Archive for 'fpga'

Brother LW-35 Typewriter Modernization

Markus | Saturday, June 6th 2020, 18:06

-- Now that's my definition of building a computer!

Figure 1. The finished LW-35

Do you still remember the old electronic typewriters from the nineties? Many of the later machines were already pretty much full-fledged computers, just with a word processor as the operating system. One of these typewriters is the Brother LW-35 released in Europe. I still had one of these lying around; Great keyboard, a fun daisy wheel printer, and a 14 line display for distraction free writing. It even had a floppy drive for data exchange. So in summary, a pretty cool device.

But there were a few problems with it. First of all, the floppy drive stopped working reliably. And secondly, on the days the floppy drive decided to work, it was still a floppy drive. Not exactly the most convenient way to store and transfer data these days, although I'm sure some of you will disagree. Also, the typewriter used its own file format, which needed to be converted on the device itself before it could be read in a DOS or UNIX environment. This may be OK if you're writing a longer document, and only write it on that machine. But as someone who constantly changes the machine they type on, it's not practical.

Yet, even with these problems, I just didn't have the heart to throw it out.

So what can we do about it? Upgrade it!

In this post, I will show you how I converted my old LW-35 typewriter into a modern computer while keeping all the good features of the old machine.

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Tags: fpga hardware lw35 reverse engineering software video


Personal Projects Advent Calendar 2018

Markus | Thursday, December 27th 2018, 00:00

-- 27 Days of Projects

Figure 1. Thank you for 2018!
2018 is coming to an end, and so it's time to tend to things that didn't get done over the year. For me, I've been wanting to talk about many of my old projects for quite a while now, but never got around to it.

So this December (or tbh, many were shot during November), I pulled together and made videos for 25 of my projects. They date from very recent (November 2018) back to my school days (2007), so there's quite some variation to the style and type of project. I hope that you will enjoy (at least some of) them.

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Tags: avr fpga hardware linux software video


Brother LW-35 Typewriter Modernization Vlog 1

Markus | Sunday, April 29th 2018, 17:11

-- Part 1: LCD

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In the first video of this series, I show how I got the LCD of the Brother LW-35 Typewriter working with an Orange Pi PC Linux SBC.

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Tags: fpga hardware linux lw35 software video


Lattice MachXO2 Based FPGA Development Board

Markus | Updated Monday, November 27th 2017, 18:37

-- Tiny and cheap, but versatile

Figure 1. A rendered 3D-image of the Tiny-XO2 board

Introduction

The Tiny-XO2 is a small, versatile and cost-effective development platform for Lattice MachXO2 field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). It is built around a MachXO2-1200HC FPGA which features 1280 LUTs, 64 kbits of EBR SRAM and one PLL besides various other features[1]. The development board extends the functionality by providing a USB-to-serial converter and a crystal to allow quick and easy prototyping. All I/O pins are available on the .1 inch headers and labelled directly on the board. Figure 2 provides an overview of all the board's functions.

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Tags: fpga hardware


Using Sigasi with GHDL and GtkWave

Markus | Tuesday, May 10th 2016, 17:43

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This video demonstrates a little program I wrote to emulate vcom/vsim using GHDL. It enables Sigasi to check syntax and to simulate using GHDL/GtkWave.

Github: https://github.com/cclassic/model-ghdl.

Tags: fpga ghdl gtkwave vhdl video