Exploring Digital Computer Electronics

by Lewis Loflin

(Above) reusing a 21-year-old Presario PIII computer. It can do a lot with Tinycore Linux or earlier versions of Windows, but is the limit for my uses.

Just added:

This is an offshoot of my website Hobby Electronics. That site was oriented towards building hardware projects such as H-Bridge motor controls or microcontroller circuits with Arduino, Picaxe, and Microchip PICs.

While touched on at my other site, this is dedicated to computers and related electronics. Reusing older computers or what I call "upcycle". What software to use and when. Learning computer hardware. Connecting computers to actual hardware. To use an old computer as a super microcontroller.

A computer as I define it is a complete system usually consisting of a motherboard and attached peripherals - printer ports, serial ports, plug in cards such wireless and video, USB ports, external memory, etc. It is a system.

Review older computer mother boards and explain aspects of software and hardware - how they come together.

What can I do with them? Running lite versions of Linux we can learn programming - python, C/C++, bash files, set up various desktops such as Openbox, Fluxbox, PEKwm, and JWM.

Compile and create C programs to operate hardware connected to printer ports or build a complete plug in card.

These subjects were touched upon with Raspberry Pi on my electronics website. They apply equally here. See the following:

(Above) Review, test of AAEON EMB-B75A motherboard salvage from dumpster. Had 2 Gigs RAM, quad core 3 Gig processor.

Example PIC microcontroller on carrier board.
Fig. 1


A microcontroller often refers today to single board controllers built around a single integrated circuit with internal memory, IO, etc. An example is the control panel on your microwave oven.

Fig. 1 shows an example PIC microcontroller from Microchip Corporations. There are likely hundreds of variations. See my earlier projects. These are done in assembly.

The above video at the top of the page is an example. To learn computer hardware and how it has changed. To fix, salvage, program vintage machines. To reuse an older system means less e-waste, easier learning curb, and low cost. A lot of us can't afford the latest and greatest.

That 20-year-old Presario still does a lot even with some versions of more modern Linux. I used it for streaming audio, word processing, software design, etc. Yes it can even operate a CNC machine. The one in the video I got for free.

Linux Videos

Live Linux Distro for Using Printer Port with Electronics
Using the powerful Rox-Filer system in Linux
Use FEH under Linux for a Wallpaper Setter
How to create Symbolic links in Linux

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PuTTY terminal program for Linux, Windows


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