Building An Arm Based Embedded Computer?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by naf456, May 24, 2012.

  1. naf456

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 24, 2012
    7
    0
    Hello Nathan here.
    I'm pretty much classed as a N00b when it comes to electronics.
    All I have done is make a pretty LED glow by using a switch and some Batteries in DT.

    However , I want to Design and Manufacture An ARM Based Computer.
    I'm guessing it's like building a house when you don't know what end of the hammer to hold - I haven't a clue about Resistors and Transistors and Vacuums and Zener Diodes.

    I have, however studied AS level Physics in school , which includes electronics, and using bridge rectifiers and Logic gates and finding values of resistors etc...

    I was hoping to start off with the propeller chip - and learn about Circuits that way - hopefully being able to build a simple game console.

    I'm a programmer at heart and have experience with X86 Assembly , albeit limited to some professionals.

    The Idea is I wanted to Use TI's Siterra Micro Processor chip to build a cheap Computer

    I'm just really looking for directions on what to do - where to start - is propeller a good starting point?
     
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,769
    969
    2 words... Raspberry Pi
     
  3. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
    1,571
    230
    one word - ebay
     
  4. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,440
    3,360
    It depends on how much MCU development you already have under your belt.

    Do one step at a time.

    Jump in at your appropriate experience level:


    1. Arduino
    2. MCU programming: Atmel, Freescale, PIC, TI etc
    3. ASM and C programming on the above
    4. STM32F4-DISCOVERY, IAR EWARM
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  5. naf456

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 24, 2012
    7
    0
    Yeah - The Raspberry Pi is a development board and is hard to get hold of at the moment - Gotta wait till july till mine comes in, and it can't really be turned into an independent platform - it is an independent platform.

    I want to build a device to my own specification, and sell it as a product.
    I'm only 17 and was hoping to take electronic engineering at college.
    However I'm still new to all this.
    I don't understand the importance of capacitors - and why there used everywhere - all they do is conserve energy?

    I've heard of the ardunio. The only problem, is that I won't have any use for one.
    I ideally want to work with embedded Computers - ie systems which plug up to display and allow software to be ran on the screen - without the aid of a laptop running windows.

    I have been thinking about starting with XGamestation kit - however £66 seems a little steep for a thing I'm uncertain about doing.

    EDIT: Scrap that - arduino it is!
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  6. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,440
    3,360
    If you don't have any use for arduino then you wouldn't have any use for arm.
     
  7. naf456

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 24, 2012
    7
    0
    Yes - I'm just finding it hard to note the difference between an SoC and a microcontroller?

    Like previously stated- I was looking for an embedded computer system that was capable of rendering and drawing graphics.

    I thought microcontrollers were just for moving motors and tempertures monitors. Looks like I can build a nes or Atari replica with one though :D
     
  8. coldpenguin

    Active Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    165
    9
    Pretty sure it was at GCSE level where I learned what else a capacitor should be used for.
    There is somewhat of a difference between programming and designing a computer.

    Also what do you mean by rendering?
    A PIC could in theory control this http://www.mikroe.com/eng/products/view/593/tft2-proto-board/

    Todays PICs are more powerful as far as instructions per cycle go than my first computer.
    However, their limitations are in the amount of instructions they can hold. It is a bit liie Zen programming, on Windows people do not need to take care of the memory they use, or optimisation of particular code segments, whereas on a micro controller, there /could/ be a large difference between X=X/4 and the alternative method of performing that.
     
  9. naf456

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 24, 2012
    7
    0
    I Don't know what they teach you in DT GCSE - I Didn't do the course, so , no , I really don't get why there are so many capacitors in a circuit I thought they were only used to even out the current coming from rectifiers.

    I've decided to go for the propeller - I have been intrigued by it of a couple of years (was looking at building an 8-bit console along time ago - let alone a 32-bit)

    So yeah - the propeller has a built in video serializer- still don't know if that means I just hook up a RGB socket and cable and get a signal?
    still got alot to learn! as always.

    EDIT : Are Capacitors the opposite of Resistors?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  10. coldpenguin

    Active Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    165
    9
    Actually, I was thinking GCSE Physics (a pre-requisite I assume to AS Physics).

    The propellor website explains reasonably clearly how the VGA output works. http://www.parallax.com/portals/0/help/P8X32A/QnaWeb/Content/QnaTopics/QnaVideo.htm

    If this is a single project you are thinking of, then the propellor might be a suitable answer. I don't remember seeing a lot of people on this forum asking questions about it, this either means it is so simple to use there are never any problems, or no-one uses them, or that they have an alternative forum which answers everything (however arduino and microchip have these and people still come here).

    However, the propellor has no ability for analog. Its programming language (high-level) would appear to be specific to them. So it would lock you into them a bit I think. In contrast, I believe that people do move between the Arduino, PicAxe and PIC, because most of the high-level languages on these are 'similar' and thus skills are transferable.

    No. They could more closely be called the opposite of inductors.





    You state that you are a programmer at heart. Are you intending on going to university or continuing education past your AS levels?
    If so, what are you considering doing (Physics, Engineering, Computing?) and what courses are they proposing. It would make sense to align to something similar in your choice of programming language.
    Swapping between one type of programming to another can be quite difficult, especially when you need to consider whether what you want to write is X=X/4 or the alternative.
     
Loading...