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Learn Computer Architecture and Assembly Language by Building Your Own Microcomputer with the Intel 8088


Build your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 pdf




Have you ever wondered how computers work? Do you want to learn more about computer hardware and software? Do you enjoy tinkering with electronics and programming? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this article is for you. In this article, you will learn how to build your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088, a classic microprocessor from the 1980s. You will also discover what you can do with your own microcomputer, such as learning about computer architecture, running retro games, and creating your own applications. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how computers work and how to make your own.




Build your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 pdf



What is a microcomputer?




A microcomputer is a small computer that uses a single microprocessor as its central processing unit (CPU). A microprocessor is a chip that contains all the logic circuits and instructions that perform calculations and operations in a computer. A microcomputer typically has other components, such as memory, input/output devices, and storage, that are connected to the microprocessor through a circuit board. Some examples of microcomputers are personal computers (PCs), laptops, tablets, smartphones, and embedded systems.


What is the intel 8088?




The intel 8088 is a microprocessor that was released by Intel in 1979. It was an improved version of the intel 8086, which was the first 16-bit microprocessor. The intel 8088 had an 8-bit external data bus, which made it cheaper and easier to use than the intel 8086. The intel 8088 could execute up to 290,000 instructions per second and had a clock speed of up to 10 MHz. The intel 8088 was used in many popular computers in the early 1980s, such as the IBM PC, the Commodore PC-10, and the Tandy 1000.


Why build your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088?




Building your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 has many benefits and challenges. Some of the benefits are:


  • You can learn about computer architecture and how different components work together.



  • You can gain hands-on experience with electronics and soldering.



  • You can develop your skills in programming and debugging.



  • You can have fun with a hobby that combines creativity and logic.



  • You can create something unique and personalized.



Some of the challenges are:


  • You need to find or buy the components, which may be rare or expensive.



  • You need to follow safety precautions when working with electricity and soldering.



  • You need to have patience and perseverance when assembling and testing the circuit board.



  • You need to learn how to program in assembly language, which is low-level and complex.



  • You need to deal with compatibility and performance issues when running software and applications.



How to build your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088?




Building your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 is not a simple task, but it is not impossible either. You will need some basic knowledge of electronics and programming, as well as some tools and materials. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088:


Gather the components




The first step is to gather the components that you will need to build your own microcomputer. You will need the following components:


Component


Description


Source


Intel 8088 microprocessor


The CPU of your microcomputer.


You can buy it online or from an electronics store.


Clock generator


A chip that provides the clock signal for the microprocessor.


You can use a 8284A chip or a crystal oscillator.


RAM chip


A chip that provides random access memory for your microcomputer.


You can use a 6264 chip or any other compatible chip.


ROM chip


A chip that provides read-only memory for your microcomputer.


You can use a 2764 chip or any other compatible chip.


EPROM programmer


A device that allows you to program the ROM chip with your software.


You can buy it online or from an electronics store.


Address decoder


A chip that decodes the address lines from the microprocessor and selects the appropriate memory or device.


You can use a 74LS138 chip or any other compatible chip.


Latch


A chip that holds the data from the data bus and transfers it to the memory or device.


You can use a 74LS373 chip or any other compatible chip.


Buffer


A chip that isolates the data bus from the memory or device and prevents interference.


You can use a 74LS245 chip or any other compatible chip.


Serial interface


A chip that allows you to communicate with your microcomputer through a serial port.


You can use a 8250 chip or any other compatible chip.


Power supply


A device that provides the necessary voltage and current for your microcomputer.


You can use a 5V DC adapter or a battery pack.


Circuit boardA board that holds and connects all the components of your microcomputer.You can use a breadboard, a protoboard, or a printed circuit board (PCB).


Soldering iron and solderA tool and a material that allow you to join the components and wires on the circuit board.You can buy them online or from an electronics store.


Wires and connectorsMaterials that allow you to connect the components and devices on the circuit board.You can use jumper wires, ribbon cables, sockets, headers, etc.


Computer monitorA device that displays the output of your microcomputer.You can use any monitor that has a VGA, HDMI, or composite video input.


KeyboardA device that allows you to input commands and data to your microcomputer.You can use any keyboard that has a PS/2, USB, or serial port connector.


Optional components (depending on your applications)


ComponentDescriptionSource


<


Sound card A device that allows you to play and record sound on your microcomputer. You can use a Sound Blaster 16 card or any other compatible card. Floppy disk drive A device that allows you to store and load data on floppy disks. You can use a 3.5 inch or a 5.25 inch floppy disk drive. Assemble the circuit board




The next step is to assemble the circuit board that will hold and connect all the components of your microcomputer. You will need to follow these steps:


  • Choose a circuit board that suits your needs and preferences. You can use a breadboard, a protoboard, or a printed circuit board (PCB). A breadboard is a board that has holes and metal strips that allow you to insert and remove components and wires easily. A protoboard is a board that has holes and copper pads that allow you to solder components and wires permanently. A PCB is a board that has holes and copper traces that are designed and printed for a specific circuit.



  • Place the components on the circuit board according to the schematic diagram. You can find the schematic diagram of a basic microcomputer based on the intel 8088 online or in books. You can also modify the schematic diagram to add or remove components according to your applications. Make sure to align the pins of the components correctly and leave enough space between them.



  • Connect the components on the circuit board using wires and connectors. You can use jumper wires, ribbon cables, sockets, headers, etc. to connect the components and devices on the circuit board. Make sure to follow the schematic diagram and connect the correct pins of the components. You can also use color-coded wires to make it easier to identify the connections.



  • Solder the components and wires on the circuit board if you are using a protoboard or a PCB. You will need a soldering iron and solder to join the components and wires on the circuit board. Make sure to follow safety precautions when soldering, such as wearing protective gloves and goggles, working in a well-ventilated area, and avoiding touching hot surfaces. You will also need to clean the soldering iron tip and remove any excess solder after each connection.



  • Check the circuit board for any errors or defects. You will need to inspect the circuit board carefully and look for any loose or broken connections, short circuits, cold solder joints, reversed polarity, etc. You can also use a multimeter or an oscilloscope to test the voltage and current of the circuit board.



Program the microcomputer




The next step is to program the microcomputer with your software. You will need to follow these steps:


  • Choose a programming language and a tool that suits your needs and preferences. You can use assembly language or any other high-level language that is compatible with the intel 8088 microprocessor. You can also use an integrated development environment (IDE) or a text editor to write your code. Some examples of programming languages and tools are MASM, Turbo Pascal, BASIC-86, QBasic, Visual Studio Code, Notepad++, etc.



  • Write your code according to the syntax and logic of your programming language. You will need to write instructions that tell your microcomputer what to do and how to do it. You will also need to use variables, constants, operators, functions, loops, conditions, etc. to manipulate data and control the flow of your program. You can also use comments to document your code and make it easier to understand.



  • Compile your code into an executable file that can run on your microcomputer. You will need to use a compiler or an assembler that converts your code into machine code that can be understood by your microprocessor. You will also need to link your code with any libraries or modules that are required by your program. Some examples of compilers and assemblers are MASM, Turbo Pascal Compiler, BASIC-86 Compiler, QBasic Interpreter, etc.



  • Program your ROM chip with your executable file using an EPROM programmer. You will need to use an EPROM programmer that allows you to transfer your executable file from your computer to your ROM chip. You will also need to erase any previous data on your ROM chip using ultraviolet light or electricity before programming it with your new file.



  • Insert your ROM chip into your circuit board and test your program on your microcomputer. You will need to insert your ROM chip into a socket on your circuit board that is connected to the address decoder and the buffer chips. You will also need to connect your microcomputer to a monitor and a keyboard using serial interface chips and cables.



Test and troubleshoot the microcomputer




The final step is to test and troubleshoot the microcomputer and make sure it works properly. You will need to follow these steps:


  • Power on your microcomputer and check if it boots up correctly. You will need to connect your power supply to your circuit board and turn it on. You will also need to check if your monitor displays any output from your microcomputer. If everything goes well, you should see a prompt or a message from your program on your monitor.



  • Input commands and data to your microcomputer and check if it responds correctly. You will need to use your keyboard to input commands and data to your microcomputer through the serial interface. You will also need to check if your microcomputer executes your commands and displays the expected output on your monitor. If everything goes well, you should be able to interact with your program and see the results on your monitor.



  • Run some tests and benchmarks on your microcomputer and check its performance and functionality. You will need to use some software tools or programs that can test and measure various aspects of your microcomputer, such as speed, memory, graphics, sound, etc. You will also need to compare the results with the specifications and expectations of your microcomputer. If everything goes well, you should see that your microcomputer performs well and meets your requirements.



  • Identify and fix any errors or problems that occur on your microcomputer. You will need to use some debugging techniques or tools that can help you find and correct any errors or problems that occur on your microcomputer, such as syntax errors, logic errors, hardware errors, software errors, etc. You will also need to modify or replace any components or code that cause the errors or problems. If everything goes well, you should see that your microcomputer works without any errors or problems.



What can you do with your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088?




Now that you have built your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088, you may wonder what you can do with it. The answer is: a lot! There are many applications and projects that you can do with your own microcomputer, such as learning about computer architecture and assembly language, running retro games and software, and creating your own applications and devices. Here are some examples of what you can do with your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088:


Learn about computer architecture and assembly language




One of the main benefits of building your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 is that you can learn about computer architecture and assembly language. Computer architecture is the design and organization of a computer system, such as how the components are connected and how they communicate with each other. Assembly language is a low-level programming language that directly controls the hardware of a computer system, such as how the instructions are executed by the microprocessor. By building your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088, you can gain a deeper understanding of how computers work and how to program them at a low level.


There are many resources and courses that can help you learn about computer architecture and assembly language using your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088. Some examples are:


  • Assembly Language for Intel-Based Computers, a book by Kip R. Irvine that teaches you how to program in assembly language using an intel 8088-based computer.



  • Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: From Nand to Tetris, a course by Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken that teaches you how to build a computer from scratch using logic gates and assembly language.



  • x86 Assembly Language Programming Masters Course, a course by Israel Gbati that teaches you how to program in x86 assembly language using an intel 8088-based computer.



Run retro games and software




Another benefit of building your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 is that you can run retro games and software that were designed for computers in the early 1980s. Retro games and software are games and software that have nostalgic or historical value, such as classic arcade games, text-based adventures, graphical user interfaces, etc. By running retro games and software on your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088, you can experience the history and culture of computing and have fun at the same time.


There are many ways to run retro games and software on your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088. Some examples are:


  • Using emulators and ROMs. Emulators are software that simulate the hardware and software of another computer system, such as an intel 8088-based computer. ROMs are files that contain the data and code of a game or software that can be run by an emulator. By using emulators and ROMs, you can run retro games and software on your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 without modifying or installing anything on it.



  • Using floppy disks and hard disks. Floppy disks and hard disks are devices that store data and code of a game or software that can be loaded and run by your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088. By using floppy disks and hard disks, you can run retro games and software on your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 by inserting them into a floppy disk drive or a hard disk drive that is connected to your circuit board.



  • Using online repositories and downloads. Online repositories and downloads are websites that host and provide access to retro games and software that can be run by your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088. By using online repositories and downloads, you can run retro games and software on your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 by downloading them from the internet and transferring them to your ROM chip, floppy disk, or hard disk.



Create your own applications and devices




The final benefit of building your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 is that you can create your own applications and devices that can run on it. Applications and devices are software and hardware that perform specific functions or tasks, such as calculators, text editors, music players, robots, etc. By creating your own applications and devices for your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088, you can express your creativity and innovation and make something useful and unique.


There are many examples and tutorials that can help you create your own applications and devices for your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088. Some examples are:


  • How to Make a Calculator Using Assembly Language, a tutorial by Muhammad Umer Farooq that teaches you how to make a simple calculator application for your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088.



  • How to Make a Text Editor Using Assembly Language, a video by Low Level Academy that teaches you how to make a simple text editor application for your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088.



  • How to Make a Music Player Using Assembly Language, a tutorial by Andrei Ignat that teaches you how to make a simple music player application for your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088.



  • How to Make a Robot Using Assembly Language, a tutorial by Muhammad Umer Farooq that teaches you how to make a simple robot device for your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088.



  • How to Make a LED Matrix Using Assembly Language, a video by Low Level Academy that teaches you how to make a simple LED matrix device for your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088.



Conclusion




FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about building your own microcomputer based on the intel 8088 pdf:


  • Q: Where can I find the schematic diagram of a basic microcomputer based on the intel 8088?



A: You can find the schematic diagram of a basic microcomput


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