Sunday, October 29, 2017

A fun toy...

Had a bit of fun today running a 6502 processor simulator on an Arduino that was running a copy of EhBasic.  Not much practical you can do with it, but kinda fun to play around with a tiny micro-controller (Arduino) simulating the same processor that was used in the original Apple computers and running a basic emulator on the simulated processor.

This was fun for me because my first experience with micro-controllers was when the MOS Technology 6502 was introduced at the Wescon trade show in San Francisco in 1975.  I was at the time working for Hewlett Packard Advanced Products Division in Santa Clara, CA interestingly enough in the same group of teams that employed Steve Wozniak who later went on to found Apple Computer.

A group of us went to the trade show in the fall of 1975 and were able to purchase the 6502 for $25.  The hardware and programming documentation manuals were another $10.  At the time, Motorola was selling the 6800 microprocessor for a single unit price of $175 and ended up dropping the price to $69 in single unit quantities with further price reductions to follow.  Bringing our loot home spawned a lot of effort to build and program working systems.  Cross-compilers and assemblers were built and utilized to program our new hardware.

I still have my 6502 system built back in the mid-1970's.  I will provide some pictures as soon as I figure out what box contains that little treasure.

It is fun to think that the meager capabilities represented by an Arduino is able to simulate the silicon that was available back when I first started working with micro-controllers.  We have indeed come a long way.

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