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Computers and Microprocessors

  1. Jun 6, 2008 #1
    Hey all,

    I have a few questions concerning computers for a project I'm working on... I know a significant amount of electronics but not so much on the computer end...

    say I wanted the simple application of controling a light (an LED for example) with my computer - what's the easiest way to wire-in or attach the light?

    Something else that I was wondering about, are there PICs (or something similiar) that allow you to put Linux (or heaven forbid... Windows) on a microcontroller?
    The reason being, if you wanted to use software on the microcontroller that already existed on one of the two platforms.

    Thanks a lot!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2008 #2


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    Windows for one does not allow direct port access.
    You would need to write a device driver (not simple) or use DOS.
    However, you might be able to hook a transistor and LED to the RTS line of a serial port.
    The open/close commands will toggle the line.
    Don't know if it can drive an LED directly, maybe.

    Don't know of any PICs the have an OS, let alone Windoze or Linux.
    Some PICs have C compilers. You could port if there is equivalent library support.
  4. Jun 6, 2008 #3
    The easiest way to connect a "LED" to a computer is through the parallel port, simply connect it between any of the Ground pins and Data/Control pins and a simple C/Visual Basic program will do. And although NoTime is right in that Windows doesn't give direct access to user-level programs there are a couple of programs out-there that will override this and give you direct port access.

    A couple a years ago the answer of your second question would be no, but Atmel has been rolling out some Windows-Embedded/Linux-supported MCU's, I believe most support uCLinux.

    One last comment on your last sentence is that even though the MCU will be running Windows/Linux, it'll probably not even come close to running any Linux/Windows App working on your regular X86-Based machine, unless of-course your considering doing some serious porting jobs (if the application is open source).
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