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How to Begin Building Your Own Computer

Posted by in Development Boards, Development Tips, Guides

We decided to write a separate post on how to build your own computer. As this is an embedded development website, including as much information about all fields of computing is important. We at Paltronix hope you find this piece informative and come visit us at our local shop to purchase development products!


To begin building your own computer, you will need to gather the right components. There are build guides available online which offer component lists for a variety of “build your own” computers. We recommend choosing a build guide, such as this popular list to find a gaming PC under $500. and then shopping around online (or in your own community) in order to gather high-quality components for great prices. Once you have your supplies, you’ll be ready to get the job done!

We recommend clearing a flat surface, such as a larger desk or kitchen table, which gives you ample room for boxes and parts. Before you unbox your components, you should should be aware of one risk. It’s static electricity. There is a way to avoid the risk, and this is purchasing a wristband which is anti-static. When you wear it, you’ll be grounded at all times. We think that everyone who builds their own computers should invest in these wristbands.

Also, you should choose footwear that has rubber soles. Another tip on avoiding static electricity is to work on your computer build in a room that has non-carpet flooring. Rugs stir up a lot of static electricity. When you do open boxes that contain your components, you’ll notice that most of them come in bags with anti-static properties. Keep them in these bags until you need them.

Open Your Case First


Getting the case ready is probably the simplest part of building a new computer. Put the case on your flat surface and take away its side panel. This panel’s removal will allow you to get into the case. Usually, the panel is located on the left-hand side. In addition, you should take away things that are hanging inside of the case. If something is affixed to the case, on the inside, move it out of the way.

Now, you’ll need to put your power supply into the case. It’s known as PSU for short. This component is usually situated on the back of a case, in an uppermost corner or on the bottom. You should see a slot with a square shape. This is the slot for the power supply. The slot will feature screw holes on two or more corners and the power supply unit will rest inside of it, with its female socket and switch facing in an outward direction. If you need more help, look at the manual which came with your case. It should show you exactly where the PSU needs to go.

After you take care of this, it will be time to install the computer’s processor. This is a more complex operation. However, plenty of people do it themselves and you can, too. Be sure to read lots of tips on installing a computer processor before you begin. This guide by Super Micro should help. When you educate yourself, you’ll have more confidence. You’ll know exactly what to do and what not to do!

Start Building a Computer Today

The Internet makes it so easy to find great components for fair prices. Also, it’s loaded with instructions on which components to buy and how to build a computer, step by careful step. So, why not start building a computer today?

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Interactive C Robot Kit

Posted by in Intermediate, Robot Kits

Ordering Information

Order Code: INTCROBOT
Manufacturer: Inex
Price: £159.00

Overview

The Interactive C robot kit is based on Inex’s AX-11 robot controller board, which is a modified version of the popular Handy Board by MIT. The AX-11 is a 68HC11-based controller that enables the user to build mobile robots for educational, hobbyist and industrial purposes. It incorporates 32KB of non-volatile RAM, six digital inputs, eight digital outputs, 21 analogue inputs, four DC motor drivers, six servo motor drivers and a 16×2 character LCD. The AX-11 board is a popular choice for robot design courses, projects and competitions in colleges and universities worldwide.

Features

  • Quick and easy to assemble – no soldering required.
  • Programmed using Interactive C – ideal for experienced users and for use in further and higher education.
  • Complete package includes everything required to conduct a number of different robot projects.
  • Experiments cover basic movement, collision detection, light detection, line tracing, contactless collision detection and distance measurement techniques.
  • Supplied with detailed and easy-to-follow documentation covering construction and C language programming of the robot.
  • Wide range of optional interface boards and sensors available.

AX-11 Robot Controller Module Specifications

The “brains” of the Interactive C Robot is the AX-11 microcontroller board, which features:

  • Based on Freescale 68HC11 microcontroller.
  • 32KB RAM with battery backup.
  • Four DC motor outputs.
  • Six servo motor outputs.
  • Six digital inputs.
  • Eight digital outputs.
  • 21 analogue input channels.
  • Serial communications port.
  • LCD connector and contrast adjustment potentiometer.
  • Piezo speaker.
  • On/off switch and low battery indicator.
  • Powered from six rechargeable AA batteries.

Package Contents

  • 1 x AX-11 controller board with 16×2 character LCD.
  • 1 x battery holder box
  • 2 x ZX-01 touch sensors
  • 3 x ZX-03 infrared reflective sensor
  • 1 x GP2D120 IR ranger
  • 1 x baseplate
  • 1 x wheel and track set
  • 1 x screws and fixings pack
  • 1 x plastic joiners set
  • 2 x DC motor with 48:1 gearbox
  • 2 x DC motor with 120:1 gearbox
  • 4 x motor mounting

See also:

This AVR-based robot is easy to build and can be programmed in a number of languages including C.
This PIC-based robot is easy to build and can be programmed in a number of languages including C.
This 8051-based robot is easy to build and can be programmed in a number of languages including C.
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Robo51 Robot Kit

Posted by in Intermediate, Robot Kits

Ordering Information

Order Code: ROBO51
Manufacturer: Inex
Price: £99.00

The Robo51 is a medium skill level robot kit that is an ideal platform for the teaching of microcontroller programming in colleges and universities. Also suitable for anyone with an interest in 8051 microcontrollers and robots in general.

The Robo51 uses an Atmel T89C51AC2 microcontroller, which can be programmed using various languages such as assembler, BASIC and C.

Features

  • Quick and easy to assemble – no soldering required.
  • Can be programmed using assembly language, BASIC or C – ideal for more experienced users and for use in further and higher education.
  • Complete package includes everything required to conduct a number of different robot projects.
  • Experiments cover basic movement, collision detection, line tracing and contactless collision detection techniques plus use of infrared remote control.
  • Supplied with detailed and easy-to-follow documentation covering construction and C language programming of the robot.
  • Wide range of optional interface boards and sensors available.

RBX-51AC2 Robot Controller Module Specifications

The “brains” of the ROBO-51 is the RBX-51AC2 microcontroller board, which features:

  • Based on Atmel T89C51AC2 microcontroller.
  • Two DC motor outputs.
  • Three servo motor outputs.
  • Five digital I/O lines.
  • Six analogue input channels.
  • UART serial communications port.
  • I2C port.
  • Three LED indicators.
  • LCD connector and contrast adjustment potentiometer.
  • Piezo speaker.
  • Program/run switch.
  • On/off switch and low battery indicator.
  • Powered from four AA batteries (not included, 1700mAH or higher rechargeable batteries recommended).

Package Contents

  • 1 x RBX-51AC2 controller board with 16×2 character LCD
  • 1 x battery holder box
  • 2 x ZX-01 touch sensors
  • 2 x ZX-03Q infrared reflective sensor
  • 2 x ZX-08 infrared objector
  • 1 x ER-4 38kHz infrared remote control
  • 1 x ZX-IRM 38kHz infrared receiver
  • 1 x baseplate
  • 1 x wheel and track set
  • 1 x screws and fixings pack
  • 1 x plastic joiners set
  • 2 x DC motor with 48:1 gearbox
  • 2 x motor mounting

See also:

Based on a BASIC Stamp controller, this robot is powerful and versatile yet easy to use.
This AVR-based robot is easy to build and can be programmed in a number of languages including C.
This PIC-based robot is easy to build and can be programmed in a number of languages including C.
Read More

Serial LCD Adapter

Posted by in Display and User Input Interface Add-ons, Interface Add-ons

Ordering Information

Order Code: LCDSER
Manufacturer: MikroElektronika
Price: £9.95

Connect your character LCD easily and save MCU pins with this high quality serial character LCD adapter. The board is based on a Microchip MCP23S17 16-bit I/O expander with SPI serial interface and also features adjustable contrast. Suitable for use with MikroElektronika’s PIC development and prototyping boards.

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RoboPica Robot Kit

Posted by in Intermediate, Robot Kits

Ordering Information

Order Code: ROBOPICA
Manufacturer: Inex
Price: £99.00

Overview

The RoboPica is a medium skill level robot kit that is an ideal platform for the teaching of microcontroller programming in colleges and universities. Also suitable for anyone with an interest in PIC microcontrollers and robots in general.

The RoboPica uses a Microchip PIC16F887 micr0controller, which can be programmed using various languages such as assembler, BASIC and C. Supplied in the kit is a USB programmer that is compatible with Microchip’s MPLAB development software.

Features

  • Quick and easy to assemble – no soldering required.
  • Can be programmed using assembly language, BASIC or C – ideal for more experienced users and for use in further and higher education.
  • Complete package includes everything required to conduct a number of different robot projects.
  • Experiments cover basic movement, collision detection, line tracing and contactless collision detection techniques plus use of infrared remote control.
  • Supplied with detailed and easy-to-follow documentation covering construction and C language programming of the robot.
  • Wide range of optional interface boards and sensors available.

RBX-877 Controller Module Specifications

The “brains” of the RoboPica is the RBX-877 microcontroller board, which features:

  • Based on Microchip PIC16F887 microcontroller.
  • Two DC motor outputs.
  • Three servo motor outputs.
  • Eight programmable port lines.
  • UART serial communications port.
  • I2C port.
  • Pushbutton input.
  • Programmable LED indicator.
  • Interrupt button and external interrupt connector.
  • LCD connector and contrast adjustment potentiometer.
  • Piezo speaker.
  • ICD2 in-system programming connector.
  • On/off switch and low battery indicator.
  • Powered from four AA batteries (not included, 1700mAH or higher rechargeable batteries recommended).

Package Contents

  • 1 x RBX-877 controller board with 16×2 character LCD.
  • 1 x battery holder box.
  • 2 x ZX-01 touch sensors.
  • 2 x ZX-03 infrared reflective sensor.
  • 1 x GP2D120 distance sensor.
  • 1 x ER-4 38kHz infrared remote control.
  • 1 x ZX-IRM 38kHz infrared receiver.
  • 1 x baseplate.
  • 1 x wheel and track set.
  • 1 x screws and fixings pack.
  • 1 x plastic joiners set.
  • 2 x DC motor with 48:1 gearbox.
  • 2 x motor mounting.
  • 1 x PX-200 USB PIC programmer.

See also:

A flexible robot kit that can be easily and quickly programmed in graphical or text-based LOGO.
Based on a BASIC Stamp controller, this robot is powerful and versatile yet easy to use.
This AVR-based robot is easy to build and can be programmed in a number of languages including C.
Read More