Today I chronicle my progress in designing a new computer. My initial idea was to recreate the world of the computers I worked on in the Navy. These were the AN/UYK-7 and AN/UYK-20 computers. These computers were from the days when you didn’t have HDMI, VGA, or even graphics for that matter. They had blinking LED’s on the fronts of them, and their process and execution could be carefully controlled with variable speed, registers, and breakpoints.
To begin with, my computer needed to recapture some of those basic elements such as lit button indicators, register and timing select switches, and more switches. But as I’ve dug into the actual development of something similar, I’ve been reminded how many things I’ve either forgotten or have become faint memories in need of a refresh.
As a result of this, I’ve gone back to breadboarding and prototyping smaller concepts to avoid making any large mistakes. I’ve read many stories of grand ideas to recreate a computer, only to be abandoned due to a critical flaw that was impossible to fix.
Here is where I will document my progress and my findings. If everything goes well, I will have a working computer that meets or exceeds my goals. If not, then we will try until we obtain a resolution.
I’d be remiss to not mention all of the information and enthusiasm that Ben Eater has provided on the web. For those who do not know, he has provided the means (and packaged materials) to creating your own breadboard computer, both around a WDC 65C02 processor as well as a discretely wired version that is utterly amazing. Thank you Ben for putting so much into the community!