CB2 is a BASIC Retro micro Microcomputer

CB2 is a BASIC Retro micro Microcomputer

If you’d like to return to a time when your computer had very accessible components, a microprocessor, RAM, ROM, and I/O chips all hanging from an exposed bus, you can do so by building your very own BASIC color microcomputer with the CB2 micro kit in under 30 minutes for as low as ~$28.

The kit was designed to be plain simple and very affordable being tailored to those who don’t have access to regular retro computers but would want to have fun with these types of technologies or even learn and experiment with BASIC.

CB2 is very easy to assemble, it works like the micros from the ‘80s except it is cheaper and much easier to use. It works directly with a TV and keyboard, no PC’s required, and it can be used as a standalone microcomputer to run games and applications. It can also be used for automation processes without using a monitor or keyboard and even as a measurement instrument for hobbyists.

CB2’s firmware is based on an open-source project built by Joerg Wolfram (called AVR ChipBasic2). It utilizes standard interfaces such as RS-232, UART, LPT, I2C, etc. to communicate with devices like control modems with an  ATmega644P chip (ATMEGA644P-20PU or ATMEGA644PA-PU), which connects up to a PS2 keyboard port, as well as a 9-pin connector for serial operations.

The CB2 micro has SCART (RGB) video and B&W composite right out of the box. There’s no need for extra adapters, except when you need color composite – that’s possibly the only scenario when you’ll need an adapter to build. The signals for this color composite adapter are taken from the RGB of the SCART pins and the Hsync/Vsync on the PCB. There is no special Dsub connector in the CB2 micro.

Some interesting features of the kit include:

  • 16 foreground and background colors (PAL/NTSC) on TV SCART (RGB/Hsync/Vsync), pseudographics and B/W composite. Color composite/HDMI/VGA support with external converters.
  • Sound with envelope and volume adjustment.
  • PS/2 keyboard (or USB with adapter), RS232, 2x serial TTL, LPT, 8x A/D inputs and I2C, all BASIC controlled.
  • Tiny-BASIC with a featured embedded editor, Chip8, SCHIP, 8080 and AVR-native binaries supported.
  • Cross programs call external flash and EEPROM options.
  • The terminal program, color terminal, X-modem transfer, PC connectivity, networking.

The kit comes with eight programs stored on the internal flash. More information along with various applications or hardware extensions for CB2 micro is available here.

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About Emmanuel Odunlade

Hardware Design Engineer | #IoT Consultant |All things #ML | Entrepreneur | Serial Writer | Passionate about Innovation and technology as tools for solving problems in developing countries. Spare time is spent around writing and advocacy for the growth of the Maker/DIY Culture in Africa.

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