Monday, April 2, 2012

Say Hi to Arduino!

Arduino Uno
In a prior life I was a Major Nerd. MAJOR Nerd. Much of my early life centered around a single board computer which used at its core the CPU used by the first Apples. This system was known as a KIM-1   Over a period of years I extended this system, added memory. Interfaced it to a TV display, a Selectric type writer, some surplus 8” floppy drives and then wrote my own Operating System. Wow, what a life….

Fast forward 35+ years and now we have this – Arduino Uno. Arduino is one of handful of small computer / development systems out there. Mostly they are designed for things like robotics, or education. Today I spent some time setting up the environment, and even writing my 1st program – the Classic Hello World! (And ya, that is Niko sitting on top of the COM19 terminal window. Nerd On!)

I am the Programming Stud!

Boy, what a difference. This device uses a variation of object.c, while KIM-1 used Machine Code. I still remember that Hex code A9 translate to LDA - “LoaD the Accumulator immediate” in 6502 machine code. Today there is no hand coding, no hand typing in, etc. And this Uno cost under $20. In today’s $!    I will not share how much I had into KIM…

This has been a trip down Memory Lane. All day I have been playing with it, blinking lights, typing strings, lots of small things. The reason I purchased this is I am not happy with the voltage regulators I can find for our Kubota generator. I want one that can maximize the energy produced, which means it needs to monitor and adjust the Amps produced as well as the Volts of the alternator.  In addition, I want one that will reduce the alternator output when the watermaker is running (right now I just turn off the alternator).

This could be a fun project, and who knows I might even add some other automation. Example, perhaps I can slow down the Kubota motor as the battery starts to become fully charged. Maybe Auto starting? Ah, lots of possibilities.

But for now, I will be happy just saying Hello World.

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