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Community => Bar Sport => Topic started by: on Jan 01, 1970, 01:00 am

Poll
Question:
Option 1: Arduino Uno votes: 6
Option 2: Arduino Duamilanove votes: 3
Option 3: Arduino Mega votes: 2
Option 4: Another model of Arduino board. votes: 0
Option 5: Another board made by another company votes: 12
Option 6: I'v been doing this since before you where born! (1998) votes: 16
Title: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: ArduinoN00b on Feb 07, 2012, 12:18 am
Hey! Just curious to see where all my fellow programmers started with micro controller's.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Techone on Feb 07, 2012, 12:47 am
I start programing CPU like 8085 back at DeVry in the mid-1990's.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: ajofscott on Feb 07, 2012, 01:14 am
Parallax Stamp, the original about 8 years ago, but for the most part cringed at the thought of using a micro to do what I could do in wired circuitry. So until I tried Arduinos I was rather limited on what I could do.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Grumpy_Mike on Feb 07, 2012, 01:17 am
A 2650 in 1975, but I had to design and build it myself.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: nickgammon on Feb 07, 2012, 01:25 am
Late 1970s. This:

(http://gammon.com.au/images/M6800_CPU_board.jpg)


  • 512 bytes of RAM

  • 1K of ROM (operating system)

  • Clock speed: 0.614 MHz



And this is how you programmed it, tapping away on this in hex:

(http://gammon.com.au/images/m6800_keyboard.jpg)

We don't need no stinkin' assembler! ;)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: winner10920 on Feb 07, 2012, 01:32 am
I just started 7 months with an. Arduino mega blinking an led XD
never thought I could control led matrixes, tft lcd screens, ir,  motors, sensors, ics, and whatever else I feel like learning about,
it really is amazing how much can be done nowadays so easily,
Kinda feel bad for being born so late and missing out on all that apparently painstakingly slow older technology that probably came with days of datasheeting,
when I started I downloaded a file, plugged in a usb cable and pressed upload, amazing how easy its gotten
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 07, 2012, 01:34 am
In late 70s, a 6502 based board that had a Basic rom. Ohio Scientific if I recall correctly. I had a surplus Teletype corp ASR-33 to use as the main I/O. Later I built a Z-80 board and then got into Heathkit H-89 CRT based Z-80 system, moved on to Kaypro CP/M system and then the early 8088 IBM PC clone machines.


Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: dc42 on Feb 07, 2012, 02:47 am
Z80 in late 1976. The bootloader was a 16-byte ROM constructed from TTL logic gates, because EPROM programmers were too expensive for me to afford.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: maniacbug on Feb 07, 2012, 04:17 am
Oh now you've done it!  Stirred up all the old-timers :)  You should add a poll option, "I've been doing this since before you were born!"

Anyway, here's my entry...  The original Famicom (aka 8-bit NES), complete with "documentation" "translated" from Japanese.

(http://tukkoreview.com/wp-content/uploads/500x_famicom.jpg)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: ksp1717 on Feb 07, 2012, 04:19 am
I started just a couple of years ago with a  PIC 18F4520. It was for a class I took. After I heard of arduino I really started playing around with things.

ksp
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 07, 2012, 04:59 am
Quote
Oh now you've done it!  Stirred up all the old-timers  


Heck, when we started we didn't even have ones, just zeros, so we had to double up on zeros until the ones finally became avalible. And you ain't done nothing until you could memorize and knuckle in the bootstrap program via the front panel switches. Those front panels on 70s minicomputers were a work of art, they were flashing leds before most of you were a gleam in your parents eyes. Flash memory? Blah, we had non-volitable core memory modules!

Lefty
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: JChristensen on Feb 07, 2012, 05:14 am

...Teletype corp ASR-33...


I was responsible for front-end comm processors that used ASR-33s for their consoles. MTBF was around 10 hours. Our poor field engineer who had to fix 'em said they should have had a crankcase so that they could run submerged in oil. Rumor was the guy who designed the beast eventually went insane.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: ArduinoN00b on Feb 07, 2012, 06:07 am
cool, wow so many old timers on this site! I started programing at 13 and im now 14, it hink i bit off a little more than i can chew becuase I preposed id make a robot for my science fair project, wish me luck! XD I'm glad there's so many people to help, things only seem to be getting more complicated. PS: someone asked so yeah, i put another poll option, check it out.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: nickgammon on Feb 07, 2012, 06:09 am
Good time to start! Keep that enthusiasm up ... robots and microprocessors are a lot of fun. You can make that robot, just take it a bit at a time.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: keeper63 on Feb 07, 2012, 07:03 am
Not a real "old timer" (not like some of the luckier fellas here!), but not a "young fart" either (unfortunately - eh). I didn't start to play with microcontrollers until a few years back - with the Basic Stamp. But my first computer as a kid was a Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer 2 with 16k of RAM and a cassette tape "drive" for storage. That was in 1984. Prior to that, my first "programmable" devices were a Milton Bradley Big Trak, as well as this other machine called a "Brain Buggy". I still have all of them, and they all still work fine.

:D
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: j514 on Feb 07, 2012, 07:14 am
1981, 6502 processor, 32kb ram, asm + basic programming languages.
Zoom telephonics 110/300bps modem to call other computers (bbs's).
Compuserve and GEnie commercial data networks.

In those days most downloads would get interrupted by someone picking up the phone.

Arduino since October 2011
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: CrossRoads on Feb 07, 2012, 07:23 am
Writing assembler code for a uC in colllege, fall of1980 I think. Making message scroll across four 7 segment displays, program stored on cassette tape.
Before that, BASIC in 300 baud on phone modem using paper teletype to school's mainframe someplace else, and fortran on punch cards freshman year of college...
Arduino since late summer 2010 I guess.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: dc42 on Feb 07, 2012, 09:28 am

Heck, when we started we didn't even have ones, just zeros, so we had to double up on zeros until the ones finally became avalible.


You were lucky to have zeros! [spoken with a Yorkshire accent ... ]
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: dxw00d on Feb 07, 2012, 10:04 am
In uC's, an Arduino Uno, around August last year, after a mate at work got one.

Generally, at home with an Oric Atmos, then a BBC model B with a Pascal ROM, and during the year I tried in a technical college, a Rockwell Aim-65 (http://oldcomputers.net/AIM-65.html) for assembler and a VAX 11/780 for everything else (FORTRAN and COBOL, mostly).
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Grumpy_Mike on Feb 07, 2012, 03:52 pm
Quote
You were lucky to have zeros! [spoken with a Yorkshire accent ... ]

:D :D :D :D :D :D

Now then, for our U.S contingent this refers to an old ISIRTA (I Am Sorry I'll Read That Again) radio sketch, that got picked up by Monty Python (The radio show had a Python member in it) a bit later.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 07, 2012, 04:55 pm


...Teletype corp ASR-33...


I was responsible for front-end comm processors that used ASR-33s for their consoles. MTBF was around 10 hours. Our poor field engineer who had to fix 'em said they should have had a crankcase so that they could run submerged in oil. Rumor was the guy who designed the beast eventually went insane.


Yes the ASR-33 was really a piece of crap machine built to a low price point and designed only for low duty cycle usage, lots of plastic parts. The Teletype corp. did make some very rugged and reliable machines used by the military and news paper industry, but they were rather costly. I've worked on most models either in the military and civilian life and definitely had a love/hate relationship with teletype machines.

Lefty
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: mromani on Feb 07, 2012, 05:38 pm
I wrote my first two-liner in basic on a commodore C64 machine, which unfortunately I did not own. So I had to wait until my dad bought an italian 8086 clone (Olivetti Prodest PC1 - Nec V40 CPU IIRC, 640KB RAM, no hard disk, just a 720 3.5" floppy disk, DOS 3.20). On that machine I wrote some nice (to my eyes) programs using gwbasic. Later on I learned Pascal, C and assembly on a 80286 (1mb ram, 40mb hard disk). Still did some qbasic.

(Fast forward...)

My first experience with microcontrollers was six years ago with Microchip PICs. I wrote both assembly and C programs. A couple of years ago a collegue found Arduino. He showed it to me and I found it wonderful. Though I'm still working with PICs, I'm using Arduino in my own (small) projects and also at work.

Love this thread ;-)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: pravas on Feb 07, 2012, 06:11 pm
My first project was E1 terminal  mux, I was responsible for to design the RTOS for Analog Device ADSP-218x microprocessor in late 2000 and I was also responsible for to design various device (E1 Framer/Deframer, HDLC framer/deframer, UART device etc) using FPGA. I have written in both assembly, C language.
(http://sites.google.com/site/solanpravas/home/mux/blockdia.JPG?attredirects=0)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: mmcp42 on Feb 07, 2012, 06:26 pm
Fortran IV (Daniel D McCracken was the fount of all knowledge)

494 assembler late 60s (mainframe used for NASA space launches)
but this was for BEA (eventually became BA) passenger reservation system
used drums for "mass storage" think they werr 100 kilobytes in 33 byte sectors (41 octal to you sonny)

in those days we used to laugh at job ads that wanted 2 years programming experience
non-one ever had that much!

6502 assembler mid 70s
then on to BBC micro

then BCPL
became C
slight diversion with APL, but since i could only write it (not read it) that didn't last
then C
then C<<add you favourite suffix here>>

Pascal

oh and *duino about a year ago

Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: mrdovey on Feb 07, 2012, 06:53 pm
Bendix G-15 with no RAM, < 2k sequential access (drum) memory
Ran my first program on December 29, 1959
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: AWOL on Feb 07, 2012, 07:05 pm
Quote
Those front panels on 70s minicomputers were a work of art, they were flashing leds b

I'm pretty sure the lights on the front of the PDP-8e were bulbs, not LEDs.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 07, 2012, 07:10 pm

Quote
Those front panels on 70s minicomputers were a work of art, they were flashing leds b

I'm pretty sure the lights on the front of the PDP-8e were bulbs, not LEDs.


Could be, the minicomputers I worked on as a field service engineer all used leds which is good as I never had to replace a bad led.

Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: dxw00d on Feb 07, 2012, 07:33 pm
The IBM 3705 comms controller attached to the 4381 mainframe I started on used neons, as I recall. It wouldn't surprise me if they were used on the PDP's too. We had a PDP-11, if my memory serves correctly, used as a data entry machine, but I can't remember what it's lights used.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: nickgammon on Feb 07, 2012, 09:05 pm
As I recall, the NCR Century 200 computer I worked on had a row of bulbs (not LEDs) on the front panel. It think there were around 16, and the operator manual stated that if there was an error, the computer would stop and the error code could be determined by examining the "number" in the bit patterns of the lights.

Thankfully my employer had also invested in a state-of-the-art teletype (the sort that you put a typewriter ribbon in, and you put fanfold paper through with holes punched along the side), and the teletype would helpfully spit out a more informative message, like:

Code: [Select]
5100 INOPERATIVE

Although you usually could operate "by ear" as if the job was printing a huge number of statements on the line printer (the fast printer), which made a terrific racket, and the printer suddenly stopped, you would then hear the teletype pathetically typing away in the background "5-1-0-0-I-N-O-P-E-R-A-T-I-V-E" which took about 5 seconds.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: focalist on Feb 07, 2012, 10:19 pm
I must admit a small gasp of nostalgia there when I saw the MC6800 beast there.  Before I had my 6502 addiction, it was the 6800 on a development board that I first played with.  A few months later I got my first PDP BASIC program running on the beastie donated to the school system as part of DEC's outreach programs in the late 70's.  Strangely enough, my wife is now friends with the daughter of someone who was part of that outreach program.  Amazingly small world sometimes.

That PDP is why I made it out of that little tiny Wisconsin farm town... And realized the dream of working for DEC before they got gutted.   That 6800 trainer (does KIM1 sound right?) was my first.

 The first one is always free, as any junkie will tell you...
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: AWOL on Feb 07, 2012, 10:25 pm
KIM was 6502.
The Motorola device is a MEK6800D2.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Benji on Feb 07, 2012, 10:32 pm
First computer: AT&T MSX
Second computer: 8088, later replaced by an 8086 with a *gasp* hard drive
Then, on the a 80286, 80486 DX4-100, pentium 75, pentium 3, since then AMD's and since 2 years a macbook.

Programming? Well, that's a different story. I wasn't too good at it. I was doing computer science in school, but I got sick, so I missed a lot of the classes. Pascal was pretty ok for me, but besides that I didn't really follow the instructions and the books where horrible.

I gave it up for a long time, but then I wanted something to tinker with, someone prescribed me Arduino and since then I am hooked.
That's about a year ago.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: focalist on Feb 07, 2012, 10:48 pm
Arduino certainly is good for what ails you.. Or at least provides an interesting distraction from feeling like crap...  :smiley-mr-green:  

I think you chimed in on that 'Arduino as therapy' thread I started last year sometime, didn't you?

http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,61970.0.html (http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,61970.0.html)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 07, 2012, 11:43 pm

As I recall, the NCR Century 200 computer I worked on had a row of bulbs (not LEDs) on the front panel. It think there were around 16, and the operator manual stated that if there was an error, the computer would stop and the error code could be determined by examining the "number" in the bit patterns of the lights.

Thankfully my employer had also invested in a state-of-the-art teletype (the sort that you put a typewriter ribbon in, and you put fanfold paper through with holes punched along the side), and the teletype would helpfully spit out a more informative message, like:

Code: [Select]
5100 INOPERATIVE

Although you usually could operate "by ear" as if the job was printing a huge number of statements on the line printer (the fast printer), which made a terrific racket, and the printer suddenly stopped, you would then hear the teletype pathetically typing away in the background "5-1-0-0-I-N-O-P-E-R-A-T-I-V-E" which took about 5 seconds.


I spent a lot of time repairing and working on those large 132 column line printers. At the time in the mid 70s I noted that the line printer model I worked on cost more retail then the 3 bedroom house in the 'burbs' I had just bought. The main print drum was engraved in Switzerland. Doing a print hammer alignment (all 132 of them) took just as long and painful as having a root canal done. And the two spindle disk drive (50 megabytes each) was the size of a refrigerator and cost like $50K. The blank removable disk cartridges were $1,200 each.

Lefty
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: ajofscott on Feb 08, 2012, 12:05 am
In highschool I got to scavenge 3 Borroughs Terminals, was a tinker's dream! Huge CVT and 6 2 device TO-3 heatsinks, loads of cards all descrete and small glue logic ICs. The card edge connecters were all wire wrapped connections, a true work of art.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: nickgammon on Feb 08, 2012, 12:08 am
Yeah, you don't see printers like that any more. For anyone that hasn't seen one, there was a drum of 132 letters engraved side-by-side (so all possible letters are in a column vertically, and there were 132 of them horizontally). The drum span at high speed and as the paper was pulled past it 132 little hammers fired at exactly the right moment to hit "A" (rather than "B" or "C") to print an entire line at once.

I think for simple reasons of space they only had upper-case letters, which is why old computer printouts were in all upper-case.

They were precision devices, and if they went wrong, well the print-out was hard to read. :)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 08, 2012, 12:22 am
Quote
They were precision devices, and if they went wrong, well the print-out was hard to read.


Yes, the final test was to print lines with all the same characters and look to see if there was an indication of wavy lines being printed. The adjustment had one hooking a scope probe to the channel one hammer as the reference, using a very small counter EMF pulse that indicated the hammer had struck the drum, then you moved the channel two scope probe one at a time to each of the other 131 hammer circuits and mechanically adjust the hammer's starting position such that it's pulse matched hammer #1. All the while the print pattern was printing the identical character on all 132 positions at the same time, it sounded like the loudest machine gun firing none stop, and made the overhead lights flicker when firing. To this day my poorer hearing in my right ear I blame on that adjustment procedure. That or it was the ear facing my starter wife when I was trying to go to sleep.  ;)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Osgeld on Feb 08, 2012, 02:38 am
well with computers I started twiddling bits using my apple II and then later an XT ... with micro controllers my first was a PIC32 which I promptly plopped stickOS basic on, which is what I still use on it today
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: JChristensen on Feb 08, 2012, 02:47 am

I spent a lot of time repairing and working on those large 132 column line printers.


There were stories about programs that could play tunes on line printers by printing different combinations of letters. Never got to see (hear) one. Those things were beasts.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: shadow13 on Feb 13, 2012, 04:09 pm
I started about six years ago with a PICkit and it wasn't bad but it was sort of awkward to use. Some years latter I tried the tower system by Freescale but that was pretty complicated. So a few weeks ago I got a Duemilanove with the 328 and I look forward to putting it through its paces.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: jimfah on Feb 13, 2012, 04:41 pm
4004 4-bit computer.  I forget the speed.  1976?

We used to program it with eproms  (16k bit).  I remember patching them and paying attention whether the patch would raise or lower bits.  You could always lower a bit - and therefore reuse an eprom with enough bits set.

Sigh.  Those were the days.

Jim
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: westfw on Feb 14, 2012, 01:24 am
Quote
I think for simple reasons of space [line printers] only had upper-case letters

Of the two (local) mainframes that I used in college, one's line printer was upper-case only, but the other had both upper and lower case.  We evaluated a "Printronix" printer at one point; it was sorta neat.  Rather than printing a line of characters, it would print a line of dots (dot-matrix style, but a WHOLE LINE), so it could do graphics as well as text.

Hmm.  I wonder what a modern high-speed printer looks like these days?  Most of the places I've worked have "distributed" their printing (at least, the user-visible printing) to as many relatively slow printers as required, and of course a modern laser printer spits out pages at fixed speed regardless of print density, so they aren't nearly as entertaining as the old line printers...

Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 14, 2012, 01:33 am
Quote
Hmm.  I wonder what a modern high-speed printer looks like these days?


The last I saw, but didn't work on, were large laser based monsters using similar method as copy machines use. Print image on light sensitive plate or drum with laser, apply toner to charged plate and transfer to paper, then heat to set toner. That would allow a lot higher speed and full graphics capabilities. I suspect the speed limit is how fast one can move paper through the printer.

I suspect whatever tech the newspapers are using these days to print their papers is what is state of the art in high speed printing. I suspect the days of setting lead type is long gone.  ;)



Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: nickgammon on Feb 14, 2012, 01:35 am
Printronix rings a bell. I think you are right, they had a line of dots which buzzed away as the paper passed them.

As far as I have seen (and this was a little while back) they1 have very fast laser printers. There was also a technology, whose brand name eludes me2, where they put toner on the page but just used very high pressure to fuse it to the page. (Looks like the technology is called Ionography).

1. High-speed production houses, like banks, insurance companies.

2. Miltope, maybe.





Also I believe they print "packing information" onto the side of each page of the letter (look at the bar code on the edge of a recent statement). This tells the envelope-insertion equipment how many pages go into one envelope (eg. for a multi-page bank statement).
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 14, 2012, 01:44 am

Printronix rings a bell. I think you are right, they had a line of dots which buzzed away as the paper passed them.

As far as I have seen (and this was a little while back) they1 have very fast laser printers. There was also a technology, whose name eludes me2, where they put toner on the page but just used very high pressure to fuse it to the page. (Looks like the technology is called Ionography).

1. High-speed production houses, like banks, insurance companies.

2. Miltope, maybe.





Also I believe they print "packing information" onto the side of each page of the letter (look at the bar code on the edge of a recent statement). This tells the envelope-insertion equipment how many pages go into one envelope (eg. for a multi-page bank statement).


Printronix did make one the earliest 'dot matrix' printers in 132 column version. Dec also made an early 132 column dot matrix for their minicomputer systems, the famous LA-36 printer. Later Epson used the same method for small printers for the early microcomputer systems, followed by many that made dot matrix printers the first popular affordable printers for home PCs. They sure made a piercing sound and I soon learned to hate dot matrix printers because of that.

Lefty
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Osgeld on Feb 14, 2012, 02:12 am
Quote
I suspect whatever tech the newspapers are using these days to print their papers is what is state of the art in high speed printing. I suspect the days of setting lead type is long gone.  smiley-wink


last I looked (and this was 10 years ago) they were etching large sheets, wrapping them on a drum and running the presses from that using an offset process (ink on plate transfers to big rubber drum which mashes the image on paper)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 14, 2012, 02:23 am

Quote
I suspect whatever tech the newspapers are using these days to print their papers is what is state of the art in high speed printing. I suspect the days of setting lead type is long gone.  smiley-wink


last I looked (and this was 10 years ago) they were etching large sheets, wrapping them on a drum and running the presses from that using an offset process (ink on plate transfers to big rubber drum which mashes the image on paper)


This looks like a pretty hi-tec printer: http://www.biz.konicaminolta.com/production/c7000_c6000/index.html

Lefty

Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: westfw on Feb 14, 2012, 03:49 am
Quote
Printronix did make one the earliest 'dot matrix' printers in 132 column version. Dec also made an early 132 column dot matrix for their minicomputer systems, the famous LA-36 printer.

The Printronix I'm thinking of was a high-speed lineprinter replacement with an entire row (?) of dots.
The LA36 was a terminal (keyboard/etc), ran at 30cps, and had the more typical arrangement with a single column of dots on a moving printhead...

LA36 Engineering manual: http://www.pdp8online.com/pdp8cgi/query_docs/queryb.pl?level=1LA36;id=522
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Feb 14, 2012, 04:22 am

Quote
Printronix did make one the earliest 'dot matrix' printers in 132 column version. Dec also made an early 132 column dot matrix for their minicomputer systems, the famous LA-36 printer.

The Printronix I'm thinking of was a high-speed lineprinter replacement with an entire row (?) of dots.
The LA36 was a terminal (keyboard/etc), ran at 30cps, and had the more typical arrangement with a single column of dots on a moving printhead...

LA36 Engineering manual: http://www.pdp8online.com/pdp8cgi/query_docs/queryb.pl?level=1LA36;id=522



Here is the picture of the Printronix I worked on a little, but don't recall the exact hammer arrangement, seem to recall something spinning pretty fast inside, but then again there were so many different printers back at the time.

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=printronix&hl=en&sa=X&rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS373US373&biw=1055&bih=720&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&tbnid=eq-_kQsJQQiOPM:&imgrefurl=http://www.fib.upc.edu/retroinformatica/exposicio/ordinadors/Printronix-P600.html%3Flang%3Dca&docid=-GQooXnZlvA-7M&imgurl=http://www.fib.upc.edu/retroinformatica/exposicio/ordinadors/Printronix-P600/mainColumnParagraphs/0/image/IMG_2158%252520(Custom).JPG&w=620&h=827&ei=7dI5T_rTIYOZiQKqmZSTDA&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=63&sig=108332181031703398911&page=3&tbnh=167&tbnw=119&start=35&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:35&tx=52&ty=70
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Osgeld on Feb 14, 2012, 04:26 am

This looks like a pretty hi-tec printer: http://www.biz.konicaminolta.com/production/c7000_c6000/index.html

Lefty


maybe, reminds me of just a couple months ago I was working a seasonal temp job at a lab that did most of the school portraits in the country, they had a very large room with similar style printers (not that I have an exact count but off of memory 10 of them) which used laser + chemical processes to print on light sensitive photographic paper.

We also had a couple very large format inkjet plotters to print on canvas, massive nasty looking old school photo drum printer things that could turn out a 1 foot tall stack of color photos in a matter of seconds, and their newest machines some HP indigo presses, which in a nutshell were 7 foot tall color plastic film printers.


https://www.google.com/search?q=hp+indigo&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=r9Q5T9uPG46ctwfm__3dCg&biw=1280&bih=920&sei=sdQ5T9zwNcKItwfagsj3Cg
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Pallbearer on Dec 26, 2012, 09:42 pm
A 4040 processor, with a whopping 1024 'bits' of static RAM. Machine language of course. Ended up building the interface to print to a KSR-15 TTY printer, mmmm.
Sad part, I still have some of that crap out in the barn.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: alfiesty on Dec 27, 2012, 02:46 am
In 1966 the company I worked( aerospace ) designed a package with a Rolm computer.The Rolm was a militarized Data General. I worked in the Calibration Lab and was sent to a school to learn to maintain the beasts. They had 4K of core memory and you load a bootstrap loader by hand and then loaded a tape with the system from the tape reader on a teletype. In class they would start the load and give a lecture while the teletype clunked on and on.

Jim
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: westfw on Dec 27, 2012, 03:45 am
Thread revival!  I guess I never answered the original question...
I started out on Mainframes, DEC-10s, DEC-20s, and big iron IBM (summer job during college.)  I lusted after various microcomputers, starting with the Altair 8080 and SWTP 6800, with more significant interest in Cosmic Elf 1802 and 8085.  Later the PIC came out and was even more interesting, plus AVRs and etc.  But it was really difficult to get very motivated to actually do much with them when I had entire ARPANet-connected mainframes to play with...

Eventually the DEC mainframes were dying and I moved (professionally) to high-end microcontrollers like 68000, x86, MIPS, and PPC, where the hardware/micro background was useful for low level infrastructure and driver work.  I still seem to enjoy infrastructure development more than actual projects...
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: AWOL on Dec 27, 2012, 08:43 am
Quote
n 1966 the company I worked( aerospace ) designed a package with a Rolm computer.The Rolm was a militarized Data General
Rolm was founded after DG, and DG only started up in about 1968. Or so I thought.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: kf2qd on Dec 27, 2012, 06:19 pm
I started out with the Z80 and in 1978. First machine was a TRS-80 Mod 1 Level 2 BASIC with 4K RAM. Did an upgrade to 16K for $40. Played around with a number of CPM machines and more recently with a couple of microcontrollers. Arduino is by far, the easiest to get started with and has a good IDE that works better than many you have to pay for.

Printers - Seems like DEC had a highspeed Dot Matrix that had like 4 print heads. All tied together on the same carriage so they moved together. That would be like 33 collumns for each printhead.

Tore apart one of those old drum printers. That bronze print drum weighed like 5 pounds. Had small driver boards, 1 for each printhead. Paper would FLY through those machines.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: retrolefty on Dec 27, 2012, 06:46 pm
Quote
Tore apart one of those old drum printers. That bronze print drum weighed like 5 pounds. Had small driver boards, 1 for each printhead. Paper would FLY through those machines.


Yep, the top of the line drum printers would spit out 1200 lines a min or faster of paper movement. This often created a static electricity problem with the paper moving through the printer so fast that special grounding brushes were needed to bleed off the charge on the paper. Also aliment of 132 print hammers so that the printed characters were perfectly flat across the line was a very laborious and time consuming maintenance task, I hated having to perform that check and adjustment. The testing involved firing all 132 hammers at the same time and using a scope to measure the counter EMF pulse from each hammer relative to the first hammer and mechanically adjusting each hammer to match the reference hammer. The lights would dim each time all the hammers fired at the same time and the noise level was deafening.

Lefty
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: Osgeld on Dec 27, 2012, 07:50 pm
now that's a printer!
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: nickgammon on Dec 27, 2012, 09:10 pm
Yep, you went through a box of paper every few minutes. The trick with doing large reports was not losing a page or two as you changed boxes.

I remember too that you sometimes printed carbon copies, the paper actually had the carbon-paper sandwiched between two layers, to you could get two identical copies in the one run. Then there was a gadget that separated the layers and the carbon paper.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: CrossRoads on Dec 27, 2012, 09:31 pm
My first job in aerospace was designing a SRAM card to use in place of UVEPROM so the software guys could download code and not have to keep burning/erasing UVEPROM boards. Whopping 320K bytes. 2nd task was updating that to 768Kbytes and adding 32K of EEPROM.
Also ran on a 20 address-bit ROLM bus with 2910 bit slice processor, 110nS cycle times to receive the address and the read/write control, decode if it was for the card, and have data back out on the bus.  Had 4 or 5 memory cards in the system, plus other cards that responded on the same bus. 21st address bit added later on.
Eventually all the memory was pulled back into a single processor card with an intel processor.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: graynomad on Dec 28, 2012, 12:51 am
Z80 and 6802/9, early 80s.

Quote
designing a SRAM card to use in place of UVEPROM so the software guys could download code and not have to keep burning/erasing UVEPROM boards.
I designed a Z8-based EPROM emulator but only 32k IIRC, large enough for most embedded work, had it on the market for some time.

_______
Rob
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: hart on Dec 28, 2012, 02:45 am
My first start with electronics was with a 150-in-ONE (http://www.flickr.com/photos/blazerman/2371910888/) project kit at aged 11.  I have vivid memories of wiring up a crystal radio and tuning into my first AM station (in Jakarta) which was playing the (then) newly released smash hit number one: Eye of the Tiger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_of_the_Tiger) by Survivor (http://youtu.be/btPJPFnesV4)...

As I grew up in Australia, I went through the entire catalog of Dick Smith Electronics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Smith_%28retailer%29) (DSE) Funway (http://tronixstuff.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/australian-electronics-nostalgia-funway-kits/) into Electronics kits, building almost all of them that I could afford with my allowance and any money I earned delivering junk mail and working at a shoe shop on Saturday mornings.

In my mid teens I watched in awe as my best friend built a Z80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zilog_Z80) based Ferguson Big Board (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferguson_Big_Board) computer.  I, however, got hooked on the software side of things and spent my late teens writing serial (mostly FOSSIL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FOSSIL) based) communications utilities to interface bespoke POS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_of_sale) systems to Gilbarco (http://www.gilbarco.com/au/) petrol pumps; linking NEC PBX systems to Qantel hotel billing systems for CDR processing.  I also wrote a tennis school database and a hotel functions event management database while studying at University and working as a night porter/auditor trainee in a hotel.  Fun times!

Between 18 and 20 as I studied computer systems engineering, a wonderful course that covered everything from basic programming to operating systems to electronic peripheral design - in one class, I build a wire-wrap ISA bus AD/DA card for an 8086 based PC and wrote a DOS TSR sound driver in assembly language; and a Telix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telix) clone in Pascal - those were the days!  In my 20s I helped my wife with her CompSci studies, in particular with MicMac (http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/~matloff/depaulmicmac.html) assignments.

I then spent 20 years working in the Internet and Telecommunications industry as an R&D engineer, designing and building networks and associated peripherals where I designed a system using Z80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zilog_Z80) based Rabbit (now owned by Digi) microcontrollers for out of band monitoring of remotely deployed microwave systems.  I am now a consulting engineer specialising in next gen IP telephony living and working in Europe.

My most recent return to micro controllers has been with an Arduino Uno and Arduino Fio which I am using to build my vision impaired nephew a talking temperature guage with scrolling LED text display.  The experience has been fantastic!  Mixing the best parts of writing code, soldering small circuits and wiring up different gadgets to talk to each other - heaven!

Cheers

Leigh
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: graynomad on Dec 28, 2012, 03:02 am
I remember those Big Boards, what monsters.

I just found the eZ80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EZ80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EZ80)), what a great-looking chip. I'm reading the data sheet now wondering what I could use one for.

Quote
I grew up in Australia

And now you're in the UK, one can only imagine the terrible circumstances that brought that about :)

______
Rob
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: hart on Dec 28, 2012, 10:02 am
G'day Rob,


I remember those Big Boards, what monsters.


Indeed - I don't ever recall my mate ever doing much with it other than zap a few eeproms with the on board programmer (for what, I have no idea!) :-)

Quote
I just found the eZ80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EZ80 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EZ80)), what a great-looking chip. I'm reading the data sheet now wondering what I could use one for.


I remember enjoying the Z80 - Zilog need to find a way to get them out to the mass market / enthusiasts like they did through education in the 70s and 80s if they hope to stand a chance against the current generation of AVRs.

Quote
Quote
I grew up in Australia

And now you're in the UK, one can only imagine the terrible circumstances that brought that about :)


It's a long story mate :-)  Belfast is an interesting spot, too right.

Cheers

Leigh
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: westfw on Dec 28, 2012, 10:54 am
Quote
I remember enjoying the Z80

Some of the Renesas processors are very z80-like.  Or perhaps 8080-like.
This includes the RL78/G13 that was recently the target of a contest with free dev boards available.
Actually, it was a bit depressing to discover; I sort of expect most chips available today to have either reached a certain degree of HLL-compatible elegance (like the AVR or MSP430 or ARM), or to have remained stubbornly "quirky" (like the 8-bit PICs.)  I wasn't expecting an architecture to look mostly ... old.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: graynomad on Dec 28, 2012, 04:03 pm
Yeah it's nice to reminisce and that eZ80 does look good at a glance, but I don't think there's much point going back to an old-style architecture when you can buy an ARM for $1.50.

______
Rob
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: AWOL on Dec 28, 2012, 04:10 pm
Quote
or to have remained stubbornly "quirky" (like the 8-bit PICs.)

I've taken to viewing programming PIC 16-series devices (particularly in assembler) as a form of masochism or aversion therapy.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: dhenry on Dec 28, 2012, 04:42 pm
Quote
to have remained stubbornly "quirky" (like the 8-bit PICs.)


If you code in a high level language like C, the core itself is mostly transparent.
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: greywolf271 on Jan 26, 2013, 04:55 pm
1979 ......SYM-1 with 2k ram (and you think 32K is'nt enough ? You have'nt lived in the fast lane mate)
Sadly, 2k was'nt enough either, 4k was pushing the proverbial uphill, just. So I frankensteined an S-100 16k memory board to the SYM memory interface.
All this with my parents bugging me on why I was wasting my lowly wages on rubbish !
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: focalist on Jan 26, 2013, 05:44 pm
SYM1...lol

Maybe was 1982, maybe a bit earlier, but was the same beast, I had access to one when I babysat for a programmer.. And then again in 1983 at a weeklong technology camp at the university of Wisconsin... where we also had access to the university Xerox Sigma Six.

Machine language baby!  (lord it was so awful doing just about anything.. I remember a dice rolling program that took me weeks of poring the SYM manuals.. do I get points for the fact that I succeeded, self taught, a year before my first computer class?)
Title: Re: Where did you start with Micro controllers?
Post by: greywolf271 on Jan 27, 2013, 12:31 am
Hey, I still got the boards.
I also bought a second SYM-1 some years later to try out sbc to sbc comms. You're right about learning programming before taking traditional classes. I aced my digital electronics labs at the Airforce training college some years later, and that was on a MicroProfessor.