How does a minicomputer work?

A Minicomputer?Which works just like all other computers, right? There are processors and other electronics in it and you connect it to electricity and then everything will function. Software is loaded from a memory medium and then executed. All kinds of peripherals can ensure that data is in and out of it and the software thus ensures that the data is processed.

The concept is always just very simple: you have a system and data goes inside and data goes out.And that data can be anything that can handle an electrical signal. So you press a key and a small stream displays a signal that the key is pressed. If you let him know, the signal will be released again. And the other direction, the power turns on and a light lights up and then the power goes off again and the lamp is off again.

On computers, it’s ultimately about things like this:

So that’s a processor.

Given the number of pins, this can be an ATTiny processor (or a 555 Timer IC) that you can program completely to your own wishes with the right hardware. And as with an electrical outlet, you have to deal with two pins that provide the power supply. The VCC and Ground, to name it technically. The remaining six pins are for communication with other components of the hardware such as keyboards, hard drives and monitors. Only six pins are very tricky.

With the processors in normal computers you have those pins as well.This is how modern processors look something:

These are no longer pins because they can break down.

These are all contact points with which the processor can transmit signals to the rest of the hardware. These are 64-bit processors so there are 64 contact points to send data with. And the other contact points also have functions. But at this level it is already far too complex to explain well so back to the base…

For example, the ATTiny above is in use at the Digispark, which is SO鈩?N bit the smallest 芒 鈧?艙computer芒 鈧?you can use at home.And it looks like this:

With the Arduino software You can write code that runs on this device and VIA the USB connection the compiled code is loaded on this plate and it can be executed.

On one side there are three pins for the power supply. This allows you to use different types of power sources. On one pin that is always 5 volts but if you do not have a 5 volt battery you can use the other pin for each power source between the 7 volts and 35 volts, which is recommended to go no higher than 12 volts. So you can use those 9-volt batteries for that.

And the other six pins correspond to the 6 pins of the processor that you can use from your code to communicate with other hardware.

I have to say that the original DigiSpark costs almost 8 dollars at the original manufacturer and about 鈧?4.95 at electronics stores in the Netherlands.But via sites like AliExpress you can already buy them for just one euro each. And Da芒 鈧劉 s not bad for the smallest mini-computers…

And yes, connect a battery to it and this computer works!Not that you can do much with it, but it’s the beginning if you want to learn more about hardware…

Eventually, computers are just a collection of electronics and nowadays they have become so complex that a simple explanation will not meet.Then you will need to ask something more specific.

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