SDC - Software-Defined Computer concept

gbmgbm wrote 02/06/2019 at 11:57 • 2 min read • Like

When it comes to homebrew computer designs, nothing beats the classic microprocessors from 1970s and 1980s. SDC is an idea of a computer bringing together old and new technologies. The SDC consists of some real, classic CPU and a modern microcontrollers acting as memory, peripheral controller, glue logic and a diskette. No other ICs are needed, not even a single logic gate.

The SDC communicates with a PC via USB, which is also used for powering the computer.

It presents itself to a PC as a composite device with two virtual serial ports (VCOMs) and mass storage (for future enhancements). The first VCOM is used for interaction with the hardware monitor (more on this below), the second serves as a terminal interface for the target computer.

The microcontroller also serves as hardware monitor for the target CPU. It allows for:

Currently there are three kinds of SDC designs:



Ken Yap wrote 06/02/2019 at 10:43 point

Ah, I have it. SDC should stand for Software Ducttape Computer. Duct tape sticks things together, and that's exactly what your microcontroller does. Besides, it's a much catchier name. 😁

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Ken Yap wrote 06/01/2019 at 23:40 point

I think you need a more apt name than SDC because my first impression on seeing the term was emulation or virtualization. The architecture of the computer is already defined by the MPU silicon, your software provides virtual glue circuitry. What you are describing is Software Defined Microprocessor Interface. Unfortunately you've already used SDC for several of your designs. Maybe you can retrofit a more apt expansion to SDC. Maybe Software Defined Controller? Software Deputized Computer?

Anyway, cool designs and interesting to read your explorations in this space.

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