Retro computing is a good reminder of how far things have improved, but go back there? I have yet to own any computer that I have felt that I have exhausted all possibilities to learn and interact with it. My work as a teacher for 36 years usually mandated that we move the children to the next stage of technology to keep then students as up to date as possible. This inevitably meant that quite capable designs were declared "old fashioned" well before all that they offered were explored. I am returning here to the second SBC I purchased around 1980, the Sym-1 by Synertek. Not to turn the world around but just savour again the thrill of working with a great design that promised so much, and that I found not enough time to explore.
I bought another Sym-1 around 2017 and wanted to use the RAE, the Resident Assembler and Editor as the main software on it. I had always enjoyed Assembly Language and was yearning to not do it by hand this time, but to use an assembler. The rise of the Arduino systems had drawn me back to bits and bytes, and made me remember just what these retro machines offered.
To this end I first had to get the Sym-1 to a convenient level of operation. being familiar with the versatile design, I set about exploring what could be done. Here is a simple list of the progression of the project.
1. Power Supply: 5V LED supply
2. Expand the onboard RAM
3. EPROM Programmer
4. Expand RAM off the board to 32k or more
5. Soft load major ROM images
6. Use 2764 (8kx8b) EPROMS
7. SD Card storage and retrieval.
These will be explained and outlined in separate Hackaday Pages, as not all parts will interest everybody, and will make the story a bit more modular. The files developed are linked to this page as I can't see how to link then to the relevant Hackaday Pages. This will also provide a short cut for those who don't need my explanations of what needs to be done.
Given the number of new designs for retro 6502 systems (especially those amazing breadboard constructions) they could do well to try to incorporate the RAE as their main language support. It provides very open ended programming capability, and given the Arduino IDE today, well ahead of it time. I am not sure what would be required to get the Sym-1 monitor and RAE to transfer to a Bread Board Build for a 6502, but I hope that my work will show a filing system is well within easy reach.