PDP11HackPlus,  Personal,  Retro Computing,  Synths

Time flies

It’s been a hectic few weeks, well, month. My mood has been all over the place, and generally trending down. But I have been doing some bits and bobs.

I’ve been working on a couple of displays, something retro styled. I wanted to do something like the TIL311 but with a full alphanumeric character set in, so I’ve started on that.

It’s slightly shorter than a regular EPROM, but the same 0.6″ wide. When I’m done coding it I’d like to coat it in resin, just to give it that classic TIL311/Retro display kind of vibe. I’ve got a few of these, so it’d be fun to do something with them, though I don’t yet know what.

In a similar vein I’ve been working on an 8×8 LED grid, the idea being to use 4 of these on my DCJ11 Hack+ project and get that running the game of life.

Again, it’s quite small, around 40mm in width and height, there are DIP pins on the back and those are spaced at around 1″ apart (I had more to fit on the underside of this board). The nice thing with this one is that it’s got a 3 bit value for the pixel intensity, it has an 8 bit data in/out and a 5 bit address bus, along with chip select, read and write lines. As with the previous display, once it’s working I want to try coating it in resin to make it feel “oldschool”.

Talking the PDP11 Hack+ I did make an octal bus display board, but it didn’t quite work.

In my rush I forgot that the read/write lines are shared with peripherals, so this spends most of it’s time showing the data on the UART and the address of the UART, rather than that of the RAM, doh!
So a new revision is in the works, funnily enough, with all the displays on, it adds about 2A of current draw to my powersupply, without it, the DCJ11 and memory pulls under 0.5A. So I’ll be adding some PWM to the displays to lower the power consumption and heat output!

Synth wise, I’ve been doing some bits for Isla Instruments on their Caladan project, for an FM card they have in the works, It’s a love hate thing at the moment, it’s fun working on this, but the YM262 chip is just horrible to try and program for! Thankfully, it’s not using a whole heap of my time, which right now I’m very glad of.

Anyway, there’s a summary of my month, hopefully the next post won’t be so long.

electronics and synth nerd.