The Really Old-School Company Limited
rosco-m68k Classic V2 (Full Kit!)
rosco-m68k Classic V2 (Full Kit!)
The rosco_m68k is a self-build Motorola 68k computer designed for experimentation, education and hacking.
Featuring a 68010 16/32-bit processor running at 10MHz, 1MB RAM, 512KB ROM (Flash, with in-system programming capability; Expandable to 1MB) and advanced IO capabilities thanks to the on-board XR68C681 dual UART, the rosco_m68k is easy to build and lots of fun to hack on.
And with our open-source serial firmware, Easy68K-compatible IO and simple starter projects for your own code, the rosco_m68k is ready to run your programs just as soon as you've soldered it up!
Please Note: We are currently working on restocking, and are releasing stock in batches as soon as we are able. Due to order volumes when we do, it's sometimes taking us a few days to process the orders - please bear with us while we work through the backlog - your order will ship as soon as we can pack it 😊
Note actual PCB colour may vary.
Now shipping with Firmware 2.2 and SD Card support
- MC68010 16/32-bit CPU
- 1MB RAM
- 512KB Flash ROM (Up to 1MB supported)
- On-board UART (115200 BPS as standard)
- SD Card support (requires Arduino SD adapter, not supplied)
- Expansion connector with support for both new and legacy (MC6800) peripherals
- Serial bootloader firmware loads programs via Kermit protocol
- Easy68K IO Compatibility Layer in the firmware
- Various example programs and quick-start code for your own!
- Built-in support for Xosera retro video adapter (additional hardware required, coming soon!)
- Supports IDE adapter, and legacy V9958 video (via community projects, all require additional hardware, not supplied).
Order the parts, grab your soldering iron, and join in the fun of putting your own computer together!
Who can build this?
The rosco_m68k is designed to be easy to solder, and no special skills or equipment are needed! Simply grab a regular (ideally temperature-controlled) soldering iron, some solder (we like lead-free 0.6mm diameter) and have at it!
- All-through-hole design, only basic soldering skills required
- 4-layer PCB so there's plenty of space around components, no fiddly bits
- High-quality solder mask and tented vias reduce the risk of hard-to-spot bridges
- Fully-socketed option at checkout to eliminate the risk of heat-damage to the ICs
Where supplied, all new components are the very highest-quality we can get our hands on. Some components are (by virtue of their not being produced any more!) pre-owned, surplus or new-old-stock, but we carefully recondition and test every component before it leaves our workshop to ensure that you won't be disappointed by non-functional parts.
What else do I need?
In addition to the base PCB and components and soldering gear, we recommend the following:
- Serial to USB (FTDI) converter to connect your rosco_m68k to your PC
- USB to Dupont power lead (can be easily made at home from any USB cable)
- Multimeter for debugging
- EEPROM programmer (Required if pre-programmed ROMs and glue logic options are not selected)
When working with the rosco_m68k, we find the following useful:
- Logic analyser for testing and development
- Solderless breadboards and jumper wires
- Arduino, or other MCU
What about software?
Just like the hardware, the firmware and software for the rosco_m68k are open source, and we're constantly improving and adding new features to it. You'll find everything you need at https://github.com/rosco-m68k including the standard firmware, example projects in both assembly and C, and a bunch of standard libraries you can use in your own projects to do things like serial output and GPIOs.
Getting started with writing your own code is easy thanks to our comprehensive instructions on building a GCC toolchain for m68k, and if you use Home-brew (https://brew.sh) you can simply install the toolchain with a couple of commands! (Note that Mac or Linux is recommended for development. A VM can be used when working under Windows).
Programs are loaded to the board via serial link using the Kermit protocol, and all support code is provided by the firmware and standard libraries to make writing these programs as easy as writing programs for your PC.
The standard firmware additionally provides an Easy68K-compatible IO layer, meaning that your existing Easy68k simulator code can probably be run on the real hardware with minimal changes (if any). (See http://www.easy68k.com for more about Easy68K).
And of course, if you're so inclined, you can completely replace the standard firmware with your own code, giving you total control :)
I had a blast building this- the kit is through hole so assembly went by very quickly what ended up taking more time was the getting a pretty enclosure and spending time actually working on writing code for this- I made a video about this if you want to check out how assembly went for me. https://youtu.be/QzF8xTOwsJM
The BOM has been easy to satisfy apart from the 68010. Still waiting. The serial interface could be improved if the pin out matched commonly available USB serial modules.
I've built a number of retro-homebrew systems and find the Rosco-m68k a nice change from having to use CP/M and its ancient commands and compilers. Having a GCC-based toolchain opens up all sorts of possibilities to port existing modern code. If you're on Linux, I recommend still using 'brew' to install the toolchain, as there may be problems getting a current GCC to build the older version used in the toolchain. Persistent storage would be nice, but it's not that bad to upload programs each time considering the tradeoff of not having to put up with CP/M.
Super kit. Worked pretty much straightaway with great software support and is building a nice little community.
I had been thinking for years of designing and building another 680x0 platform system since I had to get rid of my Amigas, Atari St and Compupro systems years ago. Rosco beat me to it and did a great job. Assembly is straightforward, and the provided software is enough to bootstrap any competent programmer's projects (mine is for a retro CPM-68k system). Required tools - soldering iron with small tip and heat control, needle nose pliers, wire cutters and a VOM minimally. Nice additions: Oscilloscope and/or logic analyzer (16 channel recommended), good ones can be acquired for under $200 each on Amazon. Knowledge of assembler and/or C programming is required to move beyond the excellent base code that is provided, though at the rate they are improving the product, other options may soon be available. Documentation is good, but more regarding details (power requirements, troubleshooting, assembly options) would be an improvement. However, that said the discord community is strong and supportive and Rosco and company do a great job in assisting with any problem that occurs. Fabulous support. And they listen. Very good job! The only major issue is not under their control: shipping. If you are outside the U.K. expect to possibly have issues with the GALs and possibly the ROMS. Reason: The brits are very good about scanning packages for unpleasant things and those devices, which spew a lot of high energy radiation, tend to wipe the GALs and perhaps the ROMs too. So it would be recommended to pull the GITHUB repository for the project and verify the coding of those components before turning on the switch. I found out the hard way. But I highly recommend the kit and the vendor.