Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 2nd Sep 2018 23:06 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

A Z80 computer wirewrapped on perfboard. The wirewrapping technique uses standard IC sockets and PCB header pins, so the components and wiring are on the same side of the board.

This is such cool engineering. I wish I had more time and base knowledge to dive into making things like this myself. I absolutely love building LEGO sets, and this feels like very, very advanced LEGO.

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*A NIGHTMARE*
by Lobotomik on Mon 3rd Sep 2018 10:26 UTC
Lobotomik
Member since:
2006-01-03

Wirewrapping anything above laughable complexity is a nightmare I wouldn't wish on my fiercest enemies. Though expensive motorized tools may exist that take care of the stripping, wrapping and dispensing, and save your sanity for the debugging part.

Been there, done that, don't miss it.

Designing a PCB is much more fun; it satisfies your compulsive obsessive self letting you shift tracks and components here and there to perfect beauty and maximum simplicity, lets you use surface mounted IC's, and the result can survive bumps and drops and mistreatment.

Reply Score: 5

RE: *A NIGHTMARE*
by JLF65 on Tue 4th Sep 2018 14:34 UTC in reply to "*A NIGHTMARE*"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

Not to mention he made it exponentially harder on himself by wirewrapping the TOP of the board! Who does that? You wirewrap on the reverse side of the pcb to avoid having to go around chips like he did.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: *A NIGHTMARE*
by whartung on Tue 4th Sep 2018 22:06 UTC in reply to "RE: *A NIGHTMARE*"
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06

Not to mention he made it exponentially harder on himself by wirewrapping the TOP of the board! Who does that? You wirewrap on the reverse side of the pcb to avoid having to go around chips like he did.


But he saved exponentially more money.

Wirewrap sockets are silly priced and hard to source.

There's probably $50 in wire wrap sockets just for that board.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: *A NIGHTMARE*
by JLF65 on Wed 5th Sep 2018 12:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: *A NIGHTMARE*"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

It IS more expensive to get wire-wrap sockets, but not THAT much. ;) At Digikey, those wire-wrap sockets would be less than $20 total. Making a nightmare of wiring just to save $20 is penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Reply Score: 2

RE: *A NIGHTMARE*
by whartung on Tue 4th Sep 2018 21:58 UTC in reply to "*A NIGHTMARE*"
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06


Designing a PCB is much more fun; it satisfies your compulsive obsessive self letting you shift tracks and components here and there to perfect beauty and maximum simplicity, lets you use surface mounted IC's, and the result can survive bumps and drops and mistreatment.


Have...have you seen "modern" PC board toolsets?

Apparently, The Industry settled on a specific way to do electronic "cad" back in, oh, I dunno, 1980.

And then decided that the user interface and idioms are "just fine", and have thus replicated and maintained them all these long years.

To a novice (especially THIS novice), those systems are unintuitive. You know that thing on the screen that looks like every paint or draw program since MacPaint/MacDraw? Yea, that's not how it works. That's not how any of it works.

Then there's the excitement of sourcing components for the program, trying to find something appropriate from the multiple thousands of parts available. Especially "common" parts. (Do you have any idea how many parts are "headers"?)

And, naturally if YOUR part, the one that YOU want to use couldn't be found, well, the hits just keep coming.

*I* tried several times, with a couple of different systems. A very painful process for me. I can readily see someone punting on all that (don't forget once you design the board, you have to ship it all off, get it made, get it sent back, and THEN check to find whatever it is that you overlooked in all of those cross checks before you sent it is now permanently embossed on your shiny new board, so you can cut the trace or add a jumper, assuming your components even fit.).

No doubt it all gets better with experience, but for someone who just wants to try wiring to gather some ICs to make Wumpus, it's a big step just to get "hello world" up.

There's always breadboarding, but that has problems of its own.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: *A NIGHTMARE*
by JLF65 on Wed 5th Sep 2018 13:04 UTC in reply to "RE: *A NIGHTMARE*"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

PCB layout is far more complex than just "painting" lines. Well, it is for anything more than a couple of parts. It sounds like you're at the stage where you'd be better off making your own PCB manually. Actually DRAW it in a paint program, print it out onto special paper, transfer it to a copper-clad PCB, etch it, and then solder on the components. I did that on my first few boards.

Once you reach a certain complexity, using something like ki-cad will be MUCH easier than trying to draw it in Photoshop, and it's never been cheaper and faster to get custom PCBs made. But it doesn't sound like you're ready for that just yet. Look into the process I mention above to make your own. It's fun in its own way, and not that tough.

Reply Score: 3

Z80
by AndrewZ on Mon 3rd Sep 2018 14:43 UTC
AndrewZ
Member since:
2005-11-15

Think about all the cools things you can run on a Z80. OK, done. :-)

Reply Score: 3

Every college project
by wdouglass on Tue 4th Sep 2018 12:57 UTC
wdouglass
Member since:
2016-04-12

This headline was a letdown. I thought someone had built a wire-wrap computer from discrete components (similar to this: http://www.homebrewcpu.com/overview.htm) that used the Z80 instruction set.

This is just a processor connected to some memory. He even cheated and used a Programmable Gate Array for the address decoding.

Everyone with a computer engineering degree did something similar to this in college.

Reply Score: 3

I have been wanting a wire wrap project
by tehologist on Tue 4th Sep 2018 14:34 UTC
tehologist
Member since:
2015-06-03

I was looking at possibly wire wrapping this project on hackaday.

https://hackaday.io/project/20781-gigatron-ttl-microcomputer

No microprocessor

Reply Score: 2