Evie Beer – Episode 2: Waiting for Hardware


My RetroChallenge project has started slowly for me this time around, after ordering the requisite MC68hc11 EVBU single-board computer on Sunday 28th June, it didn’t arrive until the following Friday, and as I had an appointment on Friday night, did not get to actually open the box and check it out until today.

So what productive use did I put to the intervening Monday-Friday? Quite a lot of activity, but none of it productive in the RetroChallenge sense…

I moved the SPARCstation-10 and laptop across the room to set up a “dedicated RetroChallenge” workstation – this mostly concerned trying to get a Buffalo Ethernet-to-Wireless bridge device to work (the handbook instruction are awful and incomplete). In the end I gave up and layed a mostly-hidden cable instead. 1 day down without much to show.

Then I had a bit of a distraction: thought it might be fun to get a Citrix ICA client to work on the SPARCstation-10, so I could connect to work network from a 22-year-old non-PC instead of the family main PC (which is often occupied…). Yes, in spite of Citrix’ best efforts, you *can* find old versions of the Citrix ICA client software, and even the 32-bit SPARC version for Solaris 2.5 and later – this ICA software was last revised in 2004. Well that was fun!

Arrival
Given that the EVBU single-board computer is so small (7 x 3.25 inches), I was a rather surprised when it turned up in a huge, *heavy* parcel:box1mc68hc11 EVBU carton.

Unfortunately, the bottle of whiskey wasn’t included, I had to supply that myself!

I had forgotten that in 1990, books didn’t come in PDF form: the kit carton contains rather a lot of user/technical/reference documentation in dead-tree format (including a 200-page introductory board “simple” user guide): EVBU kit contentsThe SBC itself is dwarfed by the rest of the kit!

The single-board computer itself is very small for its’ time, 7 inches in the long dimension, including the large wire-wrap area. Notice the 5VDC 50ma power-connector at the top-left of the board – it’s not a modern, convenient, axial or figure-8 socket, but a pair of clamps that take raw metal wires.sbcpowersocket So the next step is to go shopping for a 240VAC-5VDC@>50ma wall-wart, from which I will be cutting off the DC plug. You know, I reckon that clamps-for-raw-wires is *more* convenient – at least there won’t be any of that “damn it’s a proprietary plug of exactly the wrong size” frustration that seems endemic these days!

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