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Will Senn

Apr 28, 2022, 11:09:08 AMApr 28
to PAL 6502 computer
OK. So, I have ordered up my PAL-1 with Motherboard and 2nd RIOT (hit the budget limit or I would have ordered everything).

My question is how do y'all suggest I proceed, when I get the package?

By way of background, I've only done one other soldering job (Oscar Vermeulen's PiDP-11), so you can call me a newb when it comes to putting together hardware. You can think of me as more of a programmer - tons of experience with tons of languages on tons of platforms :) who is just now getting around to machine language. I've taken on the 6502 as a hobby at this point. I read up on the processor, grabbed an Apple Virtua][, then Vice, then Oscar's KIM-1 Uno, and lately Han's KIM-1 simulator, all in an attempt to get closer and closer to the hardware. Finally, I decided to get some hardware to play with and the PAL-1 looked good.

In preparation for the momentous occasion of turning it on, I started reading every KIM-1 source on the planet - with Hans's collection of books, that's a lot of culling through different texts to find just the right one... well more like a handful. In case some other newb comes rolling along, here's what I found to be most helpful, in order:
KIM-1 User Manual
MCS6500 Microcomputer Family Programming Manual
MCS6500 Microcomputer Family Hardware Manual
Don Lancaster's Micro Cookbook Volumes 1 and 2 (2's online in two parts)
Microcomputer Experimentation with the MOS Technology KIM-1 by Lance Leventhal

Anyhow, I'm curious what y'all would recommend by way of getting started with the actual PAL-1. Put it all together at once (PAL-1, MB, 2nd RIOT) and then what? or Do PAL-1, do stuff for a while and then do the 2nd RIOT. Do the labs from the books first, then games, or jump in and start downloading games to it?



Jim McClanahan

Apr 28, 2022, 1:37:07 PMApr 28
to PAL 6502 computer
Everyone learns differently, so there are a lot of ways to go.

I'd build the PAL-1 first and make sure it is working. Then build the rest later.

I'd also probably start with getting a simple cross development platform going. The exercises in the books are interesting from a historical perspective, but unless you want to feel the nostalgia might not have a lot of value. I'd get an editor, assembler, and something to convert files into paper tape format going along with a terminal emulator.

A simple hello world program is a good start. Then make it print a dozen times or so in a loop. Then add a delay. Then try to input a name. Then maybe move to a number guessing game. Those are all fairly small steps once you are set up and running. That does assume you are more interested in learning about the 6502 and learning 6502 assembly than reliving what it was like back in 1980. :-)

Like I said, there are lots of answers and you have to figure out what you want to do. But that's kind of the general approach I'd suggest.



Apr 28, 2022, 9:40:12 PMApr 28
to Will Senn, PAL 6502 computer
It’s depends. For me, I first do the experiments from the books (basic operations), then I found some games, I typed in binary to play, then I found the paper tape file, I started to learn how to use the paper tape file to load game (program), the paper tape is so convenience so I played a lot of games… One day I remembered that my original plan was to build a PAL-1 to learn, so I tried some advanced abilities, like BASICs, Forth, wozmon, PBUG, VTL… after that, I want to make the system a little cooler, so I try to code some flashes things through the RIOT gadgets… I think the journey will continue~

You mentioned Han’s amazing site, I also recommend the nils repository ( and Jim’s repository ( especially the ROM manual (


Will Senn

Apr 28, 2022, 11:20:20 PMApr 28
to PAL 6502 computer
Thanks, Jim. Great suggestion about cross development. I wasn't really thinking along those lines. I am somewhat interested in what computing was like back then, but not masochistically so :). Still, I'll persist with the keying stuff in by hand a bit longer. It's shocking how much better a feel for moving bits around you get from moving bits around by hand!


Will Senn

Apr 28, 2022, 11:27:17 PMApr 28
to PAL 6502 computer
Cool. I can't wait to get started on it. Thanks for the links!


Neil Andretti

Apr 29, 2022, 2:23:31 AMApr 29
to PAL 6502 computer
Good morning Will,

I've set up a little link list (as a reminder for myself where to search)

The feeling you get when your first program is running on the PAL-1 is unbelievable, even if it is just 'hello world'. My first steps (without any connection to Liu, Hans and Jim) were to find out how the display is being lid. Aart's website is a good starter:
Here you  find a very easy to use cross assembler and a tutorial, perfect for getting started)

Have fun,
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