Monday, October 03, 2005

Build your own Z80 computer

DIY Electronics. Single Board Computers.

This looks like a really fun project and an excellent way to learn about computers. This kit allows you to build a Z80 computer -- you get to go from hardware to writing programs. And the cost negligable -- seems like you can buy the kit for $70 from here.

In college, as a CS student, we took a bunch of computer architecture courses. We learned about logic gates and flip flops. But none of it seemed particularly relevant because it was all on paper. We were drawing circuits. I had the thought then, and I still have it now, that if we had just gone into a lab and made some stuff blink, or built a kit like the above, the course would have been a 1000 times for valuable.

So, mark my words. If I ever have to teach a computer hardware course, we're building a kit like the above.


  1. Anonymous12:11 AM

    You guys didn't go in the lab? You got screwed :-) I had the same class, COSC 365 - Digital Logic and Computer Design. We actually built the gates and tested them using a breadboard, a DC power supply, some ICs, and a PC with a parallel port connector. I actually still have my syllabus, lab manual, lab worksheets, and tests from the class.

  2. Heck yeah, we got screwed.

    I think this was the result of the CS department trying to be as seperate as possible from the engineering department. Anything non-theoretical was looked at with a bit of negativity.

    The only problem was, drawing logic gates is nearly as educational as using them in the wild.