MicroMac, a Macintosh for under £5 on a Raspberry Pi Pico

Matt Evans writes:

This all started from a conversation about the RP2040 MCU, and building a simple desktop/GUI for it. I’d made a comment along the lines of “or, just run some old OS”, and it got me thinking about the original Macintosh 128.

The £3.80 RPi Pico microcontroller board: The RP2040’s 264KB of RAM gives a lot to play with after carving out the Mac’s 128KB – how cool would it be to do a quick hack, and play with a Mac on it?

A Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller (on a Pico board), driving monochrome VGA video and taking USB keyboard/mouse input, emulating a Macintosh 128K computer and disc storage. The RP2040 has easily enough RAM to house the Mac’s memory, plus that of the emulator; it’s fast enough (with some tricks) to meet the performance of the real machine, has USB host capability, and the PIO department makes driving VGA video fairly uneventful (with some tricks). The basic Pico board’s 2MB of flash is plenty for a disc image with OS and software.

See all the details in the extensive post here.

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1 Comment

  1. So, crazy question… Anybody have an idea as to how to drive an actual Macintosh monitor with a Pi? 🤔

    I’ve got a Mac Classic without a mainboard…. It’d be amazing to revive it as an emulated Mac 128k or 512k with the actual CRT intact. 🤩

    (I figure it’s not totally outside the realm of possibility, since you can generate composite video on an esp32…)

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