Agon Light is a Fully Open-Source 8-bit Microcomputer and Microcontroller

Agon Light is a Fully Open-Source 8-bit Microcomputer and Microcontroller

European computer company Olimex Ltd. has created Agon light a budget-friendly microcomputer and microcontroller on one small board. Bernardo Kastrup designed the AgonLight and the Quark firmware was developed by Dean Belfield. The module is the cheapest and fastest 8-bit microcomputer ever made as per the claims by Olimex Ltd. Agon Light isn’t a microcontroller development board like an Arduino nor a conventional single-board computer like a Raspberry Pi, but rather something in-between the two. It is designed using KiCad instead of EasyEDA.

This project is open-source hardware and software. Agon light can also be seen as an embedded basic computer as it has plenty of GPIOs that allow users to interact with components and modules.

Hardware Specifications of Agon Light

  • The CPU of the module are ZILOG’s eZ80F92 which runs at 18.432 Mhz clock speed. The unit has 128KB on-chip flash program memory and an extra 256-byte configuration flash memory.
  • The system memory is 512KB of SRAM. 8MB of PSRAM is dedicated to audio/video memory.
  • Also, the CPU is packed with 8KB SRAM and has 24-Bit GPIO. 2 universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter(UART) are also available on the CPU.
  • Agon light uses the Espressif ESP32-PICO-D4 module as a VDP (video display processor) which operates at 240MHz. The ESP32-PICO-D4 also handles audio output.
  • The module contains a PS/2 keyboard port and a MicroSD card slot for storage.

Connectivity Features of the Module

Agon light has a VGA port for video output with 640×480 resolution and 64 simultaneous colors. The power is delivered by a USB-C connector which is a good choice as all new phones, tablets, and other devices use USB-C for charging and data transfer. The board is built for maximum flexibility, which means there are lots of options to do a single task. Instead of having to program kernel code in assembly to write to EPROM, its entire firmware can be programmed in C language. It can be done with freely-available tools such as Arduino IDE and Zilog’s ZDS-II IDE.

Agon light is an 8-bit microcomputer that boots into a basic programming interpreter. This device is for users who are into retrocomputing. It’s like old-school ZX spectrum or Commodore 64 computers but with much more capabilities. Due to modern hardware and interfaces, the possibilities of the module have increased drastically. In the past when cartridges were used to store games the Agon light used microSD which is much faster and more massive in storage capabilities. It is not just a modern version of old 8-but computers. The amazing connectivity features enable the module to interact with various other devices.

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Saumitra Jagdale is a Backend Developer, Freelance Technical Author, Global AI Ambassador (SwissCognitive), Open-source Contributor in Python projects, Leader of Tensorflow Community India, and Passionate AI/ML Enthusiast

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