New toys

I have been collecting various stuff I will need to build the computer for some time already. As I am still struggling to complete the microcode assembler (I keep changing my mind on various microcode word structures back and forth), I decided to take a little brake and share photos of what I have gathered.

Wire-Wrap Boards


I have four wire wrap boards I bought from a guy in Germany on They were EUR 2.50 each so it was a best buy you can imagine, even including EUR 9.00 shipping cost – new Augat boards on US ebay are $80-$100 a piece. All my boards look as if they were never used. I have one large board and three smaller ones. The large one has 2800 pins, two 32-by-3 hearders and some pins for power capacitors. I intend to use it for the entire CPU (the ALU, registers and control module). Three smaller boards have 1500 pins each (plus some power caps pins and space for headers, yet with no pins). These will be used for the memory subsystem (board 1), external devices like keyboard connection, RTC, UARTs or USB and an IDE controller (board 2) and for the video subsystem (board 3). There is plenty of room so I hope to be able to fit the subsystems and components as I have planned.

Wire-Wrap Tools


I also bought tools for wire-wrapping. The black gun is a Denver Electric Wire-Wrap tool and the piece of metal that looks like a little pen is a bit with insulated sleeve, sized AWG30. These items were bought on US ebay (somewhere from Indiana) and were quite expensive. I paid $27.99 for the gun and $24.99 for the bit, plus some shipping. Quite a lot of money for a piece of decommissioned hardware. I am not even sure if it works, nor know how to use it. It is powered by 110/120V AC and I need to get a converter to use it here in Europe. There are manual tools I could use alternatively but with a few thousand different wires I will have the boards would take years to complete. So, it is now waiting in a carton box under my bed but I know it is going be an essential tool in construction stage.

EPROM Programmer


This one is my favourite. It is a well known EasyPRO 90B universal (E)EPROM programmer and I got if from ebay in… Hong-Kong. It was $90, including shipping. I tried it out and it works great. The software included works fine and is quite usable, which is rather uncommon for equipment from the Far East. The only issue is that it runs only on Windows, and I am a Mac user. This means I will have to switch to my Windows based laptop PC whenever I want to program a chip. Fortunately, I still have one. Overall however, the device is extremely easy to use and seems like it was the rights choice. It is able to program all flavors of PROMs, EPROMs, EEPROMs, flash memories, PALs and GALs. It also has a very nice feature of testing TTL devices. More details on its capabilities may be found here.

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