Ridge 32/330 up and running!

Jon Elson elson at pico-systems.com
Mon Mar 30 00:17:44 CDT 2015

On 03/29/2015 07:53 PM, Josh Dersch wrote:
> Wow, that is seriously cool!  Sounds like something you 
> need to finish up one of these days :).
For the reasons I abandoned the project in about 1982, I am 
afraid it will stay abandoned.
I did get it working, but it is just a bare 32-bit bit slice 
engine, with 1K 96-bit words of control store and 56 32-bit 
registers.  It ran at 8 MHz for 2-register operations, but 
could also do 3-register at 6 MHz.  It was controlled by an 
S-100 Z-80 system that I no longer have, although it 
basically was similar to a parallel port, so could be hooked 
to a PC parallel port fairly easily.

I needed to add in some more logic to do 256-way branches 
from the op-code, and or-in register fields from the 
instruction register.  I needed to define a system bus and 
build a bus interface, and them build a few simple 
peripherals.  I already had a SASI-bus hard drive on the 
S-100 CP/M system, so I could have built a controller for 
that pretty easily.  Then a COM controller.  I had planned 
on making a stripped-down micro-controller for most 
peripheral controllers, it would have been about 20 chips, 
with 8-bit data path and 16-bits of EPROM for firmware.  
Probably could have run at 4 MHz or so.

THEN, the REAL reason I let this drop, is I would need an OS 
for a seriously oddball machine.  Slightly enhanced 360 
instruction set, but a PDP-11 style I/O architecture.  I 
could build my own OS, but it would likely not be much 
better than CP/M, although multiprogramming would be nice.  
Then, how about compilers?  I recently figured out I 
probably could have stolen OS/360 compilers without much 
trouble, but even getting those working would take a LOT of 
work to understand the various library routines they used 
and providing wrappers so the compilers thought they were in 
an OS/360 environment.
Geez, a LOT of work!

This would have been an AWESOME home system in 1984 or so, 
but would be just a ridiculous conversation piece, now.

I cloned a Nat. Semi. 32016 system, and used that for a 
while, but it was glacially slow!

Then, I got a uVAX at home, and ran it for 21 years.  I 
still have the CPU, but mostly gave away the peripheral boards.


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