Single Board Computer Recommendations

Dave Smith dave at
Tue Mar 16 10:04:52 MDT 2010

Levi Pearson wrote:
> That doesn't look wireless to me.

I'm pretty sure it's wireless. Besides the fact that X10 devices are 
(all?) wireless, the users manual[1] seems to hint that it's wireless. I 
imagine that's how you "control your sprinklers from your couch". :)

I guess that means I would also need a transmitter -- more cost.

> And, if you're using a
> microcontroller instead of a regular CPU, you've probably got a bunch
> of I/O pins you can drive relay circuits with so you don't have to use
> a silly USB-to-Serial interface and another microcontroller to decode
> the serial commands.

Yes, that's a big decision. Do I take the simple but slightly more 
expensive route using a microcontroller, or do I get a pre-made board 
with USB and Linux. I'm not at all familiar with how I would program a 
microcontroller. Would I need special tools (physical or soft)? I also 
worry that getting WiFi to work with a microcontroller would be (very) 
difficult, relative to a Linux board.

> The relays, transitors, LEDs, diodes, and
> resistors on that relay board can't cost more than $20 or so, and the
> circuit to control them would be well within the reach of a beginning
> electronics project.

I think this would be super fun. What would you recommend I buy to get 
started? I'm an electronics noob. All I've done is solder R/C stuff 
together to wire up motors, speed controllers, servos, and the like, but 
that stuff was all pretty much plug-and-play. I'm thinking I'd need a 
board to wire it all up, some reference material to prevent magic smoke 
escaping, and some software tools to write the code.



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