uTerm Back Edition kit
I got this kit to use with both the Z80-MBC2 and the V20-MBC Black Edition Kits so that I could make either stand-alone. The nice thing about the uTerm is that it contains a TTL serial interface, so that data could be sent and received from it while continuing to use the PS2 keyboard and VGA video display. One thing that I really like about this kit was that the surface mounted chip came pre-installed, which makes it easier for us old folks to assemble. <br /> <br /> One note: I have a several USB keyboards that would not work with the USB - PS2 converter, (Logitech and Dell), so I picked up a new inexpensive PS2 keyboard, which works great.
V20-MBC Black Edition kit
After buying and building the Z80-MBC2 Black Edition kit, I decided to get the V20-MBC Black Edition kit, so that I could run DOS 2.11 games and other software. This is also a very enjoyable and fun kit, especially when used with the uTerm Back Edition kit. These kits are extremely well made, and look great with the black circuit boards.
uCom Back Edition
When I ordered the Z80-MBC2 Black Edition kit, I also ordered the uCom Back Edition kit. This is quite handy to use, as it includes both a RS-232 D9 connector plus the TTL level serial interface, which is handy to have. It also contains a DC voltage regulator and barrel jack power connector, making it much easier to power the Z80-MBC2 with a 9 volt DC power brick.
Having fun with the Z80-MBC2
I have gotten into the retro computing scene with the Z80-MBC2 Black Edition kit, and have been having quite a bit of fun with it. I got into computing way back in February 1977, and building this kit brings back the fun that has has been lacking since the days of IBM PC style computing in the 1990's. I enjoyed soldering this together, and running CP/M and other retro software and games. When I ordered this, I also ordered the uCom Back Edition to go with it, and that is also a great and enjoyable kit.
Perfect kit with all its components, easy to assemble and use.
I ordered the kit fromn France on November 9, 2022 and received it on December 1. <br /> Very good kit delivered well complete. All parts are grouped by categories in separate pockets. <br /> It was a great fun to assemble it, and pictures on this website were a good help. I am very satisfied with this purchase.<br /> But during assembly, pay close attention to the polarities of electrochemical capacitors, LEDs, diodes and resistor networks.<br /> For the electrochemical capacitors in the kit, the negative leg is near the red mark, and on the pcb the square pad is the positive side.<br /> For the two resistor networks, the leg near the indication is the common leg to be inserted in the square pad, but it's best to check with a multimeter.<br /> For diodes and LEDs, unlike capacitors, the pcb square pads are negative sides. The negative leg of a LED is the shortest, to be insert in the square pad.<br /> A K letter is Near each square pad of LEDs. K for Katode (cathode), négative side. <br /> After soldering the polarized capacitors,take care not to put LEDs in the wrong polaritie. The serigraphy of the diodes avoids the error.<br /> No difficulty for the resistors, but checking their values with a multimeter is more safe. No problem with the other components.<br /> After connecting the card to a USB port, some diodes flash, which is a good sign.<br /> Then check, in the device manager of the computer, that the Serial-USB module is detected, and that a com port number is assigned to it. Note this number.<br /> If no com port appears, search for a suitable USB-serial driver on the Silicon-Labs or Prolific websites for example.<br /> Windows 11 does not have the correct driver by default, I downloaded and installed CP210x_Universal_Windows_Driver.zip from Silicon-Labs, it works perfectly.<br /> Then launch Putty (or another serial emulator), configure it as a serial monitor (115200 8 n 1) and indicate it the noted port number (com1, com2,..).<br /> Run the correct configuration. After a scrolling text, appear the cp/m disk A> .<br /> <br /> The red diode D1 (HALT) never lights up. It's normal.<br /> To test it, run this short program in MBASIC. You can only type lines 100 to 500<br /> <br /> 10 REM Test Halt led (D1) of Z80-mbc2. Serge CABALA<br /> 20 PRINT CHR$(27);"[2J";:REM Clear screen<br /> 30 PRINT CHR$(27);"[2;1H";:REM Cursor screen on upper left <br /> 40 PRINT" Testing Halt led (D1 led) of Z80-mbc2":PRINT <br /> 50 PRINT"This program FREEZE Z80 CPU to Turn ON the red HALT led (D1) "<br /> 60 PRINT"When D1 is on, hit RESET key (red button) of mbc2 to restart it"<br /> 70 INPUT"CONTINUE (Y/N)";X$<br /> 80 IF X$"Y" THEN PRINT"TEST aborted": END<br /> 90 PRINT"Now Press mbc2 RESET key" <br /> 100 CLEAR,32000:REM Reserve memory <br /> 200 POKE 32000,&H76:REM HALT code of Z80. Freeze CPU<br /> 300 POKE 32001,&HC9:REM RETurn code of Z80. Never executed, CPU is frozen <br /> 400 DEF USR0=32000:REM define starting adress of language machine <br /> 500 X=USR0(0):REM Jump to 32000<br /> 600 PRINT "RETURN from USR0":REM Never appens, because CPU is frozen<br /> <br />
Z80-MBC2 Black Edition Kit
Received the kit shipped to the UK in just over a week. The kit was excellently packaged and components separated into relevant categories. Enclosed paperwork had schematic, placement diagrams and bill of materials. All components were leaded and easily identified. The enclosed SD card had all the relevant software pre-loaded. I connected the board to a computer using the enclosed serial-USB adapter. I mounted the board in my own enclosure using a USB bulkhead adapter in order the get the serial connection, this also provided the power to the board. The board has provided me with lots of memories having run CP/M in the 1980's. Later I purchased the uTerm Black board (see separate review) to provide a PS2 keyboard input and VGA monitor output so the serial to USB adapter is no longer required for day to day use but can be connected on the serial output on the uTerm board if required.
uTerm2-S with uHat and Dedicated Enclosure
The uHat module is designed to integrate with the uTerm2-S module. <br /> <br /> This combination provides a storage solution extending the flexible software defined application platform, built around the WROOM ESP32 development module and theFabGL library from Fabrizio Di Vittorio from GitHub: <br /> <br /> I have designed a 3D printed enclosure which supports the uTerm2-S PCB and provides additional DB9 connectors to support programming through the J2 port and console connections through the J3 connector.<br /> <br /> The case also supports the inclusion of an SD card extension module which enables the micro SD slot on the uHat board to be presented on the rear of the case for easy card swapping.<br /> <br /> The completed assembly provides a, small footprint, flexible computing platform. Which through the use of the FabGL libraries is capable of providing; An ANSI Serial terminal, A standalone emulated Z80 running CP/M, Space invaders amongst others.