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Beginner help for programming processors.
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Beginner help for programming processors.

by country_too on Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:03 pm

I recently purchased and built an Ice Tube Clock. I would like to know if there are any educational products out there to get me started in the field of programming these things. How to go from a program (written, I assume, on a PC) to loading it into the processor chip. Is the software that comes loaded on the processor of the Ice Tube Clock available somewhere, and what kind of setup will I need to look at this software, understand it, and mod it? Remember, I'm a beginner here. Thanks.
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Re: Beginner help for programming processors.

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:01 am

The firmware for the ice-tube is available on the download page: http://www.ladyada.net/make/icetube/download.html
The Ice Tube uses an Atmega 168 processor. This is the same processor family as used in the Arduino. For an introduction to programming these processors, you can't do better than an Arduino starter kit and the Adafruit tutorials:
http://www.ladyada.net/learn/arduino/index.html
http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=17&products_id=68

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Re: Beginner help for programming processors.

by country_too on Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:05 pm

I downloaded the Ice Tube Clock firmware zip file, and it unzipped into about 8 or 10 files. Will pursuing the Arduino (how do you pronounce that anyway?) starter kit and tutorials allow me to make sense of all those files and to view them in some semblance of a format for easier studying? Perhaps some kind of editor?
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Re: Beginner help for programming processors.

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:47 pm

The Arduino starter kit & tutorials along with the Arduino software (free download here: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software) will give you a good start on basic microcontroller programming. Once you have a good handle on the fundamentals, you will be in a better position to understand some of the more advanced techniques used in the Ice-Tube firmware.

The Arduino software includes both an editor and a compiler so that you look at and compile the ice-tube software as well.

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Re: Beginner help for programming processors.

by adafruit on Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:45 pm

oops, to make it clear, the ice tube clock uses the same processor but its not written in Arduinoese (C++ with some libraries) but rather straight C - its sort of like Spanish & Portuguese.

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Re: Beginner help for programming processors.

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:22 pm

Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead. But as a beginner, the Arduino environment is the best way to get your feet wet. It takes care of many of the fussy details and lets you concentrate on fundamental principles of physical programming.

Straight C as used in the Ice Tube code is a bit more bare-bones, but C and C++ are closely related, so much of the language syntax used in the Ice-Tube project will look familiar.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.