To many developments

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
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Who wants to see less STAMP and Development board based projects in NV?

Yes I do
7
50%
No I don't
3
21%
Somewhere in the middle
4
29%
 
Total votes: 14

JPKNHTP
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To many developments

Post by JPKNHTP » Mon Apr 10, 2006 7:54 pm

-JPKNHTP
-God Bless

hp
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Post by hp » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:13 pm

I definitely like all the stamp projects because they can always be ported to other micros with little work as long as you use a compatible basic language. The best thing about these stamp projects are that they have the perfect blend of educational material + hardware design. Not to mention it is easy to obtain the devices that are interfaced to the stamp, unlikely many of the projects in NV that use extremely hard to get materials.

At least those stamp projects aren't the totally odd projects that make me think 'how the heck did that get in there'. I won't name any projects, but some of them are too weired or too simple.

I bet there are so many other better projects that are sitting there waiting to get published, yet they never do because NV has to please everyone with 1 stamp project, 1 no micro project, 1 special micro project, 1 all analog project, etc.

I'm kind of bitter about the project selection anyways since I had an article in the 'queue to be printed stack' that eventually went to the 'not likely to ever be printed stack.'

Harrison

JPKNHTP
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Post by JPKNHTP » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:26 pm

-JPKNHTP
-God Bless

Robert Reed
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Post by Robert Reed » Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:06 pm

JPK
I agree with you about these projects. When you start laying out megabucks for development boards and then add a power source an a few LEDs to it, it is not far removed from purchasing a ready made commercial product. Where is the "project" part of this. I like to see projects designed from scratch and many times even though I might not build it, I get useful circuit segments from the authors design that I eventually use elsewhere. I also would like to see the magazine focus more on 'core' electronics.

L. Daniel Rosa
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Post by L. Daniel Rosa » Tue Apr 11, 2006 2:57 am

The basic stamp IMAO is slow, limited, and expensive. Anything it can do can be done faster by anything else. WTIM, any BS project would be improved by porting it to your uC of choice (which shouldn't be dificult if you're serious about your hobby). As such, it is the least (not necessarily common) denominator.

As for the development boards, they're not so different from other many-in-one tools. You may find that the tools work better for you when they're not all on the same body, like a screwdriverhammercamerahatchetstereocorkscrew. I prefer to have mine as individual modules, but one day I will have most of the things on a development board so projects presented on one should be no big deal.

Gorgon
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Post by Gorgon » Tue Apr 11, 2006 3:10 am

Robert & JPK
I totally agree with you on this, it is of little educational value in electronic theory to make a 95% ready project. From the questions in this forum, I would say that much of the basic knowledge in the electric and electronic world is passed by. You jump from lighting a LED and pushing a button, to running a ready made program, without knowledge of the steps between.

What about a 'general logic' column, solving simple and not so simple problems without processing them through a micro? What about some sort of monthly quiz/ problem to be solved by the readers, and then presented in a later issue? I'm sure that many of the more or less 'old' readers have vast knowledge in this field, and that it should be possible to make some really readable articles from this.

This idea is free to use for the 'powers that be' :D

TOK ;)
Gorgon the Caretaker - Character in a childrens TV-show from 1968. ;)

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Post by Engineer1138 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:26 am

I guess it depends on what the magazine's target audience is. You can't be all things to all people.

I'm not a fan of the Stamp, but I do like microcontrollers and tend to put them in most projects. Without the Stamp, many people couldn't even get started on a microcontroller project. And it's not realistic in today's world to build many gate-level projects when a sheet of TTL logic can be condensed to a few lines of code.

Perhaps if the magazine published one or two "reference designs:" simple microcontroller circuits that cost just $10 or so to build and then encouraged authors to submit projects based on those designs it would be a happy medium. Then we'd all be on pretty much the same page.

I do think analog electronics is a dying art, and since the parts tend to be pretty cheap, it would be a good focus for the magazine. But they live by what the authors submit, so if there aren't too many analog electronics engineers & experimenters out there, then...

JPKNHTP
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Post by JPKNHTP » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:27 am

-JPKNHTP
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Engineer1138
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Post by Engineer1138 » Tue Apr 11, 2006 1:06 pm

JPK:
Sorry, I should have been more clear. When I said a *sheet* of TTL logic I was thinking of the large (D-size?) blueprint sheets. Dozens or hundreds of gates, counters, etc. Not something you build unless you have to. So someone who could do it in an AVR and some code has no motivation to also build & test a large logic circuit.

I actually had something specific in mind when I wrote that. An older engineer friend had showed me a circuit for a medical device he did in the 70's. It was literally a dozen sheets of drawings reduced to 11"x14" and he just shook his head when I told him that these days all that logic would fit inside a $2 chip.

Electronics is fun, but it's getting harder and harder to do anything interesting without a lot of knowledge and experience and money.

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Chris Smith
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Post by Chris Smith » Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:42 pm

Micro controller projects are great, if they are technical or challenging.

After all, purchasing a wax Candle is still involves less time and money than part one and part two of how to make a candle, using a PIC?

We have had enough “baby stepsâ€

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philba
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Post by philba » Tue Apr 11, 2006 7:23 pm

Engineer1138 wrote:...

Perhaps if the magazine published one or two "reference designs:" simple microcontroller circuits that cost just $10 or so to build and then encouraged authors to submit projects based on those designs it would be a happy medium. Then we'd all be on pretty much the same page.
You know I think a reference design is not a bad idea at all. I've made a couple of pic based circuits that I keep reusing for various pojects. It makes it really easy to add a new device and get it going in very short order. They could also do stuff like have a design contest to add on features or use the ref design in an interesting way.

On the subject of the entry HW being costly. N&V is actually pretty good about it compared to CCI. It seems like more than half the articles use a demo board or similar that costs $100 or more. Very frustrating to read an article about a cool device only to discover that the minimum entry cost is like $150. I hope I never see another PSoC article. Very cool product line with no way I could justify (to myself) buying a development kit.

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Post by Newz2000 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 9:06 pm

philba wrote:You know I think a reference design is not a bad idea at all. I've made a couple of pic based circuits that I keep reusing for various projects. It makes it really easy to add a new device and get it going in very short order. They could also do stuff like have a design contest to add on features or use the ref design in an interesting way.
I've been working on an article that would follow along these lines. I think I might have mentioned in the past that one of my job responsibilities is a technical writer and it's something I enjoy doing. I've submitted my idea to the editors and hope it gets picked up by N&V.

BTW, I don't know if anyone noticed, but this month (April) Servo published an article I submitted - a book review I wrote back in the fall. My first time in print (woo hoo!).

I greatly enjoy reading about complete, functional and interesting projects that can be easily modified and extended to do new things. I also enjoy it when the projects use readily available parts. For example, I am a self taught computer programmer and I learned by looking at other people's code and extending it to meet my needs. Therefore if N&V wants to publish my article I'd consider it a success if I knew someone was able to take a portion of the project and use it in another project.

I don't mind the stamp articles even though I've never touched a BS. I built one of those flickering candles from last october (using a PIC though) and my wife thinks it's cool. I also think the propeller chip looks pretty cool (but do we really need a new programming language?).

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