NerdKits - electronics education for a digital generation

You are not logged in. [log in]

NEW: Learning electronics? Ask your questions on the new Electronics Questions & Answers site hosted by CircuitLab.

Basic Electronics » My first Impression

December 15, 2010
by merlewagner
merlewagner's Avatar

My thoughts about the NERDKits unit

First, a little bit about my background. I have been around electronics since 1958 when I started with amateur radio, followed by years in computer maintenance (DEC 20 years), computer networking for 15 years. So good basics in electronics and a few years of programming at machine level while maintaining PDP15 systems and making the MUMPS operating system work reliably. I never got involved with microcontrollers until I ordered your kit but it was something that I wanted to do for years....

Getting started with the electronic aspects was not a problem and getting the kit together for the intro and reprogramming went great, no issues. But...

With the temp sensor project I really had problems with the code syntax and trying to understand what was occurring. It took a lot of researching on the net to understand what was supposed to happen. Biggest problems were compound assignments and the bitwise operators. Your reference on the bitwise helped. Programming microcontrollers is a major mindset change for me.

Now on to the next project...

December 16, 2010
by BobaMosfet
BobaMosfet's Avatar

Hi there, fellow DEC programmer. I did a lot of work on DEC PDP 8a and 8e. Nuclear Robotics in fact. I've done papertape, punched card, mylar tape, and even did bootloader loading with just switches (for each bit), one byte at a time, until enough was in to get the paper tapes loaded. I've written paged memory managers so that I could work with far larger programs than would fit in 4K, and more...

Don't let the C syntax fool you. It's closer to assembly than you think. As for the bitwise operators, you're either rolling left or rolling right, without a carry. The only trick is to know which bit is most significant, and which is least, so you know what's happening when you shift (either multiply or dividing).

Shakes your hand... Nice to meet someone else who enjoys machine language.


February 08, 2011
by Jalex
Jalex's Avatar

Hi I did about the same but I worked in the cable industry. I was the bech tech in a large system and worked mostly with RF distribution Amps. I did a lot of 8 bit assembly but later got lazy when the 32 bit system cam out. I love building and engineering new ideas so learning the nerkit will fit right in with my other work. I had a little trouble with the bit shifting too. I hadn't done any of that since I quit assembly and then I also had to learn all the static registers. I find it a lot like the old commodoore 64 if you ever had anything to do with it back in those days. I kind of liked that old machine. Too bad it died out. It sounds like you have it much better that I because I know very little about sending serial data and need to learn a lot more in this area. I find that I am still building circuits that could be made a lot simpler using the full capabilities of the nerd kit but I am gaining on that all the time.

February 08, 2011
by mongo
mongo's Avatar

I had a little later start. I think it was around 1963... Still a kid but keenly interested. I had to use a PDP11-73 at work and used a strange high level language called "Crips". Similar to Fortran, I think... Since then, I have had, and still have machines from 8086, 80286,836,486, Pentium I,II III,IV and so on. I got into these kits as a distraction from the everyday business of living and maybe to learn a little something new while at it.. So, it looks likr there are a few old timers in the group and I am happy to be one of them.

February 16, 2011
by amartinez
amartinez's Avatar

Remember the TRS 80? I had one for about one week then switched to Commodore 64. I am a bit younger and was in to jets in the 70s and got to electronics in the 80s. Programming in several languages but not enough to master any due to a computer networking career that took me away from this stuff.

Nerdkits is set up great with a lot of support. Humberto and Mike are awesome in their clear explanations. I am about to set up for projects. I just completed several voice synth projects and this info even helped with that. I feel no trepedation going in because of the way NK is structured. These guys are 100% PRO. They thought of everything!

You will be seeing my posts soon.

One thing... I am writing this from an IPAD and I do not see where I can post new threads... Please check on that. IPAD 16Gb no 3g



February 16, 2011
by devinsbusiness
devinsbusiness's Avatar

I am a construction worker who is way new to all of this. But I want to learn so that I can develop some ideas I have come up with over the years. I must say that I am so grateful for all of you guys and the knowledge and experience that you bring to this community. You guys' names come up in just about every thread I think I have ever read on this forum. Your answers are always courteous, concise and accurate. So, in closing, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you guys for all that you do for this forum.

Post a Reply

Please log in to post a reply.

Did you know that you can build a circuit to convert the "dit" and "dah" of Morse code back into letters automatically? Learn more...