Tuesday, December 27, 2011
A £10 Tiny Basic Computer you can build yourself
Back in August 2010, I came up with the idea of a DIY Arduino built from a few components and an AT mega built on stripboard for about £10.
Just take an ATmega328 pre-programmed with the Arduino bootloader (from CoolComponents, Farnell etc) and build it onto a small scrap of stripboard about 50mm square, with a 16MHz crystal, a few capacitors, resistors and a 6 way header strip to accept a programming cable - and for about £10 you have a little Arduino compatible computer on which you can run real control programs.
If you then load Arduino Tiny Basic onto the microcontroller, you have a device that you can program in a very simple programming language - direct from a serial terminal program, and use it to flash LEDs, make light chaser displays, make analogue sensor readings and a whole load of other stuff - just with a few lines of Basic code.
Tiny Basic is a very simple to learn language and is ideal to teach newcomers the fundamentals of computing. This makes it ideal for youngsters and students who perhaps have had no experience of real computer programming.
In this minimal form, the ATmega328 has 12 digital output lines and 6 analogue inputs - plus the two signal used to support the serial terminal interface.
I hope to release a very low cost pcb and kit of parts for this in the New Year - allowing anyone to make a £10 computer.
Happy New Year