Author Options:

What Can I Make With a Single Z80 Microprocessor? Answered

I was hoping that someone could give me an idea of something to build with this Z80 chip I found. Preferably something that doesn't require another chip. Thanks in advance for any ideas!


Depending on how old it is you could get a few $$ on ebay. The highest priced one was at 89.99$ (I just checked)

Well it's SMD so obviously not that old. I checked and they are selling for 2 to 4 bucks. Thanks anyway!

An entire personal computer from about 30 years ago. It was the core processor for many designs, until the PC came out - look at the old TRS80 for a start !


It has twice as many registers as the 8080 and easy to program in ML code.
You could do 70% of the computer based ibles here, if you provide
It with the necessary external memory and I/O chip and clock.
Oh.... The fond memories, of the external kind.


Some of the memories are fond.....some not so much for me :-)

I cut my teeth on the Signetics 2650 and 256 words of ram.

I kind got my experience on three machines nearly simultaneously; the Zilog Z80 on the TRS-80 I ; the Motorola 6809E on the Color Computer I (and eventually II) on which I learned a funky version of BASIC.; and learned RPG II and COBOL on an IBM System 3. My first real computer job involved an IBM 4381, with an old punch reader, attached (and the tape drives as well). I bit of a mash up really some 25 years ago when almost every business of their size had moved on from punch cards. Fun times......nothing like a high speed reader jamming 20+ punch cards into the space the size of my little finger LOL

A dandy past memory :-)

I nearly forgot the 6502 (Commodore 64, I think I still have one of those beasts in the back room LOL).

That the 1802 Cosmac and the 6800 . . . . . teardrop

Cool ! The 1802 I was not familiar with. And in 1975, I would have only been 17 so I didn't really have the funds at the time for getting something like the computer kit with the 6800 in it.   Teardrop, like the 2N1613 ?

It seems as though, later,  I was learning to work with machines that were "already on their way out"  :-) 

I really enjoyed the Cosmac because it was a 4 bit, 8 bit and 16 bit CMOS
machine all rolled into one. It also had the distinction of being put into space
orbit owing to the fact that RCA CMOS could be rad hardened to survive the
Van Allen radiation belt :-o

Interesting....sigh, seems for me it was too little (effort on my part) too late.

From the Wikipedia article
"it was used in the Nintendo Game Boy, the Sinclair ZX80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum and the Amstrad CPC home computers as well as the MSX architecture and the Tandy TRS-80 series—among many others. More so than simply sparking improvements in the budding field of home computing and gaming, the Z-80 also sparked a revolution in electronic music, as the first truly programmable polyphonic synthesizers (as well as their peripherals) relied heavily on implementations of this CPU. Many Texas Instruments graphing calculators used the Z80 as the main processor, and the chip found continued use in some game consoles such as the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis in the United States) as a dedicated sound controller. The CP/M operating system (and its huge software library featuring hits like Wordstar and dBase) was known to be "the Z80 disk operating system", and its success is partly due to the popularity of the Z80."

Learn to programme it.



TBH, unless you're into vintage computers, its a dead-end now.
In teresting and all that, but dead.

It needs support: not without at least one other chip.


Looking at the other answers, I would say mount it in a block of clear resin and make it into an ornament, maybe sell it on ebay.