Author Topic: Digital circuit definitions: What is this microcontroller, arduino, DSP stuff?  (Read 3329 times)

ExpAnonColin

Hey guys, I just posted a little article about what devices people are using to make music digitally, and I'm hoping it will be helpful for any beginners who are confused at all about what can do what any why people use one thing or another.  Please let me know if there's anything unclear or unhelpful, because I'd like this to be a somewhat useful resource for people new to this stuff!

http://experimentalistsanonymous.com/board/index.php?action=blog;sa=view_post;id=2115

-Colin

space_ryerson

Thanks Colin! As a beginner in the digital realm, there's a lot of  good info in there. The only question I have is can you flash a PIC, AVR or DSP chip more than once from your computer, or is it a one shot deal?

ExpAnonColin

Thanks Colin! As a beginner in the digital realm, there's a lot of  good info in there. The only question I have is can you flash a PIC, AVR or DSP chip more than once from your computer, or is it a one shot deal?

Ah, very good question - you can flash as much as you like, I think normally it's about 10,000 write cycles :)

-Colin

space_ryerson

Great! Thanks Colin.

PRR

Back in ye olden days we used a little teensy chisel....

And mask-programming; you paid for a "printing plate" with your data/code, which was used in chip fabrication.

There was a LOT of actual write-once "burned" PROM. It came all-ones. You set up the address of a bit you wanted to be a zero. Then you applied a BIG jolt. You literally burned-out the connection at that address. If you didn't do it right, it didn't go zero, or all the cells around it went zero. If it worked, you did it 6 more times to be sure. Then you set up your next address and did it again. (Of course they made boxes to do the tedium; some of these read paper-tape.)

Skip to this 21st century. I got a BASICstamp, which AFAIK uses the same technology as all the others. It "burns" in a few seconds, my code ran but not quite right, I edited and burned a dozen times (I'm a sloppy programmer). As I read the docs, there was nearly no way I would ever "wear out" the PROM. It can be done if you gimmick the programming port to store data and change that data "often", but not with normal or excessive manual code revisions. Colin's "10,000" number seems right. It used to be 10 for-sure and probably 100 re-writes, then 1,000, but when they got it to many-thousand it became a non-issue for code storage.

It -may- be similar to the digi-cam and thumb-drive storage. You "can" wear these out. Most people lose or out-grow their drives before they wear it out.

(I have a concern. I have WinXP running on an old flash drive. Windows is pretty profligate about writing useless info over and over. The flash I used tries to move stuff around, "wear leveling". Which makes some things in Windows VERY slow. I figure it will run for 1 to 10 years before wear-out. It's well into its second year.)