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Author Topic: uController from the 1980's  (Read 1407 times)
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Found one of these at a garage sale.  Things haven't changed that much in 20 years.  Comes with RTC!
Do you think it is fast enough to sample audio?

Bridging the gap between desktop computer and dedicated controller in applications such as appliance timer, temp controller, programmable tester, and alarm systems, the BEAR-1FB controller also functions as a software development tool or a microcomputer lab trainer.  The controller is based on the 83C51FB ucontroller with resident floating point BASIC interpreter and debug monitor.  It is simple to wire and program, requiring only 6-16v power and any terminal that supports serial communication.  Housed in a high impact plastic case, the unit features 32K RAM, a real time clock, 8 channels of 8-bit A/D, a precision 5v regulator, 10 year lithium battery, and dual RS232 driver.  The BEAR-1FB controller costs $299.00 including user manual, power supply, and serial cable.

Blue Earth Research
310 Belle Avenue
Mankato, MN 56001
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And they're still (recently?) in business!  How many technology companies can say that after 25 years!?!
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Quote
How many technology companies can say that after 25 years!?!
Nokia,
Apple,
IBM,
HP...

Apart from that, was there a question?
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Yes there was.  I should have said small companies that don't make much profit selling a product that only hobbyists want.
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But what is it doing in "Project Guidance"?
Do you want me to move it somewhere more appropriate?
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Thank you for asking!  That's very polite.  If you'd like.  I wanted everyone's opinion on the question I asked above.  Curious if the popular perception matches the reality before I get started on the project.  Hence Project Guidance.  We have already seen that most people believe the Arduino cannot process or sample audio at a decent rate.  Wouldn't it be funny if it could be done 25 years ago???

If my goal is impossible, someone please tell me before I start coding.

I have Beat detection working, and FFT in software.
Never say never!
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Funny what you found. Over a year ago I bought a bunch of surplus circuit boards from a Twin Cities surplus store (axman surplus). They had 40*2 displays on board and were only $5 a board so I took the displays and a few parts out and considered they were good deal. Guess what company made the board? I did some search but maybe this company became ghost. No website just a few random links.
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Do you think it is fast enough to sample audio?
Less so than an Arduino, and certainly not using the built-in Basic.  8051 chips of that era ran at 12MHz, and took 12 (or multiples of thereof) clocks for each instruction, for a maximum instruction rate of about 1 Mip.  Sixteen times slower than the AVR in an arduino, with a somewhat less efficient architecture.

8051-basic systems were popular among more than hobbyists.  They attracted the same sort of professional users that BASIC Stamps and Arduinos do, and supported several vendors.  The "I need a small computer-like thing to control my xxx piece of lab/industrial/instrumentation/special-effect thing" crowd.  You probably won't see a lot of these people out their bragging that they're using such "low-end" hardware, but they are out there...

There's a relatively significant number of "old" companies that have done well enough to survive several decades without ever getting popular name recognition.  AMPRO is another one that I remember fondly.  When I was in college they were selling single-board Z80 CP/M computers ("fits on top of an 8inch floppy drive.")  Then in the early days of cisco we were negotiating with them for some 80168 DOS-class single board computers ("fits on top of a 5 inch hard drive.")  (didn't work out.)  Now they're doing ATOM based SBCs (though they seem to have been acquired...)
There are more ways to succeed than massive growth; in a way I really admire those long-lived companies for their restraint. (for instance, cisco lost almost all of its founders within a couple years of the IPO.  The initial CEO and CFO were "let go" immediately after securing venture funding...  I'm not at all sure that is the way I'd want things to work out if I founded a company...)
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Oh yeah.  There was more:
Quote
We have already seen that most people believe the Arduino cannot process or sample audio at a decent rate.
Wouldn't it be funny if it could be done 25 years ago???
(for 10x the price, not counting inflation?)  You could probably "sample" audio OK with an Arduino.  Especially with an external ADC.  A large part of the problem with "processing" audio is that what people consider "processing" audio has become a lot more complicated than what people considered audio processing 25 years ago.  Doing something like an MP3 encode is pretty complex, and the fact that it can be done in real-time is taken for granted (by people running the algorithm on multi-GHz PCs with hardware floating point and special "multimedia" instructions.)

(It would be interesting to port one of the reference implementations of the MP3 encoder to Arduino, just to see how fast/slow it would go.)
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Wouldn't mind seeing a picture of the thing.
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MCP79411/12 RTC ... "One Million Ohms" ATtiny kit ... available at http://www.tindie.com/stores/JChristensen/

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I still have a Synertek SYM-1!
that's pre 1980!

Still works, I still use it, but instead of the VT-131, I use a comms programme and use the paper tape store/load, capture to a text file, for programme storage!

Pulled all the 1kx4bit TTL RAMS of replaced them with 1 32K static CMOS RAM, with battery back up.
There's a 6551 ACIA for serial comms, a 6545 CTRC for video and more ports you can shake a stick at.

I was going to add an FTDI cable and drag the old girl into the 21st century!


and before you ask...

No, I never throw anything out!

 smiley-cool
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I still have a Synertek SYM-1!
that's pre 1980!

Still works, I still use it, but instead of the VT-131, I use a comms programme and use the paper tape store/load, capture to a text file, for programme storage!

Pulled all the 1kx4bit TTL RAMS of replaced them with 1 32K static CMOS RAM, with battery back up.
There's a 6551 ACIA for serial comms, a 6545 CTRC for video and more ports you can shake a stick at.

I was going to add an FTDI cable and drag the old girl into the 21st century!


and before you ask...

No, I never throw anything out!

 smiley-cool

If you don't throw things out, would you be interested in trading things that you've kept but don't have much use anymore? I'm sure that has to be something you keep but you just don't find a use anymore.

http://liudr.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/exchange/

Any old technology piece could be interesting to me, including old computer games, books, catalogs, etc. I have tons of parts to trade, shield kits, displays, ~100 ATMEGA328P bootloaded plus xtal and caps smiley
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I have the original SC/MP 1802 evaluation system, with manuals.

Ian here has the original 4004 evaluation system!

I'll think about it, what country you in?

Shipping might be a bitch!
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I have the original SC/MP 1802 evaluation system, with manuals.

Ian here has the original 4004 evaluation system!

I'll think about it, what country you in?

Shipping might be a bitch!


The heart of semiconductor industry of course! Oops, it's not 1965 anymore. I'm in Minnesota, where semiconductor industry used to flourish.

Is this what you have, more or less?

http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/4623/SC-MP-Development-System/

And a 4004 eval system?! That's pretty rare. Intel gave a bunch to colleges for free but rarely did any professors keep these around.

I am willing to trade with you for these items. I have a long list of parts and kits you may want. Let me compile a list so you can see if you're willing to part your kits for some new hardware. I'll PM you.

I read you, shipping charge is on the rise. They just raised it in January now shipping cost to Australia and Europe is pushing me to raise my shipping charge. I use any recycled bubble wraps I can to cut cost. Guess how much to ship myself to China for a vacation and back after a few weeks? 1.5 grands.
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I would not bother with these, they are energy hogs.

In my inventory I have around various 68K CPUs,
2K RAMs, 32k 4 bit RAMs (150mA each), 68901 USART, Z80 SIO,
even some very old 128 byte RAMs, 8255A, 1489 serial receivers...

If anyone is interested in some of these chips?
I can sell them for low prices.
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I also have PIC related web domain.

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