Archive for category: Hardware

Another bit of programmable hardware: the WRTnode

January 2, 2015 | Computer Science, Hardware, Internet of Things, My Projects, Operating Systems, Raspberry Pi | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve got a weak spot for cheap, programmable hardware. In my junk drawer I’ve got a collection of Arduinos, Parallax Propellor boards, a couple of STM32 based ARM boards, and several Beagle Bone Blacks and Raspberry Pis. Today, another entry arrived: the WRTnode. I’ve only had it out of the box for a few hours, […]

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Tiny-Tim: A DTL computer (in progress)

January 20, 2013 | electronics, Hardware, Homebrew CPU, Homebuilt CPUs | By: Mark VandeWettering

Previously, I had linked to Rory Mangles’ experiments with relay based computers. He had an incredible build of a relay logic computer called Tiny-8 which used paper as program mamory, inked with a pattern which could be read by photo sensors to sequence the control logic in his computer. I thought it was amazing. But […]

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A Tale of Two Gadgets: the TonidoPlug 2 and a Bus Pirate…

March 30, 2012 | Hardware, Microcontrollers, My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

A few days ago, I mentioned that one of my servers had died. I spent some time thinking about how I would replace it. I like having a 24/7 hooked up to the Internet to serve as a file drop and a place where I can use SSH to connect to other devices on my […]

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The Little Engine that Could…

March 23, 2012 | Hardware | By: Mark VandeWettering

In my home office, I have a machine called “fishtank”. I realized that I first bought it back in 2002, and since then it has been running various flavors of FreeBSD (probably beginning around 4.6 or so, currently running 7.2). At various times I’ve added or upgraded disk drives to it. While a power failure […]

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Microcontroller cheat sheet

December 13, 2011 | Arduino, electronics, Hardware, Microcontrollers | By: Mark VandeWettering

I needed to know the pinouts for various AVR chips and the 6 pin ICSP cable they used. I found this cool little one page sheet that had that, and more. Saved for future reference: Microcontroller cheat sheet.

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Sprites mods – CP/M on an AVR

September 5, 2011 | electronics, Hacking, Hardware | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve always been fascinated by emulation and virtual machines, as well as retro-computing: resurrecting the old machines of my past. I never owned an old CP/M machine, but there are still some neat projects where people construct there own, and simulators like SIMH and YAZE-AG are good software simulators. But what I always wondered was […]

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Magnetic core memory reborn… on an Arduino????

May 11, 2011 | Computer Science, electronics, Hacking, Hardware | By: Mark VandeWettering

I may have mentioned before, I’m kind of old. One measure of how old I am is the fact that I’ve actually programmed machines that used core memory. Real core memory. Little ferrite donuts on arrays of wires. Some time ago, I remember running across this awesome blog post from “Wayne’s Tinkering Page” which showed […]

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A small standalone homebrew computer: FIGnition by Libby8dev

May 1, 2011 | electronics, Hardware | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’m old. I learned to program as a teenager in the 1980s. Back then, we learned to program on small microcomputers. These machines weren’t very powerful, but they had a neat feature: they were self-hosted. In recent years, a large variety of small microcontrollers have become popular. Many of these have capabilities far in excess […]

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The J1 Forth CPU, running on an FPGA

December 2, 2010 | FPGA, Hardware, My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

Tom showed me a link to The J1 Forth CPU, a very small processor which is coded in Verilog (only 200 lines!) and can run very fast on existing FPGA boards. It is quite an intriguing design. Forth is an intriguing if somewhat archaic programming language. In the bygone ages of my youth, I experimented […]

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LatticeXP2 Brevia Development Kit, with a deal breaker

December 2, 2010 | electronics, FPGA, Hardware, My Projects | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve been playing with a BASYS2 FPGA development kit from, and pondering the world of digital system design. I chose the BASYS2 because of its low price ($70) and because it included a reasonable number of LEDs, switches, a VGA interface and a connector for a PS/2 keyboard. Still, I’ve been looking for other […]

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Design of a simple ALU…

October 14, 2010 | Computer Science, electronics, Hardware | By: Mark VandeWettering

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a bunch of links to a 16 bit ALU designed to operate using blocks which are defined in the game Minecraft. It got me thinking, and ordered the book that inspired that work. It contains the specification for an ALU which is very simple, and yet surprisingly powerful […]

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Making a soft-circuit input device for your computer

August 13, 2010 | electronics, Hardware, Toys and Gadgets | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’m intrigued by various uses for embedded processors, and so are my readers. I hadn’t seen this particular microcontroller board before, the “Teensy”, which is very similar to the Arduino, except that it is uses an ATMEL AVR chip with a direct support for USB. The link also points at a nifty interface to “soft […]

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Using a PDP

February 11, 2009 | Computer Science, Hacking, Hardware | By: Mark VandeWettering

I’ve been interested in old computers for quite some time, so I was pleased to run across this link: Using a PDP.

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Arduino Realtime Audio Processing

January 15, 2009 | Hacking, Hardware | By: Mark VandeWettering

The Arduino is a cheap little microcontroller, but you can use it to do some interesting audio effects. Check out the following Lab3 – Labor für experimentelle Informatik

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Re-animating the PDP-11/70

December 16, 2008 | Computer Science, Hacking, Hardware | By: Mark VandeWettering

A few years ago, Tom Duff and I each wrote an emulator for the PDP-1 so we could play the original version of Space Wars! I learned a lot about old computers in the week or so it took me to do, and I must admit that I’ve retained a fascination for old computers ever […]

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