tuesday, 21 august 2007

posted at 09:17

Third week without writing any code has been and gone, so very little to report or show. I've been researching this hardware stuff. I have a reasonably good book from the library about the AVR (Programming and Customizing the AVR Microcontroller). Its not brilliant but is good for a skim through. The library didn't have anything better. I've also printed off a bunch of datasheets which look very comprehensive and will take me ages to get through.

The other book I grabbed (on recommendation from the 6502.org forum) is The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill. I've only read a few pages of the first chapter, but already I can tell this book is exceptional - incredibly detailed but gently takes you from fundamentals through to hard stuff without an equation in sight. I'll study it a little over the next couple of weeks but I have a feeling I may spring for a copy, and thats rare - I never buy reference books because the internet is usually so much better. This book should bring me up to speed on the fundamentals and fill the many gaps in my theoretical knowledge, which I'm really starting to feel.

I zoomed over to Jaycar on Friday and bought their AVR programmer kit, and built it on Sunday. The board was a cinch, but I suck at cables so I'll have to buy a few new connectors to replace the ones I broke. Haven't tested the circuit yet; I need an AVR and its associated board and whatever else, and some code written, before I can try that. This is why I'm buiing (mostly) prebuilt tools - designing something like this is too hard right now, as I'd have no real way to tell if it was working or not.

This project is going to be very slow, as I can only buy parts just after payday, which comes around every couple of weeks. Thats probably all right though - I'm having some serious pain in my right shoulder, which is aggravated by using the laptop, so I'm planning to spend my bus trips for the next little while catching up on my reading, and spending any computer time in the evening working on some web stuff (that I'll write about later, maybe today even).