zilog z8 encore! xp

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philba
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zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by philba » Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:33 pm

A while back there was a discussion of which micro to start out with. Some one suggested the Z8. I had been interested in learning about it and, in fact, had their $10 dev kit on order (backlog, actually). Well it arrived the other day and I;ve had a chance to try it out so here's my impressions.<p>Overall, the Z8 xp seems to be reasonably well designed. The instruction set is on a par with the AVR line and the chips seem to be very feature rich with more peripherals than other chips (their 8 pin chips have usart, dma, port I/O, ADC, on chip temp sensor, current sense amp, pwm, ...). Could be useful for a number of projects I'm looking at. <p>However, their development environment (zds II) is pretty unimpressive. I had more problems getting it to work properly. Some design decisions they made are pretty bad - use the path to find make for example. bad idea - should code a direct path to it. I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out some really bizarre error that turned up because it found the atmel version of make. They also don't handle long file names well - it couldn't find an include file name that was a corruption of a short file name (temp_~1.h).<p>The development board I got had a quick start guide that was flat out wrong. It wasn't too hard to figure out where it was wrong but I've got a fair amount of experience with micros. I sure the novice would be confused.<p>Finally, zilog's product naming scheme is confusing to me. Total alphabet soup. I still find it hard to understand. <p>On the whole, I would not recommend the Z8 for a beginner. Especially with all the problems that the IDE has, it would just add a lot of unnecessary complexity.<p>The more I look at different IDEs, the more I like the Microchip stuff. Granted, the chip architecture bites but it's, far and away, the easiest to get started on.<p>Phil<p>[ June 17, 2005: Message edited by: philba ]</p>

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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by bodgy » Sat Jun 18, 2005 2:58 am

I also bought this (wish I'd bought the max two allowed now) and have to agree the quickstart guide was a little confusing, mainly in its reference to different pdf manuals which turned out to have a different name on the CD. <p>They did state that the instructions were for the serial port debug kit rather than the USB, which might cause consternation for absolute beginners.<p>What they don't say is that the demo program is preloaded (and incidentally the jumpers were in the correct positions, though this should be double checked.), so you don't actually have to do anything but hitch power for instant gratification.<p>They don't make it clear that to program the little bug(ger) the debug connector has to be closed.<p>I had a problem with the USB connection, although XP recognised the cable connection, the IDE couldn't find the programmer. This tunred out to be because I had my USB2.0 PCMCIA card connected in my laptop, moving the cable to the motherboard 1.1 USB connector fixed that.<p>The thing I had the most problem deciding was how to connect the ribbon cable to the debug box, the illustrations and description on where pin 1 on the actual board was, were sadly lacking. The cable only fits onto the programmer one way due to keyed connection. <p>Although the picture show the cable as straight, it actually has to be twisted.<p>Having said that, I quite like the little beast, and am now trying to think up a use for it.<p>Circuit Cellar (this month) also had a review of this and had similar complaints about the poor standard of the destructions (sic).<p>Colin<p>[ June 18, 2005: Message edited by: bodgy ]<p>[ June 18, 2005: Message edited by: bodgy ]</p>
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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by Gorgon » Sat Jun 18, 2005 4:59 am

Hi Philba,
I suppose that I'm the one suggesting the Z8, in another thread. As I said at that time, my impressions are from some time ago, and that I hadn't used my Z8 Encore! kit yet. Well, I got curious after reading your posting, and installed my kit to see if it was such a drag.<p>I have the Z8ENCORE000ZCO development kit, and I paid more than $10 for it. I can't remember how much. Just for the record.
I installed it and run the demoprograms in 15 minutes with no problems at all. I'm running Win98SE on my system. The only thing not working was the registration web page, looks I'm to late to register!<p>The dev. board has 4 7x5 led displays, showing a running text 'WELCOME TO Z8 ENCORE!'when starting up. I've loaded one of the demo projects, a blinking display, built it and loaded it to the board. Just like that, no hazzle at all, working like a breeze. I then loaded and built the welcome demo, and it is now running again. And I like it!!<p>To be honest, I think we are talking about two different kits. I can't understand it otherwise.
The ZDS II is version 4.1.0, if that is important.<p>I think this board will be a treat this summer, since I'm starting my holiday now. Thank you for reminding me of it, and 'forcing' me to use it. And I will recommend it for a beginner also!<p>Wich reminds me of my eZ80 Acclaim! kit waiting to be installed. Lots of things to do on rainy days!! :) <p>TOK ;)<p>[ June 18, 2005: Message edited by: Gorgon ]</p>
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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by philba » Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:49 am

I'm sure we are talking about 2 different dev kits. Still, if one kit has poor instructions, I don't expect other ones to be any better. If some one wants my loyalty, they will have to strive for excellence in all they do.<p>The ZDS problem I had was that they use the PATH command to find their tools. This is troublesome in many cases and outright bad in a few. I had previously installed winavr which has a make.exe. ZDS installed a make.exe. The PATH caused ZDS to use the winavr make and the error I got didn't immediately point to make (file not found). It took some sleuthing on my part but I figured it out. Zilog support was next to useless (telling me about problems on UNIX systems, I use win2K). Other IDEs allow the user to specify the location of the tools but not ZDS. <p>The other problem I found came about when I copied the ledblink source code to a seperate drive to play with. I was getting a makefile error - couldn't find TEMP_.H Oddly, there was no TEMP_.H anywhere to be found in the source. It turns out that something, somewhere was mangling the short name (temp_~1.h) of temp_button.h and then looking for it on the wrong drive. I had to rename the file to temp_b.h and it worked fine. Again, not for beginners.<p>These kind of errors point to a very sloppy approach to dev tools. Its not enough to have a free compiler. When folks like Microchip, Renesas and Atmel have much more polished toolsets (and demo source), its easy to push the ZDS stuff aside. <p>By the way, is there any place like piclist or avrfreaks for the zilog products? This is a huge advantage - some place to ask questions and get lots of unafiliated support.<p>I do like the instruction set and the chip features so I may just build a project with a Z8. However, they really need to do 10X better on their tools.<p>Phil

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philba
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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by philba » Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:56 am

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by bodgy:
I also bought this (wish I'd bought the max two allowed now) and have to agree the quickstart guide was a little confusing, mainly in its reference to different pdf manuals which turned out to have a different name on the CD. <p>They did state that the instructions were for the serial port debug kit rather than the USB, which might cause consternation for absolute beginners.<p>What they don't say is that the demo program is preloaded (and incidentally the jumpers were in the correct positions, though this should be double checked.), so you don't actually have to do anything but hitch power for instant gratification.<p>They don't make it clear that to program the little bug(ger) the debug connector has to be closed.
...
<hr></blockquote><p>The thing that got me was that the instructions talk about the demo jumpers (mine were right too) and then they show hooking up the debug cable (mine had a little lable that said "bottom"). Then they show hitting the reset button in ZDS II. That's flat wrong, you have to switch the jumpers, especially remove PA0 to get the debugger to talk to the board. One of the docs talks about it but never actually says "to debug, you must have these settings". Compounding it, the PA0 jumper has demo and debug setting. You want NEITHER of these - shunt removed. They also sometimes call them jumpers and other times shunts. sigh. Overall, that is pretty sloppy; the guy that wrote the instructions clearly never tried it out.<p>Phil<p>[ June 18, 2005: Message edited by: philba ]</p>

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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by bodgy » Sat Jun 18, 2005 3:34 pm

There is an encore forum, lurking, I'm not sure if I found it via the Zilog site or from the Circuit Cellar forums, it may even have been a Yahoo one.<p>I just can't remember where I saw it.<p>Colin
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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by Gorgon » Sun Jun 19, 2005 4:08 am

Hi Bodgy,
The Z8 micro forum is her: http://www.z8micro.com/forum/ <p>TOK :D
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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by philba » Sun Jun 19, 2005 12:04 pm

Unfortunately, that forum had its most recent posting on may 23. D E A D The yahoo z8 group is slightly better, running at a couple of posts a day, average. At least there I would have gotten a quick answer to the problems I ran into with the dev kit.<p>By comparison, the piclist mailing list is running between 50 and 100 posts a day and avrfreaks is similar. That level of support is very hard to beat. <p>It's too bad, the Z8 encore! xp (who comes up with these names???) is a pretty nice chip. But the success of the PIC proves that a good architecture is neither necessary nor sufficient for success. <p>I am designing one project with the z8 just to see how it goes. Not sure I'll take it beyond the design stage, though.<p>By the way, Gorgon, what does a Norwegian do for a holiday?

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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by Gorgon » Sun Jun 19, 2005 2:22 pm

Philba,
I didn't see the dates on the forum, sorry about that. I think it's a bit funny that I'm promoting the Z8 since I haven't done projects with it for some 16 years, but I did like it at that time and a lot better than the PIC. What I should have written about is the Freescale range of micros that I do work with daily, but life is weird!<p>Norwegian holiday targets? Well, that is a big question to answer, at least if you are talking of the whole population. I think many families just stay put, relaxing and maybe taking some day trips. Me, I'm staying at home a part of the holiday (doing some work on the house) and taking a trip to Sweden for about 8 days. I don't know your level of knowledge on the topic of Scandinavia, but Norway, Sweden and Denmark are all neighbours, and different countries!
My wife and I like to travel around and this year we are travelling by car, in Sweden.<p>Many Norwegians have holiday cabins, either in the mountains or along the coast, some have both. For parents with small children, visiting grandparents is a 'must', or travelling to some amusement park both inland and abroad. Lego land in Denmark is popular. Travelling all over Norway and Europe by car is also common. And of course all kinds of charter tours, both for sightseeing and sunbathing. People want to see the sun after winter gloom.(I don't care, but my wife does) <p>Charter tours to the south is very popular in the winter and Easter holiday. <p>I hope this shed some light on the subject. In your part of the world, how do you spend the holiday?<p>TOK ;)
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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by connect21 » Sun Jun 19, 2005 5:26 pm

What is the address for that "piclist" you're talking about?<p> Thanks

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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by philba » Sun Jun 19, 2005 8:57 pm

www.piclist.com you get it via email. I wouldn't use your primary email address as you will get a ton of email. I created a yahoo account just for that purpose, most days it has > 100 new items of mail in it. Go away for a week and its collapsing from the weight :) .<p>Gorgon - being on the west cost of the USA we have Hawaii and Baja Califorina (Mexico) available. Alaska is is pretty close and is really beautiful. I personally save my vacation ('mericanism for holiday) time and money for skiing in Canada or Idaho (inland northwest USA). But I also spend time around the house fixing all the stuff that seems to be constantly breaking. <p>Phil

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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by wharding » Sat Jun 25, 2005 1:02 pm

I just received the &10.00 Z8Encore USB dev. kit and am having dificulity. The Quick start quide has me screwed up in regards to the jumper settings (still dont know if i have them right). I loaded the LedBlink project as per the quickstart guide but I cannont connect to the Board. The project builds with no errors or warnings but when I try to reset or go on line I get :<p>Terminating Target...
[ERROR] init_target failed.
[ERROR] Unable to connect to the target.<p>The Zilog website was useless so I started searching the net when I came apon this forum.
I am an embedded newby and thought this would be a good way to get started with embedded programming. <p>any suggestions on my connection problem?<p>Thanks

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philba
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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by philba » Sat Jun 25, 2005 7:35 pm

that's because the quick start guide should be called "Quick Start, Fall Flat". <p>Find the following doc - Z8F04A08100KIT Z8 Encore! XP® 4K Series 8-Pin Development Kit<p>page 12 of this doc has jumper settings for User Debug Mode. That's what you want to be able to debug (and load programs).<p>As long as I'm typing that, you also will want to make sure that you have no make.exe on your PATH as it will prevent the compiler from working.<p>Zilog really stumbled on this one.

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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by bodgy » Sun Jun 26, 2005 5:17 am

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by philba:

page 12 of this doc has jumper settings for User Debug Mode. That's what you want to be able to debug (and load programs).<p>Zilog really stumbled on this one.
<hr></blockquote><p>Also, the jumpers were almost certainly in the correct position out of the box.<p>Jumper positions with power jack at top of board and prog thingy at bottom left.<p>From centre pin to --<p>J3 Demo
J4 Not connected
J5 Demo
J6 Demo
J7 Not connected
J8 to #1
J11 Not connected (note it is probably butted up against J8! THIS IS GOOD!!!)
PA4 Demo
PA5 Demo
J2 Connected.<p>Programming cable - On board red (pin #1) faces towards top of board.<p>Programming requires the jumper to be connected to DEBUG.<p>If the USB is being enumerated correctly, you'll see it in Device manager under USB hosts.<p>If it appears there, but you still can't get it to work, try it in another USB port if you have one, and if you are using a USB2.0 to 1.1 converter, then as I mentioned above it won't find it stuck if stuck in a PCMIA port.<p>Colin
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Re: zilog z8 encore! xp

Post by tobahana » Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:17 am

i note that very few instructions/manuals dealing with computers.etc. are written in a comprehensible manner.they appear to be written in a scatter brain manner continually junping forward and sideways instead of proceeding in a straightline manner,ie,instead of step one,step two,step three,etc.If i were selling a product,i would want the recipient to understand all about the product and its use.Instructions written by programmers are understandable (sometimes by other programmers) but not by CUSTOMERS which are your sales targets.Instructions need to be written in a LINEAR fashion in order to be useful to the largest number of potential customers.Bottom line is he who writes the best instructions makes the most sales.

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