Z80-MBC2 homebrew computer: experience and projects

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Paolo Amoroso

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Jul 5, 2022, 12:09:56 PMJul 5
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The Z80-MBC2[1] is a great 8 MHz Z80 homebrew computer kit that runs a number of classic operating systems such as CP/M 2.2 and 3.0, as well as QP/M 2.71.

I bought an assembled Z80-MBC2 unit and in this group you may have seen my request for help with troubleshooting an XMODEM issue[2].

But, other than that stumbling block, the device works great and playing with it is a lot of fun. On my blog I'm writing a series of posts[3] to document my experience with the Z80-MBC2. I share usage notes on my setup and tools, learning and experimenting with CP/M, Assembly coding, and more.


[1] https://hackaday.io/project/159973-z80-mbc2-a-4-ics-homebrew-z80-computer
[2] https://groups.google.com/g/comp.os.cpm/c/oFsZ6PcsCkM/m/3WSnW3gjBQAJ
[3] https://journal.paoloamoroso.com/tag:z80mbc2

Steve Mastriannni

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Jul 6, 2022, 9:06:31 PMJul 6
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I built a couple of the MBC systems, and they work great. They are somewhat limited in expansion, but fun to fool around with.

--Steve

Phil G

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Jul 9, 2022, 7:27:15 PMJul 9
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I'm a long-time CP/M enthusiast and still have my original Ferguson 'BigBoard'.
More recently I made an RC2040 and three Grant Searles.
I built a Z80MBC2 and its ok, but I much prefer the 'Z80 Playground' by John Squires as it has a modified CP/M
which uses FAT and therefore sidesteps all the faffing about with CPM Tools, download.com, xmodem etc.
Copy files from your PC to the USB stick, insert it into the Playground and the files are there under CP/M.
This convenience is a really Good Thing and hence my 'other' CP/M boards dont get anything
like the same use. It runs everything except (obviously) direct disk editing programs since the format is abstracted by the custom BDOS.
WordStar, Turbo Pascal, BBCBasic, Hitchhikers etc all run perfectly as do my usual tools M80, RMAC, ZSM etc
John seems to have lost interest in the Z80 Playground project which is a great shame as its my favourite of all my Z80 gear.
I did an 8255 PCB for it since the lack of I/O ports was its only shortcoming.
Thinking about it, the Z80MBC2 hasnt been powered up at all this year, the Playground is so much nicer.
Cheers
Phil

Zbig

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Jul 17, 2022, 11:24:37 AMJul 17
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I've got to admit the „Agon Light” ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9TF2ZCngoE ) looks very interesting to me.

Todd Na

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Jul 21, 2022, 9:51:23 PMJul 21
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On Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at 12:09:56 PM UTC-4, paolo....@gmail.com wrote:
I just bought one of these. I bought it pre-assembled, and I should be getting it in a couple of days. I bought the RTC module, and a serial to USB adaptor as well. It's been such a long time since I've done anything with BBSes. I don't even remember how you're supposed to connect to this.

Windows seems to think that "Terminal" means DOS now... but I seem to recall that I used to have a terminal application with Windows that allowed me to connect to devices through the serial port, like a BBS or something (through a modem). I have Windows 11... did it disable terminal? Or is there some other name that I'm just forgetting?


Also... I never really had a CP/M system. My first computer was a KayPro 8088 with DOS 3.21A... which is funny because KayPro were like the kings of CP/M systems. Is there any fun software that I can download and load onto this system? I assume I have to transfer via XMODEM or whatever... or maybe just via the flash card?


Thanks!

Fritz

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Jul 21, 2022, 11:48:53 PMJul 21
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Am 22.07.2022 um 03:51 schrieb Todd Na:
> On Tuesday, July 5, 2022 at 12:09:56 PM UTC-4, paolo....@gmail.com wrote:

...
...
> Windows seems to think that "Terminal" means DOS now... but I seem to recall that I used to have a terminal application with Windows that allowed me to connect to devices through the serial port, like a BBS or something (through a modem). I have Windows 11... did it disable terminal? Or is there some other name that I'm just forgetting?
>
>
> Also... I never really had a CP/M system. My first computer was a KayPro 8088 with DOS 3.21A... which is funny because KayPro were like the kings of CP/M systems. Is there any fun software that I can download and load onto this system? I assume I have to transfer via XMODEM or whatever... or maybe just via the flash card?
>
>
> Thanks!


I use ZOCK for Windows. You can test ZOCK for a long time but got a remember to buy it.


https://www.emtec.com/zoc/features.html

--
-- Fritz

Roger Ivie

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Jul 22, 2022, 3:51:06 PMJul 22
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On Thursday, July 21, 2022 at 6:51:23 PM UTC-7, 73vw...@gmail.com wrote:
> Windows seems to think that "Terminal" means DOS now... but I seem to recall that I
> used to have a terminal application with Windows that allowed me to connect to devices
> through the serial port, like a BBS or something (through a modem). I have
> Windows 11... did it disable terminal? Or is there some other name that I'm just forgetting?

PuTTY knows how to use serial ports, but you can't transfer files with it.
--
roger ivie
roger...@gmail.com

Paolo Amoroso

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Jul 22, 2022, 3:59:18 PMJul 22
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On Friday, July 22, 2022 at 3:51:23 AM UTC+2, 73vw...@gmail.com wrote:
> Windows seems to think that "Terminal" means DOS now... but I seem to recall that I used to have a terminal application with Windows that allowed me to connect to devices through the serial port, like a BBS or something (through a modem). I have Windows 11... did it disable terminal? Or is there some other name that I'm just forgetting?

The Z80-MBC2 developer uses the Tera Term terminal emulator under Windows.

> Also... I never really had a CP/M system. My first computer was a KayPro 8088 with DOS 3.21A... which is funny because KayPro were like the kings of CP/M systems. Is there any fun software that I can download and load onto this system? I assume I have to transfer via XMODEM or whatever... or maybe just via the flash card?

The easiest way of transferring files is via XMODEM.

Todd Na

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Jul 23, 2022, 10:03:57 PMJul 23
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Thanks everyone! I appreciate the responses!

I do have Putty, but definitely looking for a more "immersive" experience than an Admin tool, hehe...

ZOC looks pretty cool, I went ahead and downloaded it and I'll buy it when my MB2 comes in.


Oh yeah, I seem to recall a product called IBM Reflections Terminal. It was a ~16 years ago for me... but I used it back in the day to connect to an AS/400 system when I worked for the medical industry and we programmed in MUMPS. They'd taken all our old Wyse terminals away, and switched us onto these (which were already old at that point) Windows XP / P5 terminals... lol. I tried finding IBM Reflections, but I can't find it. It was nice because it let me set the graphics to Hercules monochrome (green and black), which reminded me of my old school KayPro!

Thank you!
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