Yet Another Z180 (YAZ180 v2)

Testing on the YAZ180 v1 , shown below, is now complete. I don’t want to use it for further driver and platform development, because the PLCC socket for the 256kB Flash is becoming worn-out.

It will continue to operate as an augmented Nascom Basic machine, with an integrated Intel HEX loader (HexLoadr) supporting direct loaded assembler or C applications.


YAZ180 v1 at full configuration.

The new PCB for the YAZ180 v2 has been ordered.

These are some screenshots of the new PCB.


Pi Day, March 14 2017.

After dwelling on the fact that the V2 PCB was really just a clean up the V1 PCB, with no additional features, I decided not to build the beautiful new PCBs that arrived today.

But rather, to create a new PCB with additional features.

New Features

When I originally designed the YAZ180 the breakout for the 82C55 was simply an interim design, to enable me to test the board. I was thinking of making an Arduino style pin-out, or something along those lines. But this is something much better.

Recently, after reading Paul’s page on interfacing an IDE drive to an 8051 microprocessor with the 82C55, I decided that adding IDE to the YAZ180 was a must-have feature.

So there is a new connector on the YAZ180 to break out the 82C55 pins, in IDE 44-pin 2mm format. I have not followed the design provided by Paul exactly. I’d note that his design and the earlier design by Peter Fraasse were specialist designs, which don’t support the generalised usage of the 82C55 chip, beyond the IDE functionality.

By the above statement I mean that in Mode 1 and Mode 2 for Port A and Port B, the PC2, PC4, and PC6 pins of the 82C55 device are designated registered strobe input pins /STB in input mode, or peripheral acknowledge /ACK in output mode. If an inverting output buffer is connected on these lines, then the registered input and output mode capability is lost. This would restrict the functionality of the 82C55 to simply Mode 0, being the mode that is used to create the IDE functionality.

As I’ve connected the three IDE address selection pins to PC2, PC4, and PC6, and these pins are not passed through an inverting buffer in the design, it is possible to use the 82C55 in any of its modes, and therefore to use the IDE 2.5″ 44-pin form factor to connect the YAZ180 82C55 ports to extension PCBs of any type or design.

As a connected IDE drive or other extension board may need to interrupt the CPU, I have connected the IDE INTRQ pin to the remaining inverting buffer to provide an input to the CPU on /INT0. As the /INT0 (or actually the INTRQ) input terminates on the IDE header, either a IDE drive through INTRQ, or either of the two 82C55 INTR pins, PC3 or PC0, can originate the interrupt.

I have reconfigured the Am9511A-1 to use the /NMI interrupt, as previously the /INT0 was configured.

The new YAZ180 v2 PCB has been ordered. YAZ180_v2_Schematic.

Happy Pi Day.

Update – RetroChallenge Day 1

I’ve decided to enter the RetroChallenge 2017/04 and my challenge is to read and write to an IDE drive using the newly configured IDE interface on the YAZ180v2. But before I can write the code for the IDE interface, there’s a bit of building and testing that needs to be done.

The new PCBs arrived a few days ago, and they look great. But Arduino Day and the first day of the RetroChallenge 2017/04, 1st April, seemed like a good day to lay them out.


New PCBs. 2oz Copper, 2mm thick. Opulent.

I was hoping to lay build several boards at once, but somehow I forgot that there was only one RAM and one FT245 device in my component stocks. That means that I had to satisfy myself with just one board for now.

Note the suitably Retro PowerMac (circa 2001) driving the layout guide screen.


Adhoc Workspace

This is the board just before cooking. Respect to anyone who notices the substantial noob layout mistake. Anyway, after a small smokey explosion, everything was rectified.


Two YAZ180 versions, side by side.

This is the finished build of the YAZ180 v2. Looks very tasty. Retro goodness.


Fully populated YAZ180 v2 PCB.

I’m still working on fixing an issue with my code, which I noticed when experimenting with the Am9511A APU, and inserting an Interrupt Jump Table. Basically, I’m getting jumps to odd or  random locations, which is detected buy filling unused locations with 0x76, the HALT, OpCode. The most common address where the HALT is executed at is 0x00C3.

Previously, I’d been filling unused locations with 0xFF, the RST 38H OpCode shared with the INT0 location 0x0038, which was causing the APU to be triggered inappropriately. This issue has me snookered. I can’t move on, in the software sense, until it is resolved .

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Update – RetroChallenge Day 8

Well this week was one of the most frustrating weeks ever, in terms of time spent vs. results obtained.

There are two major projects in hand. 1. Getting the YAZ180 v2 running, and 2. resolving the software issue plaguing my initialisation code.

Hardware issues

Bringing up a new piece of hardware is never easy. Initially, nothing can be trusted to work, and everything needs to be checked against the design, and then even the design checked for correctness. Bringing up the YAZ180 v1 was very time consuming, because I had to develop the PLD design during the process, as well as checking that all the hardware was sorking as it should. I thought that bringing up the YAZ180 v2 would be easy. Just solder it together and win. But it has not been so simple.

Essentially, after a week of working on this every evening, I don’t know why it is not working correctly. All the standard things, volts, clock, stuck address and data lines, etc are all working correctly. But it still doesn’t work. And, it may not be just one thing that is wrong, but if anything is not perfect it just won’t work.

After a few days of testing, I found that I’d programmed the PLD devices with an old version of the CUPL code. Nearly right, but not exactly right. Once I’d isolated that issue, by ensuring the new GAL devices worked perfectly in the V1 board, I thought it would be enough. But no. There’s still something wrong.

My current thought is that somehow, either electro-static damage or heat damage, the RAM is unreliable. But, I’m not sure enough of this to unsolder the RAM device and replace it. I’ll be spending this weekend on resolving this problem.

Software issues

Because of the effort I’ve been putting into resolving the hardware issues, I’ve not been able to solve the software issue apparent in the YAZ180 initialisation and serial code. I’ve documented the issue on Github.

My lesson learned is NOT to fill unused memory with 0xFF bytes. This causes RST 38H jumps to the INT0 location when the PC is incorrectly loaded, and can be very distracting. Best to fill unused memory with either 0x76 HALT bytes, to see where things became broken, or with 0xC9 RET bytes to just float over the underlying issue.

I’ll need to fix this properly, but it has consumed several weeks of effort, and I’m not much closer to resolution.

Update – RetroChallenge Day 10

The weekend was unkind, but today some new eyes (literally) have brought successes.

Hardware Issues

After doing quite a bit of further testing, I’m fairly sure that I’ve damaged the RAM and will need to replace it. So, I’ve ordered a hot-air solder gun. Should have had one for a long time. Finally, I’ve got a round-‘tuit. I’ll have to order some replacement components too, which will result in being able to make additional boards as well.

Software Issues

Finally, I’ve resolved my issue. What we had here was a classic “failure to understand”. Somewhat embarrassed to leave this here for Internet eternity.

  • Z80 vectors are supported by a JUMP table.
  • Z180 vectors are supported by an ADDRESS table.

Insert JP instructions into an address table and you will have a very very bad day.

Or in my case, quite a few of them.

This issue cost so much time. But at least on the up side, I’ve written robust Z80 and Z180 vector tables, improved my ASCI code, and cleaned up initialisation code, in trying to track this down.

Also finally, I now understand. Which is the entire point, anyway.

Update – RetroChallenge Day 17

Following up on the success of last weekend, I was hoping to have a lot of achievement to write about today. Unfortunately, it has been a grind this week too.

I have been distracted back into the original project that unearthed my previous software problem, and led me along the path to getting a much better understanding of the Z180 CPU, and then solving the issue. The original project was building an interrupt driven driver for the Am9511A-1 Arithmetic Processing Unit.

I’ve spent pretty much the past week on this code, and digging through it with a fine tooth comb. I’m now of a belief that my Am9511A driver code is correct, but my hardware is not correct and may never be correct.

The issue lies with the requirement for the Am9511A to have the Address lines and Chip Select signal remain valid for 30ns following raising of the Write signal. Unfortunately, the Z180 only maintains valid address lines for 5ns following Write. This means that writing to the AM9511A APU is very much a hit and miss affair, with miss being the most likely outcome. I’m still thinking about ways to bodge this to work. But, I think that it may just be too hard to get the old APU to work with a modern CPU. More on this later.

This week I’ll be working on the PaulMon IDE code, and migrating it from 8051 to Z80 nomenclature, and trying to get it to compile.

Update – RetroChallenge Day 21

Well the last couple of days have been exciting, as I found a way to make the Am9511A APU work. A hint from a fellow competitor (on working with the MC6809 CPU) inspired me to look further for information on options to fix the hardware interface.

The Z180 E CLOCK

The Z180 has an almost undocumented feature, called the E Clock. Yes, it is documented in datasheet that it exists, but there’s no real background that I can find as to why it exists, except that is for a Secondary Bus Interface. This pin and signal doesn’t exist on the Z80, for example. Anyway, since it has the same name as a signal on the MC6809, I thought it might be worth looking at it. It turns out that the E Clock provides a shortened version of the WR and RD cycles. Which is exactly what we need.

One caveat however, when running at doubled PHI rates (i.e. 1:1 PHI – CLK) the shortening of the E Clock signal is not consistent. The minimum of 30ns between release of WR and CS is not always held. This means that we’ll need to keep the PHI at half CLK whilst using the APU. In practice this means that using the APU requires we cut the CPU clock by 50%, to ensure the trailing 30ns is not lost.

Anyway. Good news. The Am9511A is working.

Am9511A FDIV

Am9511A APU Floating Divide in 115us

The E Clock is not an inverted signal, so to generate the active low APU_WR signal we have to first invert it, then OR it with the WR signal. For the purposes of testing, I’ve got a little breadboard with a GAL on the side, but later I’ll build a new PCB and add in a SN74LVC1G97 little logic device to provide the APU_WR signal.


Am9511A APU FDIV PUPI command interval 128us

Am9511A FDIV PHI6 Cycles

Am9511A APU FDIV in 179 Phi/6 Clock cycles

So now we see the Am9511A APU FDIV floating point divide takes about 101us to 115us when running at 1.536MHz, or from the datasheet 154 to 184 clock cycles. In 101us, the Z180 CPU at 36.864MHz produces 3,723 cycles. To produce a floating point divide using the Lawrence Livermore Library requires about 13,080 cycles, according to the AM9511A Floating Point Processor Manual by Steven Cheng. Therefore, we are still substantially faster than antique software on a modern Z180!

Update – RetroChallenge Wrap Up

Well the month of RC2017/04 didn’t go quite as planned. My original intention was to have the YAZ180v2 working very quickly, then get straight down to porting Paul’s IDE code from 8051 to Z180 to get the new IDE interface working. But, there were several speed bumps along the way.

Gaining an education

Since I just started on this whole Z80 processor and assembly language programming thing a few months ago, I don’t have a long history of coding to fall back on. I had written some code for the Z80 in the RC2014 hardware, which I then tried to use on the Z180 in the YAZ180. But, there is a subtle difference in “generation” between the way the interrupt vectors work across the two machines. Obvious, once you know about it but a real “time killer” if you don’t.

Firstly, filling unused space in your assembly program with 0xFF is a very dangerous thing to do in Z80 assembler, particularly if you don’t understand that 0xFF is the op code for RST38, which is a single byte jump to the same location as the Interrupt 0 in IM1 mode. It would make more sense to fill the unused space with 0x76, which is the HALT instruction, to trap an unexpected program counter value.

Look before you leap

Secondly, the interrupt vectors on the Z80 were designed to contain code, and the PC is just loaded with the address of the vector, and execution begins from there. So for an INT0 (or RST38) execution begins from 0x0038. But, the interrupt vectors on the Z180 are designed to hold an address. The difference being that an interrupt will load the PC with the contents of the two bytes at the vector, and then begin execution from there. I think this difference is a sign of the generational difference between the two implementations. One of the clearest differences I can find, anyway.

Timing is everything

One of the goals for the YAZ180 is to bring some old chips back to life, in a modern platform. Along with the TIL311, GAL16v8, and 82C55 devices, the Am9511A holds pride of place as the very first arithmetic processing unit ever made. I’ve invested far too much time in getting the Am9511A to work, but it is important to me that my project can make it work.

I believed that I had devices that were specified to run at 3MHz but which in fact didn’t. That may be incorrect. More likely was that I wasn’t driving them properly, because my timing was out. I will need to go back and test them all again.

Here the issue is that the Am9511A requires extended validity of data and chip select signal, following the validity of the write signal. At least 30ns is required. This is not provided by the Z180 in its normal timing, although in the configuration I have it, coincidentally because I’d buffered the data bus, it is nearly right. Only the chip select line was being incorrectly handled.

I was nearly giving up but then a tweet from a fellow RC2017/04 competitor gave me the inspiration to look further. It turns out that the Z180 has a secondary I/O timing signal called the E Clock. This signal is not present on the Z80, and as I didn’t understand its purpose I’d left it unconnected in the YAZ180.

Whilst the Zilog datasheets on the Z180 completely gloss over the purpose of the E Clock signal, by simply not mentioning it, the original Hitachi 64180 datasheets do mention it. The original purpose of the E Clock signal was to provide timing for “a large selection of 6800 type peripheral devices” including the “Hitachi 6300 CMOS series (6221 PIA, 6350 ACIA, etc) as well as the 6500 family devices”.

In summary, the E Clock provides a signal that is half a T cycle shorter than the write signal. It means that gating the write signal with the E Clock would allow me to release the APU write signal sufficiently early to maintain the extended chip select timing required. Basically, the APU won’t operate with a Z180 T Cycle any less than 60ns, or 16.6MHz. So in my implementation, the PHI clock will need to run at half speed or 9.234MHz, whilst the Z180 is using the Am9511A. Unless I cook up another plan.


And the final note from this month is that I believe my very poor ESD protocol has led to the destruction of the SRAM on my YAZ180v2. Therefore I had to desolder it (and it looked so nicely done) to remove it, and order some new components.

Ordering new components is always a bit of a hurdle for me. I’ve collected quite a few things that I don’t use, so I tend to ration myself on purchases vs. progress. Finally, at the end of the month I ordered more components to build further YAZ180 boards, and some spare SRAM to enable me to repair the one I have made already.

It continues to amaze me just how much difference there is in the cost to build an Arduino AVR board (basically just a chip at the most essential level), vs something like the YAZ180. The YAZ180v2 bill of materials, excluding specials like the GAL16v8, TIL311, and Am9511A devices that I have to find of eBay, comes to over $150 Australian!!! We need to export more coal, to get the dollar back up there!

And that’s it for my RC2017/04 month. Soon as the parts arrive I’ll be completing the YAZ180v2, and then testing the IDE interface. I hope that will be done before the end of 2017/05.

Update – Post RetroChallenge

Well good news. The only issue was a bad solder joint on the new SRAM chip. Now the YAZ180v2 is running, and I can get onto translating the IDE code from 8051 to Z80.


YAZ180 with IDE drive attached.

I’ve sourced code from both PJRC in 8051 mnemonics for an 8255 PIO and from Retroleum in Z80 mnemonics for an 8 bit interface. Between the two of them, together with the examples from the OSDev Wiki, it should be easy to make a fairly robust implementation. And, on May 18th, the driver code was finally working.

Next activity is to integrate this into the z88dk, and then using the FAT-FS code from Elm ChaN, get the disks properly working.

Z80 C code development with Eclipse and z88dk

I’m building a Z180 based development board called the YAZ180 for the 40th anniversary of the Z80 processor. As part of that process, I need to have a development environment that supports the Z80 and the Z180 processors. As I haven’t finished building the YAZ180 yet, I’ll be testing the development environment on the RC2014 platform in the interim.


RC2014 Serial I/O & CPU

There are a couple of major differences in the workflow required to program the YAZ180 from the RC2014. The RC2014 requires an EEPROM programmer to burn the resulting HEX file into its ROM. Eventually, the YAZ180 will use a PERL program to manipulate a parallel port to programme FLASH memory. However, for the purposes of setting up a development environment they are essentially the same.


YAZ180 Prototype

To set up the required environment, we’ll need to have:

  • A C compiler suite capable of generating HEX or BIN files for burning onto the hardware.
  • Applicable .CRT files to initialise the CPU and RAM, either Z80 or Z180 specific, so that the C environment can be properly launch.
  • Suitable library files for USART, and other interfaces, appropriate for the hardware in use.
  • Configuration to allow the correct tools and libraries to be found from within the Eclipse IDE.

A C Compiler Suite

There are only a few options for C compilers for the Z80 processor. There is a the Zilog development environment, and the SASM Softools. On the open source side there are two options worth mentioning, being the Small Device C Compiler (SDCC) and the Z88DK Small C Compiler.

There are a few reviews on the Internet of the various options, but in summary the best outcome seems to be to use the Z88DK together with the SDCC Compiler, and the “new library”.

The Z88DK team contributed this information to the RC2014 forum, which gives an overview of the options.

There are two C compilers. One C compiler is sccz80 which is derived from small C but z88dk’s version has seen continuous development over the past 30 years so it’s had most of the limitations of small C removed. For example, floating point is supported, ANSI C declarations are supported, 8/16/32-bit integers are supported and so on. It is a little short of C89 compliance with a few notable non-compliances being multi-dimensional arrays and function pointer prototyping.

The other C compiler is a patch of sdcc, another open source compiler that attempts to implement subsets of C89, C99 and C11. sdcc is an optimizing compiler and z88dk’s patch improves on sdcc’s output by supplying some Z80 bugfixes not yet incorporated into sdcc itself and by supplying a very large set of peephole rules to further improve output.

You can choose which C compiler you use by selecting the appropriate switch on the command line. In your makefile you are using sccz80. To use sdcc, “-clib=sdcc_ix” or “-clib=sdcc_iy” would appear in the compile line.

And then there are two C libraries.

The classic C library is the C library that has always shipped with z88dk. It has many crts available for it that allows compiling for a lot of target machines out of the box. The level of library support varies by target with the best supported having sprite libraries, sound, graphics, etc supplementing the standard c library. It is mostly written in machine code and has a small stdio implementation. However, at this time it cannot be used to generate ROMable code as it mixes variables with code in the output binary. It’s also not compatible with sdcc at this time. Both of these issues are being addressed now.

The new C library is a rewrite from scratch with the intention of meeting a subset of C11 compliance. It is 100% machine code, is written to be compatible with any C compiler, and can generate ROMable code with separation of ROM and RAM data. The stdio model is object oriented and allows device drivers to be written using code inheritance from the library. Although it’s not finished (it’s missing disk io and non-blocking io), it is in an advanced state.

The choice of C library is made on the compile line. “-clib=new”, “-clib=sdcc_ix” and “-clib=sdcc_iy” all use the new C library. Anything else uses the classic C library. In order to generate ROMable code, you should really be using the new C library.

The sdcc_ix and sdcc_iy libraries are chosen when sdcc is the compiler and are selected between by either ”-clib=sdcc_ix” or ”-clib=sdcc_iy” on the compile line. The difference between the two is which index register the C library uses. “sdcc_ix” corresponds to the library using ix and “sdcc_iy” corresponds to the library using iy.

It’s always preferable to use the “sdcc_iy” version of the library because this gives sdcc sole use of ix for its frame pointer while the library uses iy. If “sdcc_ix” is selected, sdcc and the library must share ix which means the library must insert extra code to preserve the ix register when it is used. This means the “sdcc_iy” compile will be smaller.

z88dk’s C library is different from other compilers in that it is written in assembly language, so it is more compact and faster than other z80 C compilers.

Installation instructions for z88dk here and I’d recommend using a nightly build rather than the last release. z88dk is an active project and it changes quite quickly. If you run on windows or mac there are binary packages available from the nightly build. For linux or other targets there are instructions for building from source and for patching sdcc to create zsdcc, z88dk’s version of sdcc.

Just to add for the ROM target: the new C lib allows the stored data section to be lz77 compressed so this should save a few bytes in the stored binary in ROM. Another thing you could do is compile a program for RAM and store a compressed copy in ROM that gets decompressed into RAM at startup.

Z88DK & SDCC Installation

I’m installing Z88DK and SDCC onto Ubuntu 16.04 AMD64 and, since the machine has recently been refreshed, many packages that were required for the install were missing.

Clone the latest nightly checked Z88DK Github package:

git clone

sudo apt-get install expect texinfo libxml2-dev flex bison gputils libboost-dev

This will create a populated z88dk directory in the current working directory.

To succeed in building the ‘z80svg’ graphics tool you need the ‘libxml2’ library to be previously installed, although its absence will not prevent the rest of the kit from building.

Then, just type:

cd z88dk
chmod 777 (just in case)

You can run z88dk keeping it in the current location, all you need to do is to set the following environment variables.

Supposing you have bash (most likely it is your system default shell) and you want to keep z88dk in your home directory, you can configure it permanently in this way:

vi ~/.profile

Modify the configuration by adding these lines (with the appropriate paths).

export PATH=${PATH}:${HOME}/z88dk/bin
export ZCCCFG=${HOME}/z88dk/lib/config

A system install is not supported in this release of Z88DK.

Then to install the SDCC compiled specifically for the Z80 and Z180 these are the instructions.

Check out the current development version of sdcc. If you already have the sdcc-code tree available from a previous checkout you can instead perform an update.

svn checkout svn:// sdcc-code
# or if you're doing this to refresh your sdcc installation...
svn update

You will have to apply the svn patch found in and build sdcc from source. Copy “sdcc-z88dk.patch” from inside into the sdcc-code directory.

The supplied configuration options disables all ports other than the Z80 family ports, and turns off compilation of many libraries. This will prevent errors from completing the build process, and results in a smaller binary.

cd sdcc-code
patch -p0 < sdcc-z88dk.patch
cd sdcc
./configure --disable-mcs51-port --disable-gbz80-port --disable-avr-port --disable-ds390-port --disable-ds400-port --disable-hc08-port --disable-pic-port --disable-pic14-port --disable-pic16-port --disable-stm8-port --disable-tlcs90-port --disable-s08-port --disable-ucsim --disable-device-lib --disable-packihx

Copy the patched sdcc executable to {z88dk}/bin and rename it “zsdcc”.
Copy the sdcc preprocessor to {z88dk}/bin and rename it “zsdcpp”.

cd bin
cp sdcc {z88dk}/bin/zsdcc
cp sdcpp {z88dk}/bin/zsdcpp

Undo the patch.

cd ../..
patch -Rp0 < sdcc-z88dk.patch

You can stop here and verify the install was successful below. Keeping the sdcc source tree in an unpatched state can allow you to update the zsdcc binary by repeating the steps above as sdcc itself is updated. Both z88dk and sdcc are active projects that see frequent updates.

To verify that sdcc is usable from z88dk, try compiling sudoku.c for the rx2014 target using sdcc:

zcc +rc2014 -subtype=rom -v -m -SO3 --max-allocs-per-node200000 --c-code-in-asm --list sudoku.c  -o sudoku -create-app

Using the C compiler

Assuming we have a source code called test.c

#include <stdio.h>


We can compile it and produce binary CODE and DATA sections. The CODE and DATA sections need to be concatenated, and then assembled into an Intel HEX file by appmake.

zcc +rc2014 -subtype=rom -v -m -SO3 --max-allocs-per-node200000 --c-code-in-asm --list test.c -o test -create-app

The binary code can be checked by installing and then using a disassembler z80dasm

sudo apt install z80dasm
z80dasm --address --labels --origin=0x0 test.bin

Loading the Code

Eventually the YAZ180 will have a hardware USB interface, and Perl based loading mechanism to load both RAM and Flash storage. But, since I broke the only extant hardware interface, getting this function working will have to wait.

In the interim, I have to load assembled machine code into the YAZ180 via a back door, being via the YAZ180 Nascom Basic which I also have running. The back door is opened because the Basic interpreter has the capability to 1. insert or POKE arbitrary bytes into RAM located at any address, and 2. via a Basic instruction USR(x) jump into any location in RAM and begin executing code.

Because of these POKE, PEEK, and USR(x) instructions we can load our own program in two different ways. Firstly, we can encode our program as a series of poke instructions, and then let the Basic interpreter load the program code byte by byte. Whilst this is a practical way of loading smaller programs, it is quite inefficient and also somewhat difficult to confirm that the program is loaded into RAM correctly. Also, this method cannot handle writing to Flash, as the POKE command is only designed for RAM.

The second method is to take a two step approach. Use the previous method of generating POKE instructions to insert a small Intel HEX format capable program, or HexLoadr, into the RAM, and then use the USR(x) instruction to launch the HexLoadr which also reads the serial port, and inserts the read HEX formatted bytes into RAM or Flash. The first advantage of this method is efficiency because the density of program bytes is substantially higher in Intel HEX than it is in POKE instructions. Also, because we can craft the HexLoadr with any functions we choose, we can also enable it to configure the Z180 MMU using the Intel HEX Extended Segment Address, and program the entire physical address space of the YAZ180, and we can deploy capability to write Flash memory making changes written then permanent.


The goal of the HexLoadr program is to load your arbitrary program in Intel HEX format into an arbitrary location in the Z80 address space, and allow you to start the program from Nascom Basic.

There are are several stages to this process.

  • The HexLoadr.asm loader program must be compiled into a binary format, HEXLOADR.BIN.
  • HEXLOADR.BIN must then be converted to a series of POKE statements using the python program.
  • These POKE statements are then loaded through the serial interface into Nascom Basic to get the HexLoadr program placed correctly into the RAM of the RC2014 or YAZ180 machine.
  • The starting adddress of the HexLoadr program must be inserted into the correct location for the USR(x) jump out of Nascom Basic.
  • Then the HexLoadr program will initiate and look for your program’s Intel HEX formatted information on the serial interface.
  • Once the final line of the HEX code is read, the HexLoadr will return to Nascom Basic.
  • The newly loaded program starting address must be loaded into the USR(x) jump location.
  • Start the new arbitrary program by entering USR(x).

Important Addresses

There are a number of important Z80 addresses or origins that need to be modified (managed) within the assembly and python programs.

Arbitrary Program Origin

Your program (the one that you’re doing all this for) needs to start in RAM located somewhere. Some recommendations can be given.

For the RC2014 with 32kB of RAM, and the YAZ180 with 56kB of RAM available, when Nascom Basic initiates it requests the “Memory Top?” figure. Setting this to 57343 (0xDFFF), or lower, will give you space from 0xE000 to 0xFFFF for your program and for the hexloader program.

The eXit option on my initiation routine for Nascom Basic is set to jump to 0xE000, Under the assumption that if you are jumping off at restart you are interested to have a large space for your arbitrary program.

For the YAZ180 with 56kB of RAM, the arbitrary program location is set to 0x3000, to allow this to be in the Common 0 Space for the MMU. Further for the YAZ180, the MMU Bank Space is configured from 0x4000 through to 0x7FFF so that the entire address space can be written by configuring the physical location at which the HexLoader operates.

HexLoadr supports the Extended Segment Address Record Type, and will store the MSB of the ESA in the Z180 BBR Register. The LSB of the ESA is silently abandoned. When HexLoadr terminates the BBR is returned to the original value.

HexLoadr Program Origin

For convenience, the HexLoadr program is configured to load itself from 0xFF00. This means your arbitrary program can use the space from 0xE000 to 0xFEFF without compromise. Further, if you want to use a separate stack or heap space (preserving Nascom Basic) the HexLoadr program space can be overwritten, by setting the stack pointer to 0x0000 (which decrements on use to 0xFFFF).

This can be changed if substantial code or new capabilities are added to the HexLoadr program

RST locations

For convenience, because we can’t easily change ROM code interrupt routines already present in the RC2014 or YAZ180, the serial Tx and Rx routines are reachable by calling RST instructions.

* Tx: RST 08H expects a byte in the a register.
* Rx: RST 10H returns a byte in the a register, and will loop until it has a byte to return.
* Rx Check: RST 18H will return the number of bytes in the Rx buffer (0 if buffer empty) in the a register.

Program Usage

  1. Select the preferred origin .ORG for your arbitrary program, and assemble a HEX file using your preferred assembler.
  2. Confirm your preferred origin of the HexLoadr program, and adjust it to match in the hexloadr.asm and programs.
  3. Assemble hexloadr.asm using TASM to produce a HEXLOADR.BIN file using this command line.
    c:\> tasm -80 -x3 -a7 -c -l -g3 d:hexloadr.asm d:hexloadr.bin
  4. Produce the “POKE” file called hexloadr.bas by using the python command.
    $ python  HEXLOADR.BIN > hexloadr.bas
  5. Start your RC2014 or YAZ180 with the Memory top? set to 57343 (0xDFFF) or lower. This leaves space for your program and for the HexLoadr program.
  6. Using a serial terminal (assuming your machine is located at device /dev/ttyUSB0) either copy and paste all of the POKE commands into the RC2014, or upload them using a slow (or timed) serial loading program. If desired the python program can be used for this purpose.
    $ python < hexloadr.bas > /dev/ttyUSB0<
  7. From the ok prompt in Basic, start the HexLoadr program with PRINT USR(x).
  8. Using a serial terminal, upload the HEX file for your arbitrary program that you prepared in Step 1. If desired the python program can also be used for this purpose.
    $ python < myarbitraryprogram.hex > /dev/ttyUSB0
  9. Using POKE commands relocate the address for the USR(x) command to point to .ORG of your arbitrary program.
  10. When HexLoadr has finished, and you are back at the Basic ok prompt start your arbitrary program using PRINT USR(x), or other variant if you have parameters to pass to your program.


HexLoadr is derived from the work of @fbergama and @foxweb.

Yet Another Z180 Project (YAZ180)

I’m thinking about a new project, something a little unusual but still with a rich history of information upon which to base the build. On Tindie, I found the RC2014 project which is a build of a Z80 platform but based on some modern components. That got me thinking. My next project must be a Z80 based project.

Why the Z80? Well, it was at one stage the most used CPU in the world, which leads to the great depth of information and experience available for designs, hardware, and software. Technically, it is advanced enough to avoid the need for a large number of ancillary chips, multiple power supplies, and multi-phase clocking that the 80088080, and other older chips needed, but still it is complex enough that in doing a project I’ll feel like I’m actually building a computer.

This year marks 40 years (yes 40 years, since launch in July 1976) of the Z80, and still as a design and platform it looks like it will continue to be relevant into the future. So rather than building yet-another-ARM project. It looks like I will be marking the 40th anniversary of the Z80 with a new build.


An early Z80, manufactured in June 1976.

What kind of project? The RC2014 project is an interesting starting point. It is quite simple, being a compact and robust implementation of Grant Searle’s 6 Chip Z80 Computer, but provides more resources than most of the 1980’s Z80 projects offer. After looking at some projects others have done, I think that I should aim to build something a little like a “Back to the Future” Z80 project, a DeLorean (which also appeared as a prototype in 1976) with a fusion reactor.

RC2014 Cylon

RC2014 Cylon

As an outcome I’d like the solution to be able to interact with modern interfaces such as I2C, Ethernet, SPI, and USB, with access to a large physical memory space, with great performance, and yet retain the ability to be a single-step-able experimental platform with LED bus indicators. Single stepping is something that you can’t do with an Arduino, and it is a real differentiation.

Whilst it would be attractive to design in some old-school interface devices, like the AM9511A APU or a Super I/O device, in light of today’s environment the wouldn’t contribute very much to the outcome. So the focus will be squarely on modern I/O.

Also, there is a temptation to build a CP/M system with full disk management. But again there are plenty of CP/M systems around. I’d like to build something more  of an embedded platform, that doesn’t require mass storage to run applications. It would be good if most of the basic interfaces could fit on one board, to avoid the need to build address and data bus extension. I think this will simplify the design significantly.

Design process

This is going to be an iterative process. The first step will be to build the RC2014 project, and test that I can program it.

It will be important to learn a little about Z80 assembler. Later, I may modify the RC2014 project platform.

Then, I’ll lay out a through hole prototype with minimal functionality, to test some performance ideas. If they work on through hole, then they’ll work with SMD. Using through hole also allows me to quickly fix logic or wiring errors that would take a new spin with SMD.

Finally, I’ll build a SMD device that miniaturizes the solution, and makes it more robust.

Processor selection

The Z80 has been built continuously for 40 years, and in that time many manufacturers have produced silicon and several clones have been created. The Z80 range been continuously improved through the Hitachi 64180, to the Zilog Z180, and the Zilog Aclaim eZ80 devices. Each increment has integrated more accessory components, and improved the instruction throughput, as well as increased the clock rate.

Looking at the options available, the original Z80 requires logic to get started. So rather than building serial ports and timers, it looks like the Z180 might be the right place to start. So why not go all the way to the eZ80? Well the eZ80 is not dissimilar to an AVR ATmega device, with all of the system components integrated into the one device. Using an eZ80 CPU wouldn’t be like building a computer at all. It would be much more like building an Arduino, and I’ve been there already.

Out of the Z180 options, I would select the Z8S180 (at 33MHz) because it integrates sufficient material to get started (Timers, Interrupts, MMU, & USARTs), and leaves me the option to add complexity as I get going.

Memory selection

A little research on the processor and available memory provides me with some cornerstones for the design. I will use Flash memory for the  program storage, and static RAM for the system memory. Historically, UV erasable PROM and dynamic RAM would have been used. One advantage of static RAM is that the solution is fully single-step-able. Meaning, I’ll be able to watch the address bus and data bus process each instruction as the Program Counter marches along.

The Z180 can address up to 1MB of physical address space, and it makes sense to provide the full physical memory possible. The price of 1MB of SRAM or of 256kB of Flash is almost nothing these days. As the Z80 logical address space is only 64kB, the Z180 has an inbuilt MMU to manage its physical memory to logical memory mapping.

Memory mapping

To keep things simple (in hardware), we can use the MMU available in the Z180 to map the physical memory locations on 20 address lines, into logical addresses that suit us. The MMU can map 4kB pages of physical memory into two relocatable logical locations in the Z80 logical address space. These are called the Banked and the Common 1 locations. The Common 0 memory location begins at physical address 0x00000, and continues to the beginning of Banked memory, which then continues to the Common 1 memory address space.

Therefore the hardware (or physical mapping) will show that the 256kB Flash is located from 0x00000 to 0x3FFFF, and the 1MB RAM from 0x00000 to 0xFFFFF but the lower quarter of the address space mostly masked by Flash. For programming we’ll have to move this around.

When the Z80 starts up it always begins from physical and logical address 0x0000. Therefore it is typical to put the program storage in the lower address range, and the RAM in the upper range. Given the use of the MMU available in the Z180 we initially can map the SRAM into the upper 32kB of logical address space, using the Common 1 bank and CBAR setting, leaving the first 32kB of Flash in the lower address range.

One difficulty is that there are only 3 memory spaces available, so if we want to have a C stack, global buffers and queues, and global data, then we need to put some SRAM in the Common 0 address space. Let’s uncover 8kB of 1MB SRAM and place this from 0x2000 to 0x3fff to provide this C stack and global variable data frame.

At some stage I assume I’ll want to use all of the additional Flash and SRAM available, so I’ll have to integrate programming for MMU bank switching, and RAM heap/stack switching when the need arises. At least initially there will be a statically programmable range of between 8kB Flash with 56kB SRAM to 56kB Flash with 8kB SRAM available within the logical address space, depending on the MMU initialisation settings.

To program the Z180 the physical memory addresses will need to be juggled around (glue logic) to disable the Flash and SRAM from appearing in the first 8kB Bytes of the address space. The USB programmer will provide program codes in the form of a remote boot-loader to load the contents of programs into the Flash, by moving the entire physical flash through a 4kB or 8kB Banked page. SRAM located in the lower 32kB address range will be loaded with a program to enable buffering and page writing of the desired programs.

Physical Address Range Run Mode Programming Mode
$00000 – $01FFF Flash (8,192B of 256kB) USB (8,192B)
$02000 – $03FFF SRAM (8,192B of 1MB) SRAM (516,096B of 1MB)
$04000 – $3FFFF Flash (245,760B of 256kB)
$40000 – $7FFFF  SRAM (768kB of 1MB)
$80000 – $BFFFF Flash (256kB of 256kB)
$C0000 – $FFFFF SRAM (256kB of 1MB)
Logical Address Range Run Mode Programming Mode
$0000 – $1FFF Flash (8,192B, Common 0) USB (8,192B)
$2000 – $3FFF SRAM (8,192B, Common 0) SRAM (24,576B, Common 0)
$4000 – $5FFF Flash (8,192B, Common 0)
$6000 – $7FFF Flash (8,192B, Banked)
$8000 – $FFFF SRAM (32,768B, Common 1) Flash (32,768B, Banked)

The programming mode (address mapping) will be entered by either a button press, or by signalling from the USB – USART interface lines. The process is to invert the Address 19 line, shifting the physical address location of Flash, and mute Address 0-12 to prevent memory being read from these locations, which allows the USB – USART FIFO to provide program opcodes. Mute by disabling the CE on both Flash and SRAM when A13 through A19 are 0. Then configure the MMU to bring the Flash into Banked logical addresses, using the SRAM to buffer 4kB page writes to Flash memory.

Using the ATMEL WinCUPL tool, it is pretty straightforward to convert the above memory mapping and below logic mapping in CUPL language description to JEDEC format that can be handled by a MiniPro TL866 EEPROM & PLD Programming tool, and programmed into an ATF16V8C  or Lattice GAL16V8 device.


CUPL Memory / IO Decoding

This memory and IO mapping needs to be augmented by a secondary logic mapping for managing programming, single step, and other functions, which will be programmed into a second ATF16V8B device. The logic mapping will allow automatic programming initiation via the FT245R USB interface.


CUPL Logic Decoding

Using EEPLD devices will save significant PCB real estate, and will allow me to compensate for minor logic errors after the fact.


Schematic for Memory GAL


Schematic for Logic GAL

FCPU selection

The best flash we can get easily is 55ns timing. This is bettered by SRAM, with 45ns. Converting this timing to a bus frequency we can achieve 20MHz or slightly better, but allowing for some buffering or address logic delay it would be better to keep the system bus under 20MHz.

Using this system bus speed of approximately 20MHz then poses a question; which is the right speed? Some references point out that the Z180 is very poor at holding the correct USART rate when the CPU clock is not a magic multiple of the USART rate. This is the same issue that the AVR ATmega device faces when its USART is not driven by a magic frequency clock. Therefore, lets us set  the CPU clock to 18.432MHz, being most appropriate magic frequency for the following design.

The Z180 crystal clock can generate either doubled, or halved system clocks from the base rate. Starting with 18.432MHZ CPU clock, depending on the CPU Control Register, the system bus clock (Phi) is halved and is operated at 9.216MHz. This is slow enough to allow most peripherals to interact with the CPU. Internally, the clock can be doubled to operate the CPU at 36.864MHz. This rate is slightly overclocking the Z180, but that’s what we live for. We don’t build slow computers.

I/O Mapping

I have been thinking about the whole idea of system modularity. Actually, I don’t think the traditional method of building a backplane is such a good idea for what I want to achieve. Extending the address bus a long distance means that I’ll be investing in design and timing issues, that I’m not really sure I know how to solve. So, let’s focus on a smaller design, with on just one board for the time being.

As a computer always needs to be extended and interact with the real world, I think it would be good to add modern user interfaces to the solution. Use Address 15-13 to provide I/O selection options on the CPU Board, using the remaining output pins from the Memory ATF16V8B. This will allow flexibility to latch data into the Hex Display, or trigger breakpoints using #M1 and #Wait to allow Single Step execution from any code point.

I/O Address Range Chip Select (A15,A14,A13) Device
$0000 – $1FFF DO NOT USE ($o, b000) Internal I/O
A7 – A0
Internal INT
$0000 – $00FF Registers
$2000 – $3FFF BREAK ($1, b001) Break Point
Toggle Single Step Mode
$4000 – $5FFF #DIO_CS ($2, b010) PIO 82C55
A1 – A0
$4000 – $4003 Registers
$6000 – $7FFF EXPANSION ($3, b011) Hold for Expansion
$8000 – $9FFF #I2C_CS2 ($4, b100) PCA9665
A1 – A0
$8000 – $8003 Registers
$A000 – $BFFF #I2C_CS1 ($5, b101) PCA9665
A1 – A0
$A000 – $A003 Registers
$C000 – $DFFF #APU_CS ($6, b110) APU_CS – Am9511A-1
A0 & #WAIT
$C000 – $C001 Registers
$E000 – $FFFF EXPANSION ($7, b111) Hold for Expansion

Included I/O features & BOM




Single Step – The Z-80’s #M1 pin is useful for building logic to single-instruction step the machine. You do this using the memory ready signal on #M1 to clear a 7474 flip-flop, which is clocked by a Single Step signal, to produce a #WAIT signal for the CPU. That stops the machine on the opcode fetch cycle with the address showing on the address bus and the opcode byte showing on the data bus. To move the machine ahead, you clock the flip-flop which releases the #WAIT signal, until the next #M1 clears the 7474  again.


Memory & Addressing Logic Glue

  • Programmable Logic PLD – Digikey ATF16V8B

USB – Flash programming interface

  • USB-Parallel Bus FTDI245RQ
    Note that  the Write strobe is confusing, but assume ACTIVE LOW.

USB – USART interface

  • USB-Serial FTDI232RQ

Hex 7 Segment Display – 5x Address Digits – 2x Data Digits

  • Decoder DM9368 – Digikey DM9368N-ND
  • LED Display VDMY10C0 & VDMG10C0 – Digikey VDMY10C0TR-ND
  • OR
  • LED Display with Decoder TIL311A – eBay only.

General Digital Input / Output – Being able to read and write simple digital levels is an important thing. So let’s include the 82c55 PIO device.

  • Intel CMOS 82C55 Programmable IO CP82C55A – Digikey CS82C55AZ-ND

I2C interface – This is the most important interface, which provides many extension options, and a plethora of Grove System sensors. Unfortunately the 5V nature of the system precludes using the newest really fast, deep buffer, devices with multiple bus I2C 1MHz bus interfaces, so provide 2x devices to support different applications (eg. video output and sensor acquisition on separate buses). Use the #INT1 & #INT2 interrupts.

Floating Point Processor – This lovely old chip is just too slow to contribute, but still we’ll build it in. Need to provide a 3MHz clock to drive it (FAPU = FCPU/6), and connect its #PAUSE to #WAIT. #END connected to #INT0. RESET is ACTIVE HIGH.


Am9551A-1 3MHz APU

Bus interface

  • Address & Control – Octal Buffer Driver sn74abt541b – Digikey 296-14668-1-ND
  • Data – Octal Bus Transceiver sn74abth245 – Digikey 296-4140-1-ND

Power Supplies

Excluded I/O features & BOM

Ethernet – Wiznet W5300 Direct address mode requires 3FF of address space. Configure the #INT0 interrupt and implement the DMAC1 I/O to move packets quickly. Exclude this from the initial build, as it is quite a complicated 100 pin device, and it needs 3.3V supply.

USB & SPI interface – provide mass storage capability using either USB or SPI interface devices. The CH37x series is not very well documented, or readily available. There are other options for I2C-SPI bridging which can provide an SPI interface if needed.

  • CH376S – Incorporating the USB functions as described in CH375, and CH372

ADC interface – Better, higher resolution, faster chips are available with I2C interfaces.

  • 8 bit ADC with internal reference MAX158 – Digikey MAX158ACPI+-ND

Video Interface – Can be done using an external I2C device.

  • LCD Video – via I2C with a FTDI EVE

Super I/O – Floppy Disk & IDE Controller – Too hard and doesn’t bring much value to the table. Floppy drives are hard to find, and there are already 2x USART ports available on the Z8S180.

Software & References

Z80 Info

z88dk Development Kit

Small Device C Compiler

SASM Softools – Z180 (MMU aware) C compiler. Commercial Licence.

Programming the Z80 by Rodnay Zaks

The Undocumented Z80

Logic Families

FreeRTOS 9.0.0 for eZ80

Hardware Design notes

Well quite a few iterations on my aspirations and thoughts have resulted in a YAZ180_v1 schematic, that I think is now basically frozen. Some of my design decisions follow.

After deciding not to use the TIL311 LED display devices because they are not easily obtainable, I found the alternative solution using the DM9368 display driver chip and LED display devices was very consuming of space on the board. Since the board had to be no greater than a maximum of 10cm by 16cm I decided to buy some TIL311 devices in advance, and then with the comfort of stock in hand I could use them for the design. Also, they add significantly to the retro-chique.

I would have loved to add the Wiznet W5300 device to the design to provide high speed Ethernet capability, but with a 100 pin VLSI it was just too complicated for the initial design. Next time.

I added a 82c55 interface chip. Knowing that it is very slow, requiring wait states to drive it, is one thing. But the advantage of having multiple latchable input and output ports, off one fairly compact integrated device made up for that problem. As it is a 1970s device it is also retro-chique accretive.

Designing using CUPL and the Atmel PLDs is in my opinion much simpler than tracing schematics and thinking through 7400 series NOR, NAND gates to get the desired addressing logic. Writing the logic in “c” like syntax is much less taxing on the brain.

After deciding to implement no bus drivers, and then building a solution adding drivers and termination to every address and data line, I have rationalised down to bus drivers on data, lower address, and control lines. These are the few lines that appear on all memory and I/O devices, and are taken to every point on the board. The upper address lines only appear on the PLD, SRAM, and Flash, which are very low load modern devices, so there is no point to buffer them. Using ABT logic limits the differential delay on the address lines to 2 ns, and since the read and write select lines are also buffered, there is no issue timing issue created.

And here is the first schematic, in pdf YAZ180_V1. Errors and omissions are possible.

Hardware Layout notes

With the first major layout session behind me, I have the following notes.


Address & Data to SRAM and FLASH

Change the SN74ABT244 for the SN74ABT541. The only difference is the pin ordering, with the 244 being optimal for counter-flowing signals, and the 541 being optimal for unidirectional signals (physically). This will help layout.

Getting 20 address lines and 8 data lines to appear on the SMD SRAM memory is challenging. I will probably reassign the address lines to suit the Z8S180 pin-out, rather than spending hours untangling the lines. It won’t be too easy to do this with the Flash device, but as it is in a PLCC through-hole socket it comes inherently with “vias” making reaching it half as hard as SMD.

Input pin and I/O pins on Z8S180 include weak latch circuits to prevent excessive current draw by the receiver, if the pin is not externally driven. External pull-up or pull-down resistors should not be less than 15 kOhms to ensure that the resistors can control the state of the latch when power is supplied.


All Address and Data lines routed.


A few more air-wires remain, that will need thought.

Following about 10 hours of juggling, just two wires remain together with a plan to resolve them tomorrow.


Just two air-wires remain.

Finished, except for the detailed checking, which usually results in some changes. But, it is done.

The screen grabs below show with the Vcc Layer in Grey, and GND Layer in Green. I have added some basic traces on those layers to close off the routing, which are misleading. The layers are actually completely filled, normally.

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Bill of Materials

Well, building this retro-computing machine is not quite as cheap as an ATMEL micro-controller board. But then again, it is not quite in the same league, with 1MB of RAM, and 256kB of Flash storage, together with a APU and 9 digits of LED display.

I have ordered all of the components, except the Am9511A-1 APU and the TIL311 LED display devices, from Digikey. The BOM is detailed in this link. To add to BOM, this there are the Am9511A-1 and the TIL311 devices which can be found on eBay or other auction sites.


And, the PCB looks great!

Bringing up the Prototype

The build and bringing up of the board will continue, once I get the new SMD oven sorted out.

Well, the board has been soldered, and everything looks good. The SMD oven wasn’t as useful as I thought. It turns out that I can solder the fine pitch of the SRAM and FTDI devices fairly well with a normal soldering iron.

My PLD programmer won’t work with ATMEL devices, so I’ve been waiting so long for some Lattice GAL devices to be shipped to me. Over 8 weeks in transit. Finally they’ve landed. So I soldered the rest of the board together.

I’ll have to debug my CUPL programming of the GALs to get everything working, but at least there’s no “magic smoke”.

The TIL311 LEDs are very hot, because they draw so much current. LEDs really have come a long way in efficiency over the past 30 years.

Update 9 Jan 2017. Using this Github Repo, I’ve successfully sent characters to the ASCI. It lives!

Update Friday, January 13th 2017. Initial RAM testing passed!

And now based on this testing, I’ve been able to get the ASCI0 (and ASCI1) working, so that I have NASCOM BASIC Ver 4.7 (1978) running on my 2016 designed computer!

This is a Mandelbrot program running in NASCOM Basic v4.7.


Glowing, in a dark  room.

Three major items remain to complete, before a PCB revision.
  • Completing the “in circuit programming” tools, to programme the Flash memory without removing it.
  • Writing drivers for the Intel 82C55 PIO device.
  • Writing drivers for the AMD Am9511A APU device.
Following the PCB revision, I’ll work on the I2C platform, and its drivers.

Next up, programming Flash memory using the FTDI FT245 USB-Parallel port. This was working, but some bad soldering made the on-board FT245 inoperable. Testing was completed using an external device.

Testing for the 82C55 PIO device is now done. It can do a lot more than this, but the proof of life is completed. Time to move on.

Update February 20, 2017. Despite initial misgivings, that the Am9511A APU was wired incorrectly, the proof of life for the APU is now done.

For a long time, I could see that the APU was trying, but just wasn’t making it. Two issues were involved.

Firstly, all of the datasheets assume 74 logic is being used to create the chip select from 3 to 8 address decoding, or similar solutions. What they don’t point out is that the Am9511A  APU chip select MUST be generated from the address lines, because the Z80 (Z180) IORQ line has incorrect timing to drive the Am9511A. The Am9511A needs an 30ns of chip select and address validity after WR is raised, which the Z80 IORQ timing doesn’t provide. Having infinite logic in a GAL available, I had (incorrectly) included the IORQ line in the APU_CS logic. Whilst I’d recognised the issue, it took three lines in an obscure 1981 PhD dissertation to focus the spotlight of clarity. Thank you Mr Haining.

Secondly, the Am9511A samples I have on hand won’t work at 3.072MHz. I guess they were cutting very close to the limit in the day.


YAZ180 v1 full configuration.

I’ve finished an initial revision of the PCB to fix all of the known errata. I’ll sit on it a bit until I can double check that everything is good.


The power supply section was done very simply in the V1 build. I underestimated the requirement for 5V power, thinking that 1A should be sufficient. Before I built the V1 board I realised my error and replaced the 5V 1A regulator with a AP1506 that can supply 3A. I also changed the inductor to a lower inductance and higher current version.

I’ve now revised the power supply  section to use LM2596 3A device for the 5V supply, as this device has a larger input voltage range (up to 40V) , and I have inserted thermal vias to improve the heat spreading into the back side of the board.

The 12V supply only needs to provide about 90mA for the APU. I’ve reduced the capacity of the regulator down to 500mA, and have saved some space by using a LM2674 in SOIC-8 format. Whilst the Am9511A gets uncomfortably warm, the power supply doesn’t.

Also, I simply forgot to provide a 3.3V supply, that is required for the I2C interface devices. So this has been repaired with a 1117 linear regulator, supplied by the 5V regulator. It is the same device I used in the Goldilocks Analogue as I have some parts in hand.

I’ve swapped the USB connectors to male versions. Can’t understand why I built YAZ180 V1 with female connectors. Just silly.

I’ve swapped the location of the RESET and SINGLE_STEP buttons. It makes more sense to have the buttons doing the same function closer together.

The Z8S180 requires that its DCD0 be held low, before the USART0 can transmit. This pin is now tied to GND.

The Logic GAL device, in Registered Mode, requires to have its OE held low. This pin is now tied to GND.

To generate a RESET signal, the reset request input to the Logic GAL can’t be on Pin1 in Registered Mode, so the RESET_REQ signal was moved to Pin14. Pin1 in Registered Mode is connected exclusively to the CLK for the GAL flip-flops. In order to clock the flip-flop implemented in the YAZ180 programming mode logic, the RESET line was connected to Pin1.

The Am9511A-1 although specified at 3MHz, doesn’t pass tests at 3.072MHz. So it will have to be de-rated to 1:8 from the Z8S180 system clock. This takes the clock speed down to 2.304MHz. The clock divider chip will be replaced by a sn74ls93 from Digikey 296-3749-5-ND.

For the purposes of enjoyment, I’ve connected the Z8S180 DMA engine DREQ1 and TEND1 lines to the Am9511A SVREQ and SVACK lines. The SVREQ requires a NOT to generate the inverted Z8S180 signal for DREQ1. Although there are very few bytes loaded into the Am9511A, this should allow them to be written by the DMA engine.

Both AMD Am9511A and Intel 82C55 need the address and chip select lines to remain valid for a period after the RD or WR signal has gone high. Therefore we need to remove the existence of a valid IORQ signal from the calculation of their select line, and just rely purely on their address decoding (and absence of MREQ). The CUPL coding has been adjusted

The Am9511A supports 1 Wait State, as RD & WR to Pause is 100ns. The 82C55 requires 2 Wait states, as RD is 200ns minimum.

Update February 24th.

The new PCB has been ordered.

I’ll start a new post for the YAZ180 V2 when the PCB is back from manufacturing.