Another workbench!

A project log for Z80 Reverse-Engineering And Hacking Adventures

What else can I say?

Eric HertzEric Hertz 06/27/2022 at 20:320 Comments

Flat surfaces are at a premium in my lab... But have more than doubled in the last few weeks!

Would you believe there's a dev-compy behind and to the left of the executive swivel-chair? It's a sleek little machine, top of its line only a few years ago, portable, self-contained, and highly-cusomized for my needs.

In fact, there's now a 270degree work surface to be swivelled-to... Office supplies, pens, scissors, etc. on my right. Universal chip-programmer, and its dedicated computer to the left of that. SD70, next, and a printer behind it. Next is the surface for the sorting-tray when setting pieces and tools aside. It serves double-duty for cable-management and power-distribution. And its addition to the lab brought along with it a nice cat-hangout with in-floor A/C for these hot days. To the left of that is a toolbox. And finally that slick little dev-computer I mentioned, along with space for marking-up assembly-listings, drawing-up blueprints and schematics, and such. All just a swivel-away! 

Oh, and I almost completely forgot the workbench behind the compy is dedicated to projects that are "backburnered". Just a chair-slide away to try out whatever new idea may've popped in my head during a sip of coffee.

And behind that (not in photo) is a 10ft wide and 8ft tall opening view window! Oh, right, and a dedicated executive parking-spot merely ten feet away!

Oh, that's just the start! I was talking about work-surfaces and completely forgot to mention the storage! A whole wall of small parts and drawers for tools. Another for bigger things like project-boxes, power-supplies, and motherboards. A third for more of that, lesser-used test-equipment, reference-manuals, and other paperwork/documents.

It's no longer just a vision, it is a reality! It's actually pretty awesome, if you can just see it in there...

(Where'd that crazy operations-tech disappear to now? Right... assembly-listings...)


Oh no...

Another project I'd been pondering led me down a rabbithole which gave me a very strange idea that, actually, is even stranger in that I hadn't thought of it before....

Yahsee, my family's very first computer (which, really, was for me) was a "Macintosh Performa 640CD *DOS Compatible*" Yep, you read that right... it had a daughterboard with a 486 CPU. A "DOS-Compatibility Card." I'd thought long and hard about whether we should spend the same amount for a faster PowerPC, or whether it'd be more worthwhile for me to be exposed to both Apples and PCs... And, well, the thought was that PPCs were *so* new, at the time, that nothing would really *need* it for several years.

Anyhow... It just now, via that other completely-unrelated project's research rabbithole, occurred to me that I could use *that* computer to run my chip-programmer. Heh!

Let's talk about *that* rabbithole, eh? It doesn't have a parallel port, nor ISA slots... But, yahknow, I think I've learned enough about the 486 chip, ISA, and parallel ports to actually be able to wire one in. HAH!

But, really, that'd be quite a thing, 'cause that poor DOS card was the major selling-point, but I hadn't yet realized that my interest in computers was mostly about I/O. So, it barely got used, until it was old-enough that I got a real 486 hand-me-down that got all the love the family-compy should've. Hmmm...

Ah, right... How to transfer files? What'm I gonna hook a USB Floppy or CD-burner to my phone? Whew! Nipped that one in the bud!

GAH, but wait! A) Sure, why not? [FAT12, maybe). B) CF-cards are IDE. C) I'll've already tapped into ISA. D) Most the remaining ROM-changes aren't gonna come off the phone. At which point E) Ethernet is a plausibility... Heh!

Power. Seriously. That 486-lappy surely *sips* juice in comparison. OK, bud-nipped.

But, some hack along those lines might be quite the thing some day... It's sad seeing the machine I cut my teeth on (and my dad worked so hard to save up for) collecting dust!