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Thursday, October 19, 2023

AC-1’s Core Is an Apple I Surrounded by VGA, USB Keyboard, and SD Card Options

The Apple I used to be an influential step in private computing historical past. Clones of it have grown in reputation since actual machines are uncommon (and costly.) As an alternative of making one more clone, retro-computer fanatic Chris Davis took a unique method. The AC-1 is a reimagined Apple I with a 6502 at its core with trendy microcontrollers supporting it.

The AC-1 circuit board comprises RAM, ROM, a Peripheral Interface Adapter, glue logic, and several other microprocessors. A Western Design Middle (WDC) 65c02 runs the eight-bit Wozrom and BASIC code. Trendy interfaces can be found through a Microchip PIC32 and an Arduino Nano.

The PIC32 has two duties: USB keyboard enter and VGA video output. It communicates with an Arduino Nano. The Nano connects to the 65c02’s knowledge bus through an MCP23517 I/O Expander. The Arduino additionally gives an interface to an SD card.

Not like the unique Apple I, BASIC is accessible in ROM. Which suggests the pc is able to use after it boots. You’ll be able to load BASIC packages from the SD card. The ROM additionally comprises Wozmon, which is a monitor program. In older computer systems, the monitor means that you can view or change reminiscence contents. Some even allowed for assembling and dissembling quick packages.

In some methods, this package is harking back to the RetroShield. The undertaking used an actual 6502 (or Z80) processor linked to an Arduino Mega emulating classic computer systems’ logic. AC-1, nonetheless, higher reassembles the unique Apple I with its handful of ICs cleanly laid out on a printed circuit board.

General, AC-1 does a unbelievable job of augmenting classic applied sciences with trendy parts. Davis designed the package solely with through-hole parts, which ought to make soldering extra accessible to these new to soldering.

Video demonstrating key options of AC-1

Davis says the undertaking is absolutely open supply, though the GitHub repository (at the moment) lacks design information past a PDF of the schematic. Despite the fact that you should buy the AC-1 as an assembled package, the meeting and operations guide does comprise vital documentation.

A completely assembled AC-1 is accessible for $129 earlier than delivery.

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