Instructables
Picture of Building your own retro style microcomputer.
The 1970's through the 1980's were the times of magic for the personal computer.    If you could time travel back to 1976 to Crist Dr in Palo Alto, CA, you would have found a couple scruffy looking guys creating the original Apple personal computer in their garage.  Later you might be able to witness Commodore set a sales records of approximately 30 million Commodore 64s.

Ever feel like you missed out on the magic era of the personal computer because you were born too late?

Ever want to re-create your own little Z80 or 6502 based microcomputer but had your eyes start to glaze over when you realized it was going to spending weeks of soldering together dozens of obsolete IC's no guarantee that it might work at all? 

This Instructable will teach you how to build your own retro-style microcomputer to program, play games and music, and most importantly re-create some of the magic from the 1970's on your own table.   You will be able to assemble this project in an afternoon, and enjoy it for months to come.   We'll start with some a simple kit and build from there.

Edit: This is still an extremely popular project, but the parts used are no longer in production.
I've joined up with Gadget Gangster to create my own board as version 2 of this concept.
The Instructable can be found here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-your-own-pocket-mini-computer/
 
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Istarian8 months ago
If you don't want to spend a lot of money and understand AVR microcontrollers pretty well, there this kind of thing, too -> http://spritesmods.com/?art=avrcpm
skaar2 years ago
since the apple2 schematics, and the os are laying around, still usable, i had thought of making one from smt's, it'd be pretty cute, modern micro connectors for cards, easily done up in eagle and banged out.
I would love to see that done! Please do post an 'ible if you get around to doing it. :)
http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10001_10001_2143646_-1 well, a plcc 6502 is close, they have them as qfp and dip too, so at least someone could fix a broken original. personally, i'd see about switching the dynamic ram for static, or maybe a more modern dram chip.
soshimo2 years ago
You know, some of us were born before the 80s so we do remember playing with the actual hardware (poking 6502 machine coded directly into the apple iie monitor - oh the pain, but such good memories). Thanks for making me feel really old ;).

Another option, albeit much more advanced, is to use an FPGA. There are plenty of IP cores available for the 6502 and it's bigger cousin the 65C816. I've synthesized both successively, only now I have an actual cross compiler and tool chain so I can write an an a high level language like C and no more poking machine code into the monitor! ;D
This, my friend, is extraordinarily awesome. A little money for supplies and I am so going to build this. And then I start work on a little homebrew OS, make an interesting and neat case for it...the possibilities are endless. Thank you!
FourthDr3 years ago
I noticed that the code is in binary. Why not in spin? Will the code work on the propeller demo board? I would prefer to use the demo board because it already has video, keyboard and mouse plus audio and a breadboard on it. That should eliminate the need for the shield.
jeffledger (author)  FourthDr3 years ago
I appreciate the fact that you seem to be well versed with the Propeller. This article is focused more toward those with an interest in retro-computing who have had little to no exposure to the Propeller product. You'll notice that I've jumped past a lot of explanation, leaving much to be discovered after completing this simple project. I'd invite you to join us on the Propeller Powered forums / Parallax forums for more in depth Propeller discussion. -Jeff-