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Hardware coding info..?

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I was just reading a thread in the lounge (Coding Generation or something) when someone made a comment along the lines of "blah blah I"m programming my own OS for my own computer/console/something with a greyscale LCD screen and you college s**ts wouldn''t ever be able to comprehend such a thing blah blah". So, now I''m interested in doing this! Where can one find information about doing low-level/make-your-own hardware stuff like this? I''ve seen that some people have purchased LCD screens and written their own drivers for them in linux, would this be a good place to start? Anyway, any info would be helpfull.

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Well, unless you have at least some (year or two) EE education, designing your own hardware from scratch *will* be a tough job. It''s pretty annoying to try to figure out why same circuit that works fine in simulator behaves completely differently when you actually build it. (been there, done that, learned a lot though)

Easiest way to build an LCD that is controlled by a PC is to get an LCD display that has serial controller build in. After that, it is simply the matter of building suitable adapter between the display and serial port. And, of course, some software would help...

An independent computer, even ones using some neat embedded all-in-chip processors, are several magnitudes trickier. You need to design quite complex hardware and software (quite possibly in assembly), and debugging it without proper equipment (ICE, oscilloscope, etc) is a bitch. Basically, I don''t recommend that unless you do know what you are doing - and do have access to some equipment.

Now, if you ask me, a seven-segment LED might be an easy start. No external power source so you are less likely to blow anything up (it is still possible, however...). And controlling it through the parallel connector is pretty easy.
You need one of those 7-segment displays, several (8, unless you screw up) resistors (say, 200 ohm, to limit current to LEDs), some wire and of course connector. Soldering iron and accessories will make connecting all those together easier. And of course manufacturers datasheets about the 7-segment display, all necessary information is there (if you do have some background knowledge). And btw, those data sheets... Usually the most important text is written in smallest font in bottom of the page.
Good luck.

Disclaimer; I will take no responsibility whatsoever if you blow your PC trying to build anything without proper know-how. Nothing blows hardware better than short burst of ~100 volts at 50 hz feeded directly to your UART... (been there, done that, learned again...) (you know, learning this kind of things the hard way gets pretty expensive pretty quickly...)

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ahh kewl shits
well use an ol''286 comp
hehe
i think you need some buffers
before you connect it to the serial port connector
but i''m not sure

keep programming it''s cooler!!

Arkon
http://qsoft.cjb.net

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I was just thinking about this, getting a small LCD screen, mounting it in a 5.25" slot and getting it to display stuff like uptime and load...

I''m reminded of the day my daughter came in, looked over my shoulder at some Perl 4 code, and said, "What is that, swearing?" - Larry Wall

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I''d start working with the parallel port first, as it is far easier to use than the serial port. ( You have to worry about UARTS and all that with the serial port, u don''t with a parallel port ). Hway''s idea sounds good, using the parallel port to operate a seven segment display is pretty easy. You can just use one 60 Ohm resistor to the common cathode/anode connection on the seven segment, that does the job just fine, when you are just displaying "1" it is a bit bright, but well within limits. ( Although your way of attaching 200 Ohm resistors to each of the inputs is a more technically correct way ).

Another idea is to build a DAC ( digital to analogue converter ) attached to the parallel port. That would be an interesting project too.

Gor for it! ;D

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Arkon; Most x86''s sucks in any non-desktop environment. For any small-scale independent (embedded) system I''d recommend some neat mcs-51 -compatible processor (atmel''s 89s8252 is pretty neat, ISP-capabilities make it great for prototyping)
Besides, any one can program. To design hardware *and* software takes a Real Man !

Muzzafarath; LCD can be a bit tricky. It has to be serial-controlled (unless you want to plug directly into ISA bus, which is even trickier), and probably requires external power source as serial/parallel ports have only limited power feeding capabilities. Of course drive connectors can be used for power... Definitely not suitable for one''s first project, however.

python_regious; I wouldn''t bother with ACC or DAC, your sound card has one or several built-in, use it, you get better results with it anyway
I''ve been thinking about building an RC car/hovercraft/whatever, electronics and software are quite easy, but the hull is a bitch... (damn mechanics) (RF parts I''d get as modules, that''s easier...) Of course, mp3/mod player for car could be pretty neat, too...

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