February 23, 2024


Forever Driven Computer

Old Barcode Scanner Motherboards Live Again

Old Barcode Scanner Motherboards Live Again

Often, hacking is just for the pleasure of diving into the insider secrets of outdated components. That was very considerably the scenario when [glitch] and a buddy started out hacking on some outdated Intel 8080 boards that had been dwelling in the junk pile for far too very long.

The boards in dilemma were being motherboards from Identicon barcode scanners, managing the Intel 8080 CPU. Hacking on the 8080 is a very little different, with the ancient CPU demanding 3 separate voltages to operate. On the other hand, with the ability rails figured out and power used, it was achievable to get the previous boards up and operating.

The boards had been 1st run with take a look at ROMs which showed the 8080 CPU to be useful. The ROMs hosted a simple plan which obtained the 8080 to spit out the term “HELO” on to an HP HDSP-2416 ASCII character exhibit. From there, the barcode scanner boards ended up put in in a chassis and hooked up to a larger Siemens character exhibit, and the memory was mapped out.

The consequence was that [glitch] and co ended up in a position to mostly reverse engineer the Identicon hardware, studying it was reasonably identical to the Intel MCS-80 reference design of the period. They had been able to get code jogging on the system, access the RAM, and fit a larger sized 8-character exhibit. However, without the need of the unique barcode scanner attachment, the boards weren’t capable to return to their first duty.

As far as hacks go, it is quite aged school. The boards don’t discuss to Twitter, nor run the lights or aid with the dishes. Nevertheless, loads of exciting was had observing if this previous metal could be designed to comply with directions as soon as far more. Hacking for the pleasure of it is usually a excellent factor by our e book!