• Retro Challenge – Finishing Post Within Sight

    Despite a late start today, things have gone well so I actually feel like I’m ahead of the game right now.  Certainly not finished, but with most of the major hurdles now behind me, the only thing left is writing a bit of Z80 assembler code.  And even that is starting to look manageable.

  • Retro Challenge – PCBs arrived and built

    So, exactly 3 weeks after they were ordered, the PCBs from OSHPark arrived today.  It’s just as well, as I was running low on things to do without them, and with just 6 days left of the Retro Challenge I would have struggled to finish in time. Well, that’s my weekend planned out for me […]

  • Retro Challenge – Matrix Interface Finished

    Just a little update as I’ve only done a little bit of work on the Z80 this evening; The LED matrix board now plugs in to my Z80 backplane!

  • Retro Challenge – Z80 Assembler Breakthrough

    Sorry I’ve not made any updates for a couple of days, but there’s not been much of significance to report of late.  Until today, that is.  Although, as far as the PCBs I’m waiting for are concerned, the only news to report there is that there is no news to report.  I will report tomorrow […]

  • Retro Challenge – The Matrix Reloaded

    The 5 matrix board has now been finished. And no one could be more relieved than me.  There’s a LOT of soldering going on in there!

  • Retro Challenge – Keep Calm and Solder On

    The mounting of the LED matrix has probably caused me the biggest turmoil so far on the Retro Challenge.  First, I was going to design a custom PCB for them, but I missed the window of opportunity to get it manufactured at a reasonable price.  So, for simplicity, I decided to use breadboard until I […]

  • Retro Challenge – New IDEa

    just a quick update about my Z80 development environment. If you look down a couple of blogs, you’ll see that I found an online Z80 emulator and I’d written a couple of bits that executed in it, so I was going to do my Z80 learning and development on that.  However, there were two issues. […]

  • Retro Challenge – Half-time Catch-up

    We’re at the halfway mark of the Retro Challenge, and there’s a slight lull in activity, so this seems like a good chance to catch up on what’s been done so far, and what’s still to come. Firstly, a quick review of the challenge I set myself; write my name in LED lights.  These must, […]

  • Retro Challenge – A Glitch In The Matrix

    I knew there would be some stumbling blocks with this Retro Challenge, but, hey, it wouldn’t be a challenge if everything was just nice and simple.  However, I seem to be beset by little stupid technical issues that aren’t necessarily retro in nature. However, the fact that you’re reading this does at least mean that my […]

  • Retro Challenge – The inbetween days

    So, after a flurry of activity, blog posts and updates at the start of the month, things have got a bit quiet. That’s not to say I haven’t been doing anything.  I have.  Lots.  But nothing really specific or bloggable. Until the batch of PCBs arrive, I am kind of in limbo land.  However, I’ve […]

  • Retro Challenge – Font Selection

    So, if I’m going to write my name on a bunch of 8×8 LED matrix displays, I have a couple of options; Write my name on grid paper, colour in the squares, convert it to binary and transpose it to hexadecimal.  Or… I could use a font that’s already out there.  Like the one that […]

  • Retro Challenge – Getting inside the matrix

    So, today I finally did some hands-on retro wires and programming stuff instead of sitting at a PC doing CAD stuff. I thought I knew how the LED matrix modules would work, in theory, but before I commit anything to copper and fibreglass, I’d like to test things out a bit.  So I dug out […]

  • Retro Challenge – Day Off

    So, having had a few fairly intensive days working on PCB design for my RC2014 computer, today was pretty much a day off.  Apart from daily household chores, all I got done today was this; Now, to the untrained eye, that may look like a schematic layout for 4 8×8 LED matrix displayed connected to […]

  • Retro Challenge 2014 – Day 5 – First PCBs Ordered

    Hokey cokey, that’s the first 4 printed circuit boards for the RC2014 (Oh, did  tell you I’ve named my homebrew Z80 computer “RC2014”? Pretty catchy name, eh?) ordered with OSHPark.  If they arrive as quick as other boards I’ve had from there before, then I should have 11 days to get everything put together and […]

  • Retro Challenge – Day Something

    Ok, it the 4th day of the Retro Challenge, and this is just a quick blog update about what I did yesterday, which was my 2nd day of doing Retro Challenge stuff.  So, yeah, it’s Day Something. Due to life getting in the way, I didn’t get an early start last night, but I did […]

  • Retro Challenge – Day 2 – First PCB Designed

    So, this is Day 2 of the Retro Challenge.  In case you’re wondering what happened to Day 1, well, Day 1 happened to fall on Pub Night, therefore I was better off giving everyone else one day head start than having a go and probably putting myself back at least a week! If you’ve read […]

  • Pre-RetroChallenge – The story so far

    Ok, so tomorrow the Summer RetroChallenge 2014 starts, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring you up to speed with what I’ve got so far so that you know where I’m starting from. I will also outline where I’ll be taking things for the RetroChallenge as well as where this project […]

  • Retro Challenge 2014

    I have always wanted to enter Retro Challenge, ever since I first heard of it nearly 24 hours ago. I followed a link that took me to http://retrochallenge.net/ and I read up on what it was all about, scrutinised the rules and checked out what others were doing. I quickly came to the conclusion that […]

  • Robomow Powered Sinclair C5

    When I bought my Sinclair C5, it came without many parts, such as wheels, motor, batteries etc. Seeing that my Robomow robotic lawn mower had all of these, I hit upon a foolproof plan! You should see the out-take video!

  • C5 – It’s Alive!

    Back in July 2013, someone in the office mentioned the beautiful iconic 80’s disaster that is the Sinclair C5.  Inevitably someone asked what they’re worth now, and apart from the fact they cost £400 new, was dropped to £199 shortly after and then the price plummeted like a stone, I had no idea.  So I […]