CERBERUS 2100: incredible programmable board for education with legendary Z80 and 6502 CPUs


About us Olimex has recently launched the CERBERUS 2100, a revolution for computer science education. It is an open hardware educational board, programmable in the BASIC language, which has 8-bit Z80 and 6502 microprocessors, as well as a Microchip AVR microcontroller that acts as an I/O controller. Yes, the legendary Zilog Z80 CPUs and the MOS Technology 6502 that powered some of the most important computers decades ago.

The CERBERUS 2100, which has several CPLD, is completely programmable, from the lowest level (individual gates and flip-flops) to the BASIC interpreters that run on the Z80 and 6502 CPUs. The board is not Olimex's own design, but was designed by Bernardo Kastrup (also known as TheByteAttic), while the BASIC interpreters were written by Alexander Sharikhin (6502) and Dean Belfield (Z80).


El BIOS code is written in C and is compiled under the Arduino IDE. Excluding video signals, the FAT-CAT performs all I/O functions, such as file system operations, keyboard control and expansion, and sound output, and supports DMA transfers with the FAT-SPACER.

All files for the manufacture of the board are available thanks to Bernardo Kastrup, but the manufacturing itself is carried out by the Bulgarian company Olimex, which currently sells the board CERBERUS 2100 for 219 euros. Hardware design files, firmware, and detailed documentation can be found on GitHub and TheByteAttic website. For those who prefer video content, a 45-minute introduction is also available.

CERBERUS 2100 Specifications

As for the Technical specifications From this programmable board, we have the following:

  • Processing units:
    • Zilog Z80 8-bit CPU at 4 or 8 MHz (user can choose clock frequency)
    • Western Design Center W65C02S 8-bit CPU at 4 or 8 MHz (the user can choose the clock frequency) *[while the Z80 is still manufactured by Zilog itself, which is still operational, the 6502 is manufactured by Western Design, since MOS Technology disappeared ]
    • Microchip 328-bit AVR ATMega8PB 328 MHz “FAT-CAT” MCU (custom ATmega16pb microcontroller)
  • CPLDs (ATF1508AS-7AX100):
    • FAT-SCUNK (Scan CoUNter and clocK) and FAT-CAVIA (ChAracter Video Adapter) for video circuits connected with 25.175 MHz oscillator
    • FAT-SPACER (Serial to Parallel ControllER) for signal conversion, clocks, serial/parallel with 16 MHz oscillator
  • 64 KB user-addressable RAM
  • Storage: MicroSD card slot with file system built into the BIOS (AVR)
  • Video output and graphics support:
    • VGA video output up to resolutions of 320x240 (actually it is 640x480 px with 2x2 pixels)
    • Based on 40x30 characters, individually addressable for each character
    • Up to 8 simultaneous colors on screen
    • User-redefinable On-the-fly bitmap for tile or mosaic graphics
  • Debugging – 3x JTAG connectors
  • Expansion – 40-pin expansion slot with generic I/O via FAT-CAT and FAT-SPACER
  • Others:
    • PS/2 connector compatible for USB keyboard
    • Integrated buzzer
    • Power – 5V via USB-C

More information - Olimex

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