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Hey guys

I'm new to Arduino and Circuits and Micro controllers and pretty much everything electrical...

I'd love to be able to get as much out of this as possible so I have a few projects in mind that I'd like to try, I'd love feedback and information on whether they are possible

PHP on Arduino, would it be possible to create a shield that could store and be able to process PHP scripting and work as a web server?

Basic OS, I'd love to know wether it is possible to create a basic OS... more like a menu if anything, press 1 to go to calculator press 2 to make LEDs light up etc

Network Attached Storage, nothing as advanced as a HDD but maybe an SD card or pen drive

Pong, a pong game on LEDs or to a TV

any advice you can give me is great!!
many thanks!

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PHP on Arduino, would it be possible to create a shield that could store and be able to process PHP scripting and work as a web server?

No; the Arduino is about a factor of 100 too small to be able to host the PHP runtime. PHP is simply *way* too bloated to fit in 32 kB of program memory (much less 2 kB of RAM.)

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Basic OS, I'd love to know wether it is possible to create a basic OS... more like a menu if anything, press 1 to go to calculator press 2 to make LEDs light up etc

What you're describing sounds like a GUI shell, rather than an OS. The Arduino is statically linked -- you don't install new little snippets of code (like programs); you install a whole new image. Yes, you can probably fit a calculator and an LED blinker and a menu program into a single Arduino, but you'd build them all as one program (consisting of many files, perhaps.)

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Network Attached Storage, nothing as advanced as a HDD but maybe an SD card or pen drive

The Ethernet shield lets you serve files from an SDcard using HTTP. It's possible that you could get enough read/write and protocol decode into a single Arduino so that you could do a WebDAV based storage server (or at least a PUT/GET based server,) but that would be a real squeeze in a regular Arduino, size-wise. The performance would also be quite slow!

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Pong, a pong game on LEDs or to a TV

Pong on a serial bitmap display has been done. I don't know of any TV output shields, but they might exist. Pong is simple enough that it'll fit fine in the Arduino.

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PHP on Arduino, would it be possible to create a shield that could store and be able to process PHP scripting and work as a web server?

No; the Arduino is about a factor of 100 too small to be able to host the PHP runtime. PHP is simply *way* too bloated to fit in 32 kB of program memory (much less 2 kB of RAM.)

Quote
Basic OS, I'd love to know wether it is possible to create a basic OS... more like a menu if anything, press 1 to go to calculator press 2 to make LEDs light up etc

What you're describing sounds like a GUI shell, rather than an OS. The Arduino is statically linked -- you don't install new little snippets of code (like programs); you install a whole new image. Yes, you can probably fit a calculator and an LED blinker and a menu program into a single Arduino, but you'd build them all as one program (consisting of many files, perhaps.)

Quote
Network Attached Storage, nothing as advanced as a HDD but maybe an SD card or pen drive

The Ethernet shield lets you serve files from an SDcard using HTTP. It's possible that you could get enough read/write and protocol decode into a single Arduino so that you could do a WebDAV based storage server (or at least a PUT/GET based server,) but that would be a real squeeze in a regular Arduino, size-wise. The performance would also be quite slow!

Quote
Pong, a pong game on LEDs or to a TV

Pong on a serial bitmap display has been done. I don't know of any TV output shields, but they might exist. Pong is simple enough that it'll fit fine in the Arduino.



Thanks for you reply! Much appriciated!

So would there be no way to extend the memory on an Arduino to support it, or is that completely out of the question (I'm a n00b...)

And yeah, a single program that ran procedural, so, one button linked to a cacl, the other to an LED blinker etc etc.

So in terms of extensibility, is there much you can do with the Arduino or are you limited? What are the limits you can go to, could you create a simplistic computer like the ZX, or build a shield to output RCA/RGB? Thanks smiley
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So would there be no way to extend the memory on an Arduino to support it, or is that completely out of the question

There is the Arduino Mega, which has 256 kB of program space, and 8 kilobytes of RAM. That board can also be extended to use more RAM using some bus, but it will be slower than built-in, and I believe you need to address it specially, rather than have the compiler just allocate variables into it.

If you want to load "programs" from some "installable" media, I guess you *could* do it by writing the programs as binary images to an SDcard, and then using a "bootloader" which re-programs the main program area based on one of those images. Then, when a program is "done," it issues a software reset, which jumps back to the bootloader, which can load the "shell" program again, which presumably lets you browse the SDcard for other programs to run. This is *possible*, but it's pretty fiddly. You also need to use an in-circuit programmer (like an USBtinyISP) to program that "bootloader" -- you couldn't use the serial uploader/bootloader at that point. So, probably possible, but not something you'd want to tackle as your first (or second) project.

Is it possible to build a shield that outputs to RGB or composite? Probably. The Arduino can talk I2C and SPI, and there are probably chips that talk those protocols and can output to those formats. It'd be pretty expensive to build (compared to the original Arduino,) and you'd probably have to use surface-mount components to do it, which is not typically what you'll want to be doing as a "newbie."

From what it sounds like you want to do: have you checked out the Raspberry Pi? It's something more like what you're talking about (has built-in TV out) and is not much more expensive than the Arduino.
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Basic OS, I'd love to know wether it is possible to create a basic OS... more like a menu if anything, press 1 to go to calculator press 2 to make LEDs light up etc

Keep in mind that the Arduino is based on microcontrollers and not microprocessors.

You might want to look at firmdata (comes with the Arduino IDE) or bitlash.
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Basic OS, I'd love to know wether it is possible to create a basic OS... more like a menu if anything, press 1 to go to calculator press 2 to make LEDs light up etc

Keep in mind that the Arduino is based on microcontrollers and not microprocessors.

You might want to look at firmdata (comes with the Arduino IDE) or bitlash.

Yes I understand it is a Microcontroller, so basically it can't be used as a computer so much, but can be used to control things as far and extensive as you want them to go?

Maybe even to the point of getting it to control my kettle on and off remotely from a web site?
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Website and kettle, sure. Much more than that too, take a look in the home automation forum. The Arduino is powerful enough to do very complex things but there are limits; it has minimal RAM and not much flash(program space). Scan the forums, exhibition/gallery in particular and you'll come across a huge variety of projects it has been used for. The stuff in your OP is a little out of scope though.
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There are litterally hundreds  of add on shields for Arduino that will do stuff like connect to the net, help control motors, read input from sensors etc.etc. They are not required, but can often make a given task much easier. What they wont do is extend Arduinos limited memory, but if you look around you will find that i is quite amazing what people have done within the constraints of the Arduino.
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If you want a PHP-capable web server, look into the Beaglebone or Raspberry PI.
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