Sunday, February 19, 2012

Building Frankenstein

So I'm a software guy who aspires to be a hardware guy, right?  Yeah, I know how to solder, been doing that for years.  I took some circuit design courses in college, I know what gates are, what TTL logic is, etc.  I had a general idea of what was needed, but in order to get the project quickly off the ground, I enlisted the help of a friend who knows hardware, Gary Becker.

Gary's an FPGA God.  He basically put a CoCo 3 in an FPGA board.  He knows his hardware.  What better person to bounce ideas off of.

Lucky for me, Gary was very wiling to help.  I had been looking at the 6809 and the 6502 pinouts and noticed a lot in common: 15 address lines, 8 data lines, IRQ and NMI lines, etc.  Gary knew the 6502 as well as the 6809, and thought the idea of the Liber809 was doable, and in an evening, came up with a schematic.

Meanwhile, I was off to Radio Shack to pick up some prototype boards for building this thing.  With Gary's schematic in hand, I began building what would be the first incarnation of the Liber809.  It came out to be a hideous looking little thing.  Wires coming out everywhere... a 7404, 7400 and a capacitor and resistor accompanied the 6809E, with a 40 pin socket coming out of the top to plug into the 6502 socket on the Atari XEGS.

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