The Whizz80 computer is an open-source, home brew, DIY retro computer based on the 8-bit Z80 CPU by Zilog from the late 1970s. This CPU was popular in microcomputers during this time period, most noteworthy examples include the MicroBee, the TRS-80 and the ZX Spectrum.
Rather than creating a hardware clone of one of these past computers, the Whizz80 computer will actually be building the physical hardware. It will be of a modular design, with much of the design borrowed from a number of different websites, books and other reference material. (References and sources will be added to the Appendix at a later date).
By using a modular design each module is interchangeable and upgradeable to be as flexible as possible. Making extra hardware modules easier and flexible because of this modular design. Anyone can build this computer from the components, from a professional made PCB, soldering point-to-point wiring on a protoboard, wire-wrapping, or even build it on a breadboard. I'm using all these methods!
Building your own computer is a great way to learn how computers actually work and since studying it I have a greater appreciation and respect of the hardware of modern computers. Hopefully you will to.
I am aware of a few existing Z80 projects that emulate the Z80 CPU in software. While I may use some in the future to develop and test some code, this project will actually build the hardware. Besides hardware is fun!
All the software for the Whizz80 will have to be written from scratch as there is currently no other source for software. This software includes the operating system itself (I'm planning a forth based operating system called WhizzOS), utility and monitoring software.
Extra software to be written also includes the non-Z80 based software (such as the home built EEPROM programmer) and any other tools used to create the software for the Whizz80.
All software designed for the Whizz80 is intended to be open source and freely available under the MIT license as most if not all of my ideas have been obtained freely from the internet from others, so it is only fair to give some of that back.