One interesting thing is that over the last few years, the worlds of microcontrollers and network administration have started to overlap. Here at NetAdminTools we have used microcontrollers of various types for various applications from pwer control to console servers in our homebrew section. Many microcontrollers have the ability to run IP stacks and network services. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the last 23 years or so fiddling with Z-80 CPUs. My homebrew Z-80 computer is posted on Coprolite here. Well, I read in the latest issue of Circuit Cellar that Zilog, the maker of the Z-80 has a flash microcontroller development system for $49.
The microcontroller has I2C, Flash, 4KB RAM, Timers, PWMs, and A/D, among other things. The kit includes an eval board, power supply, RS-232 interface cable, and a C compiler. Anyway, for those of you who like to tinker, the dev kit is available here. I’m not sure how long this will go on. It isn’t that rare, really.
Any time a manufacturer wants to grab market share, they make their development/eval kits cheap. Here is a picture of the dev board. You can see the intro messages scrolling by on the LED display. The target microcontroller is available in an old fashioned through-hole 40 pin dip package, yet still tricked out. Of course, there are many other packages available. I bought quantity (5) from Mouser for 9 bucks each.