September 28, 2022


Best Technology Perfection

Old Barcode Scanner Motherboards Live Again

Sometimes, hacking is just for the pleasure of diving into the tricks of old hardware. That was quite much the scenario when [glitch] and a pal commenced hacking on some previous Intel 8080 boards that had been residing in the junk pile for much too long.

The boards in problem were motherboards from Identicon barcode scanners, managing the Intel 8080 CPU. Hacking on the 8080 is a small unique, with the historic CPU requiring 3 different voltages to run. Nevertheless, with the ability rails figured out and electricity used, it was possible to get the outdated boards up and running.

The boards were initially run with check ROMs which showed the 8080 CPU to be purposeful. The ROMs hosted a easy method which bought the 8080 to spit out the term “HELO” on to an HP HDSP-2416 ASCII character screen. From there, the barcode scanner boards were being put in in a chassis and hooked up to a even larger Siemens character show, and the memory was mapped out.

The consequence was that [glitch] and co were being in a position to mainly reverse engineer the Identicon hardware, mastering it was relatively very similar to the Intel MCS-80 reference design and style of the period. They were equipped to get code functioning on the system, access the RAM, and healthy a greater 8-character exhibit. However, without having the initial barcode scanner attachment, the boards weren’t capable to return to their authentic obligation.

As much as hacks go, it is pretty previous university. The boards don’t talk to Twitter, nor operate the lights or assistance with the dishes. Even so, a lot of exciting was experienced looking at if this previous metal could be created to follow directions when much more. Hacking for the enjoyment of it is constantly a excellent thing by our book!