Often, hacking is just for the pleasure of diving into the secrets of old components. That was very a lot the case when [glitch] and a good friend started hacking on some outdated Intel 8080 boards that had been residing in the junk pile for too lengthy.
The boards in query had been motherboards from Identicon barcode scanners, operating the Intel 8080 CPU. Hacking on the 8080 is a very little diverse, with the historical CPU requiring three independent voltages to run. Nevertheless, with the electric power rails figured out and power applied, it was probable to get the aged boards up and running.
The boards were very first operate with check ROMs which showed the 8080 CPU to be purposeful. The ROMs hosted a easy system which acquired the 8080 to spit out the term “HELO” on to an HP HDSP-2416 ASCII character exhibit. From there, the barcode scanner boards were put in in a chassis and hooked up to a bigger Siemens character display, and the memory was mapped out.
The end result was that [glitch] and co were able to mostly reverse engineer the Identicon hardware, discovering it was quite equivalent to the Intel MCS-80 reference structure of the era. They ended up in a position to get code running on the system, accessibility the RAM, and suit a larger 8-character display screen. Having said that, without the need of the initial barcode scanner attachment, the boards weren’t equipped to return to their original responsibility.
As much as hacks go, it’s really previous college. The boards don’t converse to Twitter, nor operate the lights or assistance with the dishes. Even so, loads of enjoyment was experienced seeing if this aged metallic could be designed to follow guidelines after a lot more. Hacking for the enjoyment of it is generally a great detail by our reserve!