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Linux-SBC home brew 486 project

NobodyIsHere

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Dec 21, 2006
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Hi

Making some good progress on the Linux-SBC home brew 486 project. Looking for people to review the schematic and/or PCB layout to find errors before getting initial PCBs made. We are getting close and after many reviews and scrubbing the datasheets repeatedly. However there is still a chance for errors to slip through so your review and feedback would be very helpful. Any errors found now improve the chance of a successful build and test so please take a look:

https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/forum/index.php?t=msg&th=136&goto=2348&#msg_2348

The key datasheets are at the RBC wiki page in the files section

https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/doku.php?id=dev:boards:486-linux:start

Thanks, Andrew Lynch
 

NobodyIsHere

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Thanks.

It looks like we'll wrap up the schematic review this week and then start on PCB trace routing this weekend. Again, anyone willing to look over the schematic and provide some feedback is welcome. Especially if they can find errors before we go to PCB prototyping. I've updated the wiki page on RBC with sources of parts and some other information. Also if you are willing to do build and test this will be a challenging project as it rather complicated.

This is the only 486 home brew computer project I am aware of and it looks to be the first of its kind. Hopefully it will lead to more and better home brew computers running x86 Linux. There are some 68K home brew computers running Linux but this will be the first using an x86 CPU to my knowledge. John Monahan did a couple S-100 486 CPU boards.
 
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eeguru

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This is the only 486 home brew computer project I am aware of and it looks to be the first of its kind. ...this will be the first using an x86 CPU to my knowledge. John Monahan did a couple S-100 486 CPU boards.

I'm curious given that last sentence, what do you consider 'home brew' if not S100? In the 70's, S100 was 'the' home brew.
 

NobodyIsHere

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Yes, John did two 486 S-100 CPU boards but this looks to be the first of the home brew computer projects targeting x86 Linux and I don't think John's boards were ever intended for Linux AFAIK. The 486 CPU is the minimum for x86 Linux kernel although it used to support 386 back in the day. The goal of the project is a Linux-SBC and the 486 CPU is just a design selection. There are some 68K based SBCs able to run Linux though (KISS-68030, T030). I don't know exactly what John is doing these days as I've dropped from the S-100 scene and mailing list is password protected.

I guess my point is that if people are interested in working on something relatively new then here is an opportunity. At least based on the dearth of similar material available on the internet. Aside from John's S-100 486 CPU boards and the intel dev board Zombienerd found, I haven't seen anything like it. If there are other examples please let me know.
 
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NobodyIsHere

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Ordered the initial 5 prototype PCBs this weekend and will distribute to the team building and testing it. I will hold a reserve board in case its needed. Hopefully soon we'll have a working Linux-SBC fully open hardware 486 AT ISA board -- sort of like the Xi-8088.
 

smbaker

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Oct 21, 2016
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Oregon, USA
This is very exciting! I'll definitely be interested in a board when the production run is ready. I'll be keeping an eye on the retrobrew thread.

I don't look forward to soldering those QFP packages, but that's just the nature of the beast.
 
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