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Old Microprocessors, new Microcontrollers and Reverse Poles

Bill Marshall
Engineer, PhD, lecturer, freelance technical writer, blogger & tweeter interested in robots, AI, planetary explorers and all things electronic. STEM ambassador. Designed, built and programmed my first microcomputer in 1976. Still learning, still building, still coding today.


April 9, 2021 07:09

Also in the category of Z80 MPUs is the Rabbit 6000 Microprocessor module (RS Stock No. 761-7374) which can operate up to 200 MHz, (at, I think, 2 clocks per instruction) and adds additional instructions and memory management beyond those in the Z80180. It also has a plethora of built-in peripherals.
(I believe the Rabbit 6000 and Zilog's eZ80F91 which clocks at 50MHz are both in the not recommended for new design status, but it is still pretty amazing what a long life the underlying architecture/family has had!)

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April 8, 2021 15:33

I learned Forth back in the early 1980s. Not long after that, I worked on a project adding a GPIB (now known as IEEE-488) interface to a multichannel data analyzer. User needs varied - some would be using the analyzer in automated test environments, and needed the output in raw formats that could achieve the highest throughput across the interface, to keep up with data from multiple channels simultaneously. At other times users needed more human-readable decoded and filtered data output. I ended up borrowing Forth's method of compiling source into a linked list of calls and native code/data. I defined a tiny language for managing the captured data sequencing and formatting the captured data. The user could then use that language to define their desired output and formatting. The interface compiled their request into the series of calls to generate that output. That compiling approach (rather than continually re-interpreting the formatting commands) maximized the throughput capabilities of the analyzer, which was based on an 8-bit 6809 processor.
This is a benefit of learning more than one language (computer or human). They each have their own way of seeing the world, sometimes bringing with them insights into how to better address a problem, even if the solution ends up being implemented in a different language than the insight came from.

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