Welcome to "Sonne", an 8-bit micro-controller!

Most of it is on GitHub for now...

See here

But while my GitHub page includes documentation, Gerber files, schematics, and supporting software for the micro-controller board, the page you are reading will stay the official home of this project.

Project? What project? I hear you asking...

A few years ago, I developed a 16-bit micro-controller in Verilog. A micro-controller is a little device that is contained in almost any electric appliance today, essential to its working. Verilog is a hardware-description language, it allowed me to describe the design I wanted, and to transfer it into an electronic component called an FPGA which can then act, to all intents and purposes, as if it were a real micro-controller.

While I learned so many things from this project, the one thing I was not satisfied with was the fact that the FPGA vendor (Intel/Altera) did all the heavy-lifting of synthesizing my design to actual electronics. If I were asked to actually build the micro-controller myself with, say, parts I had in my electronics box, I would have to explain that it wasn't possible.

Why wouldn't it be possible? Well, I guess the main reason would really be the number of components and interconnections required to copy the schematics imprinted into the FPGA, perhaps hundreds of chips. Also, my design made use of technical features like dual-ported memories etc, which are quite expensive and power-hungry outside the world of FPGAs. All compounded by the choice of a 16-bit architecture. Most of the critters in my electronics box, that cost around 30 cents each, use 4-bits or so, and you would need to put 4 of them together to get anywhere.

This is (are you still there?) the reason for my new project, which is the subject here. This time, it's an 8-bit micro-controller, which I have actually designed *and* built. You can see various stages of this work below.

It got messy, and I started working with PCBs instead.

My first PCBs were stackable modules, so if I had to redesign anything,
only one particular module would have to go...

As the design stabilized, I pulled everything together into one PCB. Soldering...

The current, probably final, prototype board is working fine and looks like this:

Until I get some spare-time to give this page a face-lift, have a look at the GitHub repo : )