Dark Tower - any internals info out there?

From: Ethan Dicks <erd_6502_at_yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Oct 16 16:59:41 2001

--- Tony Duell <ard_at_p850ug1.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> > > In my (limited) experience, most electronic toy/games from that time
> > > frame contain a mask-programmed microcontroller. Normally a
> > > TMS1000-series device.
> >
> Well, as I said 'limited experience'. I didn't play electronic games (I
> still don't) -- I prefered hacking electronics. On the other hand, most
> of the games owned by other children at school ended up on my bench to
> have battery leads resoldered, LEDs replaced, and so on.

Kids never gave me stuff to fix and return... I got broken stuff and
fixed it if I could. Learned more than I fixed. :-)

> Another possibilty is an in-circuit emulator, a box with a cable
> that plugs in place of the mask-programmed IC, and which contains enough
> logic (either as TTL or as custom chips, possibly modified versions of
> the chip you are emulating) to simulate the chip at full speed, and with
> RAM as the program store. Normally there's a serial port to connect to a
> host computer to download code, set breakpoints, examine internal
> registers and so on. ICE boxes are not cheap, but they are rather fun to
> play with if you ever come across one.

I have an ICE for the 68000 - my former employers paid about $20K for it.
It's a big hoot to play with - stores 4096 bus acesses and traces a few
lines if you connect extra probes. Mine was made by Northwest Instruments.
We got it with an original 5-slot PC (5150) to talk to the box with the
RAM, etc., in it. Still have the whole shootin' match, 10Mb add-in drive
and all (we put that in later when we got tired of running off of floppies
and it was <$500).

I've found some interesting hardware bugs with it, like a 68K prototype
with UDS and LDS swapped by mistake - makes byte operations all squirrelly.


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Received on Tue Oct 16 2001 - 16:59:41 BST

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