Ahhh yes, the microprocessor, the CPU, the brains that will make all of these components and wires work! I have a lot to say on this subject and you may find it educational to read about my research on finding the right microprocessor to use for my project and what my options were.
One could write a whole book on which microprocessor to choose for a given project. There are so many out there to choose from. Most of them are affordable. They all have different design specs and therefore, many of them are and are not suitable for your project.
So, let’s begin.
I think for a project like this one, the microprocessors made by a company called Ardunio would come to mind first. Ardunio makes a lot of microprocessors (CPU) so you have a lot to choose from, depending on your needs.
To give you an idea of what an Ardunio board looks like, here are two, the Uno:
…and the more powerful Mega:
In the hobby world, Ardunio is probably the biggest player in providing these CPU boards…but they are not the only company doing this.
There is another company, a smaller company, called www.pjrc.com who makes a line of microprocessor boards called Teensy.
Here are some pictures of their latest creation the Teensy 3.6 board. Note the built-in SD Card slot holding a micro SD Card:
As a developer using any CPU board from any company, there is always a diagram of the ‘pin outs’ showing you which pins are which and what each one can be used for:
To someone who has never been involved in using these kinds of boards, the pin out diagram can look very complicated, but like anything else, once you learn your way around CPU boards, it’s not too bad!
I will tell you right now that I went with the Teensy 3.6 board because I needed to be able to move the PC mouse pointer on the screen using absolute X,Y references. The Teensy boards come with a library that the owner, Paul Stoffregen, has written, which makes it easier to move the mouse around on the PC screen than trying to do this using an Ardunio.
I won’t bore you with the details, but the Ardunio camp uses a relative mouse positioning scheme and they have absolutely no interest in offering an absolute mouse positioning scheme. So, my choice was an easy one to make: go with the latest Teensy 3.6 board.
Fortunately, the Teensy 3.6 is a very powerful and very capable CPU board for my FS1000 FTD project, despite its very small foot print. And it’s affordable. I am sure this board will have enough horse power to operate my FS1000 FTD design.
To round out the CPU board players, there are the following boards that are also being used in the hobby microprocessor industry:
–Ardunio (the Nano, Uno and Meag2560 are the main boards they sell).
(Pictures above already posted)
–Teensy (the Teensy 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, the LC and the very latest 3.5 and 3.6 boards)
(Pictures above already posted)
–Raspberry Pi (above) is another hobby board with a large following. You can install a lot of different operating systems on a Pi board including Windows 10 and use with your hobby project.
–LattePanda (above) is a new microprocessor board that is Windows 10 only. Affordable and powerful, I think it will be a very popular choice for a lot of hobby projects.
And there are no doubt more CPU boards out there that you can find if you google them.