Ive been busy experimenting with a few concepts on how best I could delve back into the good ol days of the Apple II. I grew up with Apple's and their clones, the IIe, the III and the IIGS. As most of us who had been introduced to the Apple II Designs may know, it dosent take long to develop a significant admiration for Woz's brilliant work. So whilst during my own work, developing the Nanoboard2 for Altium, I designed this little add on Apple II slot adaptor PCB to allow me to put together a proposal platform to develop any 8/16 bit Apple system using an FPGA as the hardware.
The NB2 has only just been released, so this is the first chance I have had to assemble the "Slots" board and see if it all works. I still have a lot of code to do, so its far from being up and running just at the moment, but all the resources are there to make a pretty spekkie blast from the past Apple system of choice.
I thought Id introduce what I have been up to to you guy's to get a bit of feedback on how the concept is received, and maybe to see if there would be anyone that would interested in helping develop a functional Apple system in VHDL. I know this has been done, but not with real Apple slots, not to a point where you can use a classic Apple in exactly the same way as how they're meant to be used. ie, floppy disks and cards, joystick etc.
I am happy to share the schematics and source PCB's files (actually, I have quite a few spare PB10 "Slot" PCB's), and the Nanoboard comes with all its schematics and source docco's too, which you can download.
As a bit of a run down, the NB2 is basically a big FPGA that allows the developer to "plug-in" their choice of FPGA, which is then connected to 3 seperate 50 pin IO connectors. These connectors allow altium peripheral boards (PB's) to plug up to the FPGA. One of these PB's is known as PB10, which is the Apple II's slots (only includes 6 of the slots, but wired as they are in an Apple IIe with 5v<->3v translators), another is PB02, which is an SD card, IDE drives (3.5"/2.5"&1.8" and a compact flash slot. And the third board is PB03, which provides ethernet, USB2 and IrDA. There are other standard peripherals such as a QVGA LCD, DRAM, SRAM, FLASH, PS2, DIPSW, KBD+MOUSE, RS232 port etc that reside on the main Nanoboard. Pretty much everything, which also includes a VGA interface.
Ive attached a few pictures to give a better idea.
Anyway, if anyone has any opinions or idea's, it would be great to hear them.