80-Bus News


January–March 1982 · Volume 1 · Issue 1

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Book Reviews

By Rory O’Farrell

Build Your Own Z80 Computer

By Steve Ciarcia

This is a very readable book, by the author of the well known construction column in BYTE. It describes the various considerations in the design of a simple Z80 based machine and the monitor which would be necessary to drive it. It reprints various relevant data sheets, and discusses problems of driving capability of chips and timing specifications.

Z80 User’s Manual

By Joseph Carr
Published Reward books (distrib. Prentice Hall)

This book discusses the considerations in the design of a Z80 based system, and interfacing to various peripherals. It also discusses the instruction set of the Z80 in much the same way as the Z80 Programming manual. Unfortunately, this latter section is marred by faulty proof reading and typesetting errors. As I have the Z80 programming manual, obviously I would prefer that the 200 pages devoted to the discussion of the instruction set were instead an extension of the 100 page section on interfacing and system design!

Interfacing Microcomputers to the Real World

By Sargent and Shoemaker
Published Addison Wesley

This book is similar to the preceeding two in that it sets out to tell you sufficient to design a Z80 based system, but puts particular emphasis on interfacing with external devices. In particular, it discusses A/D and D/A conversion in detail. It must be pointed out that the A/D chips they use are not necessarily the most easily available chips on the market in the U.K., but the general principles are relevant. In addition, they discuss the design of a suitable monitor, and give the listing of DEMON, a DEbug MONitor based on TDL’s 2K Zapple monitor.

8080/Z80 Assembly Language

By Alan Miller
Published John Wiley

This book deals with programming both the 8080 and the Z80. In consequence it switches from one set of mnemonics to the other, but it is easy to keep abreast of what is happening. The author develops a monitor for these computers, and considers some of the problems in interfacing routines with CP/M. He is very readable, and the use of the two sets of mnemonics and the optimisations he shows for Z80s over 8080s are interesting and informative.

A few miscellaneous comments

Software Tools, which I reviewed in INMC80-5, has now been published as “Software Tools in Pascal” by Kernighan and Plauger, published Addison Wesley. I have not yet seen this book, but imagine it to be Software Tools rewritten with the programs in Pascal rather than RATFOR and PL/I. As such, I think it would be more relevant to Nascom users than the previous edition.

In using a microcomputer, we find ourselves reinventing the wheel at every step. We must remember that the path we tread towards the development of a usable computer system has already been forged by many trained and brilliant minds. Fortunately for us, they have, in many cases, published their thoughts and results. These findings are now being taught to computer students, and we can learn and indeed save ourselves much work by seizing onto this fact.

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