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My Daughter builds an 8 bit fignition computer.

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  • My Daughter builds an 8 bit fignition computer.

    I am one proud dad.
    Today my 9 year old daughter tested the first computer ever built from scratch by anyone in our family.
    I bought a fignition kit from Julz for her, for Christmas, and a couple of days ago we sat down to build it together.
    She has never done any soldering, or assembled anything electronic before in her life, but she always watches me over my shoulder fascinated by what I am doing.

    The kit comes with a PCB and 2 bags of about 40 components and some very comprehensive and exceptionally well written instructions.

    At first I showed her what to do, and with a little prompting she took to the soldering like a duck to water.

    This is an example of the very first things she ever soldered in.

    She was very methodical, and studious, applying the flux, inserting the components, checking their positions and details twice, soldering them in, checking the solder joints and re-checking the component.

    Once it as completed, the board was cleaned and then placed in my airing cupboard to dry.

    The most tedious job, was then testing all the connections. The instructions list every point and it's respective connections, and it was easy (if very boring) to sit and check that all the components were connected correctly.

    This is the second test with the IC's installed this time. No pops or smoke is a good thing!

    This is the first time we fired it up connected to the TV, and as you can tell she is delighted! As was I.

    We haven't done any programming on it yet, that comes later, but at least we know the little 8 button keyboard works!

    We popped into town and got a small enclosure to house it in, and with a little modification it fits perfectly.

    We both had a tremendous amount of fun doing this, and she is rightly, very pleased with what she has done. It is a very worthwhile project and great for an absolute beginner.
    A couple of details about the system itself:
    • It's an 8 bit system using a version of the Forth language as used by the Jupiter Ace.
    • At it's core is an Atmel AVR microcontroller
    • A mighty 8Kb RAM
    • A bounteous 384Kb Flash storage.

    I saw this at replay, and the chap who developed this, Julz, was there promoting the system. Unfortunately I didn't have much time to speak with him on the day, but managed to get hold of a kit from his website.
    There is also a Google group HERE which is quite active.
    If you are looking for a fun, small, interesting project that is easy to do for even a beginner, then you cannot go wrong here. Best few quid I have spent in a while.
    Last edited by r0jaws; 4 January 2012, 07:36. Reason: Website back up again.

  • #2
    Just awesome! My congrats to her


    • #3
      Superb! And nice pics of the task.


      • #4
        Holy crap! Most kids have enough trouble playing video games well when they're 9.


        • #5
          Great stuff, well done!

          How much does she charge for re-capping an A500 board?


          • #6
            Awesome stuff indeed
            My YouTube Channel:

            CD32 + TF330, A500+ Vampire V2, A1200D + BPPC/BVision/SCSI2SD, A1200T Black Box + Mediator B1260 + Killer K1 PPC


            • #7
              Congrats mate, remember you said she would be doing this and what a great job!

              Great teacher and top student combination hey?
              Love consoles and computers, all welcome in my collection!


              • #8
                Awesome and Adorable!
                Flux Mastah' Zee
                50 L337 1'M W1R3FR4M3


                • #9
                  Wow - she was using separate flux? That makes her a more advanced solderer than me!
                  ~ Amiga 500 ~ Various Minimig variants and other FPGA projects ~
                  Details of my projects:


                  • #10
                    AWESOME job

                    I'm really impressed..... nine years old?...... You have a daughter with a great future
                    I don't know how it will be the third World War. But I do know how it will be the fourth: With sticks and stones.
                    Here lies a brave, a formidable adversary and a true man of honor. Rest in peace. 04/21/1918


                    • #11
                      That's so sweet and AWESOME!
                      AMIGA 4000 060/50, AMIGA 1200 030/50, AMIGA 500, C128D, C128, C64C, C64, C16, Vic-20, Atari 520 STE, Atari 65 XE, Philips NMS-8250 MSX2, Sinclair Spectrum +3e, Sinclair Spectrum 48k, Amstrad CPC 6128, Amstrad CPC464, Oric Atmos, Apple Macintosh Classic, Apple IIGS, BBC Master, Memotech MTX500


                      • #12
                        That's a very worthy soldering Padawan you have there, Phil.....

                        The future's so Retr0bright, I gotta wear shades.....

                        As rkauer said:-
                        "Retro computers seems like an orgasm: it is always better to have a real one than fake it".


                        • #13

                          I hope my little daughter will do this in about nine years, too!
                          A2000 2/128/-MB-OS3.9-DKB Wildfire-Picasso IV+Concierto+PabloII+Paloma-Deneb-A2386@TI486SLC2/66-ATI Mach64-Tekram DC600T
                          A2500/30 2/112/6MB-OS3.1-A2630+BigRAM2630-A2091-A2410-A2065-A2286-A2320
                          A1200 2/256/-MB-OS3.9-Blizzard 1230IV/SCSI-IDEfix Express-Indi AGA MkIIcr


                          • #14
                            Looks like SDG has got some serious competition there

                            Dave G


                            • #15

                              So are you going let her have a go doing my GameGear when I eventually get round to sending it

                              For Female know how, Jeri Ellsworth would be proud
                              The one that Ribbits Frist Ribbits Loudest
                              If it dos`t work Hit it with a Hammer, If that dost work get a bigger Hammer, If that dos`t work get the gas axe out
                              Up Front and Central Takeing flack as usual so the rest of you can do that pincer movement


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