AN EMULATOR FOR THE
They said it would never happen, but the wait is nearly over !
Since the Raspberry Pi4 gained a workong openGLES 3.1 implementation I have been working on a 3D version of the emulator. It is now nearing the point when it will be available for download from github. However I have a few more things to do to it before it is ready, and I need to write a user guide ! Keep an eye on twitter for the hashtag #803Emulator for the latest news.
attempt at a 3D front-end for my 803 Emulator didn't get very
far. It was based on the blender game engine (bge). My
latest attempt has got much further. It's a version for the
Raspberry Pi and uses the GPU via openGL ES 2.0. I've previously
used desktop openGL 2.0 so the transition to the "Embedded Systems"
version hasn't been too difficult. Sound output is
provided using the openMax IL api.
The screen grab above shows two things. At the back is a reel of tape with a hanging loop which will eventually lead to a model of a paper tape reader. This part is already fully animated. Using some "magic" in the openGL ES shaders the tape shows the correct pattern of holes without any processing in the PI CPU. Tape is pulled off the reel when the hanging loop gets tight and the reel also spins too keep track with the unwinding of the tape.
foreground is the operators console. As you can see I've not
quite implemented all the buttons yet, but those shown do work and
control the 803 emulation. The "user" can navigate the 3D space
with the mouse and a couple of "mode keys" on the keyboard. The
cross hair cursor can also be moved with the mouse.
working on an emulation of the Elliott 803 computer for a number of
years, (more than I
care to remember !) but it has never quite been
ready to be released. However in 2009 I started to regularly visit The
National Museum Of Computing (TNMOC)
encouraged me to once
again start working to get my emulator into a state where it can be
As of July
2010 the following system components are working:
8K store processor with floating point hardware
Type 3A paper tape station (PTS) with Elliott improved reader, tape punch and Creed 75 online teleprinter
Calcomp 565 drum plotter
and up to 4 film handlers (*)
Creed tape editing station
A set of drawers containing paper tapes
One of my
Beta-testers has produced a set of instructions for building and
operating the emulator.
Note: The above graphic is no longer used in the
The Word Generator or Console
The Paper Tape Editing Station (Creed 75)
500 Character / Second Paper Tape Reader
3D (openGL) Paper Tape Storeage Drawers
Closeup of tapes in drawer.
A Magnetic Film Handler
Calcomp 565 Drum Plotter
Paper Tape Station Control Pannel
Engineers 'Scope (showing the Accumulator (top) and
Instruction and Sequence Control Registers (bottom).
Left: The Hours Run timer.
Right: Linux Filesystem interface.
I've also been working on a “gate level” model of the 803 CPU. I have a full set of the engineering manuals and logic diagrams to work from so I'm hopeful that I can complete the model. As a debugging tool I have a logical 'scope..
I'm also working on a PIC microcontroller based emulation.
Another PIC based 803 project is my 803 diagnostic unit.
I've also built a PIC based interface to connect a real CalComp plotter
to the real 803.
Drop me a note at the address below if you are interested....