Real Chips

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Real Chips

mario60
Hi

my first post to this forum.
I am a teacher and I am enjoying Nand2tetris quite a lot, I do think it is a very interesting tool for teaching and basic education.
I am wondering whether out there I could find tools to  build up what you may learn with Nand2Tetris. Again, I am thinking to something to introduce (young) people to a basic still very correct understanding of how a computer is made and works.

If you know of anything of that kind, please let me know
(some sort of Lego chips would be perfect)

Thanks
Cheers
mario
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Re: Real Chips

cadet1620
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There's a huge leap to get from the Hack computer to modern personal computers.

Most of the kits I've seen plug together complete computers like Arduino or Raspberry Pi and some peripherals and use it as an environment to teach programming.  Example:
    http://us.kano.me/


LillteBits is a snap together (magnetic) tech building kit.  Looks cool but I don't know anything about it other than its web site.  Looks like more general electronics rather than just computers.
    http://littlebits.cc/

I've worked with a couple of kids wiring circuits with commercial TTL ICs (mostly obsolete these days) on plugboards, but is not practical to build any thing big like a Hack computer this way.  Here's a simple adding machine one of my students built:
  

Another alternative is to stay virtual and introduce them to a logic simulator like Logisim.  Logisim is powerful enough to build a Hack-like computer (character only I/O).  I don't know of any Logisim-based curriculum, so your own your own as far as what to teach.  Here's my Hack computer running HelloWorld, and its CPU:
    

--Mark

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Re: Real Chips

mario60
This post was updated on .
Hi Mark

thanks for your advises.
I like that adder, would you suggest some other source of inspiration (tools, simulators, books, tutorials, ...)?

EDIT
I think (I am not sure yet) I am looking for something like
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/electronics-projects-how-to-create-a-transistor-na.html

I mean, I would like to have a kit of basic components, clear instructions and a step-by-step path to  realize  what I am learning by nand2tetris  (I understand that a some point the project would not be feasible as a home project)

Also, what about   http://smartsim.org.uk /index.php?page=history?
thanks cheers best wishes
mario
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Re: Real Chips

cadet1620
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SmartSim is a really impressive project for a 16-year-old! I've been playing with it a bit, but I find the UI somewhat cumbersome. (I'm too used to standard UI components like multiple select and copy-paste that I haven't found in SmartSim.)

Logisim has some big plus as far as simulating computers. Perhaps most useful are that wires can be buses up to 32 bits wide and basic parts like chip I/Os, gates and adders can deal with buses with single wire connections. Logisim also has much richer built-in I/O devices like keyboard and text output.

I forgot to include the link for Logisim. You want to use the original and not the various "reboots" that are floating around. http://www.cburch.com/logisim/

I can't help much with what's out there in the way of kits; I learned all this 45 years ago in the heyday of Vacuum Tube (Valve) radio kits and the dawn of the hobby computer revolution.

Googling for "monthly electronic kits for children" turned up a few interesting sources, but most seem rather pricey.

Another good online site for self-learning is http://www.play-hookey.com/

--Mark
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