As some of you know, I'm heavily influenced and inspired by our own Ben Ryves's awesome work, especially his awesome Z80 computer ( http://benryves.com/journal/3691543 notice how he named it 'A useful Z80 computer'. Useful for what, Ben? ). As such I decided that my work on the Portable C64 can't be limited to only software and started studying hardware / electronics.
Since at Hackerspace I've got access to great many resources that wonderful people there are willing to lend me for studying, I've grabbed Arduino with breadboard ( Sparkfun Inventor Kit to be exact ) and started playing with it. Or I wanted to, but my only computer that I brought there was a FreeBSD machine. And so, from 6pm till 2am I've been trying to set up Arduino to work on FreeBSD. I had major problems with Java, then with permissions, then with port being unresponsive, but mantis does not give up easily, and finally I HAD RESULTS!
Yeah, it's glorious shining LED. Afterwards I played around with series of leds, fading them in and out and started working on something bit more ambitious ( ignoring the 15 tutorials in the booklet ) - I've started working on connecting a HD 44780 LCD to the Arduino. After making a PDF reader from ports ( which btw took ages, it seems that it sucked half of GNOME with it, and my FreeBSD install was quite lean before, running on only Fluxbox ), I started reading its specifications. Finally, I was ready to give it a go, connected the Ground, VCC and contrast adjustment to the arduino, and saw couple characters darken on the display, just as they were supposed to. I connected couple more cables to clear the screen and display the cursor, but suddenly the FreeBSD started acting up again and didn't allow me to put any more soft on the Arduino. Since it was past 6am already, I took my cue to leave Hackerspace ( fortunately I live less than 1km from it ), and head home to sleep.
So yeah, 12 hours of work and only picture I've got to show for it is one blinking LED
Oh btw, I managed to find an old TV with SCART/EURO connector, which I'm able to connect to my C64, so I don't have to use my plasma to see results of my code on real machine. That's awesome, because honestly, the cable to monitor is so short that I have to sit with face about 1 meter from my, TV, what in case of the huge plasma makes my eyes hide behind my ears.
See you next time!
Now that I got some sleep, I managed to get the LCD working! Not big enough thing to warrant a new entry, but I'm happy to keep you updated . I also noticed ( thanks to Ben, again ), that the LCD even if it's single line is divided into two lines, and doesn't automatically jump to the next one, making the text cut off after 8 characters. But I managed to fix that