Jeff’s quickie page of vintage ICs/chips


More Zilog notes are here.
The Z80 Ain't Dead Yet was the title of my collection/display for the VCF (Vintage Computer Fest) East 5.0 in Sept 2008.
I still have a fondness for the Z80 for its easy to use hardware interface and wide variety of peripherals (parallel ports, sync/async serial ports, DMA, CTC). It was second sourced by several companies (Mostek, SGS) and evolved from the Z80 to Z180, Z280 and eZ80. Hitachi's HD64180 variation was popularized by the Micromint SB180 single-board computer. Micromint is the manufacturing arm of Steve Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar (back then in Byte Magazine, now on its own)

The Z80 was the main CPU in desktop computers from around 1976 to the early 80s, particularly the Radio Shack TRS-80 and Timex/Sinclair 1000 ("the first computer for under USD $100"). Over time, it became embedded into modems, disk controllers, terminal servers and just about anything that required many serial ports due to the unmatched capabilities of the dual channel SIO (serial I/O chips) that interfaced to the Z80 CPU with a minimum of components (mostly address decode since they self-arbitrated the vectored interrupt daisy-chain).

General Instrument

The GI logo from old to new
I have an affection for General Instrument chips since they did fun things. I worked for General Instrument in 1982 but not for the chip division.
Here are the 3 different logos they used: the swirly "GI" logo (similar to the Penn Central Railroad's "mating worms"), then the entire name (right justified) then just the initials.

Popular General Instrument chips were:
The 1982 General Instrument microelectronics product guide is a stroll down memory lane (pun intended: they manufactured memory chips). Here we see

The SP1000 featured speech recognition & Allophone based speech synthesis
Making things talk was quite the "thing" in 1982
internal newsletter

my color labels

I was too cheap to buy the pre-printed chip labels so I used my technical/drafting pen to make my own.

Sometimes being a bit anal-retentive is its own reward. I saved these spare chip rail end-clips back in the 70s and 80s when chip rails were plentiful since I worked around EE labs (not anymore).
Now that I'm sorting and handling 25+ year old chips, some of the rubbery chip rail wedges have become hard and brittle, so I'm GLAD I have the replacements on hand!

modern chips

And now for something completely different: current chips of interest
The Freescale family of e-field chips such as the MC34940/MC33794 allow for interesting sensing of people at distances far greater than capacitive methods.
I got several as part of the Circuit Cellar Freescale Zigbee contest kit.

I'm actively using the PIC-18 series of chips, exploring I2C peripheral chips.

Schweber Electronics Buzz Buzz

Schweber Electronics Semiconductor Buzz-Words
I ALWAYS participated in my school science fairs.
In my senior year of high school, my entry "semiconductors vs. tubes" finally win the school fair and competed in the Queens borough-wide science fair. During the public exhibition, I met a kind fellow who worked for Schweber who send me this folder.