The operating system that the SB180 used was the Z-System, originally made by Echelon, and then passed onto others when the company decided to refocus its resources towards networking products.
Believe it or not, the HCS-II home automation controller and the SB180 are actually distant cousins. The HCS-II was derived from the Micromint RTC180, which is similar to the BCC-180. The BCC180 in turn is actually an SB180 without disk I/O, and targetted towards the industrial embedded controller market. Both the RTC-180 and the BCC-180 are still sold by Micromint.
The SB180FX was never presented in Byte Magazine, but was first mentioned in the November 1986, December 1986 and January 1987 issues of Byte Magazine as an item for purchase from Micromint. It also managed to get a blurb in the "What's New" section on page 36 of the December 1986 issue of Byte. Incidentally, those issues of Byte described the GT180 graphics board (see below).
The maximum screen resolution of the GT180 was 640- by 480-pixels at 16 colors. The board's oscillator, however, could be interchanged with others at different frequencies to produce what approached PGA-like resolutions and color depths.
The SB180FX-MME was a memory expansion board for the SB180FX. It shipped with 256K of RAM, but was socketted to support up to a total of 2MB.
This was a high-performance board for the SB180. It added many hardware features, most of which are reminiscent of the SB180FX features. This board was made available in co-operation with the North American One-Eighty Group (NAOG). More info is available here.
Hal Bower contributed the following blurb about this board:
Since source code for the boot ROM was provided on diskettes with the SB180, it is easy to include additional routines that will check for a bootable SCSI drive as well as floppy diskette. The same chip (NCR 5380) is used in both the COMM180 and ETS180IO+ and are wired to the same base address, so the same ROM code may be used with either expansion board. The new routines are written in a compatible manner to the Floppy boot code, and called from within the scanning loop that tries several times to boot from floppy before jumping to the monitor section of code. As modified, whichever of the Floppy or SCSI becomes active first will boot the system.
The SB180 and the SB180FX boards both used Echelon's Z-System. The Z-System was basically an OS suite, which was a superset of CP/M 2.2. It contained many enhancements, most notably ZCPR3. The October, 1985 issue of Byte Magazine contained a summary of the Z-System.
The GT180, in kit form, came at least with a demo disk. However, the complete package came with Borland's (yes, that's right, Borland) Turbo Modula-2 and the Borland Graphix Toolbox. Both were specially ported to the SB180 and the SB180FX.
The SB180/SB180FX/SB180LO are no longer made by Micromint. Some SB180's
have been seen on E-Bay, while folks on
comp.os.cpm have been
known to post a note wanting to sell complete SB180 systems, or just bare
Echelon no longer makes or sells the Z-System, as this was passed on to others. Don Maslin of TCJ fame sells copies of the Micromint SB180 Z-System disks for a modest fee. Here's a list of other system disks he has made available.
There's also a few places on the Internet where you can still find some user-contributed code for the SB180 and the Z-System.
Standard Microsystems Corporation was the maker of this enhanced floppy disk controller. Unfortunately, they ceased production in the mid-90's. There are at this time of writing just two sources now:
Obtaining parts from either of these two companies is an exercise unto itself but not entirely impossible. Just keep at it and eventually they will get back to you.
The HD 64180 was made by Hitachi Semiconductor. Hitachi still makes this CPU, however, Zilog licensed (I believe) the dies from them, and have since then created new variants on the HD 64180. The Zilog part number for the HD 64180 is the Z80180, or Z180. The other neat thing about it is that you can probably increase the speed of your boards by using the newer 18MHz parts. Since my SB180 isn't completely functional, I haven't tried this myself yet, but it is worth a try!
In fact Paul R. Hunt wrote-in that he had actually experimented with this.
I suspect that the obsolete parts distributors listed above may have these. They may also have faster memories for those wishing to overclock their SB180's.
No archives exist that contain software specific to the SB180.
The SB180 gets some discussion from time to time on
The Circuit Cellar BBS dialup server itself was once a hotbed
of activity for anything Circuit Cellar did. It's now defunct, but its
bbs.circuitcellar.com - a webforum - now more than
easily handles that function. Steve Ciarcia himself lurks there too.
See the Circuit Cellar Forums
page for more.
wfms _*at*_ acm.org