Retro-uC – An open silicon microcontroller with a Z80, MOS6502, and M68K

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Chips4Makers have launched a campaign to fund their open silicon microcontroller with a Z80, MOS6502, and M68K cores. The Retro-uC allows to use of these legendary instruction sets for your to days electronics projects.

Are you a maker that pines for the early years of personal computing or are you curious about historical CPUs? The Retro-uC can help make history come alive for you. Are you curious about doing maker projects using vintage platforms, using tried and true instruction sets? Do you miss the days when your app had to fit in a few kB? Are you a strong advocate for open source hardware and software? The Retro-uC is for all of you, too!

Current popular microcontrollers are either based on the AVR instruction set of Arduino fame or on proprietary ARM sets. The Retro-uC is a fully open source microcontroller that can run some venerable retro CPU cores:

These instruction sets were selected for the Retro-uC because they have been the CPUs in some iconic home computers: the Z80 in the TRS-80 and ZX Spectrum; the MOS 6502 in the Apple I/II and the Commodore 64; the Motorola 68000 in the Amiga and Atari ST. The Retro-uC thus allows use of these iconic instruction sets for your electronics projects.

Specifications

  • Open source microcontroller with a Z80, MOS 6502 and Motorola 68000 core
  • 4 kB of on-chip RAM
  • 72 5 V digital general purpose I/O pins
  • JTAG interface for programming the device
  • Optionally bootable from external I2C flash memory
  • I/O pins that can select the enabled core during reset
  • One or more UART, I2C and PWM controllers

The project is live on Crowdsupply and has 37 days to go.

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