Category Archives: PICO

More RC2040 settings

The INI file

The ini file sets the defaults for the Rc2040 and substitutes for switches and buttons on boards that have none.

It allows you to select the ROM, RAM settings, and CPM settings for the emulation.

Using SIO based software

Requires CPM Inc Transient Apps SIO2.img,, 24886009.BIN and rc2040.ini for SIO2 as below

Rom Details

ROM has basic at address 0x0000 (000) ROMsize 0x2000
ROM has basic at address 0x2000 (001) ROMsize 0x2000
CP/M / Basic via monitor at address 0x4000 (010) ROMsize 0x4000
Small Computer Monitor at 0xe000 (111) ROMsize 0x2000
More detail at []

RC2040.INI for SIO2

Config with no switches and other emulation settings for SIO2

idefile = “CPM Inc Transient Apps ACIA.img”;
idefilei = “”;

a13 = 0; // Address switches 0=0x0000 100=0x8000 111=0xE000
a14 = 1;
a15 = 0; // ROM file as ROM source
romfile = “24886009.BIN”; // source for Rom Loading – see a13 a14 a15
romsize=0x4000; // Size of ROM

port = 1; // Console port 0=UART or 1=USB

serialtype = 1; //SIO selected
inidesc=”SIO using 24886009.BIN”; //describe the ini

[SPEED] //vPico overclocking *1000 Mhz
overclock = 250; //overclock the PICO at 250 x 1000

Using ACIA Software

Config with no switches and other emulation settings for ACIA

Requires CPM Inc Transient Apps ACIA.img,, R0001009.BIN and rc2040.ini as below

Rom Details

Rom has basic at address 0x0000 (000)
CP/M via monitor at address 0x8000 (100)
Small Computer Monitor at 0xe000 (111)
More detail at []

RC2040.INI for ACIA

Config with no switches and other emulation settings

[IDE] idefile = “CPM Inc Transient Apps ACIA.img”;
idefilei = “”;

a13 = 0; // Address switches 0=0x0000 100=0x8000 111=0xE000
a14 = 0;
a15 = 1;

// Size of ROM

#ROM file as ROM source romfile = “R0001009.BIN”; // source for Rom Loading – see a13 a14 a15

[CONSOLE] // Console port 0=UART or 1=USB
port = 1;

serialtype = 0; // ACIA=0 SIO=1; ACIA selected
inidesc=”ACIA using R0001009.BIN”; //describe the ini

[SPEED] //Pico overclocking *1000 Mhz
overclock = 250; //overclock the PICO at 250 x 1000

Other INI options.

jumpto = 0x2000; // non standard start vector (e.g not 0x0000);
ramonly = 1;// ram only (no rom, 64K load from romfile);

pioa=0; // set the IO address of the 8 bit port

ide=0; //Turn off IDE
iscf=1; //enable cf file as idefile, rather than the .img format

inidesc=”Broken INI file”; //ini file description to show at boot

trace = 0 // trace details in RC2040.c

CPM Manager / CPM Tools

You can edit the contents of the SD card .img file using CPM Manger and directly add or remove files in the CPM img.

CPM Manager is available here.

If you are using Linux (or windows), you can use the CPM tools to add or remove files. CPM tools are available here If you are using CPM tools, you will need a diskdef files. Disk defs for the RC2040 format(s) are available here DiskDefs


8 bits of a simple IO post are brought out to the RP2040 GPIO as an input/output port. The port is configured on the fly, So if you execute an IN instruction, the port becomes an input port, (with pull ups). If you execute an OUT instruction the port becomes an output port. (The Original RC2014 port is arranged as 8 outputs and 8 inputs, but there were only 8 bits available. )

Switches and Buttons

Details are in the Circuit diagram . Switches and buttons are not required. But give you direct access to the ROM addresses (top 3 address lines) and the buttons allow for a z80 reset, Dump and other functions.

A complete kit of parts for the RC2040 is available here from Extreme Kits

The RC2040 – Get you Started

A work in progress

Programming the PI Pico

The easiest way to do this is to go to the latest release of the RC2040 Git hub and download the RC2040.uf2 Plug in your PICO and drop the uf2 file into the Pico

Making an SD card

Take an empty SD card (this process will destroy ALL the data on it)

Format the card with a FAT32 filesystem either using windows format or a SD card writing program.

From RC2040 Git hub download the source_files zip (or tar) and extract the SD Card Contents directory.

Copy the contents of the ‘SD Card Contents’ directory onto the newly formatted SD card. You will need to unzip “CPM Inc Transient Apps ACIA SIO2.ZIP”

Connecting an SD Card

Wire in the SD card to your Pico or RC2040 board

Connecting to the serial port

For communicating with the RC2040, there are two options. By default the RC2040 uses the USB interface. When the RC2040 starts this should appear as a serial port on you connected computer.

I use Terra term, but MiniTerm or putty should work ok too.
#TODO add MiniTerm and putty details

Open Tera Term and select the newly added serial port

The COM port will vary, but it is usually the last one in the list.

Speed 15200, 8Bits, No parity, 1 stop bit, No flow control.

If you are doing copy and paste via serial, you will also need to set the transmit delay of 1mS per character and 3ms per line to prevent serial overruns.

Click New open and hit enter…

Hopefully you should see


RC2040 more settings

A complete kit of parts for the RC2040 is available here from Extreme Kits

The RC2040

Continuing from Emulating a Z80 RC2014 with CPM and IDE drives via an SD card here..


What is a Rc2040

The RC2040 is an emulated RC2014 (a build your self Z80 computer). But this one is entirely contained within a RP2040 (Raspberry Pi PI Pico) processor.

On the RC2040 you can Run any RC2014 Stock ROM image. including Basic and various Z80 monitors and CPM monitor. (except RomWBW there isn’t enough RAM)
RC2014 Rom Image details are here

Details on running the various RC2014 ROM based programs are here

Emulated ROM and RAM is a bit weird, because internally it’s all actually RAM, but the RC2040 allows a user definable area of RAM that is read only, or no ROM at all.

It also allows loading of RC2014 ROM images (rather than programming ROMS or EPROMs) directly from the attached SD card.

With CPM the RAM is more interesting, as CPM starts running from a ROM, but when it loads, the ROM is switched out so it can use the full 64K RAM. This is achieved in the RC2040 by simulating the RC2014 RAM/ROM card that allows an IO port to “swapout” or disable the ROM

Running the CPM monitor from the ROM, allows you to run any CPM-80 compatible program. There are hundreds out there and they include BASIC, Infocom Adventures (Zork, Hitchhikers) Wordstar, Startrek this list is endless.

CPM of course requires disk drives. These are emulated in file(s) on the SD card. The format is similar to the format used in the RC2014 CF card module (and with some simple changes, It will also work with the same CF images).

Instead of the CF format, the RC2040 uses a .img format, this makes it directly compatible with the CPM images from the RC2014 web site. But for CPM to work we also need a drive geometry structure which matches the .img, this is provided with an additional .id file.

The img format gives 128M of drive space, Split into drives from A-P

The img file system also makes it directly compatible with CPM Disk Manager which allows you to directly write into the CPM img file from your computer, which saves a lot of time when transferring software to your RC2040

The RC2014 uses its serial port to talk to the world. The RC2040 has the ability of using either its own USB embedded serial port, or a physical serial port similar to the RC2014’s this is selectable (see ini file settings )

The RC2040 also allows you to run with two different serial port configurations ACIA and SIO. Unfortunately you need a different ROM and CPM bios to work with each serial port type. Hence the selection in the Github SD card section. (again this is selectable via ini file settings.)

The CPM IDE images come with a few CPM programs to get you started. Anything ending in .COM will run directly from CPM. anything with a .BAS extension needs you to run basic first (c:MBASIC) then load the program (load “programname.BAS”) and then run.

More details on running CPM are here

Get You started. ( a work in progress..)

A complete kit of parts for the RC2040 is available here from Extreme Kits

Emulating a Z80 RC2014 with CPM and IDE drives via an SD card

The RC2040

Ive always loved Z80’s Even before programming in high level languages I was had compiling Z80 code on a Nascom1

Recently I’ve discovered the world of emulated Z80’s via the emulator written for linux by Alan Cox (Etched Pixels) ( This allows various configurations of Z80 RC2014 ( machines to be emulated (along with 8080 8086 and may other 8 and 16 bit processors)

My C code was rather rusty and I wanted a project to re teach me the basics.

Starting with the Etched pixels code I quickly got it running on a Raspberry PI Zero and added a few simple peripherals.

Z80 Emulated RC2014 driving a colour OLED display from BASIC

Which is all fine, but well it was, all a bit easy.

Not So easy

So, I was looking for a project to play with the RP2040, ideal, apart from The RP2040 doesn’t give a linux OS, It doesn’t have any storage (other than its own flash) and it only has 240K of memory.

To emulate a CPM system you need a minimum of 64K (plus a switchable ROM) some form of storage, ideally removable. Some way of loading the ROM (although this can be compiled in as an image) and a serial terminal.

Well the serial terminal is easy, there are 4 plus USB to play with, although all of the emulation uses STDIO uniquely, which is only partially supported on a PI Pico in C

As I was only interested in the Z80 bits of the emulation and only with the peripherals commonly supported on an RC2014. I started on the Raspberry pi, removing all of the other non z80 library’s and the other peripherals I wouldn’t need.

This was easy, rip a bit out, patch the code so it didn’t require it, edit the make file, recompile, test. Repeat until you have a basic Z80 emulated machine.


The ROM, I temporally coded into C via the linux xxd command, from one of the factory ROM’s available on the RC2014 git hub.

The next problem is that the emulator as configured uses 512K of ram (RC2014 – 512k ROM 512k RAM Module) to emulate a paged ram card. As the RC2040 only has 240K of memory I needed to remove the Ram/Ram paged memory code and replace it with a 64K ram/Rom paged emulation (RC2014 64k RAM Module and RC2014 Pageable ROM Module), that will only take at max 128K. It also must allow for the ROM to be paged out to allow the bootloader to be installed at 0x0000.

Using the compiled ROM I could easily fill an array of uint_8 with a ROM image, and switch using port 0x38 as a RC2014


CPM was emulated using the EtchedPixels code for a removable CF card. The Binary is readily available already configured to boot on an RC2014 again from the RC2014 git hub

From the CPM source image (.img) file, you need to make an IDE file system onto a .cf file. using CPMtools. Details are towards the bottom of this page under “CP/M Application Disks”

Luckily this CF file can again easily be tested by loading up the image using the RPI z80 linux emulator.

SD Card

Of course the Pico doesn’t have any storage like a CF card and the 3.3v bus makes interfacing to a 5v CF difficult, but there is the possibility of using a SD card via SPI.

Luckily there is a library for SD cards which works with the PICO no-OS-FatFS-SD-SPI-RPi-Pico

Working through the example was straight forward and gives a great way to test your SD card connections and if required, format a fat32 SD card.

The connections to the SD card are simple, 4 wires and power.

PICO Z80 Emulation test bed.

PICO or bust

At this point there is no way we can test the code on a RPI, so we need to dive into the PICO.

Compiling the code to the PICO without IDE support was surprisingly straightforward. All that was required was to replace the TX/RX STDIO calls with a call to the PICO UART. Unfortunately there was no easy non-blocking call to the receive queue using the USB serial. So initially the input/output was all via the hardware serial port.

I tackled the SD card next, making a simple bit of code to read a 64K rom image from the CD card directly into the ROM array, so I could remove the horrible compiled C ROM. The ROM images came directly from the RC2014 Factory ROM images on Git hub.

Buttons and switches

To make the ROM selection easier I added three switches to emulate the RC2014 A13, A14, & A15 ROM select jumpers, This meant I could easily switch between ROM starting addresses when loading from a rom image.

As I was adding switches, I decided to add a few buttons. which give me a Z80 reset and a dump RAM initially as a hex dump to the terminal, and latterly as a .bin file into the CD card for debugging.

To allow for a switch-less operation for the switches / buttons to work you need to ground GPIO 22, otherwise the RC2040 will run with switch-less defaults( currently CPM ROM and USB serial)


I changed the IDE library to use the FatFS-SD-SPI-RPi-Pico file system and pointed it to load the .cf image from the card.

After A LOT of playing around with the differences in read/write and seek, plus RAM/ROM switching and serial problems. It finally loaded 🙂

I also found that if I disabled the RAM/ROM switching on a emulated z80 reset (from the button), I could warm boot into CPM, bonus…


More Serial fun

Eventually I sorted the problems with the blocking USB serial by writing an interrupt driven routine that fills its own circular buffer, so now (from a switch) you can select which serial port you prefer.

Tiny Rc2040

If you don’t need the switches/ buttons, you can run it without, using a Pimoroni Tiny 2040 using the USB serial, making the smallest z80 CPM machine, ever (unless you know different?)


Make your own

All of the files to emulate a Z80 with IDE on SD are available via git hub

Unfortunately I haven’t quite solved the Serial issues yet. The serial interface(s) will only take characters as a really slow rate. If you are going to cut/paste code into the RC2040 you will need to add in a 40mS (or longer delay) into your terminal program.

Serial issues are much improved. If added a block to the RX char circular buffer code that will only allow char RX, if the ACIA isn’t currently in an interrupt and added a fake interrupt to drive the USB RX circular buffer in the same way as the UART RX

Added SIO support and some bodges to delay the emulated interrupts to allow serial as fast as the Z80 emulation can cope with.

Using Terra term I can now drop files onto the RC2040 with only a 1ms TX delay.

Continued here