What is it? This is a simulated 4-bit microcomputer that you can program in machine language. It has 31 instructions, a keyboard for program and data entry, an 8x2 character lcd display for progra...Read More…
This is a simulated 4-bit microcomputer that you can program in machine language. It has 31 instructions, a keyboard for program and data entry, an 8x2 character lcd display for programming and program output, a speaker to generate sound, and non-volatile storage to save two complete memory contents.
When I was very young, my father gave me a Radio Shack kit that launched me into a lifetime of interest in science, engineering, and electronics. One of those kits was a microcomputer trainer. I was fascinated with this simple, yet flexible computer and had tons of fun and learned a lot while programming it. Computers today are so complicated and the high level languages we use today make so many people so far removed from how an actual computer works, that I wanted to come up with my own version of a trainer to offer to homeschoolers, science teachers, hobbyists, and anyone else who is interested in getting back to machine level programming.
I have written a comprehensive curriculum for the computer that introduces you to computers, binary counting, computer architecture, and programming concepts. It also has example code for every instruction as they are introduced.
Programming in machine language forces you to have to think like a computer. You are in complete control of memory, resources, and timing. Having to track these things helps you understand how modern software programming works. Programming in machine language will make you feel much more comfortable with concepts like 'pointers and references.'
I designed the board, wrote the firmware, wrote the curriculum, and assembled the computers myself. I have sold some on eBay and am amused that most of my sales are to old computer programmers who love the nostalgia of machine language programming.
See the video for an introduction on how this computer works.
I send out the computer with a card listing all of the instructions and pertinent information about them. The computer is powered by a USB connector on the board (USB cable included). After purchase, I will email a link to the full curriculum to download. If you prefer, I can include the curriculum on a mini CD-ROM disk.
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I am a maker from birth. I love playing and experimenting with electronics, robots, radios, and anything else technical. I retired from the military and have a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering. I am passionate about teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) topics and started Subsystems to distribute education modules to anyone who wants to learn cool things.