Friday, February 24, 2012

MC Minimal Computer Reborn

Minimal Computer for Schools
This week, the MC Minimal Computer is reborn. Arising from the ashes of a hard drive crash, the resurrected MC is designed as a school machine and a construction project for Parallax Propeller chip enthusiasts, or anyone interested in building their own simple computer.

The battery driven Minimal Computer, also part of the Big Brain Clan, uses one prop chip and a series of panel toggle switches and LEDs. The MC is the forerunner of the new and upcoming projects: the Shrunken Computer, and the all new Propeller COSMAC Elf II.

MC is designed as a Learning System for schools. It's the tool needed for learning the BINARY language and exploring computer programming. In minimal configs and standby, the MC can of course run for months... approaching a year's time on the internal battery. The front panel has inputs for 3 volts DC using banana jacks. Toggle inputs B0 through B7 are designed for input of binary programs and to regulate SPIN language code. Equivalent LEDs are panel mounted for display readout. Additionally the MC has an Enter/Step pushbutton, a power on/off switch, and AUX toggle.

The MC is very portable and extremely light weight. It school back packs, fits luggage, and has a great all around appearance. It's fun and easy to work with, and it interfaces to PC, Mac or LINUX. MC is built on one solderless breadboard affixed to cabinet floor with sticky tape. The solderless design allows for changes in the minimal configurations, i.e. working with LEDs, ports, control projects, etc. More information will follow.