Monday, March 16, 2009

Microcontroller hackingness stuffness

It's nothing great really, but since arriving in the UK, I've posted a little about resuming a hobby in electronics. One thing that has happened to electronics since I as in school is that CAD and digital electronics have become affordable areas to hack about in.

For instance, if you have a very fast micro-controller (which is a CPU with some peripherals), and I say fast, because micros are not fast, they are intentionally slow because they are not supposed to be used for applications that use lots of data. A CPU is different, it typically has minimal peripheral support and maximal memory bus support, and generally uses 100x more juice. OK, back onto topic - a fast enough micro can actually simulate lots of things you would have done in a basic analog circuit, but at a lower component-count. Enter Atmel AVR. I could have opted for PIC chips, but something in me always opts for the fresh or the underdog over going with the stale or the old leaders.

Here is where it starts.
3 AA batteries to run it, some optional transistors and you have a moving display.

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