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Topic: Where did you start with Micro controllers? (Read 20252 times) previous topic - next topic


Feb 07, 2012, 07:14 am Last Edit: Feb 07, 2012, 07:31 am by j514 Reason: 1
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
a][+ ascii express, 110/300 novation cat, xmodem


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.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.


Feb 07, 2012, 09:28 am Last Edit: Feb 07, 2012, 11:00 am by dc42 Reason: 1

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 ... ]
Formal verification of safety-critical software, software development, and electronic design and prototyping. See http://www.eschertech.com. Please do not ask for unpaid help via PM, use the forum.


Feb 07, 2012, 10:04 am Last Edit: Feb 07, 2012, 10:06 am by dxw00d Reason: 1
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).


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.


...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.



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 ;-)


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.


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>>


oh and *duino about a year ago

there are only 10 types of people
them that understands binary
and them that doesn't


Bendix G-15 with no RAM, < 2k sequential access (drum) memory
Ran my first program on December 29, 1959


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.


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.


Feb 07, 2012, 07:33 pm Last Edit: Feb 07, 2012, 07:42 pm by dxw00d Reason: 1
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.


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]

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.
Please post technical questions on the forum, not by personal message. Thanks!

More info: http://www.gammon.com.au/electronics


Feb 07, 2012, 10:19 pm Last Edit: Feb 07, 2012, 10:26 pm by focalist Reason: 1
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...

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