News 6/10/17

It’s been a while. Been busy at work and this is the first weekend in a while that I have some free time.

Last month I finally got my junk together by buying a bookshelf from a thrift store so I could properly store everything instead of piling it up in the corner.

I also bought early last month a Eico 950 Resistance, Capacitance, Comparator Bridge. It’s so old it uses Vacuum Tubes. I bought it from Ebay for around $40.00. The Ebay seller said he restored it but when I opened it up the unit still has a lot of paper caps that are probably ticking time bombs. Some time I plan on recapping it and replacing the AC cord with a polarized one.

To make some extra room on the work bench I put my Analog scope in storage. Before doing so I wanted to checkout inside the case since I never opened it up. Besides some dust bunnies I found something that explaned why the triggering function was a PITA to use. I fixed it and it triggers much better.

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I was visiting my mother and found an old V-Tech learning computer that my brother and I use to play with when we were kids. I took it home and took it apart to clean it up since it had a good layer of nicotine stains on it and to my surprise it has a z80 and  static RAM inside of it.

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I’m thinking to hack it and toss on a Zilog SIO or PIO chip and a EEPROM and see if I can do something with it. Although I’m already building a z80 from scratch. Speaking of that I got some needed parts on order but will take a while to show up. I ordered some z80 20MHz CPUs from China. They claim they’re new old stock but we shall see.

Last week I got some ATMega328P-PU ICs for two bucks that I ordered months ago and forgot about. I tested them out and they didn’t want to work. After looking in my email for the invoice it said the chips were preprogrammed with the Arduino bootloader. After spending about two hours trying some stuff I finally got them working. I had to reset the “fuses”. I plan to use a couple of them for a Serial Terminal project for my z80 build. I would like to finish my TerminalScope clone but Grant Searle’s is cheaper and more customizable. I might go find myself one of those portable B&W TVs and make a mini old school looking dumb terminal.

 

My HP TouchSmart TX2 laptop bit the dust. When you power it on the Cap Lock and Number Lock lights blink and no picture comes up on the monitor. I found out the GPU had loosen up on the mainboard. My Acer Laptop has a few issues as well and I think it is starting to fall victim to GPU failure aswell so I pulled out the old Family desktop my wife has had for eight years. It’s a Gatyeway DX4200-09 with 4GB of RAM and a 500GB Hard drive. I tossed in a nVidia GeForce 220 GT and a USB 2.0 PCI card for more USB ports. It’s not a bad system, I installed Windows 7 on it for now and works quite well. I might toss in a second hard drive and dual boot Debian Linux on it.

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