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Looking to build simple home computer.

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Chris Green, Feb 18, 2004.

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  1. Chris Green

    Chris Green Guest


    Its been a long time since I designed/built any HW projects (I became
    a SW Engineer!) so apologies if this is the wrong group.

    I was thinking about building a simple single-board computer that
    could display graphics on a TV and was wondering what sort of
    components would be most suitable these days for use by a hobbyist.

    A basic design would be a CPU with some external memory. Part of the
    memory will act as a frame buffer thus some logic will be needed to
    read colour values out and pass them to a DAC acting as an input to a
    video encoder (I was thinking possibly an AD724 RGB to NTSC/PAL

    Some (rough) specs:

    16-bit CPU, clock speed around 10-20MHz.
    128K-512K RAM
    Video display ~ 256 x 256 colour (555 RGB?)

    Can anyone recommend suitable components I should be looking at using?
    I was hoping to use a 68000 for the CPU since I'm familiar with
    programming it and seem to remember it being pretty simple to design
    HW around. However it has been a long time and from searches I have
    done I can't find a retail supplier who stocks these any more (I live
    in the UK).

    Thanks for any help,
  2. Miguel A

    Miguel A Guest

    Hi Chris,

    Check the Internet for projects with PIC microcontrolers.
    I Know there are some simple projects around that use PICs for
    implementing a game in a B&W TV. Start by gathering some information
    on modern microcontrolers... 68K CPU is a bit old for modern
    projects ;)


  3. But if someone is just building something for their own use, what
    difference does it make how old the CPU is? The only relevant factor
    is whether one can get one. So, it would be fairly stupid to pick
    an 8008 at this date (well, it would have been fairly stupid after
    the 8080 came along) because they were never common, and date back
    thirty years. Post-8080 CPUs usually did see common useage, so
    they should be easy to get ahold of. There are exceptions; I wouldn't
    bother with the Fairchild F8, but then it wasn't a good choice a quarter
    century ago.

    If he's familiar with the 68000, then that makes it a better choice
    than starting from scratch with a more recent CPU. And even if he
    didn't know the CPU, it dates from a time when it was used in hobby circles,
    so there is material out there for it.

  4. Rob

    Rob Guest

    Hello Chris,
    I would probably be able to help here. This is the sort of project
    that I did with my brother years back. He also went into programming.
    But a programmer and a hardware engineer make a good combination,
    ingeting something like this going.
    Robert (Bucks, UK)
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