Call me a glutton for punishment – or maybe I am just crazy. Who knows.
I had this crazy idea – while I think building a Z80 system from scratch using old components is a great learning experience. For myself, I don’t see the need in doing something like that any longer.
However, I an very interested in how CPUs work. So, Why not build a CPU emulator and see where that takes me, using newer technology.
The other day, my ESPDUINO-32 arrived. And the thought occurred to me, could you build an older computer system around this thing. Why not find out.
For those of you who don’t know what the ESPDUINO-32 is – (picture below) it is a ESP32-WROOM device in an Arduino format board.
The ESP32 in itself is a cool device – This one is a dual core 32bit CPU running at 240Mhz – with 520K of SRAM and 4MB of flash space. There is plenty of power and space for a Z80 processor emulator.
And did I mention the ESP32 also has built-in WiFi? SPI, I2C.. And all that fun stuff. In a package about the size of a thumb.
For this project – The general outline will be to:
1) Design CPU Emulator – Make it modular
2) Use I2C or SPI or other means to communicate with external devices – instead of the Z80 bus.
All of that is also subject to change – Frist thing we need to do is to design the emulator. That will be coming up in the next few blog posts.