=610
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby tezza on Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:51 pm

lizardb0y wrote:Using this boot method it boots into it's own bootloader, from where you can load binaries directly off the SD card by specifying the filename. It only has 32K SRAM as supplied so CP/M isn't possible. Vince has just annouced an expansion card that takes it to 64K SRAM and two RAM disk emulated floppy drives which will allow CP/M: http://www.brielcomputers.com/wordpress/?p=610

I just spent a bit of time reading about the kit from the URL you gave. It certainly looks fun to do and I'm tempted to assemble one myself at some stage. It would make a nice change from playing with circuit boards just to replair them and it would be great to show off an Altair, even if it is just a replica.

Is your model Revision 0? Did you think there would still be some bugs lurking in there? Is the firmware updatable if they come out with bug fixes?
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby lizardb0y on Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:56 pm

tezza wrote:Is your model Revision 0? Did you think there would still be some bugs lurking in there? Is the firmware updatable if they come out with bug fixes?

Mine's a rev 1 board, serial #139. Firmware is upgradable from SD once I get the SD card slot working - no joy so far and I suspect it's a HW fault and not a card formatting issue.
lizardb0y / Andrew
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Re: RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

Postby lizardb0y on Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:31 am

Here's a video of the first real test I did of the machine after completing the build.

http://youtu.be/v0gxP-RkyeM

I have since identified two issues:
- SD card reader appears to be faulty and recognises no cards
- Composite video out not working

I'll be plugging away at these this morning.
lizardb0y / Andrew
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blog: http://www.vintage8bit.com
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