4 Replies - 555 Views - Last Post: 03 April 2011 - 08:13 AM

#1 Patrunjel  Icon User is offline

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Goofing with integrated circuits

Posted 03 April 2011 - 06:34 AM

Ok, so i have this slight obsession to break electronic things apart (like take the case off , and separate it in tiny bits and pieces :) )
I don't really know why...but anyways, that's not the point. ~3 hours ago i started an old keyboard, and found in it a real simple PCB, with a big integrated circuit in the middle. (It's a ZILOG R403, 20 pins, from an old Key Tronic P/S 2 keyboard)
Another obsession of mine is low-level programming (more specific, i would love to be able to program microchips in assembly...don't ask me why :-?? ... ) So I was wondering how can i goof with the IC ? I mean, can i connect it to the PC and write ASM on it? If yes, how? or what's the use of it?
I have googled stuff like crazy in the past hour, nothing came out...
Gosh, i hope that the programming veterans read the corner cubicle :P

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Replies To: Goofing with integrated circuits

#2 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Goofing with integrated circuits

Posted 03 April 2011 - 07:42 AM

A chip like that, no. In simple embedded apps like that, the chips use burn once memory, that means you can program them once only and then never again. It's much cheaper for bulk chips. Also, you'd need a dev board to be able to burn to it anyway, I've made custom circuits to get these things into programming mode, but it's more effort and less reliability than it's worth. Beyond that, what you have in a keyboard is so simple that you'd have a hard time coming up with anything interesting for it to do, all it does is take an input that translates to an ASCII value in a lookup table that it spits out the other side.

There are lots of educational/hobbyist setups you can get from companies like PIC that will provide you with a dev board and a chip that has lots of interesting features like AD converters, analog ports, digital ports, etc etc that are really designed for tinkerers like yourself. Often you'll find these for under a hundred bucks, and they'll come with a bunch of projects you can do, and IO peripherals like push buttons, LEDs etc etc.

This looks like a good starting place, because it's the first link I clicked after googling "microprocessor development kits" :

http://www.nerdkits....CFcq8KgodUkD1rQ
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#3 Patrunjel  Icon User is offline

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Re: Goofing with integrated circuits

Posted 03 April 2011 - 08:00 AM

So should i expect that all the microchips i find in radios, walkie-talkies, etc, to be ROM?
Thanks a lot for the link, but i'm so far from the US that the transport would cost more than what i actually buy :))
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#4 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Goofing with integrated circuits

Posted 03 April 2011 - 08:07 AM

I'm sure you can find similar stuff in your country. And yes, in any product where they don't expect to ever change or update the program, ROM is used. I still say search for development kits, they're pretty reasonably priced and if that's what you like doing you can teach yourself a lot.
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#5 Patrunjel  Icon User is offline

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Re: Goofing with integrated circuits

Posted 03 April 2011 - 08:13 AM

I was planning to buy and arduno anyways (3 weeks of rasing money gone, 1-2 left, and i will have my Uno :P ), but i was very curious on what the source looked like, how did they program it, and it would have been quite an insight on how computers actually work.

And this brings another question... Ok, i have rom, i can't modify it, but can't i view the source code? :)
I mean, can i improvise something that would let me connect the chip to a computer? (so i can see how it works and stuff)
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