Microbox 2000

Posted here for historical reasons, this design had issues, mostly with not having enough FPGA. The MB2K2 is the one that works.

Date: Fri, 01 Apr 2005 23:10:54 +0100 
Subject: [fufu] Microbox 2000 
From: Dave Rumball 
To: fufu@flexusergroup.com 

Hi all,
  Many many moons ago (1983!), I designed a single board computer
called the Microbox 2 which was based around the 6809 and Flex. It had a
number of advanced (for the time) features such as integrated EPROMdisk and
RAMdisk, hi-res hardware accelerated graphics with a bitmapped text display
that could use different languages and character sets (even Arabic), and a
battery backed RTC and PRAM. As it had Flex compatible drivers in EPROM, it
could boot from any configured or un-configured copy of Flex. It sold quite
well, (I believe a few hundred were shipped worldwide), and launched my
design career.

  Recently, I had a Xilinx Spartan FPGA starter kit given to me for
Christmas because I wanted to improve my somewhat rusty VHDL skills, and
whilst looking around for an interesting project for it, came across John
Kent's System09. It struck me that it might be fun to take his VHDL 6809
module, wrap it with some code of my own and re-create the old MB2 design
completely in the FPGA. A few weekends of happy hacking later,
the Microbox 2000 was born.

  I have tried to keep to the spirit of the MB2 design rather than an
exact copy with the new system, but I have taken care to keep monitor jump
tables and other link points the same as the old system and so the MB2K runs
the majority of software written for the MB2. The biggest difference is that
the MB2K runs 30 times faster!

  I still have a couple of pieces to go (the graphics accel and MMC
interface) but If anyone is interested, let me know, and I can drop a
version of the design and implementation files on the FTP site.

Best Wishes
Dave Rumball

Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2005 10:53:03 +0000 (UTC) 
From: Dave Rumball
To: fufu@flexusergroup.com 
Subject: [fufu] Microbox 2000 design files now on FTP server 

Hi all,
  I've tidied up the Microbox 2000 design files and added some user
  notes and documentation to the package and this is now sitting in
  the 'incoming' folder of the FTP server.
  As this is the first release, there may be some unknown dependences
  on my particular build environment, so if you have any problems with
  the build, find any bugs, have suggestions for features and improvements
  etc, please contact me.
Best Wishes
The package contains the following files and folders :-
* display char sets  - the display character set definition file and formatting tools
* docs  - hardware data sheets and manuals including the MB2K user notes, quick start guide and read_me docs.
* flex9 v3.01 image - flex.cor and formatting tools
* FlexNet - FLEXNet_421B from Michael Evenson
* MB2K Utilities - a .dsk file with the MB2K specific utilities and header files
* MB2K Xilinx code - The project folder to build the MB2K design and load it into the Xilinx Spartan starter kit
* mon09 for MB2K - the source of mon09 and formatting tools
* PROMdisk  - an example PROMdisk and formatting tools
* PS-2 keyboard mapping  - table of scan codes to ASCII for the keyboard interface and formatting tools 

The flexusergroup FTP server is at the obvious place, but you need a user name and password to access it. But then again, if you're interested in this kind of stuff you should be a flexusergroup member anyway.

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