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'PIC history, PIC1650, AY-3-8910, SP0256 et al.'
1999\08\31@112217 by Marco DI LEO

picon face
Sam Laur <spam_OUTslaurTakeThisOuTspamSEKUNDA.PP.UTU.FI> wrote:
>
> I've heard mostly vague information, that it was created in the late
> 70's as an I/O controller for the General Instruments CP1600
> microprocessor. However, I'm looking for hard facts - datasheets,
> etc. Specifically, on memory (internal or external?), clock speeds,
> amount of I/O lines, etc. You name it. Because I've bumped into a
> chip called "PIC1650" or "PIC1650A-532" in catalogs, I have a
> feeling I could still get a few for research purposes.
>
> Of course it would be good to know how the PICs developed, up to
> the early 1990's. I have databooks from 1994 onwards, so that's
> probably a good cutoff point.

In my vintage *1982* General Instruments' "Microelectronics Data
Catalog" there is a "PIC Series" section containing the PIC1650A (and
others).

>From the datasheet:
8 Bit Microcomputer
User programmable
Intelligent controller for stand-alone applications
32 8-bit RAM registers
512 x 12-bit program ROM
Arithmetic Logic Unit
Real Time Clock/Counter
Self-contained oscillator
Access to RAM register inherent in instruction
4 set of 8 user defined TTL-compatible Input/Output lines
2 level stack for subroutine nesting

The PIC1650A appear to be a 40 pin IC. It has 32 bidirectional I/O ports
i.e. there is no TRIS register for the ports. The output stage has an
Open Collector/Pull up arrangement and the input buffer is always
connected to the pin. To be able to read a pin the corresponding output
latch must be set in the high state so that an external open collector
can drive the pin low. Big troubles when using BSF/BCF to change a bit
in the output...
The 'A' in the chip name identify the RC (or external) oscillator up to
1MHz. There is a PIC1650XT that allows to use a crystal, resonator, LC
or external oscillator. The two chips seem identical.

In the same book there is a PIC1654 Preliminary, PIC1655A/XT, PIC16C55
(this one with the TRIS), PIC1656, PIC1670 (13-bit and a hack for the
Read/Modify/Write on the I/O pins) and the PIC1663, PIC16C64, PIC1665
that are 64-pin with external ROM for development and prototyping.

For the development tools there are:

PICAL - PIC Cross Assembler
"...The assembler program, written in Fortran, is usually supplied as 9
track, 1600 BPI, 80 column card image records, unblocked and unlabeled
magnetic tapes in either EBCDIC or ASCII code..." (I know I'm starting
the "remember the ol' good times" thread here :-)

PICES II - PIC In-Circuit Emulation System
"...The User Processor is a ROM-less PIC microcomputer with external
RAM...The control processor is a CP1600 sixteen bit microprocessor with
12K of program ROM and 2K of RAM..."

The PIC1650-532 should be a masked version of the PIC1650A/XT but I
don't know the function of the chip: the -020 is an "Economega IV TV PPL
Tuning System Control" and the -536 is a "TELEVIEW Autodialer/Terminal
Identifier".

If someone is interested I can try to scan some pages from the databook
and put them on the web.

On a different topic: in the same book there are also the datasheets for
the AY-3-8910 Programmable Sound Generator and the SP0256-AL2 Narrator
Speech Processor (I should have some of the latter laying somewhere
since I used them in a project in 1985...).

Question:

Is there someone on the list that happen to have (and wishing to sell,
even surplus) some AY-3-8500, AY-3-860x or AY-3-8765 (they are listed in
the book)? These are the chips for the (very) old videogames like: balls
& paddle, roadrace, motor cycle, etc. I would just *love* to have one to
build an unit...

Ciao
 Marco
----
Marco DI LEO
.....m.dileoKILLspamspam@spam@bigfoot.com
http://members.tripod.com/~mdileo/

1999\08\31@142806 by Sam Laur

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> User programmable
> 512 x 12-bit program ROM

Interesting... "User programmable"...while having ROM memory? So if I buy one
from a catalog, I'll probably get it with a mask ROM for some other device,
who knows which, and it will be pretty much unusable. Nice :-)
And, the other company which had them marked as only "PIC1650"...who knows
what they are, but probably still some other ROM.

> Read/Modify/Write on the I/O pins) and the PIC1663, PIC16C64, PIC1665
> that are 64-pin with external ROM for development and prototyping.

Now I could say, WOW! :-) If only I could find some of them nowadays...

> If someone is interested I can try to scan some pages from the databook
> and put them on the web.

I could even pay you for xeroxing the pages and sending them to me...

> Is there someone on the list that happen to have (and wishing to sell,
> even surplus) some AY-3-8500, AY-3-860x or AY-3-8765 (they are listed in
> the book)? These are the chips for the (very) old videogames like: balls
> & paddle, roadrace, motor cycle, etc. I would just *love* to have one to
> build an unit...

I found AY-3-8500 in one repair catalog. No such luck with the others, though.
The chip is listed with a price of 38 FIM which is something like $7.


'PIC history, PIC1650, AY-3-8910, SP0256 et al.'
1999\09\01@082148 by Ing. Marcelo Fornaso
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part 0 16 bytes
</x-html>

1999\09\01@090146 by tmariner

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Wow are you guys dragging up memories!!!

The 1650 was the first commercially available PIC and the -xxx series
denoted one with a particular program that was used for some purpose.
The -532 strikes a chord, but I can't remember what it did.

The AY8910 was the world's first digital sound generator. It had three
channels and was developed when us folks working on the video game chip set
decided that viewers were also listeners. My reason (believe it or not) for
recommending three channels was that I was working on a racing game that had
two side by side tracks and I needed a channel for each track and another
for miscellaneous effects. It was followed by a much improved AY8930 but by
that time the game was over. By the way, the silicon designer I worked with
on the 8930 is now the editor in chief of an important magazine in our
industry.

The SP0256 was a very neat second generation speech processor that had
on-board rom for holding a compressed form of bits that were decoded into
the excitation parameters and filter coefficient for the "model of the vocal
tract". We did several pre-programmed versions including the -AL2 which
contained an allaphone set that could be used to construct rather robotic
sounding speech and a few sound effects.

The PICAL was indeed a fortran-based assembler which produced some wonderful
relocatable code in a form that predates but has a lot of the philosphical
features of the COFF format of compiler output. The reason for the fortran
base was the available machines at the time were main frames. Later (again
believe it or not) my team did an assembler written in basic (PICALB) for
the same reason -- The Apple machines were the only personal computers in
large circulation and their native code was Basic. Another historical
note -- when Apple sent us the code for the Basic Interpreter in the Apple
II, the author's name was in the first few lines of comments -- Steve
Wozniak.

The PICES was this large metal box that successfully emulated the PIC series
and was written using the same fortan-based assembler. We wanted to call it
an "ICE", but the name was already trademarked.

Sorry for the nostalgia trip and other worthless trivia. The tools, the
parts and the techniques we have now make our job so much easier. But the
biggest factor, of course, is the raw talent typified by this list that can
really put all this together into great products!

Tom

>

1999\09\01@093946 by Andy Kunz
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What impresses me most about Tom's letter was that he doesn't get into
reams and reams of people who were part of the team.  Back then (and still
now) the best programs (and systems) are those which are usually put
together by a very small set of folks.

One nice part of PICs is there isn't room to put a bunch of programmers on
one PIC program!

Andy



At 08:59 AM 9/1/99 -0400, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

==================================================================
Andy Kunz               Life is what we do to prepare for Eternity
------------------------------------------------------------------
andyspamKILLspamrc-hydros.com      http://www.rc-hydros.com     - Race Boats
.....andyKILLspamspam.....montanadesign.com  http://www.montanadesign.com - Electronics
==================================================================

1999\09\01@125753 by Harold Hallikainen

picon face
       I recall reading in 1977 that Cal Poly used a PIC to control the
animation in a Rose Float (see
http://cprf.asi.calpoly.edu/History/1977.html ).  As I recall, PIC stood
for Pachyderm I... Controller (I don't recall what the I was).

Harold



Harold Hallikainen
EraseMEharoldspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuThallikainen.com
Hallikainen & Friends, Inc.
See the FCC Rules at http://hallikainen.com/FccRules and comments filed
in LPFM proceeding at http://hallikainen.com/lpfm

___________________________________________________________________
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1999\09\01@190220 by Russell McMahon

picon face
Aaah! - reminiscence time.
We built a video game using these in about 1975 - 1976. Yep, 22 years old
would be about right.
This was THE gee whizz chip to have at that stage. It had a fantastic FOUR
games as I recall. I probably have it in the deep dark dungeon still (aka
my Museum :-)).

Before that Electronics Australia did firstly a horrendous design with TTL
and several boards to do just Pong and then followed this by a cunning
design using CMOS and cheating as hard as possible. AFAIR this design first
introduced me to the use of CMOS gates with R/C as required as analog
delays, monostables etc. This was crucial in this design as it generated TV
V & H sync, bat position (horizontal only?) x 2 and the incredible moving
ball with X and Y freedom - amazing! (or, it was then). Also delays needed
for bat and ball width & depth etc. Nowadays the circuit would hardly rate
a second glance but then it was an eye opener to me.


Russell McMahon

=============================


Hi!
I've got a very old but brand new chip:

AY-3-8500
GIMT 7706

As you see it's 22 years old!
I bought it when I was an Electronics Engineering student, but never built
the unit.
It's yours for free if you want it.
The only matter is we're (the chip and me) in Argentina (in Patagonia, at
the far south), so it'll take a long by surface mail.
Anyway I'll be waiting your coordinates.

Ing. Marcelo M. Fornaso
Vte. Lopez y Planes 285
8324 Cipolletti
Argentina
Te: (299)477-4469
http://www.sysameri.com/marcelo/



 {Original Message removed}

1999\09\01@194539 by Steve Thackery

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> Nowadays the circuit would hardly rate
> a second glance but then it was an eye opener to me.

I disagree!  I think it would most likely receive lots of admiring glances
from modern electronics designers.  The thing is, no-one would dream of
implementing Pong in hardware these days: it's just crying out for a
software solution.  Similarly, video signal generation is just handed over
to a two buck chip these days.

No, I would say that for sheer ingenuity, electronics designs probably
peaked back in the late '70s (i.e. before the widespread adoption of
microprocessors and microcontrollers, and VLSI chips).  I've seen some
amazing stuff done with boards chock full of CMOS and TTL chips (plus the
inevitable analogue driver board bristling with power transistors and heat
sinks!).  You gotta hand it to those guys, they were just brilliant.

I have a pal who used to work in the games machine industry (Bell Fruit in
the UK).  Monstrously complex non-microprocessor designs continued on for
ages in their industry.  The manufactuers had access to a wide range of
functional modules which they'd developed over the years and were very well
tried and tested.  They had a tremendous amount invested in those designs,
and they had a tremendous amount invested in the expertise and training of
their electronics guys.  Some games machines from the late 70's and even
early 80's were just packed with PCBs, every one plastered with CMOS and
TTL.  You can imagine that it was pretty scary to throw that lot away and
start again with a microprocessor!  It means a complete revamp of your
entire development and manufacturing environment, plus a big churn of staff,
plus another revamp of the support infrastructure........

There was also an interesting interim period when they would use EPROMS -
i.e. a microprocessor support chip - in non-micro applications.  For
example, they would often use them to store those jazzy lighting sequences
for the front panel.  The EPROM was built into the TTL/CMOS circuitry,
rather than sitting on an address and data bus.

Ah, reminiscing is good for the soul!  Or are we old farts just being boring
bastards?

Steve Thackery
Suffolk, England.
Web Site: http://www.btinternet.com/~stevethack/

1999\09\01@195608 by Sean H. Breheny

face picon face
At 12:41 AM 9/2/99 +0100, you wrote:
>I disagree!  I think it would most likely receive lots of admiring glances
>from modern electronics designers.  The thing is, no-one would dream of
>implementing Pong in hardware these days: it's just crying out for a
>software solution.  Similarly, video signal generation is just handed over
>to a two buck chip these days.
>
>No, I would say that for sheer ingenuity, electronics designs probably
>peaked back in the late '70s (i.e. before the widespread adoption of
[SNIP]

I agree. In fact, I worry about the future of electronics because we may
not have enough newbies who are learning how to exhibit such ingenuity in
their designs.

Sean

|
| Sean Breheny
| Amateur Radio Callsign: KA3YXM
| Electrical Engineering Student
\--------------=----------------
Save lives, please look at http://www.all.org
Personal page: http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/shb7
shb7spamspam_OUTcornell.edu ICQ #: 3329174

1999\09\01@204224 by Dennis Plunkett

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At 00:41 2/09/99 +0100, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

The ERPOMS where used to simulate complex logic, just as an FPGA or GA can
be used today
Dennis



>Ah, reminiscing is good for the soul!  Or are we old farts just being boring
>bastards?
>
>Steve Thackery
>Suffolk, England.
>Web Site: http://www.btinternet.com/~stevethack/
>
>

1999\09\02@043430 by Russell McMahon

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>>There was also an interesting interim period when they would use EPROMS -
>>i.e. a microprocessor support chip - in non-micro applications.  For
>>example, they would often use them to store those jazzy lighting
sequences
>>for the front panel.  The EPROM was built into the TTL/CMOS circuitry,
>>rather than sitting on an address and data bus.
>>
>
>
>The ERPOMS where used to simulate complex logic, just as an FPGA or GA can
>be used today
>Dennis


I've used EPROMS (and fuse link PROMS, remember them :-)) as logic
replacement devices on occasion in the dim dark past. A VERY rapid state
machine can be made with a package of D flip flops and an EPROM. Faster
than many uPs for a limited task. An excellent example of such a beast
(used a fuse link prom I think) was the Apple 2 floppy disk controller -
The IWM - stood for Integrated Woz Machine (designed by Steve Wozniak) and
used a state machine and no uP. Very very simple logic - much cheaper than
the state of the art then and for some time which was the eg (ugh) WD1771
FDC. I have seen EPROM used in such designs occasionally in more recent
times - EA mag I think used one as a divider to convert period to frequency
in I think a car computer. Also useable for eg display decoders.

regards



       Russell McMahon

1999\09\04@175914 by Karl A. Uscroft

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Wow, what have I started, I just mention the AY-3-8910 and bang I find that
it's as old as I am.

Just to say that at work (amusements, video games : slots : the like) we are
still getting new machines, brand new, never been played (except for testing)
with
AY-3-8910's in with the Microchip name on yet they say they don't do them
anymore.  I think that someone has a big box full of them and keeps sending
them to the amusement industry.

PS,  the SPO256-AL2 brings back memories,  used one on a robot in a project a
few years back,  vioce worked, robot didn't :-(  .

1999\09\04@181400 by Karl A. Uscroft

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>  Steve Thackery
>  Suffolk, England.

I have to agree with Steve on this one we have lots of old video games in
storage at work (amusement arcade) and the work that went into the circuit
boards full of old TTL and CMOS is far more creative then anything produced
today which is all software and a few, very large, dedicated chips which when
go faulty you just have to bin them and get a new one.  But the old stuff is
just a pure art form if you ask me.

I would like to see if any of the new electronic engineers out of university
could, from ground up design a slot machine with three reels plus nudges and
payout using just 12volt relays.  We have on at work and it's a master piece.
OK I think most could, but how many would go straight for the CPU's + PIOs ,
etc.

{Quote hidden}

staff,
>  plus another revamp of the support infrastructure........
>
>  There was also an interesting interim period when they would use EPROMS -
>  i.e. a microprocessor support chip - in non-micro applications.  For
>  example, they would often use them to store those jazzy lighting sequences
>  for the front panel.  The EPROM was built into the TTL/CMOS circuitry,
>  rather than sitting on an address and data bus.
>
>  Ah, reminiscing is good for the soul!  Or are we old farts just being
boring
>  bastards?
>
>  Steve Thackery
>  Suffolk, England.

Ye, reminiscing is good for the soul.

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