Graham Sutherland: Saving Nostalgia: Modding an Old Z80 Computer

Over the next few weeks we’re going to announce the 44CON talks and workshops. Don’t forget to get your tickets!

Our sixth announcement is Graham Sutherland – Saving Nostalgia: Modding an Old Z80 Computer

In this talk we’ll follow a project of mine to take an old VTech computer from the late 1980s, upon which I wrote my very first line of code, and add save functionality to its hardware. The computer was designed to teach kids general knowledge, science, history, typing skills, and programming in BASIC. It boasts a one-line text based LCD display, 2KB of SRAM, and a Z80 processor. The one thing that always bothered me, though, is that I couldn’t ever save code I wrote on it — turning it off meant all state was lost.

I’ll describe my approach towards reverse engineering the circuitry, identifying the ICs, understanding the system topology, designing a hardware mod to allow saving of data, and fabrication of the real thing.

Graham is a pentester, electronics tinkerer, ex-developer, security researcher, reverse engineer, crypto enthusiast, promulgator of useless facts, vehement drunkard, and bacon aficionado. Can often be found scurrying towards a bar. One of his shoes is probably sentient.

You can follow Graham on Twitter @gsuberland

Details of all of our talks, workshops and speakers are being announced daily. Don’t forget to book your tickets before they’re sold out!